Marbled white

The distinctive marbled white (Melanargia galathea) is common and widespread in southern England. At this time of year it chooses unimproved meadow grassland, showing a preference for purple flowers such as wild marjoram, thistles, knapweeds and red clover. The caterpillars feed on grasses particularly red fescue.

All images taken in the reserve

[1] Mating marbled whites by Ian Bushell) [2] Marbled white male by Ian Bushell [3]Marbled white feeding on red clover by Cheryl Cronnie
Header Image by Cheryl Cronnie

Conservation Status
Butterfly Conservation priority: Low
European status: Not threatened

Chasing butterflies

I have had a few early mornings in the reserve in an effort to photograph butterflies before they get too active. It has often been quite breezy, which has made it challenging to get some good images. But one morning I was fortunate to find this common blue that I was able to get reasonably close to, and during the periods when the wind briefly dropped, I was able to fire off a few shots. 

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In response to yesterday’s fledglings, somebody sent me a link to a YouTube video of great tits leaving their nest. The screen is split so that you can see the inside and the outside of the nest box at the same time.


The reserve is full of little brown birds. Small and brown seems to be some kind of default programme for birds and accurate identification can depend on an extra millimetre in a  brown tail feather or the exact shade of a brown eye-stripe. Until they are otherwise identified, the RSPB calls them all LBJs: Little Brown Jobs.

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A small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) feeding on red clover, photographed in the reserve by Ian Bushell.
Conservation priority: low.
Distribution: common and widespread.
Population trend since 1970’s – down by 7%

Meet the Robin Family

by Cheryl Cronnie

There’s a little story behind the robin in this picture, whom I’ve called Rocky Robin. I’ve been feeding him since the end of August 2021. 

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Common spotted orchid

There is always competition to be the first to send in pictures of our common spotted orchids. This year the prize goes to Countryside Officer Ali Rasey.

Speckled wood

A beautiful photograph of a speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) against a backdrop of buttercups, taken in the reserve by Cheryl Cronnie.

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Insect close-up

by Simon Knight

At this time of year I can begin to indulge in one of my favourite areas of wildlife photography – macro photography. Viewing the world through a macro lens reveals a whole new environment and details that would otherwise be missed.

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A message this week from Julie Newblé:

I didn’t get pictures but I spotted a muntjac this morning at Fiveways, by the picnic area. It went across the crossroads, from Brunts to the small triangular field with the oak tree swing.

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Azure damselfly

The Odonata season is with us. Here are pictures of azure damselflies, male and female, (Coenagrion puella) taken in the reserve by Clive Knight.

Conservation status: common and widespread

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