At this time of the year on this sort of day the annual pilgrimage to Noar Hill in search of the first "Duke" of the year usually kicks off most peoples start to their butterfly and moth season and mine was made even more enjoyable when I bumped into Maurice, so was able to thank him face to face for the Emperor Moths shots.
In the first couple of hours we had already seen our first Green Hairstreak,Orange-tip female,Peacocks,Small Tort so all was not negative but we drew a blank on our target species probably due to any Duke having the sense to keep out of the way of the cold wind but eventually the tip came our way about action elsewhere and we headed downwards to where two possibles had been seen.
One was being photographed as I was being told one was lighter than the other and sure enough in a bit of a flurry two became one at they coupled. Good news travels fast and in no time at all the scene was like the last supper with so many disciples about.
We all managed shots so I dont think anybody will forget, especially the visitor who had never seen one before.
After leaving Maurice I decided to head off to the water meadows that are Odiham Common at this time of the year firstly to check the "Lady's Smock" and secondly to see if any male orange- tips were on them,no. Each year the meadow is cut leaving rectangles of the fully grown vegetation and this is where I was standing looking at the flowers when the Grass Snake came out for a drink or whatever, 2 feet in front of me. I didnt jump,am I getting over snakeophobia, either way thanks goodness the "Puppies on the roll" were back in the palace.
Thats three Grass Snakes in four of five days so I can say they are doing fine round here, as must be the prey.
I left the common feeling like "Braveheart" and stopped about 600m when I did see a couple of male Orange-tips along the Lesser Calendine interlaced with Violets roadside verges.
A quick record shot was fine as they went across the road where one of the males was really feeling the weather trying to mount anything that was white.The poor female Green-veined White has learnt how to fly faster after today.
Male Brimstones were plentiful really enjoying a large verge with Primroses.
Just a wonderful day at the best time of the year sets the scene on what was so good about today.