Saturday, 20 August 2016

Hell-fire, sunset and silver spots

We've been busy bees with the summer holidays in full swing, so this post is a bit of a catch up on the last few days.

I walked the dog around Grangelands this morning in the spitting rain and wind. I just thought to myself that there wouldn't be any butterflies silly enough to be flying in this weather, when a silver spotted skipper flew up to me and sat on a flower at my feet. It was the only butterfly I saw all morning, but what a great one to spot!
Female silver spotted skipper

We visited the Hell-Fire caves in West Wycombe yesterday. They're a series of tunnels and caves dug into the chalk hill, that were used by the infamous Hell-Fire club formed by Sir Francis Dashwood in the 18th century. These days it's a fun place to visit, look for ghosts and jump out and scare your parents!

Face carved into the wall of one of the tunnels

Ruins outside the caves

Moss covered lady

The river Styx
It rained almost all day yesterday, but the clouds finally cleared in the evening and the sun came out. We dashed up to Coombe Hill, one of the highest points in the Chilterns, just in time for the sun to set. Such wonderful views and a beautiful time of the day.
The monument at the top of Coombe Hill - looks like it's got a bit of a lean
but I don't think it really has!
The monument

Wonderful views of the Chilterns and out across the Vale of Aylesbury

 We played in the stream ...

Tiny dark green shiny beetles were all over the plants along the edge of the stream. As soon as you got close to them they'd ping off into the distance.

We found a tall plant with yellow flowers growing by the stream. It caught my eye because of the great big spikes underneath each leaf. Looked a bit viscous!

We checked the nettles growing along the edge of the stream for black spiky caterpillars (comma, small tortoiseshell and peacock) but didn't find any. That's a bit of a worry as we usually always see them there, so lets hope they're not going to have a bad year. We did see a lovely peacock butterfly sunbathing in the grass though.

Whistlejacket watched us from his tree as we walked back home.

And finally, a couple of beasties that we've come across in the last few days ...

A robber fly from Grangelands - love its spiky legs

A sexton beetle - this one was playing dead, but eventually lifted its head up
and disappeared into the undergrowth.  They're always covered in mites
and you can see them under this ones chin!

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