Silver Washed Fritillaries

After seeing silver-washed fritillary butterflies on Lynchcombe during my butterfly transect I had to make the short trip to the Great Breach Wood where I hope to see many many more.

The Discovery Trail - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 808_1206

The Discovery Trail – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 808_1206

The Somerset Wildlife Trust have built the wonderful Discovery Trail around their reserve.  It takes you around the heart of the woodland.  The level path takes you passed a series of open glades.  The glades let in the sun light attracting the flowers and the insects.  This attracts the butterflies including the big silver-washed fritillaries.

This is a typical first sighting of a silver-washed resting up the trees on a patch of leaves bathed in sunlight.

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_9081

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_9081

Why get exited about these butterflies?  They are common across neighbouring Europe and when I visit Bentley Wood in Wiltshire (another country nearly as good as Somerset) I ignore many of them while seeking purple emperors.  The answer is because here they are special.

Start of the Trail

On the right just passed the large Somerset Wildlife Trust sign is a wide track lined with brambles that leads to an open glade.  It is the perfect place to start.

Do not forget to look up.  When I did some of the first butterflies I saw was this pair of silver-washes.

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_8803

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_8803

The butterflies repeatedly returned to the patches of brambles feeding off the flowers in the sun.  As the day passes some flowers move into the shade and other bloom in the sun.   The butterflies follow the moving light across the glades.

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_8831

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_8831

Not sure if this one was not a bit cross-eyed.

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_8866

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_8866

Back on the Track

On the track to the next glade the fritillaries took to resting on the ground.  Strange as there did not seem to be anything there for them.  After many hot days it was bone dry.

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_9122

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_9122

Next Glade

All sorts of butterflies were enjoying feeding on the thistles.

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_9187

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_9187

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_9202

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_9202

Along the trail the butterflies gathered where ever there was a pool of sunlight.

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID silver washes

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID silver washes

Getting Dark

I arrived at the wood after work and soon sun left the woodland floor.  Soon it was too dark to continue taking pictures.

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_9431

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_9431

And Finally…

Comma love the glades too.

Comma (Polygonia c-album) - Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_8647

Comma (Polygonia c-album) – Great Breach Wood, Somerset, UK. ID 822_8647

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