2015 British butterflies – 6: Wood White in Bucknell Wood, Northants – 26th May

The rarest British white is almost extinct in my home area of Oxon, Bucks and Berks, but thrives in a number of woodlands in Northamptonshire. One of these, Wicken Woods straddles the border with Bucks but my location of choice is Bucknell Wood (SP660451) just outside of Silverstone off the A43. This is possibly out of laziness, having visited before in each season from 2011 to 2013, as the species is easy to find here and I know exactly where to look.

The road to this Forestry Commission woodland from Silverstone is currently closed, necessitating a diversion back onto the A43 towards Towcester, then left at the next roundabout following signs to Abthorpe. On my arrival today a first Wood White ghosted by in the car park. I then walked the main track westward as it was bathed in sunshine (below).

DSC_0105

I quickly began to see Wood Whites here and counted about 20 as far as the crossroads in the centre of the wood. These languid waifs have a dainty appearance and delicate flight that easily distinguishes them from Green-veined or Small White, and they are also smaller than those other species. As I fired off the frames from which to select the pictures below, all the frustration of a four day wait for sunny weather melted out of me.

Wood White

Wood White

wood white.1504 bucknell wood

Wood White is localised in southern England and rarely numerous where it does occur. The black wing tips of the males seemed more noticeable today than on my previous visits to this site. These are very apparent in this picture of a courting pair (below).

wood white.1506 bucknell wood

Having gained such a good result along just part of the route I usually walk here, and mindful of the need to return to Otmoor, I decided against going further into the woods. If anything there seemed to be more butterflies on the wing as I walked back to the car park.

Dainty, delicate, ghostly and languid

Dainty, delicate, languid and ghostly

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