Saturday, 15 August 2015

Flying high

For the start of our long weekend on the Isle of Wight the sun actually came out so we decided to climb up to the top of the cliffs on Tennyson Down.

Tennyson Down - at the top of the cliffs
Even early in the morning there were loads of butterflies around, including a wall (first one I've seen for a long time) and chalkhill blues.

Chalkhill blue
Something large was flying on the side of the cliff, occasionally appearing briefly on the top before diving over the edge and down the cliff face again. Not sure what it was, but it looked like it was the size of a fritillary, but paler and very fast flying. A bit of a mystery - only way I could have got a closer look was to hang over the edge of the cliff but Health and Safety husband wasn't having any of that!

Update: Apparently the big flying thing could have been an oak eggar moth (or possibly a fox moth) as they dash around like mad things during the day. Thanks to Martin Harvey for the info!
A long way down!
We took the obligatory cliff top team photo and sat and admired the view back towards the beach where we're staying.

There were cows grazing on the top of the cliffs and we saw some lovely plants - no idea what they were I'm afraid, but they looked lovely against the white chalk and blue sea. What a great place to live!
Cliff-top cow

We climbed back down the hill and saw a lovely red admiral and a huge belted hoverfly, a hornet mimic (although it's harmless and has no sting).

Belted hoverfly

Red admiral
We left Tennyson Down and passed Barry the buzzard, who was sitting on exactly the same fence that we'd first seen him sat on this time last year.

Barry the buzzard
We headed to the Garlic Farm, a bit of a family favourite, for a walk around their lovely wildflower meadow and some lunch. It's great for all things garlic and is a really nice place to explore and look around.

Garlic drying in the sun

Looking cool!

Garlic flowers
While we were there we spotted a yellow butterfly bombing around the meadow. It was about the size of a small white, but definitely yellow, not white and it was flying fast and rarely settling. I managed to get one (not particularly good) photo of it and it turns out it's a clouded yellow. They migrate here from North Africa and this is the first one I've ever seen.

Clouded yellow
There were lots of common blues, chalkhill blues and a very photogenic small tortoiseshell posed nicely on a teasel.

A Vulcan bomber was flying around with another plane. We think it was on it's way to the Eastbourne airshow and apparently they're not going to fly any more after this year.

Then we went back to the beach for a bit of surfing!
Surfer dude!

Feeling very pleased with himself that he could stand up on his surfboard ...

Then a wave got him!!


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  2. Haven't been to the Isle of Wight since I was a kid. Nice clouded yellow, I have seen some in the past two years, but I still haven't managed a photo of one yet as they were quick for me. While your over there, check the beaches for fossils as its a big hotspot for dinosaurs.

    1. The clouded yellows whizz around like mad things and only settle for a moment. Quite hard to get a decent photo! We found dinosaur footprints this morning (I wouldn't have realised what they were, but one of the locals pointed them out to us!)