Walk: 05 July 2018 Pondhead Inclosure

Lesser Skullcap
In the midst of the driest spell of the year so far, 17 members met up for Adrian’s annual butterfly walk, which this year was at Pondhead near Lyndhurst. We were treated to an interesting walk beginning with a good variety of damp ground plants including Bog Pimpernel, Marsh and Water Speedwells, Marsh Ragwort and Lesser Skullcap showing through the masses of Lesser Spearwort that grew between our track and Park Grounds Inclosure to the right. Yellow Pimpernel and the straggling Greater Bird’s-foot Trefoil were there as well. As the sun broke through the first Meadow Browns appeared and as we explored the flora the grass moth we disturbed was identified as Crambus pascuella, a common member of the genus.

On reaching Pondhead Inclosure we joined Adrian, who held sway beside a large bramble patch in a clearing where Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Ringlets, Large and Small Skippers flitted this way and that on the warm air. Soon we added magnificent Silver-washed Fritillaries and the more familiar Brimstone, Large, Small and Green-veined Whites and Speckled Wood to the list. However it was a superb White Admiral that stole the show gracefully flying and gliding between the bramble flowers, over the bracken and sometime upwards to cruise amongst the lower branches of the oaks that towered above.
White Admiral

Small White
After a while we left Adrian to his bramble patch and continued on for the rest of our circular walk. There were many more Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers along the grassy edged track and where there were more bramble patches more fritillaries and White Admirals appeared; the latter totally 6-7 by the time we returned to the car park. In shadier areas there were fewer butterflies, so flowers returned to the fore with the likes of Common Enchanter’s Nightshade, Hedge Woundwort, Tutsan, both Common and Water Figworts and Remote and Wood Sedges. Thanks to Duncan we noted Male and Broad Buckler Ferns. Birds were virtually non-existent apart from a few half-hearted snatches of song from a male Blackcap and the only dragonfly was a Golden-ringed that whizzed by.

There was one serious identification error when I kept calling Tina, Jo – I’d better stick to identifying feathered birds in future! RC

Photographs Lesser Skullcap and Tutsan © Richard Coomber; Small White, White Admiral and Ringlet © Richard Smith