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The south of England is densely populated and habitats are becoming increasingly fragmented but in these fragmented remnants of woods, grassy hills and heather heathland there remain small enclaves where marvellous wildlife can still be found. Though these areas are under severe pressure from a number of different human induced threats it is still possible to see in them the past beauties that once must have existed.

On the heaths in late July it is still possible to find areas where the banded grayling butterfly flies among purple bell heather (after which the heaths are named), and pale blue silver studded blue butterflies chase each other round, not realising that they are among the last of their kind. Other notable creatures of the heaths are the beautiful green tiger beetles and birds such as the enigmatic Dartford warbler and the linnet.

 

If we leave the heathlands and move to another area, the hills on the south coast it is possible to see the shimmering "Adonis blue" butterfly, its relative the chalk-hill blue and reptiles like the adder and common lizard, a misnomer now that it is so scarce.

On the pages that follow I hope that I can introduce you to some of the wonderful creatures that I have been lucky enough to find and photograph and perhaps this will inspire you to look for similar ones yourself….whether you are in the UK or somewhere else. The world teems with life and some of the most beautiful creatures are the smallest and rarest of all.

 

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