Having been stuck at home for some days with a stomach bug, I decided I was sufficiently recovered to enjoy some butterfly spotting and headed off to the most reliable place near to home - Pamber Forest. I parked near Tadley Bottom and set off the walk along teh main north-south track through the forest.
It was quite windy, but immediately I began to see Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell and soon after that the unmistakable rapid gliding flight of a bright Silver-washed Fritillary. There were then lots of sightings as I wondered on, mostly tantalising, but after awhile some began to roost briefly on brambles and I was able to take a reasonable wings-open photo and a wings-closed one illustrated to silver wash on the underwings.
Along the way I saw Red Admiral, Large and Small Skipper, Large White, Comma, Speckled Wood, but my other main goal, the White Admiral, eluded me.
However, I did see in quick succession two fine large dragonflies, both new to me. The first was a well-named Goldenringed Dragonfly. A large and dramatic insect.
I spotted the second as it flew into a bush and attached itself to a small branch, hanging vertically. I was able to take my picture with a macro lens rather than the usual telephoto. I am pretty sure it is a Migrant Hawker.
By now I was almost at the end of the track and in an area where I saw White Admirals when I walked this way last year. I wondered around for a while seeing several more Silver-washed Fritillaries, but no White Admirals. Then, literally just as I was turning to walk back along the track, one glided past, soon to be followed by two or three more as I inched my way homewards. None would pose for a picture but it was a great end to a most enjoyable couple of hours.
Distance: 3 miles.
Conditions: hot and sunny, quite windy.
Map: Explorer 159 (Reading, Wokingham and Pangbourne).
Rating: four stars.