Hollyhill OS, new site record and Marbled White still present

Good numbers of the two small Skipper species were present in the long grass at Hollyhill Open Space, a Grade 1 SINC,  this evening, with both Essex Skippers and Small Skippers eventually confirmed by getting close enough to a resting individual to see the undersides of the antennae (black in the former, orange or partly light brownish in the latter). A single Large Skipper, Meadow Browns, 1 or 2 Small Tortoiseshells and a Comma were also seen at the site, situated off Brook Street.

Hollyhill Open Space, looking across the valley to the Erith Quarry site, a Grade 1 SINC, most of which has been doomed to 'development' by Bexley Council. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Hollyhill Open Space, looking across the valley to the Erith Quarry site, also a Grade 1 SINC, most of which has – disgracefully – been doomed to ‘development’ by Bexley Council. (Photo: Chris Rose)

A female Black-tailed Skimmer Dragonfly was flying a beat back and forth along part of  the slope, and from checking the latest GiGL dataset is a new site record. There is no standing water at present, but the bottom of the site is boggy earlier in the year as Streamway stream is buried under Riverdale Road at the bottom of the hill.

Female Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) at Hollyhill OS. Unfortunetaely the wings can't be seen properly in this mobile phone image. (Photo: Chris Rose)

Female Black-tailed Skimmer (Orthetrum cancellatum) at Hollyhill OS. Unfortunately the wings can’t be seen properly in this mobile phone image. (Photo: Chris Rose)

What was probably a male Emperor Dragonfly was glimpsed as I inadvertently disturbed it and it zoomed off behind a Bramble patch.

A medium-sized Common Lizard was seen basking.

I had gone to see if I could find the Marbled White butterfly reported by Mike Robinson a couple of days ago, figuring I’d regret it if I didn’t and no more were seen in the Borough for years to come. I was about to give up when I put it up from some long grass, but it quickly dived back into rank vegetation and could not be re-found.

This interesting site would benefit from more frequent visits by local wildlife recorders. Go soon before the concrete merchants wreck the fabulous view over Erith Quarry to the south.

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