Monday 25th June 2012 - Penny Hill Bank

The weather seems to have settled down a bit over the past couple of days and, although not sunny, it has felt fairly warm.  With such conditions as these my invert detector started twitching (and no that's not a euphemism before anyone asks!), so I  decided to revisit Penny Hill Bank near Martley.

I gave Tony a bell to see if he was coming out to play and we arrived there just after mid-day.  The flora now was absolutely stunning and the conditions were favourable for butterflies.  In fact I think I saw almost as many butterflies in this small area than I have seen so far this year.  In total we recorded 20 Marbled Whites, 8 Meadow Browns, 4 Common Blues, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 rather worn Brown Argus.

A number of moths were also noted including 1 Yellow Shell, 2 Six-spot Burnett moths and a Six-spot Burnett larvae.  I flushed a Heart & Dart moth and Tony found what was one of the day's highlights when he flushed and relocated a moth known simply as The Blackneck (Lygephila pastinum).  This was a species that I hadn't seen before so needless to say I was rather pleased.

As always there were plenty of other insects of note at the site including 2 rather smart looking Longhorn Beetles (Strangalia maculata). and a Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus vespillo)

Penny Hill is also a good place for some of our native reptiles and today was no exception with 2 Grass Snakes and 6 Slow Worms noted.

Not forgetting the area's avian inhabitants, we had cracking views of a Peregrine that went through.  Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Song Thrush were all present and in good voice.

All in all it was a very pleasing and productive visit to a fantastic local reserve.  I wonder what I may have missed at Shenstone...not a lot this time of year to be honest!

Marbled White

Six-Spot Burnett & Larvae

The Blackneck (Lygephila pastinum)

Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus vespillo) 

Longhorn Beetle (Strangalia maculata)

Grass Snake

Slow Worm


  1. A great post jase, its always nice on those 'less birdy' days to switch and look for other things, its add's lots of variety!
    Im glad you had some butteflys though, which is great, because i havent seen more than 20 butteflys this summer!Non have emerged and i am getitng a little worried tbh. The field which holds the Marbled White population on the patch was heavilly grazed throughout the winter by a 'traveler's' horses, and with this dire weather, what are the prospects for this, or next year? possibly even longer!

  2. Nice mix up of wildlife there Jase. I wish I had the Marbled White here on my patch.

  3. I am envious Jason...well done with all the species seen and those photographed!

  4. Craig - Cheers mate. Shenstone is unusually terrible at the moment with a lack of butterflies, so I have been maximising my time visiting other local areas...which has paid off so far!

    Warren - I wish I had Marbled White at Shenstone mate...infact this year I would settle for a Large white there! ;-)

    Pam - Thanks...much appreciated

  5. Good to hear the butterflies are out there somewhere! You want to blow some my way? Great collection of photos. :)

  6. Great blog mate. I also saw a really tatty brown argus by the gate. I bet it was the same one

  7. Cheers Pete. It more than likely was. I actually find that thhe field you walk through to get to the NR is the best area for Brown Argus