Neil Hulme

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Pete Eeles » Tue Aug 01, 2017 6:20 pm

Neil Hulme wrote:This morning (31 July) I released two adult female Vapourer Moths at Springhead Hill


Nice work, Mia :)

Neil Hulme wrote:Mating with more than one male appears to be a method of ensuring that genetic diversity is maintained. As the females are flightless, and don't ever move more than a centimetre or two after hatching, it is quite likely that the first male she mates with is a sibling.


A few thoughts to add to this - 1) Males emerge earlier than females, but I'm not sure what the "delta" between emergence times is for the Vapourer, but that would reduce in-breeding, possibly to the extent that there is none, 2) If there is overlap in emergence times then the second and subsequent matings could also be siblings! ... and 3) The females will also benefit from the "nuptial gift" (various nutrients) that are passed from male to female, along with the necessary ;-) I guess it's all down to probabilities ... someone should look into this!

Cheers,

- Pete

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:10 am

Hi Pete

This is a fascinating species and I would love to see more research into this aspect of its autecology. I'll dig deeper in the winter, but can presently find very little in the literature.

Looking at the data from Mia's Vapourer farm, we've seen a tendency for females to emerge ahead of males (ratio bias, not absolute division); unusual in most Leps, but interestingly the case in the autumn brood of Long-tailed Blue (but that's another story). This in itself may give males from unrelated (earlier) broods a better chance. Although some male caterpillars will complete their growth ahead of females, this ratio bias is probably at least partly maintained by the longer period spent in the pupal state in males (longer to form functioning wings etc.?).

I agree that second or third pairings could also be with siblings, but the timespan available for copulation with any female does at least provide an opportunity for males flying in from 1km or more distance.

I'm not sure that 'nuptial gifts' (life-extending nutrients harvested by males in some species, then transferred to females via copulation) would be either available or advantageous in the Vapourer; individual lifespan is so short that neither sex feeds. Once she's laid the last egg her life starts to ebb away :cry: .

As it would be quite easy to study and elucidate this further, I can see a very interesting school project here. Mia's probably a little too young just yet, but her thesis awaits.

BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Aug 02, 2017 8:14 am

Cissbury Skippers

An afternoon (1 August) visit to Cissbury Ring confirmed that the relatively new colony of Silver-spotted Skipper (south side of ramparts) remains healthy, with a total of 28 seen. However, spotting them in such blustery conditions was highly challenging, so I suspect that numbers are significantly better than this. Other highlights included Clouded Yellow (3), Oak Eggar and Hummingbird Hawk-moth.

BC SSSk, Cissbury Ring 1.8.17 (1).jpg
BC SSSk, Cissbury Ring 1.8.17 (2).jpg

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby PhilBWright » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:01 am

Fritillaries (two days ago)
Hi Neil,
"I think this is a strain of Silver Washed Fritillary (The big one) which we recorded two days ago, fresh and locally in Sweden on the local flora. I don't know what the equivalent "common dog violet" might be in Sweden"
Please let us know what you think.
IMG_4377.JPG

Kind Regards,
Philip with Melissa

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:53 am

Hi Philip

Looks good for a male SWF.
Hope you're having fun over there.

BWs, Neil

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Wed Aug 02, 2017 11:08 pm

Good news about the embryonic Silver Spotted Skipper colony, Neil. Even better that your visit also saw 3 Clouded Yellows. I wonder if we'll see an influx this year?

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby PhilBWright » Fri Aug 04, 2017 3:28 am

Neil Hulme wrote:Hi Philip

Looks good for a male SWF.
Hope you're having fun over there.

BWs, Neil


Hi Neil,
Melissa and I had a superb time. If you or other BBC, UKB or BC colleagues are looking to have a short break or "working holiday", a friend of mine (Sandy) has a spacious detached Swedish Cottage on Airbnb. Here is the link:
https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/9113196? ... s=rpwn5jYW
Sandy has some local knowledge but not necessarily specifically "Butterflying knowledge"
"This year, I was told "Snow melt" was in mid-May and then the landscape changes rapidly within weeks.
Right of Public Access laws are exceptional for Butterflying in Sweden:
"You are free to go just about anywhere along Sweden's shores, and in it's lakes and watercourses. We are all guests in nature and must be considerate and responsible"
For on-line information, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency includes much information:
www.naturvardsveket.se

Kind Regards,

Philip & Melissa

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Re: PhilBWright

Postby jenks » Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:47 am

[PhilBWright quoted ..

"Right of Public Access laws are exceptional for Butterflying in Sweden:
"You are free to go just about anywhere along Sweden's shores, and in it's lakes and watercourses. We are all guests in nature and must be considerate and responsible"

What a wonderful and enlightened attitude to nature. What a pity certain farmers in Cumbria ( and for that matter in Wales) don`t possess the same attitude. Here in Wales, between Cardiff and Newport, some farmers block the entrance along Public Footpaths allowing access to Wales` Coastal path, because the footpaths cross their fields. This is despite receiving a grant from the Welsh Assembly Government to host the footpath !

Loving your diary entries and photos, Phil.

Jenks.

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Pete Eeles » Fri Aug 04, 2017 2:46 pm

Just wanted to thank you for the extensive response to my comments re: Vapourer, Neil! Apols for not responding sooner.

Without exception, I find every species absolutely fascinating!

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:08 pm

Brownies Galore

My last two visits to the Knepp Wildland, the most recent being today (5 August), have proven highly productive for low-level sightings of Brown Hairstreak, with a total of 54 individuals seen. Most are now nectaring on Fleabane, as the Creeping Thistle has gone over. During the previous visit I recorded 16 females and 17 males, with today's split being 12:9. The majority of females are still in mint condition. A total of five different females are shown below.

The population at Knepp has exploded this year, as a reduction in browsing pressure has allowed the Blackthorn-rich hedgerows and scrub to attain a more suitable condition for Brown Hairstreak. I suspect that Knepp now hosts the largest population in the UK, to add to its Purple Emperor crown.

BC Brown Hairstreak female (1) Knepp 5.8.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak female (2) Knepp 4.8.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak female (3) Knepp 4.8.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak female (4) Knepp 4.8.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak female (1) Knepp 4.8.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak female (2) Knepp 5.8.17.jpg

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby bugboy » Sat Aug 05, 2017 9:37 pm

Amazing stuff Neil, although it makes my running total of 6 low level Brownies at Bookham seem rather pathetic :shock:
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Goldie M » Sun Aug 06, 2017 1:01 pm

Lovely shots Neil, :mrgreen: I've yet to see one but hope too soon . Goldie :D

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Sun Aug 06, 2017 11:47 pm

54 Brown Hairstreaks is amazing, Neil!! I don't think I've ever topped 20 in a day at the best site in Wales so you may well be right regarding Knepp being the best UK location for this precious species.

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:34 am

Thanks, all.
David - I'm keeping a close eye on this species at Knepp, as the population explosion is providing some interesting data in relation to browsing pressure. So far I've collated 212 records of Brown Hairstreak (10 observers) nectaring at low level, with best day counts of 36, 33 and 32. This represents a vast increase over previous years.
BWs, Neil

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:43 am

Late Summer Jewels

On Sunday (6 August) I visited four sites, primarily to check on numbers of Adonis Blue and Silver-spotted Skipper. The second brood of Adonis at Mill Hill is now well underway, with 30 - 40 males and a few females now flying over the upper, middle and lower levels. I photographed several newly hatched males which were still ejecting meconium; it's always a thrill to sit patiently by these individuals, so as to see their beautiful wings as they are opened to the world for the very first time.

A thorough search of the entire site produced only 11 Silver-spotted Skipper; to say that they are widely and very thinly distributed would be an understatement. This species seems to be taking a long time to become strongly established here, although I'm not sure why. Other species included two second brood Dingy Skipper and a Clouded Yellow.

Anchor Bottom was disappointing, with only half-a-dozen Adonis Blue and Silver-spotted Skipper and very low numbers of other species. I will be looking into the management of this site, to see if some of its former glory can be re-instated. A brief stop at Steyning Rifle Range produced a single Adonis and a couple of female Brown Hairstreak in the fenced reserve.

I finished off at Chantry Hill, finding 19 Silver-spotted Skipper and a second brood Dingy. A few female Dark Green Fritillary were still in surprisingly good condition, and laying eggs at a remarkable rate.

BC Adonis Blue (1), Mill Hill 6.8.17.jpg
Perfection

BC Lancing College from Mill Hill.jpg
Lancing College from Mill Hill

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Jack Harrison » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:31 am

When I see such a perfect photo of a gorgeous butterfly (the male Adonis) I really wonder why so many people still claim that you can't take a decent photo unless you have a DSLR. (I presume you used a trusty FZ38 Neil?)

Another point is often overlooked: if you drop your bridge camera or leave it on the roof of the car, you will be seriously annoyed at the waste of £200 or so. If you did the same with an SLR costing ten times as much, you might need a visit to the psychiatric clinic :evil:

Jack

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby trevor » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:17 am

Your image of the Adonis is one of the few I've seen on here,
where a pair of dark glasses should be worn.

All the best,
Trevor.

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Goldie M » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:43 am

That's a beautiful shot of an Adonis Neil :mrgreen: I seem to just miss it every year, may be next year I'll hit just right. Goldie :)

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:29 pm

Agree with the other comments, Neil. That Adonis Blue is positively electric!

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby essexbuzzard » Mon Aug 07, 2017 10:02 pm

Glorious images Neil, especially those Brown Hairstreaks on fleabane from Knepp- now I've got to visit that place. If the weather ever improves!


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