Yesterday I spent the whole day at Strensall Common surveying Dark Bordered Beauties along with Dave Wainwright, Terry Crawford, Penny Relf, Tallulah Gullett, and, in the afternoon, a whole crowd of people from Golder Associates. 

In the morning the four of us went around the southern and eastern part of the common that is normally closed to the public. We immediately saw thousnds of butterflies; small and large skippers, meadow browns, ringlets, small heaths, plus some marbled whites. Here is a small skipper.

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We also saw a burnet moth and a young adder. A bit further round we ran into a boggy track with what I think is lesser water plantain.

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And a bit further up this track we found a few DBBs. Here are a male and female.

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That was a relief, since the regularly surveyed populations in the public-access land are not doing well. On out way back we ran into a gatekeeper: my first of the year.

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And a four-dotted footman.

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After lunch we met up the Golder crowd, and walked them off to another area in the restricted zone where DBBs had been seen in the past. We marched across the boggy habitat. We saw several moths including this gold-spot. IMG_8973

And lots of straw dots.

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And this pretty caterpillar.

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We found a decent number of DBBs at this patch too, which boded well.

The we all headed off to the YWT reserve area in the northern end, where DBBs were previously abundant but where they have not been seen for two years. Here everyone is marching across the reserve.

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We drew a blank here. So the moth has been lost from some previous hotspots but persists at some others.

Today I went out early and walked the transect. I saw several nice species including this black darter.

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A Silver Hook.

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A Barred Red

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And six male DBBs including this photogenic one.

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It all ended up being a very tiring but very worthwhile couple of days.

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