Padfield

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David M
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Re: Padfield

Postby David M » Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:20 pm

You are having a great little spell right now, Guy. Lovely images of some species I'm currently seeing myself and others I'm not but would like to....chief among which is that glorious Dusky Grizzled Skipper.

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Re: Padfield

Postby Kip » Fri Jul 07, 2017 5:58 pm

Brilliant thore underside shot, love it! :D
More pics on http://ptkbutterflies.wixsite.com/photo-art - should you wish to look, I hope you like the site..

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Padfield
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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:43 pm

Thanks Goldie, Buzzard, David and Kip. One of the nice things about my thore site is that it's just such a pleasant place to be. There's a bit of an uphill cycle ride first - nothing like the ride to some of the species I go to see - but then it's gentle, shaded and generally enjoyable.

A few piccies from today's walk on my local patch - my last before leaving for Spain tomorrow:

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(mating pair of great banded graylings)

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(great banded grayling sitting on my road - they are always here but quite flighty and difficult to get decent pictures of)

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(shadows in the sycamore)

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(an egg laid by one of those passing shadows - my first white admiral egg of the season)

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

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:00 pm

Forgot to mention: yesterday, no christi! By coincidence, a friend had visited exactly the same site earlier in the day (I arrived at about midday, he was there from 07h15, having camped out on site!) and also failed to see a single individual. Too bad! I am privileged to have seen this species, one of the rarest butterflies in the world, several times in the past and I'm sure I'll see it again. Just not in 2017.

I didn't take many photos because I needed to be watching the hillside constantly. But here is a female Apollo, clearly showing her sphragis, meaning she has been mated:

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Here is the habitat - not easy to reach or negotiate, especially when you have a dog in your backpack (she couldn't climb up through the tufting sheep's fescue) and enough beer for the whole day in your frontpack!

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On the way down to the valley I stopped off to pick up my first dusky meadow brown of the year (no photo). While at this site I photographed this rock grayling ...

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... and this Escher's blue.

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Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:20 pm

I flew to Barcelona yesterday evening, spending the night in a cheap hostal before moving on to Aragón by bus this evening. That left me this morning to walk across Barcelona. As always, I tried to dig out some geranium bronzes - and managed to find Lang's short-tailed blue and long-tailed blues into the bargain:

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I didn't reach my hostal here in Aragón until about 19h00 but after picking up some provisions for tomorrow's walk into the countryside I couldn't resist taking an evening stroll. The butterflies were all going to roost and mostly diving into deep shade, but it promised good things for tomorrow. This is Agenjo's anomalous blue (officially a subspecies of Ripart's anomalous blue):

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And this is a southern gatekeeper:

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I saw Iberian marbled white and Spanish chalkhill blue - both new species for the year - and had this tantalising glimpse of a skipper just before I got back to the hostal, as the sun was dropping into the horizon:

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Now, southern marbled skipper would be a lifer for me and I was hoping I might come across it this holiday. In some ways, this resembles southern marbled closely, but I have seen mallow skippers looking almost exactly the same, so for now it's just a teaser!

Tomorrow up early for a full day with Spanish butterflies.

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

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:54 pm

I've been taking far too many photos over the last couple of days to process them all on the iPad. I'm trying to keep my diary on my web page up to date (without pictures), though the programme I'm using seems to have corrupted all the diacriticals ... Something to sort out when I get home. ANYWAY, I am provisionally processing a few pictures, especially of anything interesting.

I find the anomalous blues very interesting, for example! Agenjo's and Ripart's are supposed now to be the same species but here in Aragón I find them both flying together, and they seem quite distinct. Here is a male Agenjo's with a female (I think, from his great interest in her). He had exactly the same underside markings as she - and exactly as described for this taxon:

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Ripart's, by contrast, has a long, strong, white stripe.

Where I went today, a very high proportion of the Iberian marbled whites were form cataleuca - the equivalent of leucomelas in marbled whites. Here is a particularly lovely example:

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Southern white admirals are common here. Today I watched a female laying on some species of Lonicera. She was laying beneath the leaves, not on the upper surface. Here she is on the foodplant, followed by one of the eggs she laid:

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Interesting for me were my first (two) cardinals outside Switzerland! Here is one of them, a female:

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Another butterfly with deep personal meaning for me (because of my time in Gibraltar) is striped grayling. I saw just two today:

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Overhead, vultures were circling. I can't imagine how they still find enough to eat, but they obviously do. About a dozen were circling together. In the past I've found forty or more, blackening the sky. Here's one of them:

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Everywhere I went I heard quails wetting their lips in the fields. In the woods I saw a group of hoopoes. Golden orioles were calling in the morning and I was lucky enough to see a male fly across the path in front of me, brilliant yellow and black.

Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Sat Jul 15, 2017 5:55 pm

First lifer of the trip today - and it wasn't one I had consciously expected. I haven't been able to string any baeticus - and I have now photographed a lot of Carcharodus!! No glimpses of Spanish purple hairstreak or southern hermit. But this morning, just after the sun broke through the clouds, I saw this Melitaea fritillary zooming around and knew instinctively it was trivia.

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The problem is, you need a very good underside view to prove trivia. I'm not carrying a net because you need a licence in Spain and it took me months of wrangling to get one the last time I tried. This lovely little insect steadfastly refused to lift its wings when settled or land anywhere other than on the ground. So that was that - no proof, even after 20 minutes of crawling around taking flash shots of whatever snippet of underwing it showed. I carried on, on what was a very enjoyable walk (lots of hoopoes and orioles). For the first time this holiday, spotted fritillaries were flying, and I noticed how completely different they were - much larger, apart from anything else - from the lesser spotted I was sure I had seen. Naturally enough, I came back via the same stretch where I had seen the first trivia and quite soon stumbled upon another. This gave me just enough glimpse of the underside before zooming off to convince me:

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So I walked very slowly along the track and eventually found a patch of grass with scattered flowers where trivia came to nectar. It was incredibly difficult to get good enough photos to show the disco-cellular vein - the clinching feature - because they seldom settled more than a second or two and were constantly moving when they did. But with perseverance and a lot of wasted shots I got the proof I needed. So I can tick another species off! It made me realise that serious butterflying without a net is just stupid. I spent over an hour establishing the identity of a species I could have confirmed in a few seconds with a net, without any trampling of any habitat. And in this case, I was lucky, because I found where they were hanging out. Anyway, here are a few more piccies of my first ever lesser spotted fritillaries, Melitaea trivia, subspecies ignasti (described by Tolman as very local and generally uncommon). I hope I'll be able to make better pictures of these when I process them properly, on my computer back home:

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

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Re: Padfield

Postby Wurzel » Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:57 pm

A bewildering and beautiful array of butterflies Guy, I think my favourites are the Arran Brown and Large Ringlet from a few posts back as they remind me of my only mountainous butterfly trail to date :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: Padfield

Postby David M » Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:17 pm

Well done, Guy. Persistence paid off! Trivia certainly does appear different to didyma, even allowing for the incredible variation the latter has.

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Mon Jul 17, 2017 2:08 pm

Bewildering and beautiful butterflies - it sounds like the title of a book, Wurzel!

Yes, David, trivia does seem to be quite distinctive, but it is still in principle very similar to didyma - especially the meridionalis form I'm used to in Switzerland - and I wouldn't have called it without seeing the disco-cellular vein. Nor would I in future, I think.

I've spent the last couple of days travelling by bus from the far north of the country to the far south, arriving in Córdoba, where my sister lives, at midday today. We took the dogs for a short walk in the afternoon and discovered a good colony of African grass blues in town. They were obviously very active, in the heat of the day, but I was able to get a few shots of one female. She seemed to be ovipositing, though no eggs were laid, I think:

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The first of many good species down here, I hope ...

Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby Kip » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:01 am

Can't be very often you see a European lifer like trivia Guy... where do you find the disco-cellular vein, is it straight across the hindwing disc? (Sorry for the ignorance). What else have you seen?
More pics on http://ptkbutterflies.wixsite.com/photo-art - should you wish to look, I hope you like the site..

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:09 am

Hi Paul. The disco-cellular vein closes the cell. In most of my pictures it only seems to half close the cell - it is conspicuous for the first half but only visible in the right light angle in the second half. It is a much less prominent vein than others. And trivia really wasn't posing! But if you compare with this picture of didyma, taken the same day (didyma was posing nicely) you can see the difference easily: the cell is completely open.

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Down south, there are almost no butterflies. It is cooler here this week than last, but that means low 40s rather than high 40s. A couple of days ago I saw at least 50 cardinals but all were diving for shade. They roosted in the shade and nectared in the shade. Here is one by the side of a road, disguised as a leaf:

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This next was taken with flash, nectaring in the full shade of a spreading tree:

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The only things I saw in the sun were sage skippers:

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Something I've never seen before is the communal roosting of purple hairstreaks in the shade (this is the North-African/Andalucían subspecies). There are five in this shot:

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On Sunday I'll move to the coast, where I expect to see more. Here, I am convinced there is widespread aestivation. Two weeks of temperatures above 45 degrees have actually driven the butterflies torpid. My only lifers here have been birds. These are black vultures:

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Re: Padfield

Postby Kip » Sat Jul 22, 2017 12:04 pm

Thanks for the explanation Guy.. I thought all species had disco-cellular veins, never noticed otherwise :oops: :roll:
I've never seen Sage Skipper either, :mrgreen:
More pics on http://ptkbutterflies.wixsite.com/photo-art - should you wish to look, I hope you like the site..

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:39 pm

Hi Paul. Sage skipper is one of those butterflies I took for granted when I lived on the Rock but haven't seen since - and until now only had one, ancient picture, taken with my old SLR. This holiday I found it commonly around Córdoba and have seen a few further south today, near Málaga, so when I get back I will be able to put up a decent web page for the species!

I didn't see any new species (lifers) in Córdoba but I did have a few opportunities to get some much better photos of some southern butterflies. One of these was Polyommatus celina, which in the summer brood is really quite different from icarus, being much smaller (consistently) and having broad margins and spots on the hindwing, as well as being a distinctly different colour:

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Today's haul in Málaga included Monarch (seen but not photographed - luckily I photographed a few when I was here for a day in February), two-tailed pasha (something I haven't actually seen since 1990 and haven't photographed since 1983!), dusky heath and striped grayling, one of my favourite graylings.

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As in Córdoba, very little was flying in the scorched scrub itself - just a few southern graylings dashing for cover and a few blues (long-tailed, Lang's short-tailed, Polyommatus celina, southern brown argus) on what little nectar there was - but at my hilltopping sites both swallowtails and some very restless two-tailed pashas were much in evidence. Here are the swallowtails:

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For the whites, just a few Bath whites and a couple of clouded yellows - no later generations of any of the dappled whites I see here earlier in the year, nor, sadly, any desert orange tips, which I had thought I might just see.

Back to Switzerland tomorrow, when I will have several hundred pictures to process properly!!

Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby Wurzel » Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:55 pm

Even more beautiful species Guy, the Sage Skipper is a beaut - is it supposed to have an orangey head or is that the pollen it's collected whilst feeding?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

p.s. about that book title, I think I'm going to copywrite it :wink: :lol:

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Re: Padfield

Postby David M » Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:14 pm

Love your celina, Guy, just like a Baton Blue without the upper forewing spot! According to the EIG, feisthamelii is now a new species, and yours certainly looks different to the podalirius I have recently seen in the multi-hundreds.
Safe journey back to la Suisse.

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Tue Jul 25, 2017 7:55 pm

Thanks again, Wurzel and David. I think sage skippers are just red-heads. :D They are surprisingly lovely butterflies when you get a good view. As for feisthamelii and podalirius, yes, they do seem to be treated as separate species now, though not by all authorities. I know Lafranchis did a lot of research into the differences between them a few years back.

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I spent almost the whole of today processing and uploading my pictures from the last couple of weeks - it does take a long time. One thing I learnt on returning to my books was that the Spanish subspecies of lesser spotted fritillary is now agreed to be a species in its own right - Melitaea ignasiti. None of my pictures show that famous disco-cellular vein very brilliantly, as the butterflies were so restless I couldn't take any time to get a decent shot. This is about the best I got:

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Unless an expert tells me otherwise, I take that to be definitive.

Another subspecies/form that some consider a species in its own right (Leraut, for example) is the southern European small heath, lyllus. This is so different from ordinary pamphilus I spent a lot of time trying to photograph it. The problem was, it was nearly always in deep shade. Nevertheless, these pictures make the differences obvious, even if they wouldn't win any prizes:

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Not a separate species, but a distinct form, is the southern Spanish version of gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus):

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That picture was taken in Córdoba. This next was taken in Aragón. The difference is striking:

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There are, of course, two other distinct gatekeeper species in Spain - southern gatekeeper and Spanish gatekeeper:

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(Southern gatekeeper, Pyronia cecilia)

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(Spanish gatekeeper, Pyronia bathseba)

As I mentioned in a previous post, purple hairstreaks also appear in the far south in a different morph - ssp. ibericus. It is very pale, with only vestigial orange markings:

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That picture was also taken in deep shade, with flash.

I'll close with just a few more pictures that I haven't previously posted. The first shows Ripart's anomalous blue, Forster's furry blue and Escher's blue on a flowerhead. I had to steady the stem with my hand, unfortunately, as there was a breeze:

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The next, from the same site (in Aragón) , shows, I think, what makes this one of my very favourite places in the world to sit and have a beer:

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The blue in flight on the left is a Forster's furry blue. The others are Ripart's anomalous blue (including Agenjo's) and more Forster's furry blues.

This next is the northern Spanish form of Spanish chalkhill blue. It is less chalky-white than the southern forms (which I failed to find when I went down south - I've seen them in the past in the Sierra Nevada in July but I didn't get an opportunity to go there this year):

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This is a dusky heath from North Spain:

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Here are a couple of shots of a freshly emerged Cleopatra:

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I saw my first rosy grizzled skippers outside Switzerland this holiday (in Switzerland they are essentially restricted to one site):

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Interestingly, in Spain they lay on mallow rather than cinqfoil:

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That's all for now! It's late ...

Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby Kip » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:23 pm

Love the Dusky Heath shot Guy, and those Small Heaths and Purple Hairstreaks definitely wouldn't converse in English :D
More pics on http://ptkbutterflies.wixsite.com/photo-art - should you wish to look, I hope you like the site..

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Wed Jul 26, 2017 9:33 pm

Hi Paul. Dusky heaths are very photogenic, aren't they? And those deep south subspecies definitely no hablan inglés! :D

From temperatures in the 40s I came back to bitterly cold rain and cloud. On yesterday's walk to the woods I checked on the white admiral egg I had spotted just before leaving for Spain two weeks ago. It had become a first instar white admiral caterpillar:

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I couldn't find any purple emperor eggs but the heavy rain did stop play a little. I still haven't seen a purple emperor this year ... Normally, the eggs are laid around now. I don't know how much the early flight season will have changed this - I'll just have to keep looking over the next couple of weeks.

Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Thu Jul 27, 2017 7:19 pm

Still cloudy this morning but there was a little sun in the afternoon. Minnie and I went out again to look for purple emperor eggs.

On the way, as it began to warm up, we saw two new Satyrids for the year - dryad and Scotch argus:

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Those Scotch arguses represented my 180th species for the year. It's not often that happens before the end of July ...

In the dry weather, the egg hunt was much more successful than the other day - I found five. The first two were both within a day or two of hatching and reminded me that in this early emperor year I should be watching out for the caterpillars as well:

Egg 1
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Egg 2
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(the little caterpillar inside is all curled up and ready to pop out for breakfast)

The next one was not so advanced - it is between 5 and 10 days old:

Egg 3
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Shortly after egg 3 I found my first caterpillar of the new season - a recently emerged 1st instar larva. I called her BUFFY:

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Yes, this season's cats will be named after characters in the Buffyverse. :D

The next egg was on the point of going heads up, I think, as it looked rather odd. That would make it about 11 days old, give or take. It was in deep shade and I only got a poor shot of it:

Egg 4
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Finally, my last egg of the day was a beautiful pale teal colour - a sign of being freshly laid. It must be less than 24 hours old, having been laid today or yesterday. There is still at least one female doing the rounds!

Egg 5
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I still haven't seen an adult purple emperor in 2017. That's not a problem - they fly into September in the valley. What I really care about is that they are there, not that I see them - and they obviously are!

As I walked back, very pleased with the haul, I spotted this female white-letter hairstreak lurking around in deep foliage in a wych elm:

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


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