Hoggers

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David M
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Location: South Wales

Re: Hoggers

Postby David M » Mon Jun 19, 2017 8:48 pm

It's amazing the sheer variety of wing markings you see, Hoggers. I suppose we'd all be in a similar position if we could rack up 3 dozen or more in an average day! :mrgreen:

Allan.W.
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:48 pm

Re: Hoggers

Postby Allan.W. » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:11 pm

Hello Hoggers ,
Some unusual Coppers there Hoggers, I was at Dungie ,myself from around 6.45 - 9.15 ,but concentrated mainly on the Northern Long pit (a circuit ) for butterflies and a plant, and although there were hundreds of Small Skippers on the wing ,+ a few Mead; Browns, and Marbled Whites,not a single
Copper ! most surprised. Over the road on the RSPB (opp; Boulderwall ) section, I found 4 Small Coppers,all males ,and very feisty !!
Regards Allan.W.

Hoggers
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Joined: Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:49 am

Re: Hoggers

Postby Hoggers » Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:08 pm

Many thanks for all the comments,as always they are much appreciated. Because of the size of the Small Copper population at Dungeness I'm able to enjoy a wide range of variation amongst them,to the point where I begin to wonder whether there really is such a thing as a "typical" Copper!

Certainly the differences between individuals is a constant source of joy to me
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Today for example I found a couple of Sooty Coppers
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where dark scales overlay the usual brightness

I watched several Small Copper tourneys
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The combatants flashing in the sunlight
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The second brood is gathering speed
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My Copper-O-Meter detected 59 today
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I was very interested to find this chap
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I can't believe he's a second brood who's had a particularly difficult last couple of weeks! He must surely be the last survivor of the first brood, battle scarred but still with a twinkle in his eye.

Small Skippers are in plague numbers at present and amongst them I found a single Large Skipper
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I also came upon this Bumblebee lying dead on the path : look how much pollen he'd collected (from its colour I'd guess from the Viper's Bugloss)
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As the number of Small Copper grows I increasingly see them nectaring on the Bramble flowers where they look a treat
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Hoggers
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Hoggers » Sat Jul 01, 2017 3:05 pm

There was plenty of cloud today at Dungeness today but also sustained periods of very warm sunshine, although it was very breezy.
I followed my usual route, counting Coppers as I went along
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It was quickly apparent that numbers were going to be modest. I'd hoped for an increase on my last visit and even wondered if we were going to see another Copper Bonanza like last year ( when, for example, on 2nd July I counted 141)
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When it's breezy I often fail to achieve a high tally, but even so I felt disappointed with just 42 today
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It's possible that the the population will suddenly explode (and I hope it does!) but if it doesn't then this year's second brood will be rather a damp squib. I've started to wonder what might explain the difference between this year's second brood and last year. What immediately comes to mind is the startling difference in plant growth:2016 was remarkable for the lushness and abundance of plant growth throughout the Dungeness estate. By the time we reached the second brood I was often knee-deep in rich vegetation (and this profusion included the Sorrel).
But 2017 could not have been more different: it has been so dry that the plant life has struggled and "The Desert" has really earned its name! I think this has taken its toll on the 2017 second brood.
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Although numbers were low I enjoyed watching some jousts
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And I came across a few Curious Coppers, this beautiful male for example
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And this chunky chap
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This male was busily courting a female that wanted none of him
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But I noticed his peculiar colouring (which as he whizzed about looked grey)

Fascinating variations!
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Allan.W.
Posts: 412
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Allan.W. » Sat Jul 01, 2017 8:30 pm

Hello Hoggers,
I think you,re spot on concerning the second brood at Dungie, the plants have really suffered ,with very little (compared to the last couple of years !) Sorrel and other plants have just given up the ghost,through lack of rain ,last year I found superb clumps of Rough and knotted clover
just about everywhere,but found practically none this year,the Vipers Bugloss seemed late flowering and certainly not as lush ,when I have managed to get down to Dungeness,i,ve really struggled to find many Coppers,particularly in the second brood,lets hope its just a blip !
Regards Allan.W.

Hoggers
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Hoggers » Sun Jul 02, 2017 5:50 pm

Hi Allan, if I look back at my notes, on 27th June 2015 I saw 81 Coppers and 118 on 4th July. In 2016 on 30th June I counted 67 then a whopping 141 on 2nd July (and these are just an idea of the numbers present). This year 59 on 21st June and 42 yesterday. I'm no botanist but even I've noticed how poor the vegetation has faired this year. Yesterday I watched a female Copper apparently looking to lay her eggs. She was investigating some Sorrel and when I got closer I could see how meagre it was, with yellow and brown leaves. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season develops.

All the best,

Hoggers

Allan.W.
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Sep 11, 2014 4:48 pm

Re: Hoggers

Postby Allan.W. » Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:20 pm

Hello again Hoggers,
Managed a one hour flying visit to Dungie,early evening,and managed twelve(Coppers) ,all in nice condition ,bar one ,an absolute " Ghost" I,m thinking last first brood survivor ? several Marbled Whites, 3 fresh 2nd brood Brown Args,and 3 Essex Skips........so not all bad !
Regards Allan.W.

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Goldie M
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Goldie M » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:26 pm

Hi! Hogger's , hope to visit in a couple of weeks, fantastic Coppers :mrgreen: not seen one here yet. Goldie :D

Hoggers
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Hoggers » Sat Jul 08, 2017 2:26 pm

Hi Goldie, I've no doubt that you'll find plenty of Small Copper when you visit, but it's a pity that this year's second brood has been much smaller than usual and this is the reason
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It has been so dry that many plants, including Sorrel,have struggled

Today at Dungeness was very warm and calm but overcast. I managed to find only 54 Coppers
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A good total for many sites but about a third of what I'd expect at Dungeness in early July
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It's interesting that although the Coppers haven't done so well, other butterflies have thrived: Small Skippers were in plague numbers (but have dwindled now) and today I saw many Gatekeepers. I also saw good numbers of Brown Argus, 8 Painted Lady and this stunning Peacock
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Together with an Essex Skipper, a few Common Blues, Large White, Marbled White and Small Tortoiseshell.

I noticed that the Coppers are beginning to look worn
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And I came across this derelict
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Amazingly, still able to fly!

But a good number of fresh Coppers too
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Including this boldly marked female
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And this one with a pale forewing
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(something we see here fairly often)

I was treated to a "stalk dance"
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Is this Grandad popping out of bed?
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I'll be interested to hear how you get on Goldie
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Hoggers
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Hoggers » Sun Jul 09, 2017 2:56 pm

I thought I'd visit Dungeness today before it got too hot. There are many flowers in bloom but they look sadly vacant without the usual throng of Small Coppers that I'm accustomed to seeing. I stood gazing out over a rich bouquet of Ragwort and the like, magnets for Small Coppers, yet saw not a single one.

I could hear the Peregrine chicks calling to their parents and looking up I could just make out one of the adults perched high on a pylon
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Closer to ground level I began counting Coppers
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Only 37 today
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This time last year they were in their hundreds
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But every year is different!
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This rabbit seemed interested in me
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But returning to Small Coppers
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I wonder what the third brood will be like this year (if there is one!)
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Goldie M
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Goldie M » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:59 am

Hope there's still some Copper's around when i visit next week, I'm determined to make it this year :D Goldie :D

Hoggers
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Hoggers » Sat Jul 15, 2017 2:41 pm

On my morning walk with the dogs I was passed by a Clouded Yellow, my first of the year. It was seen in Ashford, Kent, so a fair distance from the coast.

Hoggers

Hoggers
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Hoggers » Sun Jul 16, 2017 10:48 am

Dungeness this morning was very warm (about 20C) and calm but overcast, so the butterflies were rather subdued. I walked my usual route whilst on the look out for Small Coppers and soon came across the odd one here and there
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Most looking rather worn now
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But nonetheless always a delight to see
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I watched this one perform the "stalk dance"
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You can see from this next photo how his front leg is blurred
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I hope this illustrates just how fast he is tapping his foot!
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On 16th July 2016 I counted 291 Small Copper but today I saw only 15 on the same route. My highest Copper Head Count for this year's second brood was 59 (on 21st June)
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Last year the second brood started on 19th June (approximately) while this year I saw my first second brood Coppers on 3rd June. So you can tell from the above that this year (so far) has been very different to last. While I feel sad that this difference is a negative one, I have to admit that watching the Small Copper population of Dungeness over the last few years and being able to compare one year to another has been fascinating
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I spent some time today looking at the Sorrel: we've had some decent rainfall over the last week and it has helped because although the clumps still look more dead than alive I did notice fresh growth of healthy green leaves, which is encouraging.

And I did find one fresh Copper too
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Hopefully a sign of good things to come!

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Wurzel
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Wurzel » Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:02 pm

A fantastic array of Coppers as always Hoggers, the variation is a wonderful thing :D I saw a few today myself including a couple of very fresh ones but nowhere near as many as you've seen :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Hoggers
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Hoggers » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:43 am

Friday and a day off for me so I nipped down to Dungeness. It was bright, warm (about 19C) with a lively breeze.

I took my usual walk and counted 9 Small Coppers
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Very low in numbers
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Most were rather worn
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But one fresh female nectaring on Dodder made for a cheery sight
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Goldie M
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Goldie M » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:41 pm

Lovely Coppers Hogger's has always, we were going to come to Dungeness today, my Daughter's car however broke down in the morning on the Duel Carriage way and it shook her up a bit so we took our car and her to White Cliffs instead.
I've recently got a few Copper's but I was wondering if you've seen any Clouded Yellow there yet? I've missed out on them three times this week and would like to go some where now where I'll get a chance to see them and get some shots before I go home.
Goldie :D

Hoggers
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Hoggers » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:19 pm

Hi Goldie, Clouded Yellows have been seen this week at Dungeness in ones and twos. I didn't see any there this morning but clearly worth a try. I live in Ashford and so far I've seen 3 Clouded Yellows in the last week on waste ground when I walk my dogs (all were quick fly pasts) so there's a slight migration going on at the moment - Good Luck!

Hoggers

Hoggers
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Hoggers » Sun Jul 23, 2017 2:40 pm

A Copper on Ragwort
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A rare sight at Dungeness this Summer, sadly
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Plenty of fine Ragwort but precious few Coppers
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So I made the most of it today
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I counted 15 Small Copper
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Most of them tired looking
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And dented
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But a couple of fresh males
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And a rare (for this year) Blue Badger
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Enough to keep a Copperologist happy
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I had a chat with one of the wardens (Owen): he takes part in a Botanical Survey of Dungeness and New Romney each year and told me that it has been noted that the smaller flowering plants (including Sorrel) were badly hit by the drought this Spring. He asked after the Small Coppers and said that he too had noted the drop in their number.

As the second brood started early this year I am pretty sure it is now almost over
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I'd guess that the third brood will be modest this year but with Small Coppers you never can tell!

PS, Goldie, if you're reading this, a male Clouded Yellow was patrolling up and down the power station wall by the red and white metal gate

PPS, When I got home I saw this Red Admiral on my Buddleia: It's got an extra white spot!
IMG_6094.JPG

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Goldie M
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Re: Hoggers

Postby Goldie M » Sun Jul 23, 2017 5:05 pm

Hi! Hogger's, I got your message :D I f we can get there I'll be very pleased but the weather doesn't look great until Tuesday now so
we'll have to wait and go with the weather I think. :D Goldie :D

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David M
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Re: Hoggers

Postby David M » Sun Jul 23, 2017 11:12 pm

Glad to see the Coppers still going strong on your patch, Hoggers, in spite of the perceived lower numbers this year. I’m delighted when I see a mere singleton so that puts things into perspective.


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