David M

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David M
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David M

Postby David M » Wed Jan 19, 2011 3:42 pm

After the excitement of seeing my first butterfly of 2011 this afternoon (albeit in my spare bedroom!), I've decided to follow the lead of several others and open a personal diary to record this year's sightings (I'll ignore today's Small Tortoiseshell since it wasn't spotted outside).

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Wed Mar 02, 2011 3:21 pm

Dates of first sightings 2011:

1. Small Tortoiseshell - 2 March, Clydach, Swansea
2. Peacock - 19 March, Abergavenny
3. Brimstone - 23 March, Glais, Swansea
4. Comma - 25 March, Swansea Vale
5. Green Veined White - 8 April, Sale, Cheshire
6. Orange Tip - 8 April, Sale, Cheshire
7. Speckled Wood - 8 April, Sale, Cheshire
8. Holly Blue - 9 April, Swansea Vale
9. Large White - 9 April, Swansea Vale
10. Red Admiral - 10 April, Cwm Clydach, Swansea
11. Small White - 10 April, Cwm Clydach, Swansea
12. Painted Lady - 20 April, Merthyr Mawr, nr.Bridgend
13. Small Copper - 20 April, Merthyr Mawr, nr. Bridgend
14. Grizzled Skipper - 20 April, Merthyr Mawr, nr. Bridgend
15. Pearl Bordered Fritillary - 22 April, Haugh Wood, Herefordshire
16. Wood White - 22 April, Haugh Wood, Herefordshire
17. Green Hairstreak - 23 April, Prestbury Hill, nr. Cheltenham
18. Duke of Burgundy - 23 April, Prestbury Hill, nr. Cheltenham
19. Dingy Skipper - 23 April, Prestbury Hill, nr. Cheltenham
20. Small Blue - 25 April, Kenfig Dunes, nr. Porthcawl
21. Small Heath - 25 April, Kenfig Dunes, nr.Porthcawl
22. Wall Brown - 25 April, Kenfig Dunes, nr.Porthcawl
23. Common Blue - 29 April, Swansea Vale
24. Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary - 14 May, Aberbargoed Grasslands, nr. Merthyr Tydfil
25. Marsh Fritillary - 14 May, Aberbargoed Grasslands, nr. Merthyr Tydfil
26. Brown Argus - 19 May, Brean Down, nr.Burnham-on-Sea
27. Heath Fritillary - 19 May, Bin Combe, Exmoor
28. Large Skipper - 21 May, Wrecclesham, nr. Farnham
29. Glanville Fritillary - 21 May, Wrecclesham, nr. Farnham
30. Swallowtail - 21 May, Strumpshaw Fen, Norfolk
31. Mountain Ringlet - 4 June, Irton Fell, nr.Santon Bridge, Cumbria
32. Meadow Brown - 11 June, Old Castle Down, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
33. Dark Green Fritillary - 11 June, Alun Valley, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
34. High Brown Fritillary - 11 June, Alun Valley, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
35. Ringlet - 18 June, Alun Valley, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
36. Large Heath - 19 June, Bettisfield Moss, nr. Whitchurch, Shropshire
37. Silver Studded Blue - 19 June, Prees Heath, nr. Whitchurch, Shropshire
38. Silver Washed Fritillary - 26 June, Bernwood Forest, nr. Oxford
39. Marbled White - 26 June, Bernwood Forest, nr. Oxford
40. Small Skipper - 26 June, Bernwood Forest, nr. Oxford
41. White Admiral - 26 June, Bernwood Forest, nr. Oxford
42. Purple Hairstreak - 26 June, Bernwood Forest, nr. Oxford
43. Large Blue - 26 June, Collard Hill, nr. Street, Somerset
44. Hedge Brown - 15 July, Forest Farm, nr. Cardiff, Glamorgan
45. Grayling - 23 July, Glais, Swansea
46. Essex Skipper - 24 July, Finemere Wood, nr. Aylesbury, Bucks
47. Chalk Hill Blue - 24 July, Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire
48. Silver Spotted Skipper - 24 July, Aston Rowant, Oxfordshire
49. White Letter Hairstreak - 26 July, Alun Valley, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
50. Brown Hairstreak - 31 July, Alner's Gorse, nr. Sturminster Newton, Dorset
51. Adonis Blue - 31 July, Ballard Down, nr. Swanage, Dorset
Last edited by David M on Mon Aug 01, 2011 10:21 am, edited 6 times in total.

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Thu Jul 14, 2011 11:01 pm

Non-UK species recorded in the Cévennes, France, between 1st and 7th July 2011:

1. Pearly Heath - 2 July, Florac
2. Berger's Clouded Yellow - 2 July, Florac
3. Weaver's Fritillary - 2 July, Florac
4. Sloe Hairstreak - 2 July, Florac
5. Black Veined White - 2 July, Florac
6. Cleopatra - 2 July, Florac
7. Great Banded Grayling - 2 July, Florac
8. Southern White Admiral - 2 July, Florac
9. Spotted Fritillary - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
10. Safflower Skipper - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
11. Great Sooty Satyr - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
12. Large Wall Brown - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
13. Scarce Swallowtail - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
14. Marbled Fritillary - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
15. Meleager's Blue - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
16. Sooty Copper - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
17. Blue Spot Hairstreak - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
18. Furry Blue - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
19. Piedmont Ringlet - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
20. Dusky Heath - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
21. Geranium Bronze - 3 July, Florac
22. Purple-Shot Copper - 5 July, Causse Méjean, nr. Florac
23. Niobe Fritillary - 5 July, Causse Méjean, nr. Florac
24. Damon Blue - 5 July, Causse Méjean, nr. Florac
25. Queen of Spain Fritillary - 5 July, Causse Méjean, nr. Florac
26. Mallow Skipper - 5 July, Causse Méjean, nr. Florac
27. Woodland Grayling - 5 July, Causse Méjean, nr. Florac
28. Spanish Purple Hairstreak - 5 July, Causse Méjean, nr. Florac
29. Ilex Hairstreak - 6 July, Mont de Ramponenche, nr. Florac
30. Escher's Blue - 6 July, Mont de Ramponenche, nr. Florac
31. Knapweed Fritillary - 6 July, Mont de Ramponenche, nr. Florac
32. Oberthur's Grizzled Skipper - 7 July, Florac
33. Bath White - 7 July, Florac

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:35 pm

UK species seen outside the UK only:

1. Clouded Yellow - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac
2. Lulworth Skipper - 3 July, Montagne de Lampezon, nr. Florac

Last butterfly seen:

Red Admiral - 13 November, Abergavenny

Total number of species in 2011: 86

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sat Feb 25, 2012 4:39 pm

Dates of first UK sightings 2012:

1. Small Tortoiseshell - 25 February, Castle Meadows, Abergavenny
2. Red Admiral - 26 February, Linda Vista Gardens, Abergavenny
3. Brimstone - 11 March, Swansea Vale
4. Comma - 11 March, Swansea Vale
5. Peacock - 24 March, Cwm Clydach, Swansea
6. Green Veined White - 25 March, Castle Meadows, Abergavenny
7. Small White - 25 March, Linda Vista Gardens, Abergavenny
8. Speckled Wood - 25 March, Linda Vista Gardens, Abergavenny
9. Orange Tip - 1 April, Hirwaun, south Wales
10. Grizzled Skipper - 2 May, Merthyr Mawr, nr. Porthcawl
11. Common Blue - 2 May, Kenfig Dunes, nr. Port Talbot
12. Pearl Bordered Fritillary - 6 May, Ewyas Harold Common, nr. Pontrilas, Herefordshire
13. Dingy Skipper - 12 May, Old Castle Down, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
14. Wall Brown - 12 May, Old Castle Down, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
15. Small Copper - 12 May, Kenfig Dunes, nr. Port Talbot
16. Small Heath - 12 May, Kenfig Dunes, nr. Port Talbot
17. Small Blue - 12 May, Kenfig Dunes, nr. Port Talbot
18. Green Hairstreak - 16 May, Welsh Moor, nr. Gowerton, Swansea
19. Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary - 19 May, Alun Valley, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
20. Large White - 19 May, Alun Valley, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
21. Brown Argus - 19 May, Alun Valley, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
22. Holly Blue - 20 May, Swansea Vale
23. Adonis Blue - 24 May, Swells Hill Bank, nr. Rodborough, Glos
24. Duke of Burgundy - 24 May, Swells Hill Bank, nr. Rodborough, Glos
25. Marsh Fritillary - 25 May, Welsh Moor, nr. Gowerton, Swansea
26. Glanville Fritillary - 26 May, Sand Point, nr. Weston Super Mare
27. Painted Lady - 28 May, Glais, nr. Swansea
28. Wood White - 4 June, Haugh Wood, Herefordshire
29. Meadow Brown - 9 June, Old Castle Down, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
30. Large Skipper - 9 June, Old Castle Down, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
31. Dark Green Fritillary - 9 June, Alun Valley, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
32. Large Heath - 7 July, Cors Caron, nr. Tregaron, Ceredigion
33. Ringlet - 8 July, Alun Valley, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
34. High Brown Fritillary - 8 July, Alun Valley, nr. Ewenny, Glamorgan
35. Silver Washed Fritillary - 15 July, Bernwood Forest, nr. Oxford
36. Purple Emperor - 15 July, Bernwood Forest, nr. Oxford
37. Marbled White - 15 July, Bernwood Forest, nr. Oxford
38. Small Skipper - 15 July, Bernwood Forest, nr. Oxford
39. White Admiral - 15 July, Bernwood Forest, nr. Oxford
40. Hedge Brown - 21 July, Castlemartin, nr. Bosherton, Pembrokeshire
41. Silver Studded Blue - 21 July, Castlemartin, nr. Bosherton, Pembrokeshire
42. Grayling - 21 July, Castlemartin, nr. Bosherton, Pembrokeshire
43. Chalkhill Blue - 27 July, Lulworth Cove, Dorset
44. Purple Hairstreak - 27 July, Alner's Gorse, nr. Sturminster Newton, Dorset
45. White Letter Hairstreak - 27 July, Alner's Gorse, nr. Sturminster Newton, Dorset
46. Essex Skipper - 2 August, Oxford
47. Scotch Argus - 18 August, Arnside Knott, Morecambe Bay
48. Brown Hairstreak - 26 August, West Williamston Reserve, Pembrokeshire

Non-UK species recorded in the Pyrenees, France, between 22nd and 29th June 2012:

1. Provençal Fritillary - 22 June, Ax-les-Thermes
2. Spotted Fritillary - 22 June, Ax-les-Thermes
3. Purple Shot Copper - 22 June, Ax-les-Thermes
4. Black Veined White - 22 June, Ax-les-Thermes
5. Pearly Heath - 22 June, Ax-les-Thermes
6. Large Wall Brown - 22 June, Ax-les-Thermes
7. Marbled Fritillary - 23 June, Ax-les-Thermes
8. Long Tailed Blue - 23 June, Ax-les-Thermes
9. Lang's Short Tailed Blue - 23 June, Ax-les-Thermes
10. Queen of Spain Fritillary - 23 June, Ax-les-Thermes
11. Ilex Hairstreak - 23 June, Ax-les-Thermes
12. Turquoise Blue - 23 June, Ax-les-Thermes
13. Great Banded Grayling - 23 June, Ax-les-Thermes
14. Sloe Hairstreak - 23 June, Ax-les-Thermes
15. Weaver's Fritillary - 24 June, Col du Chioula
16. Oberthur's Skipper - 24 June, Col du Chioula
17. Olive Skipper - 24 June, Col du Chioula
18. Piedmont Ringlet - 24 June, Col du Chioula
19. Sooty Copper - 24 June, Col du Chioula
20. Lesser Marbled Fritillary - 25 June, nr. Orlu
21. Mazarine Blue - 25 June, nr. Orlu
22. Tufted Marbled Skipper - 25 June, nr. Orlu
23. Purple Edged Copper - 26 June, Plateau du Saquet
24. Bright Eyed Ringlet - 26 June, Plateau du Saquet
25. Mountain Clouded Yellow - 26 June, Plateau du Saquet
26. Map - 26 June, Plateau du Saquet
27. Marbled Skipper - 26 June, Plateau du Saquet
28. Scarce Copper - 27 June, nr. Orgeix
29. Large Tortoiseshell - 27 June, nr.Orgeix
30. Lesser Purple Emperor - 28 June, nr. Savignac

UK species seen in the Pyrenees, France between 22 and 29 June 2012 (and NOT seen in 2012 in the UK):

1. Heath Fritillary - 22 June, Ax-les-Thermes
2. Clouded Yellow - 22 June, Ax-les-Thermes
3. Swallowtail - 24 June, Col du Chioula
4. Mountain Ringlet - 26 June, Plateau du Saquet

Last butterfly seen:

Red Admiral - 3 November, Cwm Clydach, nr. Swansea

Total number of species in 2012: 82
Last edited by David M on Sun Nov 25, 2012 3:47 pm, edited 37 times in total.

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Re: David M

Postby Padfield » Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:02 pm

Glad you've broken the duck, David, and your previous record to boot! It's easy to forget, when you browse a forum where people typically post what they have seen, that most people haven't seen anything yet!

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Mon Feb 27, 2012 5:09 pm

Saturday 25th February

Swansea was shrouded in low cloud throughout the week which was frustrating given that some parts of the UK were threatening to break February records for warmth and sunshine. I arrived in Abergavenny on Friday 24th and was delighted to discover that the sun DID still actually exist!

Saturday was a lovely day and I ventured out to Castle Meadows, which is south facing and well sheltered, in order to see if there was any butterfly activity.

I walked down to a particularly sheltered spot by the tree line beyond this lake:

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It wasn't long before I spotted a butterfly - a Small Tortoiseshell (the first I'd ever seen in the month of February in this country):

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I watched this butterfly for a couple of minutes before it flew off, to be intercepted by a second butterfly. I lost sight of one but followed the other and it proved to be a different individual, and one that was unusually marked with the large black forewing spot much bigger than usual and merging into the colours at the top of the wing:

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A third Small Tortoiseshell was seen a short distance away, then a fourth when I paid a visit to the nearby Linda Vista Gardens. Not a bad return for a February afternoon.

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:43 pm

Sunday 26th February

The forecast was very inaccurate today - the suggestion was for cloud cover and strengthening winds. As I was feeding the chickens at 8am I was dressed in just a T-shirt and there wasn't a cloud to be seen.

At about 1pm I decided to drive down to Linda Vista Gardens again to have a longer look round.

It's a beautiful spot quite close to Abergavenny town centre, with an array of seasonal plants and probably more available nectar sources than anywhere else within a few miles.

This patch of heather was a magnet for bees and was where I saw yesterday's Tortoiseshell:

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I was delighted to find a visitor of a different species this time round:

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Yesterday's Tortoiseshell had been on the same patch of heather:

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There were two more Tortoiseshells today. Both were in romantic mood:

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They were inseparable wherever they went:

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They even chose to dine together:

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They weren't the only ones in the mood:

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Last edited by David M on Mon Feb 27, 2012 9:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sun Mar 11, 2012 3:43 pm

Spring most definitely here now in south Wales. The celandines and dandelions are everywhere, and when the sun shines the likelihood is that there'll be a butterfly or two to be seen.

Male Brimstones in spring are exceedingly hard to nail down. They never stop! This one led me all the way up the railway embankment at Swansea Vale and though I patiently watched it for over 10 minutes, never once did it come to rest:

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The Commas I saw were much more obliging:

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It's 11th March, and the only butterfly I'm missing for the 'early spring royal flush' is the Peacock! I wandered around the nature reserve on the marshes behind my work building as the wooden walkway seems to attract them at this time of year as it soaks up the sun's warmth and gives Peacocks somewhere pleasant to bask. None seen though, nor were there any Red Admirals about.

I suppose the next thing to look out for will be male Orange Tips - someone is definitely going to see these in the last week of March this year!

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sat Mar 24, 2012 3:07 pm

Saturday 24th March

Had to take a reality check as I drove to Cwm Clydach with the car thermometer reading an astonishing 19.5c at 11.45 in the morning! Just like how it was bizarre baking in 24c heat last October whilst tramping through falling autumn leaves, so today it was similarly surreal basking in July-type temperatures with all the tree branches still bare!

Cwm Clydach is a wooded gorge with some interesting wildlife (particularly birds, where Dippers are regularly seen):

2photobucket.png


The wooded track looked beautiful with celandines and wood anemone in flower and much in the way of greenery starting to burst forth before flowering in April:

P1030059.jpg


Several male Brimstones were flying around the woodland, but as usual, none came to rest. However, my first female Brimstone of the year was just the opposite, plonking herself on a dandelion flower and nectaring for several minutes before wandering off:

P10300661.jpg


Further down the valley, the woodland opens out into a large clearing which is something of a hotspot for butterflies. Here, I saw 3 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Commas and my first Peacock of 2012. The Peacock kept alighting on the path but every time it flew into the air, a nearby, territorial Comma would intercept it and the pair would go spiralling into the air, forcing the Peacock to beat a retreat back down the track whereupon the whole charade would start again.

P10300711.jpg


A week to go in March and I've seen all the adult overwinterers. I daresay over the next week the Pierids will be out along with Speckled Woods and Holly Blues.

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Re: David M

Postby Mark Colvin » Sat Mar 24, 2012 10:29 pm

Hi David,

That's a beautiful Peacock. :D

Kind regards. Mark

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:17 pm

Monday 26th March

Another visit to Castle Meadows in Abergavenny where again I failed to see any Orange Tips. I did see a Small Tortoiseshell nectaring on the cuckoo flower though, which is something I've never witnessed before.

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Here's a photo of the Small White seen in Linda Vista Gardens the day before:

SmallWhite.jpg
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sun Apr 01, 2012 4:30 pm

Tuesday 27th March

Caught the overnight ferry from Heysham to the Isle of Man to visit my mother who lives on the island. It soon turned into a spectacularly lovely day with temperatures reaching 15C and clear blue skies throughout.

I thought I'd drive down to the nature reserve at the Point of Ayre, which is a rare example of lichen heath and plays host to some unusual flora and fauna (Common and Little Terns, Ringed Plovers, Skylarks, Curlews, Lapwings, Meadow Pipits and Oystercatchers are bird representatives, whilst Scarlet Crimson and Gold moths as well as Heath Bee-Flies are found practically nowhere else in the British Isles).

P1030087.jpg


I then took a detour to Sulby Claddaghs where there was a fine display of Wood Anemone:

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The scenery here is particularly picturesque (which compensated for the miserable butterfly return of just 3 Small Tortoiseshells):

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:30 pm

Wednesday 28th March

Bizarre to be writing this given that half the country has just seen snowfall, but just one week ago things could not have been more different. Peel is a fairly exposed town on the west coast of the Isle of Man, and temperatures in summer generally hover around the mid-teens, so to bask in 16C accompanied by cloudless skies was a real treat (it was hard to believe it was March).

The beach-front cafe probably had what will prove one of its best days of the year (kids on the beach building sandcastles as well):

P1030092.jpg


The kids weren't the only ones active by the harbour - plenty of seals to be observed:

Seal.jpg
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sun Apr 15, 2012 3:51 pm

Sunday 15th April

Not a butterflying day to be honest; temperatures of just 10C and more than 50% cloud cover. However, life is full of surprises and a 2 hour visit to my local patch produced the following butterflies:

Speckled Wood 7
Orange Tip 5
Peacock 1
Comma 1

As others have mentioned, cool conditions allow an easier approach towards normally restless Orange Tips. I found 3 resting on a single clump of cuckoo flower and was able to get in much closer than normal:

P10301421.jpg


It makes a huge difference when the sun comes out, and the two male Orange Tips both took flight during one of these interludes, although one flew only about 10 yards before dropping into the foliage, whereupon it became an irresistible target:

P10301262.jpg


One of the three on this clump was a female, and although she did briefly open her wings, she decided it was just too cold and stayed where she was:

P10301351.jpg


As ever, Speckled Woods were undaunted by the unseasonal conditions:

P10301411.jpg

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Wed May 02, 2012 5:32 pm

Less isn't always more

Wednesday 2nd May


When you're ill or busy and you don't get to take your dog out for a day or two, how does he/she react the next time you grab the lead? Well, that's how I've felt for over a week and given that this was the first decent forecast since March, I felt compelled to request the afternoon off from work so I could get some relief!!

It wasn't a warm day (16c was the maximum my car thermometer read, and that was on the way home) but it was largely sunny and I expected to see quite a bit of butterfly activity.

Merthyr Mawr is a vast dune system on the S. Wales coast (Porthcawl is in the distance):

P1030167.jpg


I spent nearly two hours here, and although I managed to see 5 Grizzled Skippers, it took patient searching and a bit of local knowledge.

GS1.jpg


More worryingly, the only other butterflies I saw were 4 male Orange Tips and 2 Brimstones (one of each sex). I was staggered not to see a single Large, Small or Green Veined White and worry that they have been seriously affected by the recent conditions.

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Mon May 07, 2012 4:14 pm

Sunday 6th May

Plenty of people have been heaping gratitude on PBF-smeller pursuivant, Sussex Kipper lately. I ought now to add myself to that list.

Neil's recent posts regarding finding Pearl Bordered Fritillaries in cool conditions persuaded me to give Ewyas Harold Common a go, even though the temperature was no better than 10c!!

This site is just over the English border from Wales, situated in a pleasant spot near Pontrilas. I visited in early May last year and saw about a hundred of this species so I arrived there just before midday ready to do a little forensic searching.

The site itself is an interesting one, and stretches over a wide area. Grizzled Skippers are present too here (I've seen them) along with Green Hairstreak and Wood White (according to the notice board, although I've yet to come across either species).

P1030234.jpg


With conditions being so poor, I headed straight for last year's 'hotspot', in a sharp dip just beyond the gorse:

P1030215.jpg


I hit on one almost straight away, but it was clear it hadn't warmed up sufficiently for proper flight. It took a couple of attempted flutters, but came down to rest almost immediately. At one stage it was on the track, so I coaxed it onto my finger to transfer it somewhere a bit safer:

P1030181.jpg


I couldn't resist placing it on a bluebell:

PBF1.jpg


I saw 5 in total, one of which was racing around a field full of bugle seemingly oblivious to the conditions. Another one was content to bask on bare earth:

PBF2.jpg


It clouded over after an hour and I realised I would be unlikely to see any more butterflies, but before I left I just wanted to see if the first PBF was still where I left it as it would be a good opportunity to get some underside shots. Sure enough, it was no more than 2 metres away from the bluebell, resting wings shut on a dead bracken stem:

PBFUS-2.jpg


Apart from the PBFs, I only encountered 4 other butterflies - 3 Peacocks and a male Orange Tip. Right now, butterflying is hard work for all of us but rewards can still be gained.

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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sat May 12, 2012 7:40 pm

Still frustrating, but getting better...

Saturday 12th May


With a guaranteed sunny forecast, I was out before 11am this morning to visit Old Castle Down, near Ewenny in Glamorgan. I saw nothing for the first half hour except for a Speckled Wood, but soon after I managed to spot my first Dingy Skipper of the year in the sheltered valley next to the quarry:

Dingy1.jpg


I walked back the way I came when I saw what I thought could be a Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (common on this site in season). The manner of flight gave this butterfly away though - it was a Wall Brown, and it frustrated me for 10 whole minutes by closing its wings within seconds of alighting. I thought I had got it at one point, but the bloody thing took off at the same time as I pressed the shutter:

Wallflight.jpg


I followed this male for a little while, and eventually he offered a very tempting closed-wing shot:

Wallunderside.jpg


Of course, this site is notable for being the only High Brown Fritillary location in the whole of Wales. With vegetation having benefited from the wet spell lately, one hopes that by the end of June, these butterflies will once again be out in force here.

P1030238.jpg

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David M
Posts: 7808
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: David M

Postby David M » Sat May 19, 2012 3:57 pm

Better times ahead.....

Saturday 19th May


A trip to the Alun Valley is always a pleasure, even when the weather is hardly ideal for butterfly hunting. The cloud and rain from the morning gradually gave way to light overcast skies with some sunshine so I headed out to check on the slopes cleared over the winter by conservation volunteers.

When I came in March to help clear the felled timber, not much that was green could be seen, but nature doesn't take long to recolonise, and already these freshly felled slopes are home to wild strawberry, bracken, bluebells and many other plants.

Whilst there weren't many Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries about (5 seen in total), the dull conditions allowed close approaches and the butterflies were easy to photograph:

1Photobucket.jpg


After two years trying, I managed to follow one until it snapped its wings shut in roosting mode:

PBFUS-1.jpg


A handful of Peacocks were seen, along with a Small Copper and a couple of Dingy Skippers, but I was particularly delighted to finally see a Large White, my first in 2012. It was a beautiful, fresh female but although she settled readily, she kept her wings firmly shut:

LW.jpeg


I also had the added pleasant surprise of a fresh Brown Argus:

BrownArgus.jpg

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David M
Posts: 7808
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: David M

Postby David M » Sat May 26, 2012 2:17 pm

Friday 25th May - what a difference a week makes

A week last Wednesday, I visited Welsh Moor on the Gower Peninsula and it was a cool 13c with the moor waterlogged practically everywhere. Other than a handful of Orange Tips and Green Veined Whites not much was about butterfly-wise either.

This morning it couldn't have been more different. The Swansea area has been one of the warmest spots in the country for the last few days and not a cloud has been seen. When I arrived at 10.45 this morning it was already 24c and the moorland had dried out nicely. What's more, there were Green Hairstreaks and Marsh Fritillaries all over the place.

P1030546.jpg


I counted 24 Marsh Fritillaries today, and I only really covered the smaller, northern section of the moor.

S-Marsh1.jpg


Hopefully, this species will do well this year as a result of an emergence coinciding with glorious weather conditions after heaps of rain previously.

I stopped at the supermarket on the way back, and by the time I was ready to drive home it was 1.30pm. The temperature was 27.5c and even rose to 28.5c in the dip on the motorway before the main Swansea junction - certainly the hottest day since I moved here in July 2010!
Last edited by David M on Sun Dec 23, 2012 10:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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