MikeOxon

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Goldie M
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Goldie M » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:10 pm

The Slipper Orchid will be out soon Mike at Gait Barrow, the Orchids are lovely flowers Goldie :D

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:09 pm

Thank you for the reminder, Goldie. Last year, I was too late to see them in flower and I may not be able to visit this year, either. It's good to know, though, that they do seem to have been saved from imminent extinction.

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Wurzel
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Wurzel » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:04 pm

Cracking looking Orchid Mike :D They look like Japanese cartoon characters (Anime or Pokemon - not sure what the difference is :? ) :D You can see how the idea of 'fairies' and Gnomes might have come about :)

Have a good

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:36 pm

Wurzel wrote:Cracking looking Orchid Mike :D They look like Japanese cartoon characters (Anime or Pokemon - not sure what the difference is :? ) :D You can see how the idea of 'fairies' and Gnomes might have come about :)


For Orchid 'faces', South American species take some beating - especially the 'Dracula' family. See this link for examples :) As their name implies Ecuagenera supply many orchids from Ecuador.

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Wurzel
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Wurzel » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:55 pm

They are totally mad and scary looking :shock:
Have a goodun
Wurzel

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David M
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby David M » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:56 pm

The majority of those are very 'simian' looking, Mike. I can't think of a reason why that is.

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Mon Apr 24, 2017 4:56 pm

I suspect it's just chance, David. The structures and markings have evolved to attract the appropriate pollinator, which is usually a small insect, and I doubt whether these creatures perceive the faces we humans see.

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MikeOxon
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Isles of Scilly, May 2017

Postby MikeOxon » Tue May 30, 2017 6:21 pm

I have just returned from a very enjoyable week's holiday on the Isles of Scilly. It was not a 'butterfly' trip but just a general family holiday, in peaceful and beautiful surroundings.

It is worth remembering that these islands are not just about the coastline and the surrounding sea, and I can strongly recommend a visit to the Holy Vale Nature Trail in the 'interior' of St. Mary's. This is a delightful reserve, managed by the IoS Wildlife Trust and contains mature Elm woodland around the only flowing stream on these islands.

ScillyHolyVale.jpg
St.Mary's IoS - 24th May 2017
Olympus E-M5 with 12-50mm lens - 1/200s@f/5.6 ISO 640

Butterflies seen throughout the holiday included plenty of Common Blues, which seemed widespread, and rather fewer Holly Blues, mainly on the edges of wooded areas. I also saw a few Red Admirals and Peacocks, and a sprinkling of 'whites'.

Unfortunately, I had not done my homework and did not realise that these islands host a distinct population of Speckled Wood, described as ssp. insula. In fact, this species was one of the most frequently seen but I didn't pay it the attention I should have done! My only photo was taken on St. Martin's and does seem to have the rather stronger colouration and markings characteristic of the sub-species but I must leave it to others to decide if my photo is, indeed of the ssp.

ScillySpeckledWood.jpg
St.Martin's IoS - 25th May 2017
Olympus E-M5 with 12-50mm lens - 1/320s@f/10 ISO 640

One good thing is that this provides an incentive for a return trip :)

Mike

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Wurzel
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Wurzel » Tue May 30, 2017 9:09 pm

I think it must be the subspecies Mike as I don't think they have our subspecies :D Did you catch up with any interesting bird species whilst there - any long staying 'yanks'?

Have a goodun

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Tue May 30, 2017 9:40 pm

Thanks Wurzel - I wasn't sure if all Specklies on Scilly are insula or if there's a mix.

No exotic 'megas', I'm afraid, but I enjoyed seeing Manx Shearwaters, Puffins, Razorbills, Guillemots, etc. plus one Great Northern Diver. All interesting to me, as we don't get many seabirds around Oxfordshire :)

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Goldie M
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Goldie M » Wed May 31, 2017 9:37 am

Hi! Mike I wondered where you'd gone, ( no posts from you since April ) and just a week on holiday, I look forward to your posts and thought you might be ill, glad to see your posts again Goldie :D

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Wed May 31, 2017 12:38 pm

Thank you for your concern, Goldie. I can assure you that I'm well :)

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MikeOxon
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Aston Rowant NNR - 13th June 2017

Postby MikeOxon » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:38 pm

On a warm sunny afternoon, I decided to take a walk at Aston Rowant NNR.

I was surprised to find very few 'blues', while the Small Heath was, by far, the most common species on the slope above the M40.

SmallHeath_AR2017.jpg
Aston Rowant NNR - 13th June 2017
Olympus E-M5 with 12-50mm lens - 1/320s@f/10 ISO 640

Although this may seem a somewhat dull species at first glance, a closer look reveals subtle and delicate patterns in the underwings.

Other species seen, but only in small numbers, were Brimstone, Small White, Green Hairstreak, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, and Meadow Brown. In addition, there were several small Cistus Forester (Adscita geryon) moths skimming rapidly across the short turf in search of Rock Rose plants.

With continuing warm weather in the forecast, I expect butterfly numbers will increase soon.

Mike

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David M
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby David M » Tue Jun 13, 2017 9:57 pm

Interesting to see what a spectacular site at a particular time of year holds in store away from that peak period, Mike.

I'm not surprised Blues were at a premium. After all, Common Blue is starting to go over now whilst the other members of this species will be more abundant in a month or so.

Good to see Small Heaths are doing well somewhere in the UK though. I'm seeing ever fewer of them on my travels.

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Re: MikeOxon

Postby millerd » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:10 pm

Interesting to read what you saw there, Mike. I make regular visits, but there is always a lull before the DGF, Marbled Whites and then Chalkhills take over the hillside - probably starting in only a week or so with the current sunny forecast. :) That's a lovely Small Heath, too, beautifully marked. :)

Dave

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:03 am

Thank you for commenting, Dave and David. The "lull" was very noticeable and, when I first arrived, I thought for a while that I was going to see no butterflies at all, despite the warmth and sunshine! Once the Summer species emerge, I'm sure the site will, once again, become its usual 'spectacular' self :)

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Bernwood Forest - 18th June 2017

Postby MikeOxon » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:18 pm

Yesterday (Sunday), my son suggested we meet up for a butterfly walk, especially hoping to find Black Hairstreak. We decided to visit Bernwood Forest, partly because the rides are 'buggy-friendly', so accessible to my one-year old grandson.

It was a hot day, with thin cloud and extended periods of full sun, so it was not surprising to find plenty of very active butterflies. Even before leaving the car-park, we had already seen three White Admirals:

Bernwood_WhiteAd2017.jpg
Bernwood Forest - 18th June 2017
Olympus E-M5 with 100-400mm lens - 1/250s@f/6.3 ISO 1000

We made our way along rides lined with Meadow Browns, Ringlets, and Large Skippers, together with several Silver-washed Fritillaries dashing by, to the Meadow, which was a shimmering carpet of Chamomile and Yellow Rattle, surrounded by Blackthorn hedges, with their attendant butterfly-seekers.

BernwoodMeadow2017.jpg
Bernwood Meadow - 18th June 2017
Olympus E-M5 with 100-400mm lens - 1/1000@f/9 ISO640

I had expected to find Marbled Whites but they were still very few in number. No doubt many more will soon be skimming over the flowers, if the hot weather continues. I photographed this beautifully marked, freshly-emerged female:

Bernwood_MarbledW2017.jpg
Bernwood Meadow - 18th June 2017
Olympus E-M5 with 100-400mm lens - 1/400@f/8 ISO640

Our first sighting of a Black Hairstreak was of one high in an Oak tree, which provided a few long-range 'record shots' but then we spotted a female busily egg-laying, deep inside the hedge. Photography was tricky, especially as the light-levels were dancing between deep shade and brilliant sun, with great rapidity.

Bernwood_BlackH2017.jpg
Bernwood Meadow - 18th June 2017
Olympus E-M5 with 100-400mm lens - 1/400@f/8 ISO1000

Another Black Hairstreak flew up from nearby, while we were watching the first example, and then we spotted another low down in the front of the 'hedge'. My son took several photos before it flew up and, like the others, disappeared deep inside the foliage. We were pleased to have seen at least four individuals and i suspect there were many others lurking out of sight. I was surprised to see them in such fresh condition, since there have been sightings in the meadow since the very beginning of this month.

Afterwards, we made our way up to the pond beside the main ride, where a Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly was posing on the top of a convenient stick standing up from the water. I also found a Silver-washed Fritillary 'mud-puddling' around the edge of the pond - behaviour that I have rarely seen in this country. Butterfly and dragonfly interacted occasionally but the dragonfly made no attempt to take it as prey.

Bernwood_SWF2017.jpg
Bernwood Forest - 18th June 2017
Olympus E-M5 with 100-400mm lens - 1/500s@f/8 ISO 1000 (+1.7EV compensation)

While on the main ride, we met MichaelJF, who has written under 'June sightings'about his finding of two male Purple Emperors. We were not so fortunate but this is by far the earliest date that I have known them to be on the wing in Bernwood Forest!

Mike
Last edited by MikeOxon on Mon Jun 19, 2017 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Pauline
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Pauline » Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:43 pm

Great shot of the Black Hairstreak Mike - as you say, not easy to photograph but a butterfly I would love to visit a second time :D

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MikeOxon
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby MikeOxon » Mon Jun 19, 2017 4:08 pm

Thank you, Pauline. I was very pleased to see such a fresh-looking specimen, since the season started so early, this year. She was a devil to photograph, as she walked through ever-changing patches of brilliant sunshine. This was the only reasonable photo that I got.

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Goldie M
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Re: MikeOxon

Postby Goldie M » Tue Jun 20, 2017 2:25 pm

Hi! Mike, another Butterfly (BHS) i've yet to see :mrgreen: Goldie :D


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