Maximus

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Maximus
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Maximus

Postby Maximus » Sat May 04, 2013 5:28 pm

After following and enjoying the personal diaries of others I decided that it was time to take the plunge and open an online diary of my own. The standard is high, but nothing ventured!
I saw my first butterfly of 2013 on March 14th, a Small Tortoiseshell, at Wrecclesham on a short visit on a sunny afternoon. Then winter continued!
It was not until 14th April that a Brimstone flew into the garden and settled on the underside of a leaf for long enough for me to get my camera.

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Brimstone


16th April.
A short afternoon visit to Noar Hill saw 6 Brimstone and 2 Peacock on the wing in a pleasant 16 degree sun.

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Nectaring Brimstone


23rd April.
Another trip to Noar Hill this time in 20 degree sunshine saw 6 Peacock, 7 Brimstone and a Comma, but it would seem too early for the Duke.
Then followed a visit to Magdalen Hill Down where from 2pm we spotted 20 Brimstone, 13 Male and 7 Female (no photo opportunities), 11 Peacock, 10 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Comma, 1 Green Veined White (camera shy) and 2 Holly Blues.

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Peacock

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Small Tortoiseshell

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Holly Blue


25th April.
Went to Wrecclesham as weather very hot at about 20 degrees, for a late afternoon visit. Saw our first Orange Tips of the year (not stopping for decent photos) 5 males. Also saw 8 Small Tortoiseshells (what a change from last year), 4 Comma, 10 Peacock and a Female Brimstone.

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Comma


On another note something is happening at Wrecclesham, not exactly sure what, but this was seen. Only time will tell!

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Digger

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Meadow area dug up


30th April.
Another visit to Noar Hill arriving at 1pm to see 3 Male Orange Tips speeding through by the entrance gate. Walking up through the site in pleasant sunny 15 degree sunshine 12 Peacocks, 3 Commas, 4 Male Brimstone and 1 Small White were seen. The Peacocks were having territorial battles with the victor returning to the same spot. Still no sign of the Duke!!
We returned back down the site via the left hand track and once at the gate I suggested to Cathy (my wife) that we should walk to the top pit again for one more look. On the way up we met a chap walking in the opposite direction, and talking to him it transpired he had seen a Duke of Burgundy but that his camera had failed to focus at the required time. The location of the sighting having been revealed to us we made our way to the spot. Although we searched for a good while we found nothing so looked elsewhere. Cath finally found the little beauty and together we admired him as he perched on a low branch while we took photos. He suddenly took flight leaving us both on a high.

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Duke of Burgundy


1st May.
Today Butser Hill was the destination and the weather was once again warm but with a cool strongish breeze. The walk to the valley bottom takes you out of the wind and on the way 9 Brimstone, 4 Peackock and a Small Tortoiseshell were seen and once again it was Cathy, my butterfly spotter, who saw the first Grizzled Skipper of the 6 we saw in total. Surprising how a year makes you forget just what gorgeous little butterflies they are.

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Grizzled Skipper


2nd May.
Another hot and sunny day, around 20 degrees, so decided a second trip to Magdalen Hill Down was in order as we were hoping to find a Green Hairstreak. Headed for the bottom of the escarpment where it was very hot and sheltered from the strong breeze. Brimstones were everywhere as were male Orange Tips, hardly stopping at all which gave us virtually no photo opportunities. Also saw 6 Peacocks, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 small white and finally, after much searching, a beautiful emerald Green Hairstreak.

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Brimstone

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Green Hairstreak

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Green Hairstreak



Species tally is now 12 so far this year after a slow start. Hopefully things will now begin to settle down.

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David M
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Re: Maximus

Postby David M » Sat May 04, 2013 5:36 pm

Thanks for the Wrecclesham update, Maximus. I daresay the developments there won't do the Glanvilles any favours?

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ChrisC
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Re: Maximus

Postby ChrisC » Sat May 04, 2013 6:12 pm

you have done anything but lower the standard. cracking first entry. look forward to more.

Chris

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Neil Freeman
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Re: Maximus

Postby Neil Freeman » Sat May 04, 2013 6:32 pm

Very nice start to your diary with some good photos, I look forward to seeing more .

Neil F.

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Maximus

Postby Neil Hulme » Sat May 04, 2013 6:59 pm

Thirded! Good stuff.
BWs, Neil

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Maximus

Postby Pete Eeles » Sat May 04, 2013 7:20 pm

Fourthed :) Keep 'em coming.

Cheers,

- Pete

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Re: Maximus

Postby Susie » Sat May 04, 2013 7:29 pm

High five'd ;-)

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Mark Colvin
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Re: Maximus

Postby Mark Colvin » Sat May 04, 2013 7:50 pm

Nice to see your diary, Maximus.

A really great start. Keep up the good work :)

Kind regards. Mark

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Padfield
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Re: Maximus

Postby Padfield » Sat May 04, 2013 8:39 pm

Ave, Maxime.

Guy
Guy's Butterflies: http://www.guypadfield.com

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Maximus
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Re: Maximus

Postby Maximus » Sun May 05, 2013 5:37 pm

Hi David, can only wait and see what unfolds at Wrecclesham.

Chris, Neil F, Neil, Pete, Susie and Mark thanks for your positive comments.

Ave Guy.

Mike

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Vince Massimo
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Re: Maximus

Postby Vince Massimo » Sun May 05, 2013 8:22 pm

Great stuff Mike :D

Could you add your photo of the Duke of Burgundy to the Species-Specific Album when you get time please.

Many thanks,

Vince

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Maximus
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Re: Maximus

Postby Maximus » Mon May 06, 2013 4:54 pm

Hi Vince,
I have added the image to the Species-specific Album but for some reason the site ie. Noar Hill and date 30th April 2013 did not appear in the description, is it possible to edit the text to show these?

Mike

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Vince Massimo
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Re: Maximus

Postby Vince Massimo » Mon May 06, 2013 5:24 pm

Thanks for the download Mike. When you input details they need to go in the "Imagename" box rather than "Image Description" for them to appear on screen. I have made the necessary changes, but you can always amend such details yourself in the future by clicking on "Moderate" (which is listed under the image) and then "Edit".

Vince

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Maximus
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Re: Maximus

Postby Maximus » Tue May 14, 2013 4:05 pm

8th May

As the weather was warm and sunny we decided on an afternoon trip to Bentley Station Meadow. Last year, the woodland adjoining the meadow saw lots of Orange Tips nectaring on violets, this year however was a different matter as the tree canopy had shaded out the violets and not an Orange Tip was to be seen. On the other hand, the meadow area having many patches of violets growing was frequently being visited by male Orange Tips. Once again they were not stopping long enough for a respectable photo. There were plenty of Peacocks and Commas in the meadow and these were spending most of the time waging aerial attacks on each other.

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Duelling Comma

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Battle scarred Peacock


In all we saw 8 Peacocks, 2 Commas, 6 Male Orange Tips and a Large White all seen in the late afternoon sun.

Although it appeared to have been cut along the edges of the footpath, we saw plenty of Garlic Mustard growing around the station carpark.

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Garlic Mustard


10th May
Although the weather wasn't brilliant we went again to Butser Hill hoping to see a Duke or possibly a Dingy Skipper. Arriving at 1.30pm we walked up the track and saw only a Brimstone, a Green Veined White and a Holly Blue. As we got to the gate at the entrance to Rake Bottom a strong wind was really whipping up through the valley. After a 10 minute search we spotted a Duke of Burgunduy being blown about before finally settling low down in the grass, sheltering just long enough for us to take its photo. It then got caught in the wind and was blown out of sight across the meadow.

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Duke of Burgundy


Although this was the only Duke we saw, we managed to find 5 Green Hairstreaks, 8 Grizzled Skippers, 3 Peacocks, 5 Brimstones and another Holly Blue, in spite of the unfavorable conditions.

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Green Hairstreak basking on its side

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Grizzled Skipper


12th May

Today we made a second trip to Rewell Wood to join a BC Sussex Branch field event looking for Pearl Bordered Fritillaries led by Neil Hulme. The previous week had seen 42 participants but was unsuccesful due to later emergence of the butterflies caused by the current weather conditions. This time there were about half the attendees, and on our arrival Neil gave us the good news that the butterflies had at last begun to emerge and that he had seen some in the morning whilst leading another field trip in the wood. As heavy rain was forecast we made haste to the woodland clearing and instantly a Pearl Bordered Fritillary was seen alighting on a shrub, followed shortly by another which, due to the cool conditions, very obligingly posed for photos! Many thanks Neil for your perseverance on this one.

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13th May

Today, fired by yesterday's sighting of the 'Pearls', Cathy and I headed off to Noar Hill for a second bite of the Dukes. As we walked up through the pits It was very overcast and windy and, unsurprisingly, we saw no butterflies, which, in our experience at least, is quite often the case here. It wasn't until we had stood for about 10 minutes in one of the deep, sheltered pits further into the reserve that the sun appeared and with it a Duke of Burgundy flew into my line of vision and settled on a grass stem in front of me. I called Cathy over to see him, another Duke joined the first and both turned their open wings to the sun allowing us to admire them and take some photos. We saw 4 in total, 2 of them begining to look a bit faded.


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While at Noar I saw several Male Orange Tips flying along the path occasionally stopping to nectar on Dandelions. I stood and waited until one settled and finally 'broke my duck' by at last photographing a lovely fresh looking male. Our tally for the afternoon was 4 Dukes and 3 Orange Tips, all in all a good day for us at Noar.


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Male Orange Tip

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David M
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Re: Maximus

Postby David M » Tue May 14, 2013 7:36 pm

Some nice shots there, particularly the PBFs.

You've seen quite a bit given the atrocious conditions lately. Wish I could say the same. :(

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Re: Maximus

Postby Wurzel » Tue May 14, 2013 9:32 pm

Great report Maximus and that shot of the Orange-tip is a belter :mrgreen: :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Maximus
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Re: Maximus

Postby Maximus » Wed May 15, 2013 1:03 pm

Hi David, thanks for the positive comments, I was pleased with the PBF photos. We just try to find a small weather window just to get out and see some butterflies but those windows have not been too frequent recently and we have been out in some rough conditions, but we have still found a few hardy individuals. I am guessing from your comments that the weather in South Wales has been a lot worse than here in the south?

Hi Wurzel, thanks, its been a long time coming (for me), a decent shot of a male Orange Tip! I have just seen your Bentley Wood PBF photos excellent stuff, your perseverance has paid off!!

Mike

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David M
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Re: Maximus

Postby David M » Wed May 15, 2013 4:54 pm

Maximus wrote: I am guessing from your comments that the weather in South Wales has been a lot worse than here in the south?


It's been shocking. Since those two warm days on Bank Holiday Monday and the following Tuesday it's been a complete write off. I DID venture out this afternoon, but you need sunshine when the air temperature is this low and I'm afraid that's in short supply.

I fear another weekend is about to be written off as well because the forecast doesn't look good here for Saturday and Sunday either. :(

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Maximus
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Re: Maximus

Postby Maximus » Tue May 28, 2013 6:13 pm

We have just returned from the Isle of Wight and a week of terrible weather. This was a family holiday so butterflies had to fit in with other activities. On the Tuesday (21st May) although the weather was not brilliant we decided to visit Bonchurch Down which would provide some shelter from the wind. As we walked along the bottom of the down a Wall Brown flew up from the path just ahead of us, followed by two fighting Walls. Although this was great, getting a decent photo was another thing! We saw a total of 4 Wall Browns, 2 Orange Tips and a Brimstone. In our experience, Wall Browns were pretty hard to keep an eye on when flying against the hillside, and sometimes flew quite a distance before settling making it almost impossible to find them again. However after some very careful stalking this was the pleasing result.



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Wall Brown Male




Wednesday afternoon (22nd May) promised a break in the weather so we took a walk near Newchurch in the beautiful Yar Valley. The Orange Tips were plentiful as were the Green Veined Whites all making the most of the sunshine.


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Green Veined White

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We then decided to drive to Bonchurch Down again to try to get some more photos of the Wall Browns. When we arrived there was a mixture of sun and cloud and it was quite cool, but at the bottom of the Down it was very sheltered and warm once out of the northerly breeze. We saw one Wall which promptly vanished and 3 Speckled Woods one of which was almost out of sight in the grass but accepted the warmth of my finger before opening its wings and taking flight.


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Speckled Wood






The weather once again took a turn for the worse with afternoon temperatures barely reaching 8 degrees, and although we searched hard, this put paid to any further butterfly sightings!


Saturday dawned with clear blue skies and moderate winds so we decided to make the most of the day and catch a later ferry. After breakfast we made haste to Bonchurch Down in almost Mediterranean sunshine and a temperature of 16 degrees. What a difference the warmer weather made.


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Our first Brown Argus of 2013


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Wall Brown Female

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Wall Brown with closed wings through grass


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Speckled Wood


We saw 6 Wall Browns, 2 Brown Argus, 3 Small Copper, 3 Small Heath, 2 Green Hairstreaks, 2 Speckled Wood and numerous 'flighty' Orange Tips.
With the weather as it was we drove down to Ventnor Esplanade car park to have one last shot at the Glanville Fritillary along Wheelers Bay. As we walked along the path we started to see butterflies.


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Our first Common Blue of 2013

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Mating Pair


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Dingy Skipper


In all we saw 6 Common Blue, 2 Brown Argus, 2 Peacock, 4 Dingy Skippers and a few Orange Tips and Large Whites. We didn't see any Glanville Fritillaries but met a man (Andy Butler) who had seen one earlier that day, but with all the butterflies we had already seen we were happy to wait to see the Glanville Fritillary another time.


The following day (26th May) we dropped my sister at Canterbury and decided on a quick trip to Blean Wood, but although it was sunny and we searched for an hour we saw no Heath Fritillaries. It is probably still a little too early yet given weather conditions this Spring!
We had to drop my sister's holiday luggage at Hythe before heading home, so as it was on the way we decided to pay a visit to Park Gate Down. We had the Down to ourselves and enjoyed a nice couple of hours in the sun enjoying the Dingy Skippers before departing. We saw 8 Dingys in total.


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Monkey Orchid just coming into flower

Nick Broomer
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Re: Maximus

Postby Nick Broomer » Tue May 28, 2013 6:33 pm

Hi Maximus,

looks like you have been having a good time of late, some lovely photos, my favourite being the Dingy Skipper on the Bird`s-foot Trefoil, beautiful.
All the best, Nick.


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