millerd

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bugboy
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Re: millerd

Postby bugboy » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:40 pm

The local Nettle beds must have been heaving with caterpillars!
Some addictions are good for the soul!

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Mon Oct 16, 2017 12:36 pm

bugboy wrote:The local Nettle beds must have been heaving with caterpillars!
Strangely, Buggy, not that you'd have noticed. There are some quite large beds of nettles around here that obviously suit them - hence the numbers - but they are not easy to find. :?

Sunday 15th October: I had a busy day scheduled, and my local look was very brief on what turned out to be a warm and sunny day for the most part. Nevertheless I quickly totted up 14 Red Admirals and a single Comma - no sign of any Specklies today.
RA1 151017.JPG
A prominent bialbata specimen


Monday 16th October: As the remains of Hurricane Ophelia battered the western half of the British Isles, it was unusually warm and there was some very hazy sunshine for my local patch (the "red sun" phenomena reported on the news today).
Sun 161017.JPG
It was windy though, and the combination of sun, warmth and wind made counting Red Admirals very tricky indeed. They were extremely active and weren't settling anywhere for long: at one point it felt almost as if I had a small cloud of them around my head. I did notice that they were starting to look a little worn now - or maybe that was just the ones that stopped long enough to be scrutinised that closely. At a rough guess, there were at least 20 around in the usual spot.
RA2 161017.JPG
RA1 161017.JPG
I also saw a couple of Commas, whose behaviour was by contrast unaltered. They sat and basked.
Comma2 161017.JPG
Comma1 161017.JPG

All change with the weather tomorrow...

Dave

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Goldie M
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Re: millerd

Postby Goldie M » Mon Oct 16, 2017 2:05 pm

Hi! Dave, great shots of the Butterflies, my Husband was telling me about the Red Sun, he'd to go into town this morning , he said the cloud lifted and the Sun was red before clouding over again, we've got the high winds now but the Sun is shining and it's lovely and warm outside :D Goldie :D

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Mon Oct 16, 2017 8:17 pm

Thanks, Goldie - it got even redder later on (This was taken at 1421).
sun2 161017.JPG
Around three o'clock, the whole sky turned orange and it got quite dark for a while. Apocalyptic! But by sunset the haze had largely gone. A bizarre day of weather. :)

Dave

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Tue Oct 17, 2017 11:51 am

Tuesday 17th October: a sunny morning until about 1130, but much cooler than the last few days. The butterflies were just getting going when the sun started to fade into gradual grey gloom, but I counted about a dozen Red Admirals, a Comma, and the reappearance of a Speckled Wood before this happened.
SpW1 171017.JPG
Comma1 171017.JPG
RA1 171017.JPG
RA2 171017.JPG
Today marks exactly eight months since my first sightings of the year, back on 17th February (when Red Admirals and Commas were also seen). Not a bad length of season, and though the weather will be deteriorating over the next few days, it may of course not be the end! This is also the 16th consecutive day when I've seen butterflies locally - every day in October except 1st - including 14 different species. Now that does seem good! :)
RA3 171017.JPG

Dave

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Wurzel
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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:00 pm

That is an impressive tally indeed Dave, you must live in a pretty good microclimate bubble :D :mrgreen: Hopefully there may still be a few days of butterflying left this season, fingers crossed :?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

trevor
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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Wed Oct 18, 2017 7:37 am

The weather you describe trashed my plans for yesterday.
Great images of those Red Admirals, a fine sight at this time of year.
As far as Butterflies are concerned, we are now living on borrowed time.

Trevor.

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Goldie M
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Re: millerd

Postby Goldie M » Wed Oct 18, 2017 8:13 am

Hi! Dave, the garden Butterflies disappeared for the last two days because of the bad wether , it's sunny today so I'll keep a look out but it's much cooler. Great your still seeing them :D Goldie :D

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Andrew555
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Re: millerd

Postby Andrew555 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 8:52 am

Sounds like a great October Dave. Interesting to learn about the various abberations, I'm going to have to check through my old pics now. :)

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:07 pm

Thanks, Wurzel - it's probably partly the Heathrow "heat island" effect and habitat that suits the less-specialised butterflies. And the season is still going - just. :) :wink:

Thanks, Trevor - it's been a two-day washout here too without a glimpse of the sun. :(

Thank you, Goldie - if the sun shines you'll probably see something! :)

Cheers, Andrew. Yes, October has been pretty good, really. When there are so many Red Admirals, you do start to look at individuals a bit more closely to see what variation exists. It's amazing what you find! :)

Two grey and dismal days meant no sightings on Wednesday and Thursday. However, at lunchtime on Friday 20th October, the sun appeared sheepishly and in case this proved to be just a ten-minute wonder, I dashed out onto the nearest part of my local patch. Everything was rather soggy, and the recent rain and wind seemed to have spoiled the ivy flowers. However, high up and out of camera range was a Comma. Red Admirals then appeared, but I only managed to count four over half an hour or so.
RA1 201017.JPG
There was also a solitary Speckled Wood.
SpW1 201017.JPG
I then glanced up at a large wild buddleia, now bereft of flowers, where Red Admirals often warm up at the start of a sunny spell, and saw a flash of something blue. I was very pleased to find that it was yet another lovely new male Holly Blue.
HB1 201017.JPG
Resigned to it being somewhat out of reach, I was pleased when a gust of wind caught it and set it down nearly at ground level. After composing itself for a minute or two, it sensed the sunshine and gradually opened up again.
HB11 201017.JPG
HB10 201017.JPG
HB3 201017.JPG
HB4 201017.JPG
HB6 201017.JPG
HB7 201017.JPG
Still a few surprises in 2017 it seems... :D
HB8 201017.JPG

Dave

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Andrew555
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Re: millerd

Postby Andrew555 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:24 pm

That's great, well done Dave, dedication pays off.
You not only got a sighting but great pics as well.

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Wurzel
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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:01 pm

I still haven't got any shots of a male Holly Blue that come anywhere near as good as those Dave :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

trevor
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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Sat Oct 21, 2017 12:41 pm

What's going on at your local patch ?. Two male Holly Blues at this time of year is remarkable.
None around here at all, but I did see a Red Admiral being blown around by ' Brian ' this morning.

I think you're a good contender for the last Butterfly photo of 2017, at this rate !.

All the best,
Trevor.

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David M
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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Sun Oct 22, 2017 2:07 pm

Where are you conjuring these Holly Blues from, Dave?? :) You're a magnet for them.

That is yet another fresh individual so with any luck you may still find a female or two before the cold weather kicks in.

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Re: millerd

Postby Allan.W. » Sun Oct 22, 2017 3:34 pm

Some great Holly Blue shots there Dave ,haven,t seen any myself now for a couple of months,looks really fresh as well
nice find ! Things for me (butterfly-wise )seem all but finished,it's definitely turned a lot cooler,and very windy ,here in my part of Kent !
Regards Allan.W.

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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:34 pm

Thanks to all of you for the appreciative comments on the Holly Blue. :) Oddly enough, at this time of year when any sunshine is relatively weak, they are more inclined to open up a bit more to soak up what sun there is. I think I've found five individuals since late September, all in roughly the same place. All have been completely new, hatched that day in all likelihood - but no females.

I've just spent the last few days up in Yorkshire, staying with my sister in Wilberfoss a few miles east of York itself. Her house is liberally spotted with Large and Small White chrysalids at present, about half of which have been parasitised. I think I'll post some shots of those separately. Storm Brian passed through at the start of my stay, but on Monday 23rd October things calmed and there was an hour or so of weak sunshine and it grew quite warm. The southwest corner of my sister's house is covered in ivy, so I popped out and craned my neck upwards. Sure enough, I managed to count five Red Admirals and one Comma.
RAx3 231017.JPG
three in this particular view
RA+C 231017.JPG
this one moved across to reveal the Comma behind it
Comma1 231017.JPG
for the record only...
One of the Red Admirals came down a bit lower briefly.
RA1 231017.JPG
deciding to bask for a bit
It was warm again today (24th) but I was driving back so couldn't see what was about, but tomorrow may be similar.... Who knows what may be about on my local patch!

Dave

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Wurzel
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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:08 am

This post pretty much sums up butterflying at the end of October - find some Ivy and wait for the sun :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:08 pm

This is very true, Wurzel! :) And you were right, David, when you predicted a few days back that a female Holly Blue might turn up. :)

Wednesday 25th October: I didn't have to wait too long for the sun today, as it was out and warming my local patch before 10 o'clock. Warm was the word, too - it turned into a lovely day, with hardly a breath of wind and lots of sunshine. I made for the usual ivy patch, which sadly has nearly finished flowering - but not quite. On the way I disturbed a couple of basking Red Admirals, and there were more on the ivy. Altogether, there were around eight or nine around - possibly one or two more.
RA1 251017.JPG
RA2 251017.JPG
RA3 251017.JPG
Some of the Red Admirals were setting up territories, and my intrusion was treated in typical fashion - I was annexed.
RA4 251017.JPG
RA5 251017.JPG
Accompanying the Admirals were three Commas, including one that preferred dandelions to the ivy flowers - a particularly large individual for the hibernating brood.
Comma3 251017.JPG
I watched a Small White fly lazily over quite high up, showing no interest in either type of flower on offer, and a Speckled Wood patrolled the edge of the brambles and nettles.
SpW2 251017.JPG

However, once again the day was made by the Holly Blues. Altogether I saw three individuals - one newish male that stayed mostly high up and was flying between trees much as they do in the summer, another somewhat worn male that stayed lower down and basked from time to time...
HBii1 251017.JPG
HBii2 251017.JPG
HBii4 251017.JPG
...and a nearly new female that mixed basking and nectaring, and also opened up a bit.
HB4 251017.JPG
HB12 251017.JPG
HB14 251017.JPG
HB17 251017.JPG
HB16 251017.JPG
HB18 251017.JPG
HB15 251017.JPG
The second male eventually discovered her, but his attentions were spurned as she twice flung herself on the ground and hid in the grass. He then took his frustrations out on a couple of Red Admirals, chasing them all over the place.

What a splendid day, considering the date... :D
HB1 251017.JPG

Dave

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bugboy
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Re: millerd

Postby bugboy » Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:29 pm

:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: is all I have. I did see a single Speckled Wood today, but it was the other side of a window where I was working today :(
Some addictions are good for the soul!

trevor
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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Wed Oct 25, 2017 6:23 pm

What can one say Dave, other than amazing !. That must be one of the best late October hauls ever. :mrgreen: .
Up at High and Over, under cloud, I could see vast swathes of sunshine to the north and west, but none for me.

Stunning female Holly Blue.

Trevor.


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