Thursday saw me heading over to Tophill with my son, who was enjoying an extended holiday due to his school being closed. The main reason for visiting this site was the amount of time it would take to get round, therefore keeping him occupied, plus there is always something to see here. Common Darters Sympetrum striolatum were the most obvious species, with lesser numbers of Ruddy Darters Sympetrum sanguineum thrown in for good measure. Migrant Hawkers Aeshna mixta were easy to encounter, with several finding one hawthorn bush around the south-west side of ‘O’ Reservoir to settle on, to their liking. A female Southern Hawker Aeshna cyanea again posed well here for its photograph, and a few inquisitive males gave good views as they approached us closely. A single Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis kept alighting along the ‘O’ Res. ditch, but despite several attempts would not allow close approach. A few Common Blue Damselflies Enallagma cyathigerum were hanging on at the south end of the site.
Ruddy Darter – Sympetrum sanguineum
Migrant Hawker – Aeshna mixta
Southern Hawker – Aeshna cyanea
There were more butterflies species on the wing than dragonflies, with Speckled Woods Pararge aegeria seen in profusion, probably the most I’ve ever encountered at one location. Peacocks Inachis io were more obvious with Small Tortoiseshells Aglais urticae showing a slight increase on my previous visit. This time there were some cracking Red Admirals Vanessa atalanta on show, compared to the rather worn individuals seen previously, the Buddleias near the car park being a big attraction for them. Elsewhere around the site Small Whites Pieris rapi were quite noticeable, though none were settling for any length of time. Common Blues Polyommatus icarus were present in small numbers, with a single Brown Argus Aricia agestis picked out near South Marsh West, along with a couple of Small Coppers Lycaena phlaeas. A single, rather worn Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina was still eking out an existence, its days surely now numbered.
Speckled Wood – Pararge aegeria
Peacock – Inachis io
Small Tortoiseshell – Aglais urticae
Red Admiral – Vanessa atalanta
Brown Argus – Aricia agestis
Meadow Brown – Maniola jurtina