27/06/2020 Belfairs Wood, Southend-on-Sea, Essex

Heath Fritillary: With the lockdown restrictions being eased i took the opportunity to take Dawn and the baby down to see my mum in Essex, and while down there decided to take a family walk out on the hunt for something rare.
This was my second visit to Belfairs Wood, I remember dragging my mum down here a couple of years ago hoping to see these butterflies, but didn't, despite an exhaustive search.

This stunning little orange gem is one of Britain’s rarest butterflies.  They are well known at Blean Woods in Kent which is their stronghold,  there is a couple of sites on Exmoor and luckily closer my mums home at Belfairs Wood in Southend-on-Sea, Essex.
It was a miserable overcast morning and well sheltered from the fresh westerly breeze, that turned pretty windy in the afternoon, so far from perfect conditions for spotting butterflies.  Although there was a good number of Holly Blue on the wing, also the first chocolate brown Ringlets of the year.  Very nice indeed.
After walking around the woods for a few hours I stated to think we may have been a bit ambitious in this weather but out of the blue and Dawn shouted '"is this one?"

Bingo! it was one.
Resting on a bramble patch close to a large patch of cow-wheat (it's caterpillar food plant) was this rather bedraggled looking butterfly. With its wings outstretched it clearly shown some damage to its wing, but with them folded up it was subpurd in the dappled light of the woods.

Top work Dawn, a good way to gain some girlfreind points.