millerd

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millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:38 pm

Sunday 24th September: The promised beautiful day became reality and I set off down to High & Over once again for another look at the third brood Walls. Arriving at around 1030, I found them really active in the sunshine, and the change in wind direction had moved them to the other side of their favoured hedge at the top of the slope. Getting decent shots today was much more like trying at other times of the year - much less successful than I was a fortnight or so ago. Much of the time they'd settle with wings half open to reduce the chance of overheating, and nectaring was done in only very short stints on flowers.
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Almost all were males - the only female I saw spent her time inside the hedge and impossible to get any where close to. One or two were beginning to show signs of wear, but most seemed pretty fresh. At a rough guess there were at least a dozen individuals, but their mobility today made them very difficult to count accurately.
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Other species seen - a couple of very worn Common Blues, two energetic Peacocks, several Red Admirals - but none of the whites seen last time round.

A successful morning, but there was time left in the day for a stop off on the way home as well...

Dave

trevor
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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Mon Sep 25, 2017 8:34 pm

Another successful session with the Wall browns for you Dave. Some great shots too.
I'm wondering if the hiding female you saw had been mated, and was waiting for her eggs to ripen.
If that was the case she would surely want to avoid the attention of all the patrolling males.
Last year I witnessed a female reject several males in succession, clearly having no use for them.

Trevor.

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Butterflysaurus rex
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Re: millerd

Postby Butterflysaurus rex » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:08 pm

Great stuff Dave, glad you made it over here for the Wall Browns, they are not easy especially when the weather is warm!

ATB

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millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:54 pm

Thank you Trevor and James - always a pleasure to drive down to Sussex for the day and Sunday was glorious. :) I detoured via Mill Hill on the way home from High & Over, and that didn't disappoint either.

Sunday 24th September (part two): Mill Hill. As I walked down the steps from the car park at the seaward end, I had an immediate flavour of what was around, seeing a Wall, a Clouded Yellow and a female Common Blue in quick succession. It was really quite hot on the slopes, which were fairly well-sheltered from the breeze, and the butterflies were very active. Photographs were not easy to come by, and I didn't come away with all that much, but I saw a good selection for the end of September: Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Comma, Peacock, Large and Small Whites, Clouded Yellow, Small Heath, Meadow Brown and Wall. One or two shots; the Walls proved elusive, the Cloudies nearly so:
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I also chatted to another enthusiast (Mark?), who later found a roosting Clouded Yellow just as the sun disappeared into clouds in the west. This butterfly was absolutely pristine, a female I think.
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A couple of views. One of them has a Clouded Yellow in it! :)
view2 240917.JPG
view 240917.JPG

Dave

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Re: millerd

Postby Maximus » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:35 pm

That roosting Clouded Yellow certainly looks pristine, Dave :)

Mike

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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:36 pm

Fantastic Cloudy Dave, I still haven't seen one this year :mrgreen: :mrgreen: so a trip down to Bournemouth might be in order :wink:

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Goldie M
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Re: millerd

Postby Goldie M » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:37 pm

Great shots Dave, we're certainly not getting a great selection of Butterflies here but at least we're seeing some.Goldie :D

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Re: millerd

Postby bugboy » Wed Sep 27, 2017 7:15 pm

Nice Cloudie, that's one species I still hope to have a decent encounter with before we say farewell to this season :mrgreen:
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:07 pm

Great Clouded Yellow images from Mill Hill.
I was there today, and could only watch helplessly as they either passed close by without stopping,
or landed a bit too far away. :x
Trevor.

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:00 pm

Thank you all - it was a particularly splendid Clouded Yellow. :)

Monday 25th was wall-to-wall cloud, but Tuesday 26th September looked as if it might be better - though it started very murky again. After some humming and ha-ing, after such a good afternoon on Sunday I decided to head down to Mill Hill again. Amazingly, just after passing Steyning, the skies cleared and sunshine greeted my arrival on site. Before getting more than a few metres from the car park, I came across a nectaring Clouded Yellow, another lovely new individual.
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Astonishingly, no more than a few metres further on, there was another.
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A splendid start to proceedings, and before the day was out I had seen more butterflies and in more variety than for a while. There were Common Blues (a very good third brood), with some beautiful blue females among them.
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There were several nice Small Coppers (including one with slightly elongated "teardrop" spots)...
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...and a few rather worn Small Heaths.
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Good numbers of quite fresh-looking Meadow Browns spent most of their time nectaring (nearly all females).
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A patch of hemp agrimony had attracted a fresh Peacock and a somewhat tatty Red Admiral...
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...and there were a few Commas basking in the trees at the top of the slope.
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. There weren't many white butterflies around, but I did find a new female Small White...
SW1 260917.JPG
...and there were more Clouded Yellows all over the hillside.
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. As if that wasn't enough, on today's visit I managed to track down a variety of Walls, both male and female.
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I also bumped into Neil Hulme and Dave Cook also enjoying the late season bounty here, and counting the Walls - good to see you both. Here is another view of the hillside. In the right foreground is a particularly lush Deadly Nightshade and on the top of the crest you can just make out the two chaps just mentioned. I didn't spot them till later...
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An excellent day, and probably one unlikely to be matched until next year.
CY3 260917.JPG

Dave

trevor
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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Thu Sep 28, 2017 3:35 pm

Up until today I would have been gnashing my teeth at those lovely Clouded Yellow images.
But I was able to put that right this morning. One thing's for certain, Wall Browns could be
considered placid compared to warmed up Clouded Yellow on a sunny day.

I'm pleased that sunny Sussex is rewarding you in retirement !. Great stuff.
Trevor.

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Re: millerd

Postby essexbuzzard » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:09 pm

Well I still am gnashing my teeth at those Clouded Yellow images. I have seen a few around, and even managed a few pictures, but nothing remotely matching these! :mrgreen:

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Re: millerd

Postby bugboy » Thu Sep 28, 2017 6:21 pm

It could be high summer with that range of species on the wing. Make the most of it though, have you seen what's arriving on Sunday!
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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:20 pm

I'm with Trevor on this one Dave :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :lol: Some great Yellows and an astonishing looking Blue - but could it be all over after the weekend :?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:21 pm

Those first two Cloudies were an amazing bonus, Trevor - the rest of them were manic as usual in the heat. The Walls were none too easy either. :)

I think I caught them just as the sun came out, Essex, so they were just fueling up for the day - but luck as ever plays the biggest part! :)

It felt like high summer, Buggy - and it did feel a bit like squeezing out the last drops of the season. Returning to my local patch, not much is left - there may be further trips to the south coast if Trevor can keep things going down there! :)

Thank you Wurzel - it was a very blue female and must have been staggering when completely new, though it was still pretty stunning. :) I hope you do find yourself a Cloudie. Three were reported yesterday from the ever-reliable Southbourne undercliff, so that's the place to go. :)

Unfortunately I was only able to get out briefly locally on Wednesday and Thursday 27th and 28th September. This was a pity as there was sun and warmth on both days, but I suspect there was not much more than what I saw - one or two whites, a few Speckled Woods and perhaps a dozen Red Admirals. One species I didn't see at Mill Hill, though... :wink: I think many Red Admirals have been migrating south - if they had all stayed put, they would be overflowing the ivy round here by now...
SpW1 280917.JPG
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RA1 280917.JPG
The weather does look a bit iffy from Sunday onwards as the remnants of two hurricanes combine and head our way. Whether they managed to catch any migrating Monarchs in the process remains to be seen. Let's hope so! :)

Dave

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David M
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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:29 pm

Loving these images, Dave. You've seen quite a variety, with some beautiful Wall Browns and Clouded Yellows. My favourite though has to be that almost 'tacky' fresh female Small White. What a beauty she is.

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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Sat Sep 30, 2017 6:41 pm

Cracking looking Red Admiral Dave :D Cheers for the tip-off - hopefully they'll make until next weekend :?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Sat Sep 30, 2017 7:50 pm

Thank you for those appreciative comments, David. It is difficult to beat a fresh Clouded Yellow when the season is running down. :) I'm also pleased you singled out that Small White. It looked very new (the wings even seemed a bit limp, still), and wasn't really white at all, more a pale lemon. It also had extensive black scaling on the upperside, with incipient extra spots, including one on the hindwings. A nice individual from a rather overlooked species.

Cheers, Wurzel - I hope you make it to the seaside! :) :wink:

Friday 29th was another "blank" day with virtually no sunshine to entice either me or the butterflies out. However, Saturday 30th September started better. A large hole in the cloud cover appeared, so I headed swiftly down to Bookham Commons to see how the Small Coppers were faring. Bugboy had seen a few on Tuesday so I was hopeful.

Once at the usual hotspot, the Coppers were not shy in appearing, and I saw perhaps as many as ten or a dozen. They varied from pale, ragged and worn to very new indeed, with fresh examples of both sexes. Aside from the Coppers, there were a couple of male Common Blues. One of these looked quite fresh...
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...but the underside lunules were pale: yellow in fact rather than orange.
CB1 300917.JPG
Whether this is extreme enough to count as ab. flavescens, I don't know, as there is a lot of variation.

There were also a few Speckled Woods, including this nicely marked female waiting for the sun to come out so she could resume egg-laying.
SpW1 300917.JPG

However, it was really a Coppery morning.
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Dave

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bugboy
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Re: millerd

Postby bugboy » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:37 pm

Good to see the Coppers doing well there today, I hope they're all tucked up somewhere safe ready for tomorrow! If I hadn't been somewhere further afield today I'm sure we would have bumped into each other again :)
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David M
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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Sat Sep 30, 2017 10:03 pm

You've lifted my spirits with those images, Dave, on a day when I got a soaking merely for travelling between my car and the shops!!

Things are clearly still alive in those areas where it doesn't rain incessantly! :( :(


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