jackz432r

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Andrew555
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Andrew555 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:21 pm

Glad you had your memory card this time Paul. I now keep a spare card and camera battery permanently in my backpack after a couple of 'incidents' :D

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Fri Dec 01, 2017 12:33 pm

Thanks Andrew, David & Wurzel for your commments :D

Saturday 25.11.2017 - Thursday 30.11.2017 More Red Admirals In The Garden

Just before I set off to join the others at the Winter Social last Saturday I spotted some fluttering in the sunny corner of the garden :D . I was delighted to see a Red Admiral there so I dashed off to grab my camera. At 1.30pm I was already too late to grab a shot of this butterfly spending the briefest of moments settled open winged on the fence. It then settled on the bottom of an empty bird feeder and there it stayed.
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Red Admiral in the garden 25.11.2017
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Early morning 26.11.2017 and that Red Admiral is still clinging on

I checked the bottom of the bird feeder in the frost the following morning and was surprised to see the Red Admiral still clinging on. Most days this week have been sunny, but cold but that Red Admiral is till there as I write this (in bed with a bad back :( ). I know it is still alive because it has changed its position several times. There is a slight recess in the bottom of this feeder but I would think this a rather precarious place for a Red Admiral to spend the Winter, I will keep you posted on its wellbeing.
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I don't think I should refill this birdfeeder just yet!

Yesterday I had the day off and was able to keep an eye on the Garden during another sunny but cold day. The butterfly above remained on the base of the feeder but it was joined by another more active individual between midday and 1.30. This one briefly settled on the bird feeder and several other positions on the fence. It was also seen nectaring briefly on my Hebe and occasionally disappearing over the fence on both sides of the garden, always returning to my sunny corner :D . I was hoping to see where it went to roost but got distracted and last saw it about 1.35.
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Another Red Admiral in the garden 30.11.2017 (just below the birdfeeder)

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Sun Dec 03, 2017 9:59 am

Fingers crossed your roosting Red Admiral makes it - it does seem very well camouflaged though not that sheltered :?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Tue Dec 05, 2017 7:40 pm

Incredible camouflage in the Red Admiral image. I confess I had to maximise it to find the butterfly and was quite embarrassed when I saw how much of the screen it took up! :oops:

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sun Dec 31, 2017 3:48 pm

Thanks for the comments Wurzel & David. That Red Admiral only stayed another couple of days before it disappeared unseen by me. Hopefully it has found somewhere more appropriate where, if it is lucky, it may survive till the spring.

Winter Activities 2017

I have nothing much to report in the butterfly department recently other than my postings on overwintering Red Admiral early stages here viewtopic.php?f=8&t=9581&p=127082#p127082.
That and my continued search for the White Letter Hairstreak keeps me occupied. I am always on the look out for promising looking Elm trees and ready for action when windy weather strikes. We have had quite a lot of windy weather recently but this has not resulted in much. In fact I have searched several bags full of Elm twigs from various locations over the last few weeks. These various locations produce quite an assortment of different results.
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Typical bag of Elm twigs collected after a windy day. This bag collected over 2 days at West Meon Christmas Eve and Boxing Day! This lot resulted in a single egg.

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This is my West Meon White Letter Hairstreak site back in May this year
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Rescued White Letter Hairstreak egg from the above site at West Meon

My first White Letter Hairstreak discovery back in 2014 was at West Meon. It is a mature Wych Elm sheltered on 3 sides by other trees which are in close proximity. This tree has been the most reliable source of eggs to rescue. It seems a very healthy tree that keeps its leaves long after some of the other trees I visit have lost all theirs. It always sheds a high volume of 'live' twigs after windy weather. I can only assume it is the interaction of the branches with the surrounding trees that causes it to lose so many live twigs. Although a reliable source of eggs, curiously this site also provided the lowest number of adults recorded during the flight season.
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Elm tree close to central Portsmouth
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Hairstreak? egg found on old, dead shrivelled twig at the above site close to central Portsmouth
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Typical wind damaged twigs 'live' from West Meon on the left and 'dead' from Central Portsmouth on the right

I have spent a lot of time visiting a tree near central Portsmouth this winter. I am not sure what variety of Elm this is but it is not Wych Elm. As mentioned in my diary previously I found 2 hatched eggs here back in October. These eggs were on rather shrivelled, old twigs and for all I know they could be 3 or more years old, but they definitely look like Hairstreak eggs (right size, shape and position). Although in my experience most old egg cases tend to disappear the following winter. Whilst this is encouraging it is not conclusive enough to say there is a live colony on this tree. Several further visits to this location have not produced any further results. This tree, unlike the one at West Meon seems only to shed dead twigs. Although conveniently overhanging a carpark it also sits annoyingly at another busy road junction. On one of my recent visits I was there at midday and unfortunately I ended up collecting twigs in the road whilst a queue of traffic waited at the traffic lights. The nearest vehicle to me was of course a police van full of policeman :oops: :lol: They gave me plenty of funny looks as if to say 'What the hell is this idiot doing?'. I made a quick exit of course and thankfully they did not choose to stop and question me.
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Two of my most recent Elm tree finds. Aldershot above and Fareham below. These will be high on my priority list this year. No proof of White Letter Hairstreaks at either yet, but I am always optimistic.
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:D HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL :D

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bugboy
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Re: jackz432r

Postby bugboy » Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:18 pm

Loving your dedication Paul! Maybe you should don a high viz vest next time you're collecting twigs on the road so people just assume you're a road sweeper to save your blushes :lol:
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Sun Dec 31, 2017 6:38 pm

I think you West Meon site is the most attractive looking -I'm sure about the others especially if the Rozzers start paying an interest in you :shock: :wink: :lol: We're set for some more gales over the enxt few days aren't we so good luck if you manage to make it back out :D Happy New Year!

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Sun Dec 31, 2017 9:41 pm

Fascinating observations, Paul, and well done for putting all that effort into a butterfly that is, by its nature, abnormally tricky to observe.

I wish you all the best for 2018.

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:42 pm

Thanks all for your comments :D

2017

Looking back at my 2017 diary I notice that I have not mentioned much other than Red Admirals or White Letter Hairstreak since April. Obviously, although I was focused on specific things, there was plenty more going on. So as a brief catch up here are a few of the other things that crossed my path during 2017. Much of this is from Southwick in Hampshire my most visited/favourite site last year.
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I reared Orange Tips for the first time in 2017. These 2 pictures were taken a month apart. Just after hatching on 30.4.2017 and 4 days before pupation 30.5.2017. Hopefully I will be able to report more fully on this in a few months with a positive outcome.
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4.6.2017 One of the first Meadow Browns of the year at Southwick.
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6.8.2017 A similar theme later in the season at the same location. Common Blues at Southwick.
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2.7.2017 I could not resist sneaking a White Letter Hairstreak in. Here enjoying Bramble nectar at Southwick with a fresh Gatekeeper.
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2.9.2017 Small Coppers seemed to be a bit thin on the ground during 2017 around my neck of the woods. Here is one of the few I saw at Southwick.
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2.9.2017 at Southwick again. This fresh looking female Speckled Wood caught my eye

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:01 pm

Great set of images Jack :D The White-letter with the Hedge Brown is a real cracker :D :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Goldie M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Goldie M » Mon Jan 15, 2018 1:43 pm

I second that Jack, I saw my first WLHS last year, your shot brings back good memories Goldie :D

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Andrew555
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Andrew555 » Tue Jan 16, 2018 7:48 am

Very nice Jack. That's a fine looking Speckled. :)

jonhd
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Re: jackz432r

Postby jonhd » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:52 pm

Lovely stuff, Paul.

Have lived most of my adult life in Hants (albeit S.W.), and had never heard of Southwick!

BR, Jon

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:27 pm

Excellent, evocative images, Paul. Well done with the Orange Tips and if you have more to post then please go ahead!

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:02 pm

Thanks all for the comments :D :D

Sunday 28.1.2018 & Saturday 17.2.2018 Southwick

I have been visiting Southwick for some weeks/months now to monitor the Red Admiral early stages over the Winter. I have become one of the 'fixtures & fittings' there. There is one particular chap who is also a regular passer-by who always stops for a chat and knows exactly what I am doing and is always interested in how things are progressing. We have joked that I have not actually gone home since December 2017 :lol:. On the 28th January whilst I was deeply engrossed in eggs and larvae he stopped as usual to say hello. A few metres further down the path he called and pointed out a Red Admiral that he had put up from the path. That was my first butterfly of 2018 :D . In fact that is the first butterfly I have ever recorded in January. I saw it (or another one) several times but was unable to get a photograph.
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First male Brimstone of the year - Southwick - 17.2.2018
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Female Red Admiral - Southwick 17.2.2018

Yesterday I woke to a beautiful clear blue sky and plenty of sunshine and also had time to spare. I was quietly confident of a Red Admiral at Southwick. I arrived at 11.45 to find the surprising sight of a male Brimstone fluttering around, bringing a massive smile to my face :D . It settled several times giving me plenty of opportunity for photograph. A little later at about 12.25 the anticipated Red Admiral appeared giving me another smile :D . It was a little nervous at first but was soon settling for longer periods and laying eggs!! (more of that in the appropriate thread). It was the only one I saw but it was quite active for a couple of hours and gave me plenty of opportunity for observation and photographs.

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:41 pm

Since you've got your shots have you now visited home Paul :wink: :lol: Great find that Brimstone and in very good nick as well :D :mrgreen: Looking forward to some more.

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Tue Feb 20, 2018 7:57 pm

What a joy to see a February Brimstone, Paul! Well done and let’s hope there’ll be many left for the rest of us over the next few weeks (although I suspect that the forecast cold snap may delay this for most).


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