King's Wood, Heath & Reach, is an ancient woodland bursting with life close to the A5 between Woburn & Leighton Buzzard. I've visited it a few times recently, hoping to see one of the dramatic Purple Emperor butterflies that have been reported.
O.K., so I'm cheating. This is a Lesser Purple Emperor that was enjoying my baguette during a family holiday in the Dordogne, France, a few years ago. I've 'dipped' on the Beds Purple Emperors each time I've been to King's Wood, and Chicksands Wood near Clophill. This has become a quest...I will see one...one day!
This Muntjac was sussing me out from further up the ride.
There were hundreds of other butterflies around: Peacocks; Ringlets; Gatekeepers; Meadow Browns; Purple Hairstreaks; Large, Small & Green-veined Whites; Large, Small & Essex Skippers; Speckled Woods; Commas; and a single each of Brimstone, Common Blue and White Admiral. I can't begin to describe the effect of hundreds of Painted Ladies, like this one, flying up from my feet and darting about everywhere - they are the next generation of the millions of Painted Ladies that migrated to the UK from the Atlas Mountains in northern Africa earlier this year.
There were 3 young Common Lizards sunning themselves on a fallen branch - this one looks like it's had to discard the end of its tail to escape an unknown predator!