Wurzel

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Wurzel
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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:14 pm

Kingston Lacey 13-08-2017

Over the next couple of week I spent almost every waking hour (well maybe not quite that much but it certainly felt that way) finishing up the paint work on the house and getting various bits and pieces sorted out ready for the arrival of my sister, brother in-law and my niece who were back from Oz for a month. Luckily the weather wasn’t the best although there were times when I would catch myself gazing out of the window during a few moments of respite for my knees – its hard work painting skirting boards and now I reckon that my knees are 30 years older than the rest of my body!
After the usual doings and meet ups with various relations come Sunday we all headed over to Kingston Lacey for a picnic and then a mooch around the grounds and gardens. Once on site we set up on the lawn and ate heartily, it was nice to see colours and not just ‘Farrow and Ball - All White’ and I managed to make a couple of sojourns out from the picnic rug and check out some of the flower laden borders. I was accompanied by my niece and what she lacked in subtlety she made up for in sheer enthusiasm and she happily pointed out butterfly after butterfly; each one would receive and appreciative “Wow” before she would bustle off to find the next one. In this way I notched up a couple a piece of Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Comma and Green-veined White as well as both Small and Large Whites and a female Common Blue and all within a couple of steps. The thing I was most pleased about was watching a Hornet take a bee and then dispatch it, all whilst hanging upside down from two of its tarsi. My niece wasn’t that impressed though and we had to head back to the others.
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This was the ab with the white spot - which can be seen from the underside as well.

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We made our way across the lawn, through the Fernery and along the large border. Here I saw a few more Whites none of which were stopping. A Peacock stood out and even though it kept its distant it was much better behaved than the accompanying Red Admiral. An orangey butterfly landed quite a way back and at first I thought it was a faded Comma but when I checked through the viewfinder it resolved into a Silver-washed. I don’t know why but I was surprised to see it here amongst the herbaceous borders. Further along the Woodland drive another one teased me by feeding in such a place high on a Buddleia that made even getting a semi decent image impossible. But now I know they’re here so maybe next season a slightly earlier visit would see me finding more and racking up a few extra Brownie points?
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Down through the Woodland walk we stopped to see the pigs that are being used for clearing the woodland floor and there were only a few Brimstones (in the sunnier more glade like areas) and Specklies (on the edge of the shady spots) about but I was saving space on my memory card for the allotments as I reckoned that’s where most of the butterflies would be. So instead I focused, along with my sister, on taking the mickey out of my mum. It is one of our favourite past times and while we were rocking with laughter about using Beech Mast and Pine Cones as Christmas decorations (you’ve got to spray them silver first though) the journey to the allotments passed by in a jiffy. Once here there was almost an explosion of butterfly activity. There were Cabbage White caterpillars all over the Cabbage, a Specklie that had been in the wars outside the Orchid House and the flower garden beyond was a riot of colour butterflies. I’m used to having the problem of approaching a butterfly to get a shot off but here the problem was twofold. First working out which butterfly to photograph; I counted two Commas, four Red Admirals, two Peacocks, at least five Brimstones and various other Whites of three different species that were too numerous and too mobile to count at all! The second problem was getting the shot before another butterfly bundled in and bundled your subject out of the way! In the end I just set myself to mooch mode and pointed and shot at anything that was in the same place for long enough.
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Have a goodun

Wurzel
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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Tue Oct 10, 2017 1:22 pm

Kingston Lacey Part 2

After I’d caught up with the conversation and whilst the adults tea and the girls ran riot on the mini tractors I nipped off to the allotments and the drainage pond just beyond it. There were even more whites fluttering around here and there must have been a fecund female as 6 or 7 other butterflies were very intent on following one other butterfly. I got talking to one of the local allotmenteers as she’d planted a Buddleia in one corner of her plot and was growing lots of other insect friendly species. It seemed to be working because feeding on it were Red Admirals, Peacocks, four species of White and a Small Tort! Unfortunately I didn’t get many decent shots as the breeze had picked up and I also missed out on the Painted Lady that, as usual, had “been here yesterday”. There were a few Darters round the pond which I think were Ruddy (tapered waist?) but I had to get back to the group.
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When I rejoined the others the adults were still drinking tea and the girls were still running amok so I nipped back over to the floral garden and tried my hardest to accurately count the butterflies. My efforts again proved frustrating. This time I found a couple of likely looking spots and hovered between them waiting for the butterflies to come to me. It paid off and before I knew it I was up to my knees in Red Admirals, the odd Peacock and Whites all over the place. They’ve been really flighty this year but they seemed to be starting to settle down this afternoon and I was finally able to get a semi-decent open wing shot of a Large White male. To top it off I think I might even of had an aberrant Red Admiral.
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Ab. fructa?

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By now the girls were all tuckered out and we slowly and wearily made out way back through the Pacific Gardens to carry on back across the Lawn and homewards. The only thing of real note on the way back that was different from all else I’d seen was the Dragonfly which I think is a Migrant Hawker, I need to look into the ID of this group a little more.
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All in all a surprisingly productive day- especially as much of it wasn’t actually spent looking for butterflies. It may read like I spent the whole time away from the family but most of my little trips off lasted about 10 minutes and the majority of the time was spent just being a complete family again for the first time in two years – can’t put how much that meant into words so I’ll leave it there.

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Wurzel

Postby millerd » Tue Oct 10, 2017 3:38 pm

That sounds like a great day out in every way, Wurzel. Even though the butterflies were perhaps incidental, they certainly enhanced it no end. To me it seems odd seeing all those species on ornamental flowers: they are clearly growing the right varieties that have not foregone nectar in the quest for showy colours. Some lovely combinations there. :)

Dave

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Re: Wurzel

Postby bugboy » Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:21 pm

Certainly a very productive day Wurzel. Your Dragonfly is a male Southern Hawker, the large blobs on the thorax behind the head distinguish it from the Migrant Hawker :)
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Goldie M » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:23 pm

Hi! Wurzel, I know just how you felt when decorating :D I'd to have help getting up off my knee's today :D

I love the Butterflies in the flowers , they couldn't have picked better coloured flowers to land in to set off their own beauty :D Goldie :D

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Greenie » Thu Oct 12, 2017 6:02 pm

Your Ruddy Darter ID is correct . Apart from the tapered abdomen , males like yours have a deeper red abdomen than the Common ,
and all black legs . The Common Darter having a yellow stripe down their legs .
As well as the broad antihumeral stripes mentioned by bugboy , those three blue markings on the end of the abdomen are diagnostic of the
male Southern Hawker . The smaller male Migrant Hawker having blue markings along the length of his abdomen .

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Neil Freeman » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:02 pm

Hi Wurzel,

Some cracking reports recently and some great photos, I particularly like the selection of shots on the garden flowers with some unusual colour combinations :D

Cheers,

Neil.

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:25 pm

Cheers Dave :D I don't know what was happening there that day as I've only ever seen one, maybe tow, butterflies in that section of garden before now and nowhere near the number that I did :D
Cheers Bugboy :D Thanks for the ID, once you know what to look for it's gets much easier :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:50 pm

Cheers Goldie :D The best thing about painting is once it's done you don't have to face it for at least another 12 months :shock: It seems that butterflies do have a certain amount of taste :D
Cheers Greenie :D Thanks for the ID and confirmation, something to store away until next year :D
Cheers Neil :D They were certainly more discerning in their colour choice than I would have been - normally I range from butterfly with greenish or greyish background :lol:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Wed Oct 18, 2017 12:13 pm

Sixpenny Handley 14-08-2917

To make the most of my sister’s visit we headed back out to Sixpenny Handley the very next day. As always I took my camera but I almost needn’t have bothered as the weather was decided inclement. Here we were in August and it was cool enough that a jumper was comfortable and the sun was veiled by grey cloud; the type of cloud that only weakly threatens rain but still manages to sap all the light out of everything. We risked the gloom and headed up the hill, through the Churchyard to the park. I took my camera as before there have been Spotted Flycatchers perching on the tombstones and Painted Ladies in the Vicar’s flowerbed but not today.

As the girls played I took a few minutes break from pushing swings, catching flying children at the bottom of slides and working out how the hell one of the rides worked to check out the banks that surround the football pitch on two sides. The last time I was here was back in May/June at the end of our camping trip and the only real difference between then and now was that then the weather was slightly worse! Where it was similar was that the only butterfly present was a member of the Blue family, either a female Common or Brown Argus. As I knelt down amongst the damp grass I could make out the ‘badly drawn arc’ of spots which made it a Brown Argus.
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It served as some form of reward for making the effort to carry my camera, nowhere near a Gold Medal and still not enough for a Bronze maybe, possibly a recycled Tin can medal? And to think that I had such high hopes after such a cracking trip the day before…

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Wurzel

Postby trevor » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:07 pm

That Brown Argus was some compensation considering the weather, great shots.
I once took a wrong turn in Salisbury, and passed through Sixpenny Handley,
that tight spot in the village is scary. Picked up the A30 again at Shaftesbury.

All the best,
Trevor.

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Andrew555 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:29 am

Impressive diary entries Wurzel! I enjoyed reading them.
Love the contrasting colours on display, great stuff.

Cheers

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Wurzel
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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:07 pm

Cheers Trevor :D There were rumblings of protest in the 70's that they were going to have to change the name to "3 and a half New Pence Handley" :lol: That tight spot is even worse if you're a pedestrian :?
Cheers Andrew :D There are still plenty more to come, it's just I've got to write them yet :roll: :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel
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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Sat Oct 21, 2017 11:00 pm

Shipton Bellinger Again 15-08-2017

After the previous day at the park the girls had sweet talked their Nanny into letting them stay over with their Auntie, Uncle and cousin so I had the day to myself. As the weather was set to be a mixture of sunshine and cloud I risked another trip out to Shipton. Like last time I left in good time and like last time the road works which were everywhere held me up but despite this this I was still at the ‘Hotspot Hedge’ ready for the golden hours between 11 and 3 as I’d parked on the other side again. Yet things were very quiet and it felt like I was running the previous trip in reverse as along the hedge there were no Brostreaks and only a few Whites a couple of Holly Blues and the usual smattering of Browns and the odd Blue. It was strangely quiet and after a couple of circuits forward and back along the hedge I decided to change tack. And so I headed across through the scrub and uphill towards a new part of the site which I’d not visited before. The Hawthorn scrub opens out into a large swathe of grassland that I’d never realised was there and so I took to mooching around here enjoying the prolific Browns and Blues that seemed to buzz around everywhere. Amongst the Whites were a few Brimstones but alas still no Clouded Yellow despites the area having the appearance of suitable habitat.
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After some time here, enough to consume my extra hot Lime Pickle sandwiches, I followed a different path back down the slope which came out by the Master Tree and so I made my way along the main track but downhill towards the bit of Hedge that I usually start out at; again a bit topsy-turvy. Where the track branches into two I went down the more lush and verdant track and bumped into a couple staring high into the treetops. There, just about visible was a male Brostreak, so I took a record shot just in case and walked to the end of the path and back with no other Brostreak sightings but a few Meadow Browns, Specklies, Whites, Hedge Brown and a Comma to go onto the Tally. The couple and the Brostreak were still there but I was hoping for a closer encounter and so back to the Hotspot Hedge I headed.
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Having walked back to the Master Tree I cut across the springy turf rather than use the hard track. The last time I was in this area I was dealt a Skipper surprise with a second brood Dingy and today also. A tiny blur of a butterfly caught my attention as if took off having been hassled by a silvery Brown Argus. Somehow I manged to follow it and as I approached I could see whiteish spots on the wings which at first made me think of a Large Skipper but it was too small so here was my second surprise Skipper, a Silver-spotted. I knew that they were in the surrounding areas but not that they were to be found at this site so another species to look out for here next season.
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Back at the Hedge I adopted the usual Brostreak search pattern. The first walk along carefully scanning each Bramble top and examining every Brown, Hedge Brown, Comma or remotely orange coloured leaf. The second run scanning again but this time watching carefully for anything taking off that might have been unsettled by or unsettle a Brostreak. Neither of these techniques came to fruition which was a shame as they produced the goods in terms of either species and they have come up trumps in the past. True there were all the usual species but a Small Copper was an nice addition as was a fresher Holly Blue but still no Brostreak. Hence I tried technique number three; nonchalantly strolling along the hedge whistling a jaunty and carefree tune and then stop and turn suddenly and without warning so as to catch a Brostreak out. Bugger me if on the second such random and rapid spin and stare it didn’t work! Where there was nothing before now there was a male Brown Hairstreak practically right in front of me!
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“Where there’s one there must be more” I thought…
Have a goodun

Wurzel

trevor
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Re: Wurzel

Postby trevor » Sun Oct 22, 2017 5:10 am

It would seem that we have two things in common.
Charging enthusiastically over to a possible Brown Hairstreak sighting,
only to find upon closer inspection it was a Brownie coloured leaf after all, been there, done that.
It is also reassuring that there is a fellow devotee of fiery lime pickle out there !. :lol: .

Love that Brown Argus shot,
Trevor.

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Andrew555
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Re: Wurzel

Postby Andrew555 » Mon Oct 23, 2017 9:33 am

Is there anything better than having a day to yourself and a landscape filled with butterflies to wander through ?
Probably.. but not much! :D Some great sightings Wurzel

Cheers

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Philzoid » Tue Oct 24, 2017 9:36 am

Great reports from Six-penny handley and shipton Wurzel 8) . They should call you the butterfly whisperer after that successful brostreak attracting stunt :o . I might give it a go myself providing there’s no-one around :? :lol:

Phil

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Goldie M
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Re: Wurzel

Postby Goldie M » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:49 am

Hi! Wurzel, what can I say about your BHS :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Can't wait for next year!!!! :lol: Goldie :D

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Neil Freeman
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Re: Wurzel

Postby Neil Freeman » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:05 pm

Wurzel wrote:....Bugger me if on the second such random and rapid spin and stare it didn’t work! Where there was nothing before now there was a male Brown Hairstreak practically right in front of me!...


Interesting field craft skills there Wurzel :lol:

Brown Hairstreaks were one of a number of species I missed this year due to being elsewhere at the time. Still, gives me plenty to look forward to next year.

Cheers,

Neil.

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Wurzel
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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:16 am

Cheers Trevor :D You have to check those orangey leaves just in case... :wink: The Lime Pickle has to have '3 out of 3 Chilli's' on the label and has to be sold with it's own protective gear if it's to grace my sandwich :wink: :lol:
Cheers Andrew :D That is one advantage about being behind with your PD, you get to relive it all again - a wonderful 'twofer' :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel


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