Pete Eeles

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:22 pm

Spain - Day 4 (Tuesday)

An extremely hot day today, spent in a river valley at Reserva del Congost del Mont Rebei - essentially a nature reserve that sits in a valley gorge and absolutely stunning scenery. Despite notching up quite a few new species today, The temperature resulted in an overactive butterfly population for the vast majority of the day so very few photo opportunities, Anyway, a few from today below.

Cheers,

- Pete

IMG_1858.jpg
Great Banded Grayling


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Pale Clouded Yellow (female, and possibly Berger's Clouded Yellow!)


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Black-veined White - an old favourite

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Thu Jun 24, 2010 8:56 pm

Spain - Day 5 (Wednesday)

Today we decided to go to higher altitudes - specifically, the Mountains above Lessui. Unsurprisingly, we found a different range of fauna including a number of Erebia species, new fritillary species (such as the Twin-spot Fritillary) and a plethora of blues and other species "mud puddling" next to the mountain streams. All in all, a great day out!

Cheers,

- Pete

IMG_2072.jpg
An Erebia species


IMG_2082.jpg
Twin-spot Fritillary


IMG_2001.jpg
Mud-puddling Blues

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:08 pm

Spain - Day 6 (Thursday)

A relatively-quiet day visiting a local site in Rivert before heading up into the hills to Creu de Perves. Eurpoean species seen included Amanda's Blue, Spanish Heath and Turquoise Blue. We also managed to find our first Swallowtail larva. Unfortunately, tomorrow is our last day and we're torn between revisiting sites and venturing further afield (and spending several hours in the car!).

Cheers,

- Pete

Amandas Blue (14).jpg
Amanda's Blue (female)


Spanish Heath (3)-2.jpg
Spanish (Chestnut) Heath


IMG_2216.jpg
Turquoise Blue


IMG_2233.jpg
Swallowtail larva

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Padfield » Thu Jun 24, 2010 9:22 pm

Great pics, Pete!

I go for triaria! That spot is too much in line for meolans and is frequently that far off line in triaria. Unfortunately, the characteristic unh is mostly hidden in your picture, but it looks good to me.

Guy
Guy's Butterflies: http://www.guypadfield.com

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Fri Jun 25, 2010 8:59 pm

Thanks Guy - and thanks for your suggestions on where to visit! Another view of the Erebia is:

IMG_2070.jpg


Rest assured, we have a shedload of images that will, in time, require ID :)

Spain - Day 7 (Friday)

The last day of our trip was spent revisiting relatively-close sites - the 5 hours in the car required to get into the "deep" Pyrenees and back being too much for most! The main port of call was Abella de la Conca. Some images below. All in all, a great week with a provisional listing of over 100 species! That's all folks - complete report to follow in due course!

Cheers,

- Pete

IMG_2250.jpg
Spanish Gatekeeper


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Moroccan Orange-tip


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Provencal Fritillary (we think!) recently emerged, with meconium still showing on the tip of the abdomen


IMG_2413.jpg
Scarce Swallowtail - couldn't resist another shot - this time mud-puddling

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Zonda » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:32 pm

Astounding pics Pete, have a good one. I love that Spanish Chestnut Heath. :)
Cheers,,, Zonda.

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Padfield » Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:38 pm

I agree - I'm in awe of your pictures, Pete!

But that's phoebe, not deione... :wink:

Guy
Guy's Butterflies: http://www.guypadfield.com

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:57 pm

padfield wrote:But that's phoebe, not deione... :wink:


What would we do without you? Thanks Guy :)

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:11 pm

Pamber Forest

I managed to get out for a couple of hours this morning and visited one of my favourite sites, Pamber Forest. I have to say, the habitat has been managed superbly with many new areas opened up for the woodland butterflies. I saw around 25 White Admiral which seem to be having a good year, 40+ Silver-washed Fritillary, 4 next-generation Green-veined White, 10+ Large Skipper, 4 Small Skipper, a single male Brimstone, 4 Comma, 3 Speckled Wood, 2 Marbled White, 20+ Meadow Brown, 30+ Ringlet, 1 male Large White and a deformed female Purple Hairstreak that seem to only fly a couple of feet before crashing into the undergrowth!

Cheers,

- Pete

1.jpg
Male Silver-washed Fritillary


2.jpg
Female Silver-washed Fritillary


3.jpg
White Admiral


4.jpg
Deformed female Purple Hairstreak

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:20 pm

Eddie the Emperor

I promised photos of one more project this year - saving the best till last, arguably :) I managed to successfully get all 3 Purple Emperor larvae I've been rearing through the winter, although I lost sight of 2 of them over the winter and was pleasantly surprised when they showed up! I'm still wondering where they hibernated. This species is a master of disguise in the immature stages! Some shots below - all 3 are now back where they belong - 2 males and 1 female.

Cheers,

- Pete

IMG_0798.jpg
Final instar larva


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In close up


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Preparing to pupate. The larvae spend 2 days in this position, creating a silk pad, before turning around 180 degrees and spending another 2 days in that position, before ultimately pupating


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Male Upperside


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Male Underside

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Padfield » Thu Jul 01, 2010 6:55 pm

Beautiful Pete! How come your caterpillars are guzzling in the sun while mine were hidden away in the shade? Did you move the branches for the pictures?

I'm very interested to know what time your pupae hatched. I will have to get down to the woods early one morning very soon and I don't want to miss it.

Guy
Guy's Butterflies: http://www.guypadfield.com

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:09 pm

You're quite right, Guy - the larvae seem to spend most of their time in full or partial shade (hence the preference for shaded sallows when the female is egg-laying). What you can't see from the photo is that the "seat leaf" is in full shade. This critter had decided to take a trip to the local fast-food diner before returning home - which was in partial shade. As you can see, I moved the branch doing the shading for the shot - well spotted! I've also twisted the branch containing the larva preparing to pupate in order to get a better shot.

I've replied in the other thread regarding emergence times.

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:58 pm

Pamber Forest – again!

I’m determined not to let the summer pass me by, taking every opportunity to get out! I visited Pamber Forest again this lunchtime in order to find some obliterae White Admiral aberrations that I’d seen in flight on Saturday, knowing that this species is more-easily found nectaring in the middle of the day and afternoon than in the morning. Although I failed in this mission, I did see not one, but two, valesina Silver-washed Fritillaries – a form that I’ve never seen in the forest before! This more than made up for the lack of obliterae!

Watching this form in flight is quite lovely since it behaves in a slightly-different manner to the normal form, preferring more shady places when flying and nectaring! The first female I saw was nectaring and, before I could get a decent shot, flew up into the air to be immediately courted by a male, subsequently landing high in a bush before mating, where I let them be! Fortunately, I found another nectaring not too far away and managed to get the shots I was after!

Silver-washed Fritillaries are everywhere in the forest at the moment, but there is a definite “hot spot” where I saw 8 mating pairs in total and the characteristic courtship flight continuously on display - where the female flies in a straight line and the male repeats a cycle of flying under, in front of, and over the top of the female while showering her in pheremones from the androconial scales in his sex brands (the dark bands on the forewing of the male). I’ve yet to see any ovipositing females – they’re clearly saving that spectacle for my next trip :)

Cheers,

- Pete

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Silver-washed Fritillary female f. valesina


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Silver-washed Fritillary female f. valesina


IMG_3126.jpg
Silver-washed Fritillary female f. valesina with incoming male -showing the colour contrast


IMG_3022.jpg
Silver-washed Fritillary female being pursued by 3 males!

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Thu Jul 08, 2010 5:27 pm

Purple Fills the Air at Bentley Wood!

After much indecision given the gloomy weather this morning, I decided to pay a visit to Bentley Wood, arriving just before 11am. There were already quite a few enthusiasts in the eastern car park that had already seen a Purple Emperor flying around the tree in the car park. Fortunately, the weather eventually picked up.

It was good to meet up with several friends and I spent my time at Bentley Wood in the company of Roger Buchanan (Hants BC Chairman) and Maurice Pugh. I also met Dan Hoare, the BC regional officer for the area, who had organised an event for BC HQ, who turned up in force to see the work that Dan has been helping with. Good to meet the bunch again!

After the usual chit-chat that starts such meetups, we were on our way! At the crossroads at the end of the “switchback”, we had our first Emperor on the deck who refused to stay in a spot long enough for any decent photos, but it was wonderful just seeing this magnificent creature “doing its stuff” and behaving so predictably, circling anyone that moved before flying up into the trees and then back to the deck, always sniffing out potential sources of minerals on the ground.

Once that chap had had enough of us, we wandered south, seeing several White Admiral and many Silver-washed Fritillary as we went, including my first Gatekeepers of the year. Coming to the end of a track we noticed an Emperor circling close to the ground, clearly looking for a place to alight. It eventually landed on its target – a selection of pastes that had been placed on a log, that some other enthusiast must have used at some point. But the “fermentation” of this concoction certainly did the job, with that particular Emperor staying with us for a good 10 minutes. As we were photographing that chap, another flew by, and then another, which decided to settle on Roger’s camera bag for a couple of minutes!

With our memory cards filled, we were already on cloud nine and started to head back to the car park, when some other enthusiasts called us over to show us yet another Emperor in all its glory on yet another paste-infested log! Marvellous! This time, the chap had very prominent red markings on its costa (the leading edge of the forewing) – possibly an aberration?

As we walked back to the car park, we found yet another obliging Emperor on the deck, with two busloads of BC employees heading directly towards us - and him! We signalled for them to stop, before they all got out to get a close-up view of a Purple Emperor – a first for some of them! But it was wonderful hearing Martin Warren’s commentary on this species as it sat there, feeding, oblivious to the 30 or so people watching it!

All in all – a great morning out after all! I stopped off at Stockbridge Down on the way home, seeing many Marbled White, a few Dark Green Fritillary and the first of this year's Chalkhill Blues for this site. Second brood Brown Argus and Small Copper were also about.

Cheers,

- Pete

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Unusually orange costa


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Mating Marbled Whites


IMG_3341.jpg
Brown Argus


IMG_3349.jpg
Small Copper

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Fri Jul 09, 2010 4:49 pm

Pamber Forest - again!

The briefest of visits to Pamber Forest this morning to walk the dogs. Despite the brevity - some interesting sightings! First off, a Purple Hairstreak literally fell out of a tree to the scrub near my feet - I managed to get a single photo before he flew off. Weird! I then saw a "black admiral" that evaded me, before I then caught up with an ab. semi-obliterae, although very very worn! And then I found a f. valesina Silver-washed Fritillary, possibly one I saw earlier in the week. As ever, lots of White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillary to keep me company, along with good numbers of Ringlet and Meadow Brown. And horseflies :evil:

Cheers,

- Pete
Attachments
IMG_3386.jpg
White Admiral
IMG_3375.jpg
White Admiral ab. semi-obliterae
IMG_3368.jpg
Silver-washed Fritillary f. valesina
IMG_3355.jpg
Purple Hairstreak (male)

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Sat Jul 17, 2010 4:16 pm

Stockbridge Down

The weather this past week has been truly awful, with many critters being buffeted by the wind and rain. Things looked up first thing this morning and, despite the wind (weatherwise that is, nothing to do with my intestines), decided to pay a visit to Stockbridge Down with my youngest son, Chris, to see the Chalkhill Blues. With increasing cloud cover as well as frequent gusts of wind, the Chalkhills put on a surprisingly good display, with over 50 seen, including 5 females, in the space of 45 minutes. A few Small Copper and Brown Argus were around too, along with Marbled White (which are on their last legs), a few Ringlets, Meadown Brown and a few Small White.

Cheers,

- Pete

IMG_3398.jpg


IMG_3433.jpg


IMG_3412.jpg

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:00 pm

Aston Rowant

I decided to pop in to Aston Rowant on the way to work this morning - the first time I've visited this extraordinary site. Being "on show" right next to the M40 feels very strange - there's no way you could hear any bird song with the constant rumble of traffic! I wonder what the many Red Kites make of it all? It was very breezy during the time I was there, and the sun didn't come out until I was leaving, so quite difficult finding anything.

Six-spot Burnets were everywhere, with females emerging en-masse, resulting in many mating pairs - some having just emerged from their cocoon and some still pumping their wings up. I saw around 30 Chalkhill Blues (including a few females), 7 Small Copper, 3 Common Blue, 1 fresh male Brimstone, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 3 Meadow Brown, a single Ringlet, 5 Marbled White, 5 Small Skipper and what I was hoping to find - 9 Silver-spotted Skipper, my first for the year.

Cheers,

- Pete

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IMG_3460.jpg


IMG_3529.jpg


IMG_3498.jpg
Silver-spotted Skipper (female)


IMG_3473.jpg

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Tue Jul 20, 2010 9:24 pm

Stockbridge Down

I decided to pop in to Stockbridge Down (again!) on the way back from work today - mostly in the area next to the road. Despite the heat, the butterflies were putting on a good show after their midday siesta. Rather than try and summarise here, I'll take you on a tour of my brief visit :)

First off, it's wonderful to see so many second-brood individuals about - absolutely fresh (and therefore photogenic!) - including a single Peacock, several Brimstone and Essex Skipper and a good number of Brown Argus and Green-veined White. The Small Coppers, in particular, are doing really well - I must have seen at least 20. This really does feel like a "second wave" of activity for those of us interested in studying second broods and wanting to get photos of pristine individuals! These second brood individuals (as well as newly-emerged first brood individuals of some species just emerging, such as Chalkhill Blue) certainly stand out from the rather worn and faded Meadow Browns and Ringlets. They also stand out from the Silver-washed Fritillaries and even White Admiral (although I only saw one!) that appeared from the woodland adjoining the down.

1.jpg
Essex Skipper (female)


2.jpg
Brown Argus


3.jpg
Green-veined White


4.jpg
Small Copper


Even the Dark Green Fritillary are looking worn - not surprising given the weather of late. I saw a single female, although this probably wasn't the best time of day to go "aglaja-hunting"!

5.jpg
Dark Green Fritillary (female)


The Chalkhill Blue were, not surprisingly given the typical numbers at this site, out in force - literally hundreds.

6.jpg
Chalkhill Blue (male)


7.jpg
Chalkhill Blue (female)


I paid careful attention to every individual and, eventually, found a rather tatty female that I believe is an aberration (and not because she'd lost her right antenna!). Felix will know!

8.jpg
Chalkhill Blue (female, ab.)


I was also quite pleased with this shot of a "butterfly and moth" (Chalkhill Blue and Six-spot Burnet) sitting side-by-side.

9.jpg
Chalkhill Blue (male) and Six-spot Burnet


The smell of mint was in the air and, sure enough, the Mint moth, Pyrausta aurata, was everywhere. Literally hundreds. This tiny creature is quite beautiful when viewed close up and, for some reason, reminds me of an elderly gent in his smoking jacket - the Noel Coward of the moth world :)

10.jpg
Pyrausta aurata


Just as I was leaving, and as if to tell me "the butterfly year is only just getting started", a second-brood Holly Blue turned up, being easily distinguished from other blues by flying at head height before settling.

11.jpg
Holly Blue (male)


No Silver-spotted Skippers though. I just hope the incessant grazing (cattle seem to be on the down all year round) hasn't depleted their numbers.

All in all - a really good stop off on the way home!

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Wed Jul 21, 2010 7:59 pm

Basingstoke and White-letters!

A friend kindly tipped me off regarding a colony of White-letter Hairstreak in the Basingstoke area - saying that he'd seen over a dozen nectaring on Creeping Thistle at midday a couple of days ago - despite the species normally nectaring early morning and late afternoon. This species is particularly scarce in Hampshire so I was intrigued to say the least. I managed to pop out at lunchtime today to take a look. As soon as I found the right area at around 2:30pm, I found a single female nectaring exactly where I had been told. It wasn't until the sun finally broke through for real that I saw another, and another, until I was experiencing the best White-letter Hairstreak "fest" I've ever encountered in the UK. Although all of the adults were slightly worn, this was an amazing spectacle, with at least 9 individuals flitting around the various flowerheads.

This particular site seems, strangely, to be a week or two behind other sites I've visited recently; Silver-washed Fritillary and Ringlet are still in quite good condition. But the "icing on the cake" was finding a beautiful female Gatekeeper ab. excessa.

Cheers,

- Pete

IMG_3817.jpg


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IMG_3866.jpg


IMG_3747.jpg
Gatekeeper (female) ab. excessa


IMG_3753.jpg
Gatekeeper (female) ab. excessa

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Sun Jul 25, 2010 9:11 pm

Butterflies and Buddleias

I've spent the weekend (on and off) supporting the "Butterflies and Buddleias" event held within the stunning grounds of Longstock Park, near Stockbridge (near Winchester, Hants). Organised by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight branch of Butterfly Conservation (under the leadership of Roger Buchanan), this event was a resounding success by every measure. Even the weather "played ball"! We had 6 gazebos in total, with one dedicated to UK Butterfles. It's amazing to think that the very first event UKB attended was selling one book and one DVD! Oh how times have changed! Other gazebos were dedicated to BC's work in the 2 counties, moths, games, face painting, paintings and the like. Everyone who attended was suitably impressed. This has to have been one of the best-organised BC events I've attended, with everyone contributing to its overall success. Totally enjoyable and equally exhausting! But great to see many UKB members there - and, for the first time, the majority of visitors had heard of UK Butterflies - so we must be getting noticed!

And my personal thanks, once again, to Gary and Lisa for organising the UKB stand, where we raised a good amount for BC. We'll hopefully be repeating this event next year for those unable to attend this time around. Some photos below.

Cheers,

- Pete

1.jpg
The gazebos!


2.jpg
The UK Butterflies Stand - our largest yet!


2-1.jpg
THE UKB 2011 calendar looks fantastic!


3.jpg
The grounds were host to many species - including Dark Green Fritillary and Hummingbird Hawkmoth!


4.jpg
Tim Norriss, Hants BC moth recorder, showed off the results of previous nights' moth-trapping - the highlight for many visitors!


5.jpg
Tim brought along the amazing Lobster moth larva. Absolutely alien!


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