Butterfly Hunt at Haugh Woods

Good Friday (15/4/22) and it is a lovely sunny day in Hereford. BBC reports it as the warmest day of the year so far with a temperature of 23.4 ℃ (74.1 ℉) in London. Our Davis Weather Station recorded a high temperature of 22 ℃ in the garden between 2pm and 5pm.

Sunny days without too much wind are good for butterfly spotting so we packed our lunch and headed for Haugh Woods. It is a great place for observing butterflies and even has a marked butterfly trail. Our first sighting was a Peacock butterfly perched on one of the many dandelions...

Peacock butterfly at Haugh Woods (15/4/22)

Then a Small Tortoiseshell fluttering along one of the many wide paths but refusing to land for a photo. Cuckooflower (or Lady's-smock) has been in flower for a while now so we were hoping to spot an Orange-tip butterfly on our walk as the cuckooflower is a major food plant for the caterpillar. If you look carefully you can sometimes find the mature yellow egg of the Orange-tip on cuckooflower.

The cuckooflower gets its name by association with the arrival of the first cuckoo. Its alternative name, lady's-smock, arises from the cupped-shape of the flowers or, more risque, it alluded to certain springtime activities in the meadows ('smock' was slang for 'an immoral woman').

Today we were lucky and saw one on the wing - fortunately, the male Orange-tip is easy to identify from its characteristic orange tip.

Finally, on our way back to the car park along a narrow woodland path, we came across a Speckled Wood flying close enough to identify. And this delicate wood sorrel with its shamrock-like leaves...

Wood Sorrel in Haugh Woods (15/4/22) 

In addition to looking for butterflies, we paid a visit to Joan's Hill Farm which is accessible from Haugh Wood. This nature reserve is owned and managed by Plantlife. Many of the fields were speckled with cowslips...

Cowslips at Joan's Hill Farm (15/4/22)

Cowslips at Joan's Hill Farm (15/4/22)

Later in the year, there will be lilac carpets of orchids so we must remember to return.


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