David M

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millerd
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Re: David M

Postby millerd » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:34 pm

That sounds like a splendid little area, David - anywhere with those numbers of Holly Blues has to be good in my book! :wink: Some nice photos there too.

Dave

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:13 pm

Thanks for the comments, all.

Yes, 50-odd Holly Blues is remarkable, and I wonder whether I will see such numbers again!

Sunday 23rd April 2017 - Thank God for Grizzlies....

We're still early in the season, and now that the adult over-winterers have all but burned themselves out, it can be a bit depressing looking for butterflies as the species range and general numbers are rather sparse at this time of year.

However, if you can find a site that is home to a habitat specialist, you can record decent returns.

With that in mind, I paid a first visit to the Merthyr Mawr dune system near Porthcawl this morning in four years.

I'm not really keen on this site. It's a bit of a bind to get to and it's a magnet for day-trippers, not to mention the dry, sandy pathways that mess your clothing up and make walking difficult!!

Familiarity with this site though has taught me not to mess around. The best area for Grizzlies isn't far from the entrance, and I duly notched up a total of 15 in an hour and a half's visit:

1Grizz1(1).jpg


This is the best spot for them on this vast site - a steep south-east facing slope with lots of disturbed ground:

1MerthyrMawr(1).jpg


Here's another individual:

1Grizz2(1).jpg


On my way back, I briefly stopped off at Kilvey Hill, but there wasn't much about. A cloudy spell developed which saw four Speckled Woods take up temporary roosting positions on the foliage. Here's a shot of two of them in close proximity:

1SpWdx2(1).jpg

trevor
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Re: David M

Postby trevor » Mon Apr 24, 2017 7:04 pm

Really lovely Grizzled Skippers, David, especially the last one.
A species I have yet to locate so far this season.

Best wishes,
Trevor.

millerd
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Re: David M

Postby millerd » Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:00 pm

That last Grizzlie is really black-looking - beautifully marked. :) Some are much more on the deep brown side. I never would have associated them with sand dunes, having mostly seen them on the chalk over here in the southeast.

Dave

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Lee Hurrell
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Re: David M

Postby Lee Hurrell » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:17 pm

Lovely Grizzled Skippers, David!

Best wishes,

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

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Mon May 01, 2017 4:14 pm

Thank you for the comments, everyone.

Monday 1st May 2017 - Had enough of grey skies....

My patience wore thin this afternoon. The last few days off I've had have generally seen cloudy conditions turning brighter in the late afternoon and evening. At 1.45pm today, I simply drove down to Welshmoor on the Gower determined to wait for any breaks in the cloud.

They took an hour to come, but once they did, a few butterflies came to life, including my first Green Hairstreaks of the year - three in total.

This one I managed to find when skies were grey. The fact that it had settled on a gorse flower was what helped me locate it:

1GHa(1).jpg


This one had some wing damage, probably when emerging:

2GH(1).jpg


This is their favoured area at this site:

1Welshmoor(1).jpg


Unsurprisingly, not much else was about - 2 Red Admirals, a male Orange Tip, what looked like a Green Veined White in flight and one male Large White.

I did see a Holly Blue whilst driving home though. This species has been remarkably prominent this spring.

Pauline
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Re: David M

Postby Pauline » Mon May 01, 2017 4:23 pm

That's a lovely Hairstreak David - well worth waiting for imo :D

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Neil Freeman
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Re: David M

Postby Neil Freeman » Mon May 01, 2017 7:29 pm

Hi David,

Cracking Green Haistreak on the Gorse, a lovely colour combination :D

I also like the two Specklies in the same frame from your previous post :D

Cheers,

Neil

trevor
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Re: David M

Postby trevor » Mon May 01, 2017 7:44 pm

One of the best Green Hairstreak images of the Spring so far.
Someone once told me to look for them on Gorse, but so far I've failed with that combination.

Turbulent weather here today.
Trevor.

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Tue May 02, 2017 4:49 pm

Tuesday 2nd May - sunshine makes a welcome return....

As has been far too often the case lately, the weather forecast was hopelessly wrong again. Clear blues skies early on followed by a cloudy afternoon.

In reality, the reverse was true, and my attempts to find Small Blues at Crymlyn Burrows were thwarted by this early cloud, and only Orange Tips and a few Whites were on the wing, and even they weren't as active as normal as these images show:

1OTx2(1).jpg


Shame about the grass blades, but it's rare to see two males in such close proximity! The one on the left stayed basking, enabling me to try to steer a pathway through all the obstructions:

1OT(1).jpg


By the time my neighbour and I reached Kilvey Hill at 11.30am, these clouds had vanished and with light winds it was becalmed and mild even at the summit:

1Kilveyview1(1).jpg


1Kilveyview2(1).jpg


On the way down, I did a little diversion to a stretch of grassland that has always been reliable for Wall Browns. Sure enough, two males were seen:

1Wall2(1).jpg


I never get tired of the undersides. The camouflage is superb:

1Walluns(1).jpg


Back at the base of the hill, there were plenty of Speckled Woods about, as well as a fair number of Large Whites, including a mating pair. Two Small Whites were observed in cop too, whilst 3 Holly Blues and a Peacock were also seen.

Small Blues will have to wait!

millerd
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Re: David M

Postby millerd » Tue May 02, 2017 6:21 pm

I think the weather has gone west for its holidays, David. The forecast here is for almost continuous cloud for the foreseeable future... Consequently I am envious of those glorious shots of the Welsh coast and the accompanyng Orange Tips and more especially the Walls. As you say, the underside markings are superbly cryptic.

Dave

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Re: David M

Postby Chris Jackson » Tue May 02, 2017 7:25 pm

Jolly good shot of those two male Orange Tips side by side, David.
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kevling
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Re: David M

Postby kevling » Tue May 02, 2017 8:00 pm

David, A nice duo of Orange Tips. Your next challenge is a male/female combo :lol:
I love the underside of the Wall Brown too. Very nice.

Regards Kev

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sat May 06, 2017 9:25 pm

Saturday 6th May 2017 - Coppers and Walls....

My biggest concern this year has been the absence of Small Coppers from my local visits. This worry was eliminated today as I saw NINE in total, including this caeruleopunctata individual:

1Caeruleo(1).jpg


Eight of the nine were seen at Crymlyn Burrows, a coastal dune site, in decent conditons (14c and largely sunny) between 10.30 and 12.00. Here's another individual....this one is quite heavily spotted and looks like a female:

1SCopp3(1).jpg


I had almost given up on Small Blues. They're late round these parts this year but I managed to see ONE briefly and got this record shot:

1SmBlue(1).jpg


Orange Tips were again the commonest species with 20 or so seen, including several females, but Dingy Skippers seem to have not yet emerged, although I suppose they will appear, along with Small Heaths, Common Blues and Brown Argus within the next week or so.

Although the forecast had suggested it would cloud over by noon, skies remained invitingly clear, so on my way back I thought I'd try to spend some 'proper' time with a species I've rather neglected over the past few years in the UK - Wall Brown.

These days, the only reliable spot around here is towards the top of Kilvey Hill. I duly surveyed their 'prime' area but couldn't find any, so I made my way to the summit where I have seen them happily cavorting around in the past. Sure enough, within seconds I located this male swishing about at the highest point where there are rocky ruins of an ancient windmill:

1Walluns(1).jpg


Within seconds, I noticed something far more interesting - a mating pair:

1Wallpair(1).jpg


It soon became apparent that there was a third Wall Brown - a male - who was keen to get in on the act, much to the female's irritation, and she demonstrated this by retracting her antennae and opening her wings whenever this uninvited interloper appeared:

1Wallpair interferenvce(1).jpg


Such was the level of interference that the coupling pair took to the air several times. In every instance, it was the female that carried the male, which is not normally the case in my experience. Even when they settled afresh, the rogue male would play the role of 'voyeur':

1Wallpair2(1).jpg


Eventually, and rather fortuitously, the coupling pair came to rest on a rocky outcrop right next to where I was sitting. I felt it was my duty to protect them and simply sat quietly beside them for the next ten minutes, all the while keeping an eye out for other Wall Browns that wished to interrupt them:

1Wallpair3(1).jpg


Once they had finished, the male simply detached himself and flew off immediately. The female rested for a few minutes with wings closed, but she too took to the air and I felt a bit sorry for her as she was immediately harassed by two nearby males, before she flew down the slope out of their range.

With this action now finished, I was left with three or four males who continued to fly around the rocky outcrop at the top of the hill:

1KilveyHillpeak(1).jpg


By this time, it was seriously clouding over, but that wasn't an issue as it led to the males resting on rocks with wings fully open:

1Wallupps3(1).jpg


On my way back down in light cloud, I also managed to get close to a semi-roosting male Green Veined White:

1GVW(1).jpg


In total, the following species/numbers were seen:

Orange Tip 20-30
Wall Brown 10-15
Small Copper 9
Green Veined White 5-10
Large White 4
Speckled Wood 3
Peacock 2
Holly Blue 2
Brimstone 2
Red Admiral 1
Small White 1
Small Blue 1

essexbuzzard
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Re: David M

Postby essexbuzzard » Sat May 06, 2017 9:43 pm

Nice to see some sunshine in your images, David. More grey skies and drizzle in the east, and certainly no butterflies, apart from roosting ones!

Pauline
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Re: David M

Postby Pauline » Sun May 07, 2017 4:49 am

Not only did you find the Coppers David :D but that Wall Brown behaviour was extremely well captured. Lovely shots but I'm so :mrgreen: :mrgreen: never having seen a mating pair. In fact, Wall Browns are now quite scarce in my neck of the woods :(

trevor
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Re: David M

Postby trevor » Sun May 07, 2017 5:59 am

Superb sequence of mating Wall Browns, something I have never seen either.
As for your other sightings, it would seem that all your Christmases came at once !.

You must of course take a few mrgreens :mrgreen: :mrgreen: .

Best wishes,
Trevor.

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sun May 14, 2017 4:01 pm

Thanks, folks. Yes, a mating pair of anything is always handy for study purposes, but when the species in question is Wall Brown, then it is even more satisfying!

Saturday 13th May 2017 - Grey skies AGAIN.....

Traditionally, I get my UK Pearl Bordered Fritillary 'fix' on the early May Bank Holiday weekend when I'm visiting Abergavenny, as Ewyas Harold Common is only a 20 minute drive away.

Two weeks ago, however, the weather was far from ideal so I risked leaving it till the next time I was down these parts and yet again, in spite of the period 12pm till 2pm being forecast sunny, there was a thick grey blanket over the Common when I arrived at 11.45. :evil:

1EHCommon(1).jpg


I managed to find three specimens though in spite of this, as the image above is the area with the highest concentration on the site, and by walking around you generally flush one out:

1PBFupps(1).jpg


Of course, they weren't as fresh as if had I seen them a fortnight ago, but beggars can't be choosers:

1PBFuns(1).jpg


Eventually, at around 1pm, skies brightened a little and I suddenly doubled my earlier full hour's tally within a space of less than a yard!!:

1PBFx3(1).jpg


I pottered about for another 20 minutes or so given that conditions were improving, and by the time I left I'd seen 12. Unsurprisingly, few other butterflies were seen - single Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and a medium sized White.

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Goldie M
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Re: David M

Postby Goldie M » Mon May 15, 2017 10:04 am

Lovely Pearl shots David :mrgreen: But the Wall's mating were the best for me , it's hard to get shots of them, seeing them mate is great and some thing I've yet to see.Goldie :D

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Mon May 15, 2017 9:25 pm

Sunday 14th May 2017 - Common, but welcome nonetheless....

Returning at lunchtime from Abergavenny, the relatively clear skies were enough for me to put down at Crymlyn Burrows on the Swansea coast to see what was about at this sizeable dune location.

The first butterfly to greet me was my first Common Blue of 2017. I couldn't hunt him down but shortly afterwards another one appeared that was far more obliging:

2CommonBluemale(1).jpg


Once out onto the open dunes, it wasn't long before I saw my first Small Heath of the year:

2SmHeath(1).jpg


Last time I was here a week and a half ago, I saw just one Small Blue. This time, there were quite a few of them - about three dozen in total:

2SmBlueupps(1).jpg


2SmBlueuns(1).jpg


Most pleasing of all though, was the sighting of a Brown Argus. They're not particularly rare round these parts, but they had a terrible year in 2016 so it was good to notch one up in mid-May:

2BrArgusupps(1).jpg


2BrArguns2(1).jpg


Other species seen were Orange Tip (30 or so), Small Copper (4), Dingy Skipper (2), Green Veined White (2), Small White (1), Large White (1), Speckled Wood (1).


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