David M

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Neil Freeman
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Re: David M

Postby Neil Freeman » Fri Mar 10, 2017 7:11 pm

bugboy wrote:Great stuff David, it was very frustrating being at work today knowing there would be loads of emergents out and about posing for everyone. The one silver lining is I work mostly outside so I managed a couple of sightings at least :)


This...only in my case I was stuck in the office so I am still not off the mark.

Glad to see your day off was worthwhile David :D :mrgreen:

Cheers,

Neil.

Chris Jackson
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Re: David M

Postby Chris Jackson » Sat Mar 11, 2017 7:26 pm

David M wrote:[b]Thursday 9th March 2017 - Action at last....!

A very respectable haul, David. Worth taking the day off for. You wouldn't have done any better in the South of France.
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Padfield
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Re: David M

Postby Padfield » Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:13 pm

I love cemeteries, David. Good company (silent but wise) and usually a few nectar-hungry butterflies on a sunny day, thanks to acts of floral remembrance.

Up in my mountain I've still only seen two species - a few small tortoiseshells and a peacock. I know you read my diary regularly and see stuff from the valley, but on my local patch I am still well behind you.

Guy
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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sun Mar 12, 2017 12:09 pm

Padfield wrote:I love cemeteries, David. Good company (silent but wise) and usually a few nectar-hungry butterflies on a sunny day, thanks to acts of floral remembrance.

Up in my mountain I've still only seen two species - a few small tortoiseshells and a peacock. I know you read my diary regularly and see stuff from the valley, but on my local patch I am still well behind you.


Yes, I enjoy the restful tranquility of a cemetery, Guy - no dogs or kids racing around or loud voices to be heard. The very nature of these places also means that certain areas are allowed to grow wild in a way that wouldn't occur elsewhere. Butterflies clearly appreciate this...in fact, the other Swansea cemetery I regularly visit is the only place near me I know of where you can watch Wall Browns ovipositing - they are attracted by the long grasses amongst the gravestones!

Regarding your own local patch, you may well be behind at the moment, but you will race ahead in no time at all. Of that I'm sure. :)

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sun Mar 26, 2017 6:54 pm

Near perfect weekend.....

It’s not often you get a full weekend with hardly a cloud in the sky worthy of the name….much less during the month of March.
After the lovely spell a fortnight ago, are we risking becoming spoiled?

Saturday 25th March – Castle Meadows, Abergavenny

Domestic commitments meant I couldn’t get out till almost 1pm, but my frustration soon gave way to near total contentment during my hour and a half’s wander round Linda Vista Gardens and the adjacent Castle Meadows.

Probably the most notable moment was the sighting of my first Small White of the year. Thankfully, the cuckoo flower has already come out and this female spent a few minutes nectaring from one:

1SmWhite(1).jpg


The first of the 25 Small Tortoiseshells seen was just beyond this particularly attractive spot in these ornate grounds:

1LVG(1).jpg


Many more were observed cavorting around the nettle growth near the stream that runs through this site:

1STort(1).jpg


This stretch is always popular with them. The stream is just to the right of the fence meaning the nettles are always well watered and consequently grow most vigorously:

1Cast.Mdws.nettles(1).jpg


9 Commas were seen, including these two in much closer proximity than is usual:

1Commax2(1).jpg


These two, however, didn’t like one another’s company at all and provided several aerial skirmishes for my delectation:

1Commafight(1).jpg


I especially like the darker undersided individuals with that Verdigris sheen:

1Commauns(1).jpg


Four Peacocks were about too:

1Peacock(1).jpg


I tried for 10 minutes to get an underside of this individual but it insisted on keeping its wings slightly open:

1Pckuns(1).jpg


Sunday 26th March – Kilvey Hill, Swansea

Just as sunny today but a fair bit windier, so in the main I kept to the sheltered path at the bottom of Kilvey Hill. This place is a real heat trap and butterflies are irresistibly drawn to it:

1KilveyHill(1).jpg


I saw a male Brimstone before I was out of my car. It may well have been the same one I encountered half an hour later after doing a quick circuit of Dan-y-Graig cemetery, where my only sightings were 2 Commas and another Brimstone. Few things are lovelier than a spring Brimstone….but one thing lovelier is a spring Brimstone on a spring Primrose:

1Brimstone(1).jpg


To my great delight, I saw at least 2 male Holly Blues. I spent considerable time on the track near the evergreens they favour, and eventually one came down just in range of my camera:

1HollyBlue(1).jpg


The biggest surprise came late on, just as I was about to leave. A butterfly caught my eye fluttering weakly, and after a while it made a second flight whereupon it landed and briefly flashed its wings open:

1SpWood(1).jpg


This is only the second time I’ve seen a Speckled Wood in March, and without doubt the first time I’ve seen 7 different species during a March weekend! Hopefully this is a good omen, although the last time we witnessed these early emergences, April proved to be a washout and the butterflies never really recovered.

Let’s hope it’s different this time.

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Re: David M

Postby millerd » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:41 pm

That's quite a selection David. No whites and Specklies down my way yet... :)

Dave

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Re: David M

Postby trevor » Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:49 pm

Spring has caught up with you at last, David.
That really is a fabulous haul for a weekend in March !.
Three mrgreens for you, one each for Holly Blue, Brimstone and Speckled Wood. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Great stuff,
Trevor.

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Tue Mar 28, 2017 8:51 pm

Thanks, guys. Early days yet but the long range weather forecast doesn't appear to hold any cause for worry, so perhaps we'll finally get the break we've been looking for these last few years.

Fingers crossed.

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Goldie M
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Re: David M

Postby Goldie M » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:04 am

Some great shots there Dave , not seen Holly Blues here yet and the weathers broke down but at least that East wind's gone. Goldie :D

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Re: David M

Postby Janet Turnbull » Wed Mar 29, 2017 4:29 pm

What a great haul you had! Lovely shots too. I have seen one Brimstone and 6 Small Tortoiseshells so far - although it was a sunny weekend we're that much further north.

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:15 pm

Thursday 6th April 2017 - Met Office should be ashamed....

Even last night as I was going to bed, the Met Office AND BBC weather forecast for Wales were predicting heavily overcast conditions throughout today.

In the event, there was barely a cloud to be seen all day in the Swansea area, and I took it upon myself to throw my camera in my car and make a detour to Kilvey Hill at lunchtime.

I saw two male Large Whites, the first of which came down on a bramble leaf in an inaccessible place so I had to settle for a record shot:

1LgeWhmale(1).jpg


Speckled Woods were easily the commonest species, with well over a dozen seen:

1SpeckWd(1).jpg


Here's an image of the clear blue skies that were not predicted even 8 hours prior to daybreak (Mumbles Head in the distance taken from Danygraig cemetery):

1DYGC(1).jpg


Several Holly Blues were again seen, including my first female of 2017. I also saw 2 definite Small Whites along with a possible GVW which I won't count given that it didn't settle and I can't be absolutely sure. Two male and a female Brimstone were also observed.

However, a brief sortie into the wild areas behind my workplace finally saw me break my Orange Tip duck, with at least two seen. Both were flighty though, as you would expect, and this image was the best I could manage:

1OT(1).jpg


Vanessids seem to have practically disappeared already. The only member of this group I saw was a solitary Peacock.

essexbuzzard
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Re: David M

Postby essexbuzzard » Sat Apr 08, 2017 9:31 pm

To my mind, Met Office and BBC have come a long way in forecasting rain and wind, but still have a long way to go in predicting cloud amounts.

Some nice sightings and pictures though, so I'm sure you don't mind them getting it wrong this time!

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:01 am

Saturday 8th April 2017 – Extraordinary scenes….

Still a bit early for the likes of Grizzled Skipper and Green Hairstreak here in south Wales, so I thought I’d pay a visit to the dunes at Whiteford Burrows on the north west Gower coast to see if any Small Coppers were about.

Sadly, I saw none, and in fact I was a bit disheartened in the hour or so I spent combing the coastal gullies as I probably saw fewer than 20 butterflies in total, although I did get my first audience with a female Orange Tip for the year:

1OTfem(1).jpg


This Peacock basking on the warm sand also proved irresistible, and is in excellent nick given it is probably at least 9 months old:

1Peacock(1).jpg


By 1pm, I was heading back to my car with a view to checking out Kilvey Hill again, when suddenly I saw a White come down on the copious blackthorn blossom near the path. This turned out to be my first definite Green Veined White of 2017:

1GVW(1).jpg


I had noticed three or four Holly Blues pottering about by the entrance to the dunes, which I thought was unusual, and after taking the GVW image, I noticed another Holly Blue buzzing around the blackthorn. I trudged through the spiky undergrowth and suddenly I was in a different world.
This area was in a warm dip and the woodland management team had obviously done recent clearance work. The result was spring butterfly heaven:

1Hotspot(1).jpg


My Green Veined White took my UK tally to 11 for the year, but I could have saved myself time and trouble because ALL ELEVEN were present in this one small area. The most notable was Holly Blue. This is, for me at least, a butterfly that you usually see in small numbers, but there were dozens of them in this spot. There were often four or five in the air at once above this stretch of blackthorn, and all those seen nectaring appeared to be males:

1HB(1).jpg


I looked beyond this area to try to comprehend what was going on, and it became clear that the evergreen in this image was their focal point:

1Evergreen(1).jpg


There were serious numbers tumbling about this tree, and on the other side there were even more flying about, often making sorties close to the ground, bringing them into contact with the dozens of Speckled Woods also present in this clearing:

1Glade(1).jpg


Two Commas and two Red Admirals were seen in this spot, unsurprising given the lush nettle cover:

1RedAd(1).jpg


Eventually, I just went back to the blackthorn stand, and spent a good hour watching all these species interact with one another. The Brimstones didn’t settle, but Orange Tips did:

1OTmale4(1).jpg


1OTmale3(1).jpg


Overall numbers were:

Holly Blue 40-60
Speckled Wood 40-60
Orange Tip 30-40
Brimstone 10-20
Large White 2
Green Veined White 2
Peacock 2
Comma 2
Red Admiral 2
Small Tortoiseshell 2
Small White 1

Without doubt, it was the finest concentration of spring species I’ve ever witnessed, and most certainly the best Holly Blue hotspot I’ve ever come across.

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Goldie M
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Re: David M

Postby Goldie M » Sun Apr 09, 2017 2:46 pm

You were certainly lucky David, isn't it just great when this happens :D nothing so abundant here yet, could be I'm looking in the wrong place like you did at first .Goldie :D

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Re: David M

Postby Pauline » Tue Apr 11, 2017 5:42 am

Lovely shots of the Orange Tips David. Sharpness, composition etc all spot on to my mind. When I have to go back for a second look at them I know they're a bit special and definitely fall into the category of 'wish I'd taken them' :D :mrgreen:

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Re: David M

Postby PhilBWright » Tue Apr 11, 2017 6:44 am

Hi David,
Just caught up with your Sunday post. Fab images, particularly like the butterflies nectaring on Blackthorn. Brilliantly captured moments. In my locality in Lincolnshire, Sunday 9th April was the hottest day of the year so far, butterflies were on the wing shortly after 9:00am and after that one needed to be faster the Usane Bolt to keep up with them ! 8)
Kind Regrds

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bugboy
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Re: David M

Postby bugboy » Wed Apr 12, 2017 8:46 pm

It's reports like yours that makes me travel out of London so often. A good day for me locally is seeing 3 Holly blues at once :mrgreen:
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Butterflysaurus rex
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Re: David M

Postby Butterflysaurus rex » Thu Apr 13, 2017 8:26 pm

No hurry for the Green Hairstreaks and Grizzled Skippers when you have all those lovely Orange Tips and Holly Blues about David! That Green Veined White looks splendid on the Blackthorn.

ATB

James

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Re: David M

Postby Chris Jackson » Sat Apr 15, 2017 4:56 pm

David M wrote:Saturday 8th April 2017 – Extraordinary scenes…. .... The result was spring butterfly Heaven ...

You've certainly got yourself a nice little hotspot there, David. Lovely shots of those species on the blackthorn.
Chris
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Re: David M

Postby essexbuzzard » Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:12 pm

40 Holly Blue is incredible. Certainly they seem to be far more abundant, and have far more stable populations in western areas of the country that in the east. I've only seen two so far. Granted the weather has been much colder and cloudier recently, but I often see them in greater abundance in Cornwall, too, than in Essex.


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