Pete Eeles

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nomad
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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby nomad » Tue Jun 03, 2014 5:08 pm

Very interesting Silver-studded Blue field report Peter. Now that I have seen your image of the Portland Silver- studded Blue female, I see that this limestone population is certainly not the extinct chalk downland race cretaceus . I hope that members will not forget to look for blue females on the English lowland heaths, I will be most interested to see if any are found,

Regards Peter.

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:09 pm

Thanks for the very kind comments everyone. Here are a few more bits and pieces now that I've finally gotten around to sorting things out! One thing I forgot to mention is that the reason I found a mating pair of Chequered Skipper is because they were noticeably flailing around, with the female dangling in mid-air!



Chequered Skipper - male - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-14-4.jpg
Male with few spots on the hind wings

Chequered Skipper - imago - Glasdrum Wood - 27-May-14.jpg
Mating pair, as first found

Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood - 28-May-14.jpg
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni (male)

Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni - male - Glasdrum Wood - 28-May-14-4.jpg
Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni (male)


Cheers,

- Pete

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Sun Jun 08, 2014 10:16 pm

Green Hairstreak early stages

Having found a Green Hairstreak laying on Bird's-foot Trefoil on a roadside verge, I decided to take the couple of eggs I saw her lay to ensure they survive, although I'm sure they would have been ok (apart from the car fumes!) given that the verges mentioned aren't usually cut until the autumn. Anyway - some shots below of the highly-cannibalistic larvae which were kept completely separated throughout! The final instar larva is quite beautiful and an almost translucent green. I've added a photo of a different egg to complete the story thus far :) The last photo is of one of the larvae being returned to the wild.

1.jpg

2.jpg
1st instar larva

3.jpg
2nd instar larva

4.jpg
3rd instar larva

Green Hairstreak - larva (4th instar) - Thatcham - 06-Jun-14 [REARED]-4.jpg
4th (final) instar larva

Green Hairstreak - larva (4th instar) - Thatcham - 06-Jun-14 [REARED]-6.jpg
4th (final) instar larva

Green Hairstreak - larva (4th instar) - Thatcham - 06-Jun-14 [REARED].jpg
4th (final) instar larva

Green Hairstreak - larva (4th instar) - Thatcham - 07-Jun-14 [REARED].jpg
4th (final) instar larva


Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Wurzel » Sun Jun 08, 2014 11:01 pm

The contrast on the Thomsoni is stunning Pete, not really a 'Green-veined' thought is it - perhaps they could come up with a better subspecies common name for it? The changes between the instars of the Greenstreak larva just remarkable :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:51 am

Thanks Wurzel!

At last - Common Blue ssp. mariscolore!

I spent quite a bit of time in Ireland last year looking for various subspecies, and was "tripped up" by the Common Blue population found near Dublin since, despite claims of ssp. mariscolore being found across Ireland, the specimens I saw didn't really fit the description. I recently had the good fortune of revisiting Craigavon Lakes in Northern Ireland where the Cryptic Wood White are still about in small numbers, and where I finally came face-to-antenna with what I believe to be ssp. mariscolore. Not only did the females have large amounts of blue on their wings, but the orange lunules were something else! While we've probably all seen 1 or 2 Common Blue that might look like this, it's another thing when every female in the population looks like this! The males also gave off a tint (especially on the trailing edge of the hindwing) that looked just like the scales on an Adonis Blue, although this is difficult to capture in a photo. My thanks, as ever, go to Ian Rippey (butterfly recorder for Northern Ireland) for giving me suggestions on where to visit this time around.

1.jpg
Common Blue ssp. mariscolore (male)

2.jpg
Common Blue ssp. mariscolore (male)

3.jpg
Common Blue ssp. mariscolore (male)

4.jpg
Common Blue ssp. mariscolore (female)

5.jpg
Common Blue ssp. mariscolore (female)

6.jpg
Common Blue ssp. mariscolore (female)

7.jpg
Common Blue ssp. mariscolore (female)

8.jpg
Common Blue ssp. mariscolore (female)

10.jpg
Common Blue ssp. mariscolore (female)


Cheers,

- Pete

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Vince Massimo
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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Vince Massimo » Thu Jun 12, 2014 9:58 am

Persistence pays off :D
They really are very striking individuals (and a full set as well!)

Well done Pete :D

Cheers,
Vince

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Lee Hurrell
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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Lee Hurrell » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:55 pm

What a beautiful set of lady blues. Very nice, Pete!

Best wishes,

Lee
To butterfly meadows, chalk downlands and leafy glades; to summers eternal.

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Mike Robinson » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:40 am

I feel slightly impertinent commenting being a newcomer to the Butterfly Spotting/Watching game but I find these Diaries both informative and enjoyable.

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Neil Hulme » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:56 am

Wow! They're real beauties. Too many butterflies .... too little time.
BWs, Neil

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Jack Harrison » Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:53 pm

That amazing picture of a Chequered Skipper and Small PBF side by side: did they just land together or is there some crafty secret behind the shot Pete?

It certainly is a stunning photo.

Jack

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Sat Jun 14, 2014 4:42 pm

Thanks all! They were as I found them, Jack.

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Wurzel » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:31 pm

Cracking shots Pete :D Are all the females of this subspecies as blue or do they have some browner ones?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:41 pm

Wurzel wrote:Cracking shots Pete :D Are all the females of this subspecies as blue or do they have some browner ones?

Have a goodun

Wurzel


Thanks Wurzel! The formal definition mentions the significance of the amount of blue in the female, so one would assume this is key characteristic. The darkest female I found is the last one shown.

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:27 pm

Neil Hulme wrote:Too many butterflies .... too little time.


Too right - I'm having to make a real effort at the moment (and see you are too!) and, although it's costing me a small fortune I know that, come winter, I won't regret it! This seemed to work last year so I'm repeating the experience and my head is spinning just thinking about the weeks ahead! And on that note ...

Haystacks and Needles

Wanting to get better photos of Green-veined White ssp. thomsoni, I also headed back to Scotland (since I'm spending some time working in Glasgow) and, again, paid a visit to "Midge Central" (also known as Glasdrum Wood) for a couple of hours. The few Green-veined White I saw were well past their best, and the same can be said of the Chequered Skipper and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Having seen several Chequered Skipper females during my previous visit, I had a sense of where they might oviposit, but was too engrossed in other things to make any real attempt at finding any eggs, and so I spent this visit with my head buried (not literally!) in clumps of Purple Moor Grass, where eggs are laid on the underside of a grass blade. I'm pleased to say that, after 2 hours of searching, I managed to locate 3 eggs in total. Not a great hit rate, but not bad either! I've marked where all 3 have been laid, and intend to check on the relevant clumps for the characteristic larval feeding damage later in the year, since I hope to visit the beautiful part of the world again to find the Grayling ssp. atlantica.

IMG_1112.jpg
The haystack

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-14-11.jpg
Chequered Skipper ovum

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-14-8.jpg
Chequered Skipper ovum

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-14-10.jpg
Chequered Skipper ovum

Chequered Skipper - ovum - Glasdrum Wood - 13-Jun-14-14.jpg
Chequered Skipper ovum


Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:33 pm

Silchester Common

Today I paid a brief visit to Silchester Common to see how the Silver-studded Blue were doing, and managed to notch up 4 females and 15 males. Surprisingly, I also found an ovipositing Brimstone, which I thought was rather late in the season. I'm always amazed at the ability of butterflies to find their quarry - whether this is a male Silver-studded Blue finding a female that is hunkered down in the heather, or a Brimstone finding the smallest of Buckthorns!

The main reason for posting is that, elsewhere in these forums, there was a question of whether all Silver-studded Blue colonies have at least some females that have an amount of blue on them and I can confirm that the female shown below does have a few blue scales on her.

539ca4a780db9.jpg
Silver-studded Blue (male)

539ca4b394826.jpg
Silver-studded Blue (female)

539ca4bb58c22.jpg
Brimstone ovipositing


Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby David M » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:41 pm

Yes, I thought the same today, Pete, at Haddon Hill.

Male Heath Fritillaries would suddenly swoop down into vegetation and lo and behold, another HF would be 'flushed out' as a result.

Butterflies are far, far better than humans at locating their quarry. Sometimes, standing still and watching can be abnormally illuminating.

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Sat Jun 14, 2014 8:44 pm

Couldn't agree more, David! There's been many a time when I've found a female butterfly by following a searching male. I remember (in our every first photography workshop) that Adrian Riley said that he only managed to find the scotica race of Dark Green Fritillary by watching the males diving into the undergrowth!

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pauline » Sun Jun 15, 2014 4:22 pm

Those Mariscolore shots are awesome Pete - how can something so striking be called a Common Blue!

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Pete Eeles » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:46 pm

Thanks Pauline!

Tour of the North
With both Mark Colvin and I planning a “tour of the north” this year, we decided to coordinate diaries and, last week, made an excursion north of the Watford Gap. My 4am start was eclipsed by Mark’s 3:15am start, meeting up near Warwick at 5:30am before heading north in one car and into glorious sunshine. Like several other UKB members, our first stop was Irton Fell and, given the sightings that had been reported, were convinced we’d be too late to see any adults in good condition, but figured we’d just be happy with the experience of seeing Mountain Ringlet, as well as getting some decent exercise! The directions provided by other UKB members was spot on and we had no problem heading up past the base of Irton Pike and onto the fell.

Irton Fell, Cumbria - 18-Jun-14.jpg
Irton Fell with Irton Pike in the distance


The Cumbria BC website gives very precise details of where to find Mountain Ringlet on the fell, but our experience was that they were almost everywhere, and we congratulated each other on finding a first for both of us – Erebia epiphron ssp. mnemon – within 100 yards of passing through the gate onto the fell. The individuals we saw in this area were quite faded and it was easy to determine which specimens were likely to be in better condition since they were noticeably darker in flight. As we walked further up the fell toward Whin Rigg, the Erebia seemed to be in better condition the higher we walked and we assumed that this species is not a great wanderer given that the difference in condition from the lowest to highest elevations was noticeable and consistent.

Irton Fell, Cumbria - 18-Jun-14-4.jpg
Whin Rigg on the right, with Wast Water in the distance


All in all, we estimated that we saw at least 150 Mountain Ringlet (which Mark has reported on the Cumbria BC website) and I, for one, was surprised just how difficult it was to get a decent shot of the adult given the numbers we were seeing. Very few settled in a position for a decent photo, with most landing among the Mat-grass (Nardus stricta), the larval foodplant, that carpets the fell. Still, it was such a wonderful experience simply seeing so many Mountain Ringlet flying that the photography was definitely a secondary concern.

Irton Fell, Cumbria - 18-Jun-14-3.jpg
Mark in action!


As we sat eating lunch at Greathall Gill, a ravine at the base of Whin Rigg, we had at least a dozen Mountain Ringlet for company and decided that, with fantastic views over Wast Water, life doesn’t get much better than this! A short while later, we noticed a female fluttering slowly and deliberately over the Mat-grass and, after a couple of minutes, had the privilege of watching her deposit a single white egg on the foodplant which, I have to say, made my trip. The egg is actually quite large for the size of the butterfly and, as Jeremy Thomas and Richard Lewington tell us, is quite conspicuous at the base of the foodplant. Now that we knew what to look for, we managed to find another 2 eggs within 30 minutes and these seemed to show different stages of “colouring up”, with the second egg we found showing a wonderful pattern that is unlike anything I’ve ever seen on any other butterfly egg. Amazing!

Mountain Ringlet - ovum - Irton Fell, Cumbria - 18-Jun-14.jpg
Newly-laid egg

Mountain Ringlet - ovum - Irton Fell, Cumbria - 18-Jun-14-4.jpg
Egg colouring up

Mountain Ringlet - ovum - Irton Fell, Cumbria - 18-Jun-14-3.jpg
Egg fully coloured-up


While we managed to get some shots of the few individuals that remained somewhat docile, the onset of late afternoon definitely gave us the best opportunity to photograph the adults as the temperature dropped slightly, and some shots are below.

Mountain Ringlet - male - Irton Fell, Cumbria - 18-Jun-14.jpg
Mountain Ringlet ssp. mnemon - male

Mountain Ringlet - male - Irton Fell, Cumbria - 18-Jun-14-8.jpg
Mountain Ringlet ssp. mnemon – male, with spots missing on forewings

Mountain Ringlet - male - Irton Fell, Cumbria - 18-Jun-14-9.jpg
Mountain Ringlet ssp. mnemon – male

Mountain Ringlet - female - Irton Fell, Cumbria - 18-Jun-14-9.jpg
Mountain Ringlet ssp. mnemon - female


Despite the folklore that Mountain Ringlet only fly in sunshine, we found that they would still fly in bright conditions, possibly because conditions were still sufficiently warm. With the day almost over, we then headed down to Morecambe Bay to find a suitable B&B where we could catch up on our sleep before trying for more local specialties.

Our first stop on day 2 was Meathop Moss, a well-known site for Large Heath ssp. davus, the most colourful of the 3 subspecies we have. Again, we were both amazed at the number of adults that were flying, even at 7:40am! This species was also very difficult to photograph, but we did manage to find some adults nectaring on Cross-leaved Heath (Erica tetralix). The boardwalk that leads onto the moss is in need of some repair, so anyone visiting the site should watch their step!

Meathop Moss - 19-Jun-14.jpg
The boardwalk leading onto the moss

Meathop Moss - 19-Jun-14-2.jpg
The white tufts of Hare’s-tail Cottongrass (Eriophorum vaginatum), the larval foodplant

Large Heath - male - Meathop Moss - 19-Jun-14.jpg
Large Heath male on Cross-leaved Heath


Despite it being early in the season for this species, we did find a few females flying and we decided to track one to see if she would do what we were hoping – and she delivered to order (well, after 15 minutes or so!) – by depositing a single egg on a leaf at the base of the foodplant. This was yet another unexpected bonus for us, adding to this very memorable trip.

Large Heath - ovum - Meathop Moss - 19-Jun-14.jpg
Large Heath ovum


Since we were in the area, visiting Arnside Knott (on the other side of Morecambe Bay) was an obvious choice. We knew we were too early for High Brown Fritillary, but enjoyed views of a several fresh Dark Green Fritillary and, to top off an excellent 2 days, the sight of a slight-worn Northern Brown Argus (ssp. salmacis).

Dark Green Fritillary - male - Arnside Knott - 19-Jun-14-5.jpg
Dark Green Fritillary – male

Northern Brown Argus - male - Arnside Knott - 19-Jun-14.jpg
Northern Brown Argus - male


All in all, this is one of those memorable trips that will live with you forever. The sight of so many Mountain Ringlet will stay with me forever! And my thanks to Mark for doing all of the driving (all 700 miles of it!) and putting up with any lame jokes I may have cracked! And we’ve now started a trend of naming the scientific name of each of the British butterflies species while driving – beats 10 green bottles hands down!

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Pete Eeles

Postby Neil Freeman » Tue Jun 24, 2014 8:28 pm

Great report from your trip up North Pete, I was up there a couple of weeks back and spent 3 days at Arnside which, apart from the pleasures of the Knott, makes for a great base to explore the area. I was a bit too early for Dark Green or High Brown Fritillaries but saw two 'lifers' myself, the Mountain Ringlets at Irton Fell and Northern Brown Argus at a number of sites in the area, as well as the Large Heaths at Meathop Moss :D

Cheers,

Neil.


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