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August so far has brought mixed weather, days have been mostly warm, but many have been cloudy or overcast and occasionally there’s been some sunshine.

Looking across to Conwy Estuary

Looking across to Conwy Estuary from Bryn Euryn

It’s only been a week or two since my last visit to Bryn Euryn, but now rapidly approaching late summer, much has already changed. Many plants are setting seed, there are ripe wild raspberries, a few ripe blackberries and sloes, still as hard as bullets.

Purple sloes are swelling on Blackthorn

Purple sloes are swelling on Blackthorn

Last year there were sparse crops of acorns and sloes, this year may be more bountiful.

3/8/15-Wood avens seedhead

3/8/15-Wood avens seedhead

Large fruit capsules of the Stinking Iris

Large fruit capsules of the Stinking Iris

On a last hogweed flowerhead, a new-to-me, furry little hoverfly; it  is one of a number of species referred to as a bee mimic, but it  doesn’t really look like one.

Hoverfly-cheilosa illustrata- a bee mimic

Hoverfly-cheilosa illustrata- a bee mimic

Another hoverfly caught my eye, it was basking on a bramble leaf and as the sun caught it, the insect shone a bright metallic golden bronze colour.

Hoverfly-ferdinandea cuprea

Hoverfly-ferdinandea cuprea

About to enter the meadow, I caught sight of a Speckled wood butterfly basking on an Oak leaf. I moved in to take a photograph as I haven’t had many good opportunities with this species so far this year, then caught sight of another butterfly sitting on a leaf slightly higher up.

7/8/15 - Purple Hairstreak

7/8/15 – Purple Hairstreak

I moved in a little closer and realised this was a butterfly I had never seen before other than in pictures, a Purple Hairstreak. A species that spends most of its time in and around the tops of Oak trees, I was surprised and delighted to see it and tried not  to alarm it as I focussed the camera. It moved a little to reveal two small orange eyespots on its hindwing, but just as I had it back in focus the Speckled wood flew up and chased it away. I waited a while to see if it would return, but no luck. At least I know to look out for them here again!

The colours of the landscape are changing subtly. Hay has been cut and in many places baled and put safely under cover. Meadows of seeding long grass left standing have taken on a golden hue and on our limestone hill, the wildflowers typical of late summer are at the peak of their flowering. Most are ‘tough’ plants, Knapweed, Hemp agrimony & Ragwort, which are all imortant nectar sources for insects.

Late summer long grass and wildflowers

Late summer long grass and wildflowers, mostly hedge parsley and harebells

7/8/15-Knapweed with a view

It’s been a while since I had a good opportunity to photograph a Green-veined White, so I was pleased to see this fresh one on a Knapweed flowerhead.

3/8/15-Bryn Euryn

3/8/15-Bryn Euryn

Knapweed and Hemp Agrmony

Knapweed and Hemp Agrmony

Burnet moth on knapweed

Burnet moth on knapweed- wings faded and almost transparent

Also clinging to a knapweed plant was a pair of mating Gatekeepers; a perfect opportunity to see the difference between the male and female of the species, as helpfully, the female opened her wings to show the plainer upperside to her wings.

Mating Gatekeeper butterflies - female above male

Mating Gatekeeper butterflies – female above male

A good opportnity to show the upperside of the female

A good opportunity to show the upperside of the female

As anticipated by the abundance of flowers back in the spring, Ash trees are bearing thick bunches of ‘keys’.

Ash trees have heavy bunches of 'keys'

Ash trees have heavy bunches of ‘keys’

Acorns forming on Pedunculate Oak

Acorns forming on Pedunculate Oak

Haws are ripening and leaves beginning to take on colour

Haws are ripening and leaves beginning to take on colour

Walking close to gorse bushes the air is filled with the gentle sound of pods crackling as they open to release seeds.

Gorse pods crackle as they open to release seeds

Gorse pods crackle as they open to release seeds

Higher up on the steep slope near to the summit there is a stand of Ragwort growing with thistles.

Ragwort and thistles

Ragwort and thistles

And further round more Ragwort, this time interspersed with tall spikes of velvety Mullein.

Ragwort and Mullein

Ragwort and Mullein

The seedpods of Bird's-foot Trefoil are from where it takes it name

The seedpods of Bird’s-foot Trefoil are from where it takes it name

And a final shot of a Speckled Wood next to hypericum berries sums up the season, I think.

Speckled Wood & hypericum berries

Speckled Wood & hypericum berries