Yesterday, after collecting my son from nursery, we went for a short walk down a single ride in Beckley Woods. It’s a lovely, narrow ride that’s only really useable in the summer as horseriders make it too muddy the rest of the year. It’s also the best place to see White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary in the whole wood.
As we got out of the car we saw Speckled Wood and Red Admiral in the little pools of sunlight near the entrance. Rides like this one, that have been allowed to close in, leaving some sunny areas, are just perfect for White Admiral. This butterfly has really thrived since the general cessation of coppicing, in stark contrast to many others which have seen a big decline for the same reason.
As we came to the first of the scalloped areas, we came across this White Admiral on the track.
Then, within a few moments, two Silver-washed Fritillaries appeared to our left, along with a Comma. The SWF flies quite quickly and doesn’t have the graceful gliding flight of the White Admiral which is instantly recogniseable in flight when you’ve seen it once.
As we walked further down the ride we saw more of both species feeding on Bramble flowers and patrolling up and down the ride – a total of six Silver-washed Fritillaries and four White Admirals – our first of the year.