8 Feb 2015

8 Feb 15 - An Admiral Visits The Patch

With the Studland/Ballard patch being a coastal site & right next to the entrance to Poole Harbour, then there are a lot of ships & boats which pass through the patch ranging from commercial ferries & merchant ships, down to Sunseeker luxury boats, fishing boats down to canoes & often irresponsible jet-skis. I guess it's possible that occasionally there has been the occasional off duty Admiral on one of the ferries or Sunseekers.
Condor Ferry: Passing the Studland Chain Ferry. Maybe there has been an Admiral as a passenger on board over the years (6 Oct 14)
But this Post isn't about senior naval officers, but about a Red Admiral. Last month, I managed to photograph a hibernating Peacock Butterfly that had emerged on a mild, sunny January day for a quick fly around & feed at Greenlands Farm, at the Southern end of the patch. A close relative is the Red Admiral, which is another species which over-winters as an adult. Like the Peacock, there is a chance one might fly past on a sunny day, before returning to a sheltered location to hibernate again. Today was a still day and despite being a cold start, there was a bit of warmth in the sun by late morning. This sun encouraged a Red Admiral to fly past & fortunately, stop for a feed. The highlight of an otherwise quiet visit to the patch (assuming you agree a mere 18 Black-necked Grebes as a quiet visit, given I had probably missed about 50% of them in the choppy coastal waters).
Red Admiral: There are few flowers out locally at the moment, but there is a reasonable amount of flowering Gorse
I can see a new challenge coming on to try & photograph at least one species of Butterfly on the Studland/Ballard patch in every month this year. Clearly, the first two months are covered with the Peacock & this Red Admiral. There are usually late Butterflies around in October & November, so that leaves just two potentially tricky months of March & December. Challenge set.