A couple of emails from Tim on Saturday night suggested two possible visits depending on what were to be the target species,something that is always on Tim’s mind so we suggested a phonecall in the morning to make the decision.
It was to be what I had hoped my first visit to the amazing Cholderton Estate, a 2000 acre farm that is rare in the way it produces food, and yet at the same time caring for wildlife, being a purely organic farm with none of the insect destroying chemicals that have devastated so much of our wildlife.
Such is the way the farm is run, the owner of the Cholderton Estate Henry Edmunds was the 2012 winner of the RSPB Telegraph 'Nature of Farming Award'
Please read more about sustainable farming and the lengths taken to care for the diversity of wildlife on the farm here at http://www.cholderton-estate.co.uk/.
When you visit so many nature reserves photographing butterflies and moths you get used to how an area should look and that’s all it took to realise the area of chalk downland we were visiting was something special.
We were part way into the downland when Tim stated that Wood Tiger Moths were possibly out and within feet there in front of me was one looking pristine, having just emerged.
As such a special place every step was judged with the butterflies and moths in mind as eggs were obviously being deposited on the wealth of downland flowers such as Horseshoe Vetch,Bird’s-foot Trefoil,Germander Speedwell,Cowslips and a great deal more.
I certainly didn’t photograph every species seen,leaving out butterflies like the Dingy Skipper and Brown Argus as they were very active and movement was to be kept to a minimum so here are some of the photos taken which will give you an idea of how rich and well managed this site is.
Later we visited the arboretum which again was just beautiful with trees from all over the world and all the areas either side of the paths filled with plants and grasses that have butterflies and moths in mind.
As we walked this area moths seemed to be coming from everywhere although they usually hid well into the vegetation so were not photographed.
This is certainly a day I will never forget such was the beauty of the place, made even more dramatic by being on private land.