jackz432r

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Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Thu Mar 09, 2017 9:59 pm

Thanks Wurzel and David for your comments :D :D

Thursday 9.3.2017 Knowle Village

Rather unusually the stars aligned for me today. I had taken the day off work to take my father to hospital, luckily his appointment was not until 3.15. This, together with beautifully warm sunny weather and some free time meant I was able to get out to a favourite local spot. Although I was there less than an hour I was able to notch up 5 species :D.

Plenty of male Brimstones around today. At least 5 on the way and at least 5 more at destination. No females and no photos though. At least 3 each of Comma, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell and a single Red Admiral. I can not remember ever reaching 5 species this early in March before. If this mildness continues I would not be surprised to see Small Whites and Speckled Wood at this location in a week or so.
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Last edited by Paul Harfield on Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Thu Mar 09, 2017 10:07 pm

It's been a good day almost everywhere, Paul, but I very much doubt anyone can top 5 species.

Well done.

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Thu Mar 09, 2017 11:36 pm

Crackings shots there Paul, especially the Comma :D I was only bale to get out for 20 minutes today but at least some made the most of the best day of the year so far :D :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Wed Mar 15, 2017 11:21 pm

Thanks David & Wurzel

Wednesday 15.3.2017 Andover

At work today I noticed a Comma and a couple of very obliging male Brimstones bobbing about in the sunshine :D . They seemed unusually keen to settle quite frequently. Luckily I had anticipated needing my camera. Unfortunately I was not as successful with my first Holly Blue and Small White of the year which also put in an appearance at the same location. I have never seen 7 species before the end of March before :shock: .
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trevor
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Re: jackz432r

Postby trevor » Thu Mar 16, 2017 7:09 am

Well done with the Brimstone image.
I have seen quite a few recently, not one has stopped.
Also the Holly Blue sighting is quite remarkable, will have to watch my local hotspot more carefully !.

Have a great new season.
Trevor.

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bugboy
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Re: jackz432r

Postby bugboy » Thu Mar 16, 2017 5:24 pm

Paul Harfield wrote:I have never seen 7 species before the end of March before :shock: .P1120390.JPGP1120394.JPG


That is mightily impressive, I've barely scraped to 4 so far!
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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Thu Mar 16, 2017 9:58 pm

That is a pretty great tally for this time of year Paul, I do't think I've ever managed that amount :mrgreen: :D Great stuff with the early Holly Blue as well, is that the first or second for the UK?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:41 am

Thanks Trevor, Wurzel & Bugboy for your comments :D :D :D

Sunday 5.3.2017 White Letter Hairstreak site

Further windy conditions had prompted me to return to my White Letter Hairstreak site the previous week (26th Feb) to see if I could rescue any more eggs. A short search found 2 more eggs on broken twigs. One of these looked like it was hatching as I found it. By the time I was home 40 minutes later, the tiny larva was out. Whilst there I also took some general photos of twigs and buds etc. It was not until I was looking through these photos later at home that I noticed another egg which I had managed to photograph but, embarrassingly not see at the time :oops:. This was the first time I have managed to find one still attached to the tree.
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This photo is the only time I have managed to find a White Letter Hairstreak egg still attached to the tree. It proves my observational skills are worse than I thought. For the record this egg was at eye level!
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Today (5th March) I thought I would return to the site and mark the position of the egg I had inadvertently found last week and attempt to follow its development. I had quite a shock when I arrived :shock: . My heart sank as I looked around at the newly created pathway around my secret location. The large Wych Elm here which was secluded now had a lovely pathway passing under it. Not only that but it now had its reachable lower branches removed (including the one with the egg :( ) Oh well never mind, hopefully this will all benefit the White Letter Hairstreak in the long term.
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Big changes a week apart. 26th Feb above and 5th March below.
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I already knew there were plans to turn this area into a small nature reserve by Hampshire County Council in conjunction with the local school and South Downs National Park. My last communication from them at the end of last summer said nothing would be happening in 2016. I had forgotten all of that of course. I am sure in the long term this will be a good thing, but just at the moment it looks very sparse and unfamiliar. If you can imagine visiting your favourite butterfly spot and then returning a week later to find the bulldozer has been in you can imagine how I felt :( .
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What was previously dense shrubbery around the Wych Elm (just left of centre). Now a lovely gravel walkway!

Saturday 11.3.2017 White Letter Hairstreak

This will be my second attempt at rearing this species. It is certainly not the easiest, as Pauline and I found out last year. Hopefully I can achieve a positive result, three might not mean much in the grand scale of things, but I feel this particular site needs any bit of help it can get this year for reasons mentioned above. However, when the opportunity presents itself for photos I will be there. Today was the first time I have managed to photograph any of the larvae.
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11 day old White Letter Hairstreak larva above and 14 day old larva below. Both 1st instar.
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Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Wed Mar 29, 2017 9:06 pm

Saturday 25.3.2017 Hatch Farm, West End

I thought I was doing quite well with 7 species before the end of March, but with Orange Tips, Speckled Wood and even Clouded Yellow and Large Tortoiseshells appearing :shock: it would seem I am actually lagging behind somewhat :? .
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Commas were in plentiful supply. This one was first sighting of the day
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Hatch Farm is one of my favourite early season local sites, as it is almost within walking distance from home. It has often provided early Speckled Wood, but unfortunately not today :( . Commas seem to be very plentiful here today, as were male Brimstone. A single Peacock was seen on the outward journey and several more appeared on the return. A single Red Admiral together with a couple of Small Tortoiseshell completed the picture.
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Just a single Red Admiral and less than half a dozen Peacocks.
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As with a disappointingly large number of my other local spots at the moment, this one also seems to be undergoing some building development :( .

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Fri Mar 31, 2017 6:31 pm

I too feel like I'm lagging behind Paul - but take heart as I've noticed that my neck of the woods is often 1-2 weeks behind, in fact the first Wiltshire Holly Blue and Orange-tip were only seen yesterday, so we'll soon catch up :D Great set of Comma shots by the way, the other Aristocrats are none too shabby either :D :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sat May 06, 2017 10:30 pm

Thanks Wurzel, I have caught up a bit now :D

Sunday 2.4.2017 - Saturday 29.4.2017 Various Sites

This season seems to be moving along quite quickly. So quick in fact that I have not had time to post for a while. I have visited quite a few of my local and not so local spots over the last few weeks. Here are few highlights:
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Brimstone - Westbury Park - 2.4.2017

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Holly Blue - Southwick - 7.4.2017
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Speckled Wood - Hatch Farm - 8.4.2017
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Brimstone female & male - South Downs Way - 9.4.2017
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Orange Tip - Stephens Castle Down - 17.4.2017
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Green Hairstreak - Stephens Castle Down - 23.4.2017
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Duke of Burgundy - Stephens Castle Down - 23.4.2017

Saturday 29.4.2017 West Wood, Farley Mount. I went to West Wood specifically to see if I could find Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy after seeing both at this site last year. I saw just 2 butterflies here today in less than favourable conditions, amazingly this was one each of my target species.
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Duke of Burgundy - West Wood - 29.4.2017
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Pearl-Bordered Fritillary - West Wood - 29.4.2017
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jonhd
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Re: jackz432r

Postby jonhd » Sun May 07, 2017 7:49 pm

Nice PBF underside, Paul. Yet to find them @ West Wood (must be looking in the wrong place!). Found a few (along with Dukes) 'up the road', near Stockbridge Down. Will be looking for GH, adjacent to the folly @ Farley Mount, next week.

Jon

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Sun May 07, 2017 9:56 pm

That's must rate as the most successful 'unsuccessful' trip :D Only two butterflies seen but one was a Pearl the other a Duke :shock: Brill :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Wed May 10, 2017 10:21 pm

Thanks Jon & Wurzel :D . Have sent you a PM Jon

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Mon May 29, 2017 10:51 pm

Happy Birthday Paul- :D sorry it was so late almost missed it:oops:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Fri Jul 28, 2017 11:35 pm

Finding The White Letter Hairstreak In Hampshire

I often see the White Letter Hairstreak described as ‘under-recorded’, particularly in Hampshire. I like a challenge, so I decided to take on the task of correcting that ‘under-recorded’ tag. Those that know me will be aware that I have put quite a bit of effort into this over the last couple of years. In the process I have become more than slightly obsessed with all things Elm and White Letter Hairstreak. This year everything seems to have come together, greatly helped by the weather of course. Over 2 weekends I have had 100% success at the 5 sites I visited. All of which I believe are previously unrecorded. Amazingly, I have visited all of these sites previously, some several times, all without anything definite to record.

Site 1 - Privett
I spotted this solitary roadside Wych Elm near Privett toward the end of last year. Two egg searches during the winter (including Christmas eve) were fruitless, but on the 11th May I found a single 4th instar larva. By the 18th June there was plenty of Hairstreak action around the canopy though I doubt this site will provide many sightings at low level as there are hardly any nectar sources.
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Site 1 Near Privett
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18.6.2017 White Letter Hairstreak

Site 2 - Broadmarsh
I found this Multi Wych Elm site about 3 miles east of Cosham in 2015. It looked so perfect for White Letter Hairstreak that I never gave up on it. I have not searched for eggs here but I visited several times during the flight season last year without any more than a faint glimmer of hope to report. This site lies at the busy intersection of two major roads and a railway line and one is always in close proximity to busy traffic here. In such an exposed position I am always slightly concerned about looking like a complete #### :lol: . Pete once told me that wearing a Hi-Vis and carrying a clipboard is quite effective, that certainly would not go amiss here :? . I checked this site on 11th June after finding them already on the wing at Cosham. I found Hairstreak activity around all the Wych Elms and the butterflies were also noted to be quite mobile throughout this site and several were seen down nectaring on both Bramble and Thistle.
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Site 2 Broadmarsh
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11.6.2017 Male White Letter Hairstreak
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19.6.2017 Sheltering beneath a leaf from the hottest part of a very hot day

Site 3 - Chawton
There is a lot of roadside Elm in this location near Chawton, but I was initially drawn to the spot by another single Wych Elm standing by a bus stop. Further investigation of the area was to reveal that there are Hairstreaks here, but they were using the roadside Elms that separate the road from fields in which sheep graze. Luckily the sunny side of the Elms is away from the road giving a relaxed viewpoint. Again there is not much nectar low down here but there were plenty of Hairstreaks around the half dozen or so Elms on the 18th June. Unfortunately the downside of wandering through a field of sheep without looking at the ground is the inevitable squelch :lol: .
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Site 3 Near Chawton
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11.6.2017

Site 4 - Curdridge
This was another single roadside Elm (I think Wych Elm) discovered in 2015, handily just 10 minutes from home at Curdridge. It stands on private land but overhangs the road, I Have yet to find out who owns the land but as soon as I do I will be seeking permission to get a better view. After looking here several times during 2016 I was not expecting much, but as things were going so well I checked it on the 19th June and was pleased and surprised to find Hairstreak action here.
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Site 4 Near Curdridge

Site 5 - Southwick
I was by now on a roll so on June 19th I headed for another promising site where there are several roadside Wych Elms near Southwick. This is a site I regularly visit for other species, but as I approached the Elms and saw numerous male White Letter Hairstreaks in aerial combat I let out an audible expression of astonishment. I was completely alone of course but I just could not believe my luck. This is perhaps my favourite of these 5 sites and is the one I have spent most time at.
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Site 5 Near Southwick
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2.7.2017 White Letter Hairstreak
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2.7.2017 White Letter Hairstreak

I am certainly not an expert, but I think this shows that the White Letter Hairstreak is out there just waiting to be found. All you need is to put in some effort armed with a little knowledge, patience, luck and a bit of good weather. The White Letter Hairstreak season is now pretty much over all but a few stragglers, but I still have plenty of other sites earmarked that I am confident will come up with the goods, though these will have to wait until the winter and next year.

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bugboy
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Re: jackz432r

Postby bugboy » Sat Jul 29, 2017 8:40 am

That's excellant, citizen science at its finest :D! well done Paul
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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:37 am

Great investigative work, Paul, and good to see that work paying dividends.

I too am always on the alert for elms as I believe this butterfly is a good bet anywhere if the foodplant is healthy.

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Re: jackz432r

Postby Pauline » Sat Jul 29, 2017 3:24 pm

Although you've already told me a lot of this Paul I think a public Well Done is in order. I know how much time and effort you have put in to this. Wish there was a Smilie for a round of applause :D

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:34 pm

Fantastic work Paul and a great array of shots as a reward for your sterling work :D :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel


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