Butterflys are fickle things - you need to be in the right place at the right time in the right conditions - and so I have never made a trip purely to see them. I was a little apprehensive about making such a long trip (2 trains and a bus each way) but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
It was sunny day with cloudy periods and a strong south westerly breeze and out on the slopes of the Giants Hill it was cool and blowy. However the bottom of the slopes were warm and sheltered by trees and there was quite a profusion of flying insects here - bees, flies, moths and butterflies - and as the day warmed up there were insects flying everywhere to the point it was impossible to keep track of them all.
Within an hour I had found my 2 targets - Duke of Burgundy and marsh fritillary - beautiful butterflys and excellent views. I even had a slightly worn Duke of Burgundy resting on my hand and I also found 2 pairs mating.
Pair of Duke of Burgundy mating
Duke of Burgundy
Duke of Burgundy - on my hand!
Pair of mating Duke of Burgundy
Moths seen were 2 silver y, my first ever Mother Shipton, cinnabar, a burnet companion and my first ever Pyrausta purpuralis.
Early purple orchids had gone over but I did see lots of common spotted orchids. And sitting down in the grass to eat lunch and watch the insects flying past I noticed a few common twayblade, a new orchid for me, and almost overlooked amongst the grass due to their green colouring.
Common Spotted Orchid