jackz432r

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Goldie M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Goldie M » Fri Sep 23, 2016 10:18 pm

Love the second shot of the Copper Paul, it seems to be posing for you. It's good your still seeing Clouded Yellow, wish we were here. :D Goldie :D

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Thu Sep 29, 2016 9:48 pm

Thanks Wurzel & Goldie for your comments :D :D. Hopefully things will continue for a while yet :D .

Sunday 25.9.2016 Knowle & Southwick

Typical autumnal fare presented itself when I visited 2 local sites over the weekend. I visited Knowle first, a site I have not visited for a while. Today I was pleased to find a single Small Copper amongst the other more regular inhabitants. Comma, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Small White all present in small numbers.
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Small Copper sharing his space - Knowle - 25.9.2016
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This rather battered Small White is from Knowle
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Red Admiral ab.bialbata - Knowle - 25.9.2016

Southwick has been a more regular haunt for me over the last few weeks, hoping for migrants. Today the Clouded Yellows were absent but I did manage to find one Humming Bird Hawk moth. Unusually it settled as I approached allowing me one shot before it sped off over the Ivy clad wall here. I saw similar species to those at the previous site, but in higher numbers. I was pleased to find a couple of aged Common Blues here, a species I had not seen here at previous visits. Hopefully the Clouded Yellows from previous weeks have left a few offspring here to keep things going into October :wink: .
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Male Common Blue still holding on - Southwick - 25.9.2016
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This Humming Bird Hawkmoth was a nice surprise at Southwick. Not a great photo though!
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Red Admirals were plentiful at Southwick including another pristine ab.bialbata
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Speckled Wood were present at both sites. This female is from Southwick.

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Goldie M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Goldie M » Fri Sep 30, 2016 8:48 am

Hi! Paul, nice colour contrast with the Copper on yellow flowers, I think the Copper's have finished here now. Goldie :D

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:00 pm

Nice series of shots Paul, especially the Small Copper :D - good to see a range of species this late in the year :D Fingers crossed for those Cloudies :wink:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sat Oct 08, 2016 11:22 pm

Thanks Wurzel & Goldie :D

1st & 2nd of October Out and About in Southwick & Hedge End

It has come to the time of year when one has to work harder for smaller butterfly rewards, trying to stretch the butterfly season just a little further. On Saturday a walk to the shops had several Speckled Wood occupying the usual spots.
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Speckled Wood - Hedge End - 1.10.2016

In what I call the 'lower field' at Southwick on Sunday I could find no Small Coppers. There is not much in the way of nectar sources left here apart from the long south facing Ivy covered wall that bounds Southwick Park, this was awash with Red Admirals and a few Commas. However, I struggled to get any decent pictures. There were still a few Small Whites and at least 2 determined Clouded Yellows flew past. These don't seem keen on Ivy so without any other suitable nectar they just kept going into the distance.
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Red Admiral - Southwick - 2.10.2016

The 'middle field' at Southwick is where I have seen most butterfly activity over recent weeks, but there is almost no nectar at all now and today no butterflies either. No Small Coppers, Common Blues, Whites or Clouded Yellows. As this is the area here where I have seen most Clouded Yellow activity over the last few weeks, I had a tentative look for larvae ..... I found none :( .
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Male Large White - Southwick - 2.10.2016
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Male Small White - Southwick - 2.10.2016

In the 'Upper field' at Southwick there still seems to be plenty of Nectar but not too many butterflies. Today a male Clouded yellow darted back and forth across in front of me not stopping once for photos. I saw a few Red Admirals here together with Small and Large White, some looking quite fresh amongst other more faded examples. Hopefully there is at least a couple more weeks of butterfly activity before things dwindle away :? .
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No Clouded Yellow larvae. However I did find this which I guess is some sort of Sawfly larva as it has 7 sets of prolegs

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Sun Oct 09, 2016 5:35 pm

Great images Paul especially the Small White - really well captured, it shows all the details, mint :D :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Mon Oct 10, 2016 10:08 pm

jackz432r wrote:It has come to the time of year when one has to work harder for smaller butterfly rewards...


Absolutely agree, though you are doing far better than me at this time! :(

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:35 am

Hi David & Wurzel Thanks for your comments :D

Sunday 9.10.2016 More From Southwick (last weekend)

After a totally unproductive visit to my local downland site hoping for a late Common Blue :? , I returned to Southwick. Reliably there was still plenty of Red Admirals here along the old Ivy covered wall together with a single Painted Lady :D . There were no Commas or Clouded Yellows this week, but Small Whites were very (too) active together with a few Speckled Wood.
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Part of the old Ivy covered wall at Southwick
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Still plenty of Red Admiral activity here today
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It was pleasing to see a single Painted Lady amongst the Red Admirals. Refuelling before a long trip to Morrocco perhaps?
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Speckled Wood

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Sat Oct 22, 2016 8:42 pm

Great to see the Red Admirals and Painted Lady Paul - especially as yours shows the blue markings in the hind wind spots - something I've not seen yet :D :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:46 pm

Cheers Wurzel :D

Sunday 23.10.2016 Knowle

Last Sunday I did not see a single butterfly when I went out. I needed to put that right so this weekend I visited a more reliable spot, one of my favourites. I woke to a cloudless sky on Sunday morning which put me in a confident mood. By the time I went out things were warm but hazy.
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This Red Admiral stood out because it was small, about the size of Small Tortoiseshell
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One of the few fresh looking Red Admirals seen
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As with everywhere else Red Admirals were here in good numbers. Many now looking a little weary and ragged but still a few fresh ones. The fresh ones were more likely to be found nectaring on the small amount of Ivy at this location whereas the ragged individuals were generally found basking. The surprise was that amongst these were several females actively egg laying.
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I watched this female lay at least 6 eggs in a fairly short space of time. Here she is in action
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This was the only leaf that looked alive on this nettle stem! It was obviously good enough for a Red Admiral egg
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I have seen Red Admirals laying late eggs at this location before but not in exactly the same spots. I watched at least 3 females laying eggs and there were probably more. Eggs were all being laid on low Nettles at the edge of recently worked agricultural land. The eggs were laid singly on healthy lush growth but also on leaves that were shrivelled and very much past their best.
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Several male Small Whites were on the wing, this one was the freshest.
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Speckled Wood

After observing the egglaying I went off to see what else I could find. Several Small Whites (all male) flew incessantly back and forth across the field with only very occasional brief pauses to nectar. Later on a few Speckled Wood appeared briefly before all butterfly activity stopped at around 2.30pm when it clouded over. On my way back to the car I stopped off where the Red Admirals had been egglaying. The eggs were easy to find sometimes up to 4 on the same leaf I also noted several of what looked like small parasitic wasps walking around the Nettles. Hopefully some of these offspring will survive the winter though they are not in a particularly safe location.

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Wed Oct 26, 2016 6:23 pm

Amazing how things can seem so alive in southern England when we're currently on shutdown in south Wales.

Keep on perservering, Jack. The forecast is for mild weather for at least a week to come, meaning that November sightings (for you at least) ought to be relatively straightforward.

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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Tue Nov 01, 2016 9:41 pm

There seems to be good numbers of Red Admirals around this year Paul and you're certainly getting better value for money than I am :mrgreen: :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sun Nov 06, 2016 11:51 pm

Thanks David & Wurzel :D I suppose I should count myself lucky living on the South Coast. You can never have too many Red Admirals especially at this time of year :D

Sunday 6.11.2016 Southwick (Searching for a November butterfly)

Despite there having been frost here for the last few nights, a bit of sunshine prompted me to head out yesterday looking for a November butterfly. I had been encouraged by Trevors recent antics down at Shoreham and I secretly hoped for a Clouded Yellow :wink: . No sooner had Ieft the house than the sun disappeared (don’t you just hate it when that happens). Ever the optimist I headed on anyway, but by the time I reached my destination the sky was positively overcast, the sun had completely disappeared and the temperature had dropped to the point that I knew there would be no chance of a butterfly :( . Even worse was to follow! As I made my way through the trees from the road into the field beyond I was devastated to find that since my last visit all the foliage along the path had been cut down to the ground and even the Ivy had all been hacked away leaving the area looking desolate. The only encouraging thing was that the old brick wall was still warm, 18 degrees in fact. Maybe if I had been an hour earlier I would have found my November butterfly :? . I left disappointed :( .
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My Southwick Red Admiral hotspot last time I visited.......
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....and today a scene of desolation!

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The first of 4 Red Admirals at Southwick today

Today I woke to a clear blue sky, better than yesterday in fact so I decided to have a second try for that November butterfly. I am really glad I did. I arrived at the same location just after midday (an hour earlier than yesterday) and within a few minutes there was the first of four Red Admirals. Just one would have been enough, anything more was a bonus. Despite the devastation here the Red Admirals seemed happy enough basking on the wall and what remains of the ivy. The frosts of the last few nights around here does not seem to have affected them too much. Air temperature today was 10 degrees but the wall surface was 25 degrees plus!
For me Red Admirals have been the star of the show this year :D . Hopefully some of these will survive the winter.
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This one was in perhaps the best condition. It also has an unusual pale patch on one hindwing

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Tue Nov 08, 2016 10:23 pm

I blame Alan Titchmarsh for all this 'let's tidy everything up' nonsense - oh well hopefully the Red Admirals will be safely tucked up during this cold snap. The one with the pale patch could that be classed as 'pathological' - I'm sure I've seen that term used to describe paler aptches before? :?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Goldie M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Goldie M » Fri Nov 11, 2016 1:13 pm

Glad you found your Butterfly jack and great shots as well, I know what you mean about things being cut down, they do it a lot at Hall-Lee-Brook and it's that I blame for the loss of many Butterflies there. Goldie :(

Paul Harfield
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Re: Paul Harfield

Postby Paul Harfield » Sat Dec 10, 2016 9:40 pm

At the recent Winter Social Pete asked me 'so how was your butterfly year?'

This caught me rather unawares as I had only just arrived and I probably gave a very uncomprehensive answer to his question :? . Perhaps this is a convenient point for me to start looking back at 2016 and post a few items that were missed out during the year. Despite the consensus of doom and gloom portrayed by most I still have good memories from 2016 albeit in my own little inexperienced butterfly world.

To start off with a look at what was going on in the garden during 2016. My garden has not been overrun with butterflies this year which perhaps echoes the season generally. Here are just a few which although not the best photos I have taken this year, they were all notable for one reason or another.
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Brimstone 7.8.2016 - Whilst playing football in the garden with my youngest son one sunny afternoon, a fresh Brimstone appeared in the Garden. On any other day my Crocosmia clump is completely uninteresting to any butterfly species. Unusually today this Brimstone found it irresistible and returned several times to feed. This gave me plenty of time to fetch my camera.
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Red Admiral 24.9.2016 - Red Admirals have been regular visitors this year particularly later in the year. I have even had them laying eggs in the garden for the first time. This Red Admiral was the only butterfly I saw in the garden on this particular day, but I unusually had the opportunity to keep my eye on it. This easily identifiable individual made at least 8 separate visits during the day between 9.50 and 1.50. During this time it nectared on my Hebe and basked in various parts of the garden.
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Small White 9.9.2016 - During a day of sun and cloud this Small White stayed quite well camouflaged on this Hydrangea flower head during a period of cloud.
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Small White 18.9.2016 - During a day of mainly sunshine a sudden change to cool and cloudy conditions late in the afternoon left another Small White stranded for the whole night. It was still there in the morning allowing me to photograph her before she became active.
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Gatekeeper 29.8.2016 - Gatekeepers are regulars in the garden. This female was actually the very last one of the year for me.
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Comma 9.9.2016 - Commas had a very good year in the garden for me this year. It was the first time I have had Comma larvae on my Nettles and there were lots of them (more of those later) there were also Comma larvae on a potted Wych Elm in the garden. One of my garden Comma had emerged and flown the previous day. This fresh looking individual briefly settled on the Wych Elm that had supported larvae a few weeks earlier. I would like to think this was my day old emergee.
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Speckled Wood 29.9.2016 - Over the last few years Speckled Wood have become resident in the garden. But this year they were more notable by their absence, having not found any evidence of early stages. This female looks to be fully laden with eggs, I hope she left some.

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Sun Dec 11, 2016 6:28 pm

Nice look back Paul with some great shots- that first Brimstone is beautifully caught :D I too hope the Specklie found somewhere to lay.

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sun Feb 26, 2017 11:37 pm

It has been a longer than intended break from UKB for no particular reason other than being busy with other things. My attempt at reliving some highlights and posting about things I missed out during 2016 before the new season starts seems to have fallen by the wayside :oops: .

I saw my last butterfly of 2016 on the 22nd December and my first of 2017 last Saturday 18th February. Both just too far away for a positive id but probably Red Admirals. This is the first time I can recall seeing butterflies in February. Monday 20th February was apparently the warmest February day on record down here. I was sadly attending a funeral but at least 2 male Brimstones lifted the spirits in and around Southampton Crematorium. So it looks like the season has already started :D .

I can not believe I have not posted anything since the beginning of December, So here goes with a few recent bits and bobs:-

Saturday 24.12.2016 Searching for Hairstreak Eggs

Given the choice of some late Christmas shopping or looking for White Letter Hairstreak eggs, I think you probably know how I chose to spend my Christmas Eve :wink: There had been some windy weather a couple of days previously, always a good time to look for Hairstreak eggs.
I first headed for a new location, somewhere I have not actually seen any White Letter Hairstreak, but one that looked promising. Having already sought permission as it is on private land I spent an hour or so looking. Unfortunately my search here was unsuccessful. I then headed to another site where I know there are Hairstreaks. Half an hour at this site produced 3 White Letter Hairstreak eggs :D .
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White Letter Hairstreak eggs
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Sunday 15.1.2017 Searching for Hairstreak Eggs

After high winds again I began my day just around the corner, in the rain looking for Purple Hairstreak eggs. Despite knowing there are Purple Hairstreaks here and a huge quantity of Oak twigs on the ground I did not find a single egg. My second location was another new one hoping for White Letter Haistreak eggs. Unfortunately This site was also unproductive. I could not resist popping into The Lakeside complex at Cosham which has a good colony of White Letter Hairstreak. This site is very sheltered, so much so that I could not find any windblown twigs on the ground at all. Even more surprising here was that some of the Elm trees here were already coming into flower. One Elm in particular looked to be in full flower (remember this was 15thJan!)
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This roadside Elm looked rather promising back in late summer......
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In Winter it all looks rather exposed

Winter 2016/2017 Red Admiral Larvae

I have several Red Admiral larvae developing through the winter. The temperatures have been as low as -6 degrees here on several occasions, this does not seem to have done them any harm at all. These all hatched during November and the first few days of December. They currently all seem to be still at the 2nd instar stage. A more detailed account of these will be in a later post when I will hopefully be able to report a positive outcome.
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28.1.2017 Freshly moulted 2nd instar Red Admiral larva
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3.12.2016 A heavy frost here but there is actually a 1st instar Red Admiral larva tucked away out of sight in the centre of this Nettle tip

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:01 am

Nice catch-up report Paul :D Hopefully the cold snap will have been of benefit to the butterfly cats you've got. I've yet to see Brimstones but I can appreciate they must have been a welcome sight.

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:07 am

Good to see you back, Paul, and your butterfly-free hiatus is far shorter than that suffered by the rest of us, I'm sure.

I see you've still kept busy. The Red Admiral larvae are interesting and I'll look forward to further posts regarding these.


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