David M

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Chris Jackson
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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).

millerd
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Re: David M

Postby millerd » Mon May 15, 2017 9:33 pm

A very nice Small Heath, David - and your Walls from earlier were exceptional, especially the mating pair with onlooker! :) I do envy you easy sightings of this species, one I took for granted in my youth (long time ago...). :mrgreen: :)

Dave

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Mon May 15, 2017 10:45 pm

millerd wrote:...your Walls from earlier were exceptional, especially the mating pair with onlooker! :) I do envy you easy sightings of this species, one I took for granted in my youth (long time ago...)


I'm old enough to remember that too, Dave. :(

These days, they're hard work to find away from the coast. Even in Swansea which has miles of beaches you need local knowledge.

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sat May 20, 2017 11:17 pm

Saturday 20th May 2017 - Risks pay rewards.....

With the weather forecasts constantly changing, I had promised my neighbour a trip to Rodborough Common in Gloucestershire this weekend last Thursday.....before predictions of cloud and rain for Saturday morning materialised. :(

Rain and cloud till noon with conditions gradually improving was the advice first thing in the morning, so I bit the bullet and for once, that advice proved accurate.

Arriving around 11am, skies were heavily overcast with occasional rain showers. I managed to find a roosting Small Heath but my neighbour trumped me shortly afterwards with this roosting Duke of Burgundy:

1DoBuns(1).jpg


Little else was seen until skies began to brighten around 2pm, whereupon butterflies began to come to life. The hotspot on this site yet again proved productive with another three or four Dukes seen at the bottom of this steep bank:

1Hotspot(1).jpg


Understandably, three weeks or so into their flight period, these combative little insects are beginning to show signs of wear (no doubt due to the constant battles not only with their own kind but the myriad of other species that are equally attracted to this sheltered haven):

1DoBupps(1).jpg


In spite of the challenging conditions, upwards of two dozen Brown Argus were seen:

1BrArgus(1).jpg


Dingy Skippers were plentiful too, certainly 15+ observed. However, I was keeping a sharp eye out for freshly emerged Adonis Blues, and the patience and hard work paid off, as two were seen and the second individual in particular provided good views as regular cloud cover ensured he remained fairly docile:

1Adonisupps(1).jpg


1Adonisuns(1).jpg


With ever brightening skies, it was hard to leave this place, but by 3.45pm, we made our way back to the car with one last look at this magnificent butterfly habitat:

1View(1).jpg


Totals seen in predominantly difficult conditions were:

Brown Argus 25-35
Dingy Skipper 15-25
Small Heath 10-15
Duke of Burgundy 4-6
Small Blue 3
Common Blue 2
Green Hairstreak 2
Adonis Blue 2
Large White 1
Peacock 1

millerd
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Re: David M

Postby millerd » Sun May 21, 2017 7:00 pm

Not a bad selection at all for a superficially grotty day weatherwise. Splendid Adonis in particular, David. :)

Dave

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bugboy
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Re: David M

Postby bugboy » Sun May 21, 2017 8:14 pm

Ooooh yes, that Adonis looks like it's been plugged into the mains!
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Neil Freeman
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Re: David M

Postby Neil Freeman » Mon May 22, 2017 6:56 pm

Great report and photos from Rodborough Common David...I have not been there for a few years now, I must try and fit a visit in sometime.

Cheers,

Neil.

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Mon May 22, 2017 9:26 pm

bugboy wrote:...that Adonis looks like it's been plugged into the mains!


I like that, Bugboy. In fact, I often describe the Adonis as a 'radioactive' blue to the uninitiated, as it seems to radiate from elsewhere rather than from the butterfly itself. They really are indescribably beautiful when absolutely fresh.

Monday 22nd May 2017 - Local delights....

On Sunday, I visited Welshmoor, a damp, grassy expanse of land about 5 miles from where I live. I duly saw a handful of early Marsh Fritillaries, and I chanced upon 2 or 3 more on Fairwood Common at the back of Swansea airport this afternoon, which is on my doorstep:

1MarshFritWelshmoor(1).jpg


Today though, I was concentrating on Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries, as the section of marshland I visited has reliably thrown up a few over the last four years.

Sure enough, there were at least two about:

1SPBFupps1(1).jpg


Part cloudy conditions helped, as these insects weren't quite as hyperactive as is usual:

1SPBFuns2(1).jpg


This individual wasn't in a hurry, and instead seemed content to gorge on nectar from both ragged robin and cuckoo flower blooms, at one point being virtually buried:

1SPBFburied(1).jpg


Not many other species seen, and they all seemed to turn up in twos: Small Heath, Common Blue, Large White & Green Veined White. A late Orange Tip was also seen on the drive back home.

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sat Jun 17, 2017 8:32 pm

Saturday 17th June 2017 - Double Header

With highs of 25c forecast along with sunny skies, it was incumbent upon me to spend the entire day in the field! I had promised my neighbour a trip to Daneway Banks in Gloucestershire, and we duly arrived at 10.15am and spent a good three hours there taking in the scenery, the flora and, of course, the butterflies.

My first Ringlet of 2017 greeted me shortly after entering the site:

1Ringlet(1).jpg


My first Marbled White soon followed:

1MarbWhite(1).jpg


Meadow Browns abounded, as did Large Skippers:

1LgeSkipper(1).jpg


We DID see a solitary Large Blue at the top of the site, but the warm weather meant it stayed airborne and no sightings were made in the hour that followed. I got talking to the transect walker, who had commented that 11 had been seen yesterday, and I had all but resigned myself to leaving with just a fly by to report.

However, my neighbour opted to take a rest on a wooden seat to the right of this image:

1Daneway(1).jpg


I took time out to potter around on the middle section of the site, where I noticed two guys taking lots of photos near the barbed wire fence. Sure enough, when I got to them, they had a male Large Blue, but too far away to get a decent image of. I somehow got my body over the fence but no sooner had I taken a single record shot, the butterfly was off. I followed it, and suddenly another paler Large Blue (a female) joined it in flight. For the next minute or so, these two whizzed about one another in a frenzy:

1LgeBluecourtship(1).jpg


The male must have done all the right things, because seconds later they decided to pair:

1LgeBluepair2(1).jpg


Three blokes kneeling in the turf soon attracted an audience (for the mating Large Blues I should point out):

1LgeBlueaudience(1).jpg


On a hot day, this is probably the only opportunity available to see this species becalmed, and becalmed they remained - we watched them for a good 20 minutes before leaving them to it:

1LgeBluepair3(1).jpg


Seeing that it was en route, we decided to stop off for a couple of hours at Lower Woods, near Wickwar, on the way back. Four Silver Washed Fritillaries were seen, although none were very co-operative from a photography perspective:

1SWF(1).jpg


The only down point of the day was the absence of White Admirals, which probably haven't quite emerged yet. Still, we saw a surprise Brimstone as well as this Comma:

1Comma(1).jpg


18 species in total, including mating Large Blues, meant this gorgeous day of sunshine and warmth will remain memorable. Let's hope this run of weather continues!

kevling
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Re: David M

Postby kevling » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:53 am

David,

Well done on getting your Large Blues. Nice photos of your day out. What a cracking days weather for butterflying :D

Regards Kev

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Goldie M
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Re: David M

Postby Goldie M » Sun Jun 18, 2017 2:50 pm

That's one species I've yet to see David, lovely shots :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Goldie :D

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David M
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Re: David M

Postby David M » Sun Jun 18, 2017 7:50 pm

Sunday 18th June 2017 - Time out...with a little butterflying thrown in....

After yesterday's almost oppressive heat, I headed off to the Pembrokeshire coast today where temperatures where forecast to be a bit cooler. I had promised a work colleague a stress-free day out, and that's ultimately how it proved, although the forecast of 21c highs were so inaccurate that at one point I ended up seeking relief by swimming in the sea!

I reckon 26 or 27c was the order of the day - it certainly felt as though I was in France.

Strangely, Common Blues aside (which were ubiquitous) there weren't that many butterflies about. Sometimes though, that gives you time to concentrate on the surroundings:

1Habitat1(1).jpg


1Habitat2(1).jpg


There are times when I read UKB reports and forget that the season is much more retarded in SW Wales, and today was one of those. Despite quite a bit of searching, I could only find two male Silver Studded Blues, which was a shame, as in a week's time there'll probably be dozens about but they will have to contend with the usual cloud, wind and regular rain:

1SSBupps(1).jpg


1SSBuns1(1).jpg


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