Bugboys mission

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millerd
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby millerd » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:39 pm

It's obviously still worth a visit or two, Buggy - nice shots. Even some fresh-looking ones as well. :)

Dave

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:07 pm

Thanks Pauline and Dave, yes still worth a visit for a week or so yet I think :)

20th August, Denbies Jewels

After a lie in and catching up on a few essential chores I managed a few hours down on Denbies hoping the Adonis had started emerging properly. Arriving at around 2, I had the usual Denbies breeze to contend with but my spirits were lifted when I passed a group of three photographers just through the gate who had found a fresh male. I left them to it, confident that if they were this far up the hillside then I shouldn't have to look very hard. A bit further on I noticed a familiar figure walking towards me, Millerd! Dave's become a bit like a bus, not big, red and with two floors, but we've missed each other all season then bump into each other 3 times in quick succession! He'd been here most the day and was just leaving but I found out that the target was indeed out in good numbers and mostly freshly emerged.

As promised it didn't take long for electric blue jewels to start catching my eye, even older specimens still looking vibrant :) .
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I spent about 2 hours wandering the hillside and in the bright cloudy conditions they shone like beacons in the grass. I saw many a fresh animal still expelling miconium as the basked trying to get warm enough for a maiden flight.
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Chalkhills were still on the wing making finding females tricky but I managed two definite female Adonis.
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Chalkhill female

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Adonis female

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Adonis female

A fair few Silver-spotted Skipper were on the wing, making use of the paths to keep warm as the clouds slowly thickened.
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This male had a few issues emerging but could still, remarkably, fly well enough to get around.
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The same couldn't be said for this Skipper though, I popped her on a stemless thistle where she immediately began feeding. Perhaps a male will find her and she'll be able to lay a few eggs?
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I wonder if the recent strong winds have had an impact on emerging butterflies?
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millerd
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby millerd » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:29 pm

You found some lovely Adonis after I left you, Buggy - great shots that certainly capture their glorious colour. :) Not sure I can compete... :wink:

I thought they must still be still emerging, but you've confirmed it. I think the weather has drawn the process out.

Dave

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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Tue Aug 22, 2017 8:45 pm

bugboy wrote:..I wonder if the recent strong winds have had an impact on emerging butterflies?


I'm sure it doesn't help, Bugboy, particularly if there is heavy rain around too.

Thanks for that glorious sequence of electric blue. The good old Adonis really does lift our spirits at this time of year.

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Wed Aug 23, 2017 7:18 pm

Thanks Dave and David, I'm glad they've finally started to emerge here, I saw the first second brood male here back on the 23rd July, almost a month ago!

22nd August, Bookham

I was looking forward to my day off this week, there was an alleged brief return to summer with blue sky and temperatures in the mid-20s predicted. By Tuesday morning though these dreams had evaporated to a promise of some breaks in the cloud at some point during the day. This too never really happened so I was at Bookham hoping rather than expecting to add to my seasons tally of Brown Hairstreak. Unfortunately, it wasn't to be, they got one over on me this time. Nevertheless, there was ample compensation.

On the way I’d stopped off to have a look at the Small Copper eggs I’d found a week or so ago. There was some feeding damage but upon investigation I only found some imposters, several Sawfly larvae and no Coppers. I have no idea whether they would out compete or even eat the Copper cats. I shall keep an eye on any developments.
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Speckled Wood continue to emerge and seemed to be enjoying the muggy, cloudy weather.
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There were still a few Gatekeepers hanging on and some Meadow Browns were still looking reasonably fresh, but it was some other fresh emergent that caught my attention today. The female Brimstone (probably the same one as last time), was feeding in the same spot and was today joined by an immaculate Red Admiral and a nearly so Comma.
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Joining these were several fresh Green-veined Whites.
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During the few hours when the Hairstreaks supposedly take a siesta I went to have a look at the White Admiral cats, on the way finding a rather old female Holly Blue.
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I found the third instar one from last time easily enough although I can't work out whether he's fixing his leaf ready to make a hibernaculum or making a silk pad for moulting, he seems to have done both. The thoracic segments do look slightly swollen as though moulting may be on the way? It'll be at least a week until I can visit again so I should be able to find out what happened as long as he avoids all the hungry Tits!
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I also relocated another one, not sure if it's a large second instar or young third.
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The egg from last time was still intact.

I returned back to Banks common, hoping to find something orange and brown. It had started to brighten up a bit but that was short lived and merely gave me false hope. All the fresh emergent were still feeding on the same clumps of mint and fleabane though, hopefully a sign of a final flourish to the season.
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It was during this brief bright spell that I witnessed a Hornet (there are loads here) effortlessly pluck a Gatekeeper from mid-air and quickly dismember it ready to take back to the nest to feed to the hungry grubs. It was very quick and by the time I managed to get my camera on them two wings had already been snipped off. Gruesome but fascinating to watch. After only a couple of minutes all that was left of the unfortunate butterfly was a chewed up pulpy body.
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Brown Hairstreak 1 - Bugboy 0 (Agg score 2-11)
Last edited by bugboy on Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Wed Aug 23, 2017 8:46 pm

Nice mix of images there, Bugboy. I particularly like the first Green Veined White.

For your hornet/hedge brown pics, is the hornet in mid-air or is it holding onto something? It looks like there's some appendage connected to the thistle leaf.

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:35 pm

David M wrote:....For your hornet/hedge brown pics, is the hornet in mid-air or is it holding onto something? It looks like there's some appendage connected to the thistle leaf.


Thanks David. The hornet is hanging by one hind leg and uses the other five to manipulate her prey. It's not the first time I've witnessed this, I meant to post these pictures a couple of weeks ago taken again at Bookham whilst after Hairstreaks.
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It really shows just how big they are compared to their smaller cousins. All unnecessary parts are removed, wings legs and abdomen in this case. The high protein contents of the thorax (where the flight muscles are housed) is the primary target.

I also saw one capture a bumble Bee on Box Hill a few years ago, again hanging by the one hind leg.
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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Wed Aug 23, 2017 9:46 pm

Thanks for that, Bugboy. Fascinating stuff. It's amazing how they can suspend their entire body with one leg whilst transforming an insect body into a compact ready-to-eat bundle.

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:10 pm

Indeed it is David, nature will never cease to amaze me :)

25th August

Today was a beautiful day to go butterflying…… I was at work though, but I finished at 4 so I was able to nip out to the Marshes for a bit to catch a few butterflies before they all went to bed.

The commonest butterfly were Meadow Browns, varying from somewhat haggard to very fresh.
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I also found one that was almost missing pupils in the eye spots, I only managed one shot though, she was a bit camera shy,
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There were several Whites patrolling, Large and Small identified but Green-veined almost certainly present as well.
A handful of Common Blues were found, mostly impossible to pin down but a couple of females sat for me, the latter of the two a particularly attractive fresh one.
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Also catching my eye were lots of Latticed Heath including this ‘fresh out the box’ individual.
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It was only half an hour but it was worth it :)
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millerd
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby millerd » Fri Aug 25, 2017 8:35 pm

Fascinating sequences with the hornets, Buggy. :) I saw one dismember a Small Tortoiseshell many years ago, and I've seen wasps do similar things to butterflies too. Amazing insects.

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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Fri Aug 25, 2017 9:21 pm

Great set of images recently Bugboy and those Hornet behaviour shots are great, I didn't know that they'd go for butterflies but they're just another predator that butterflies have to face. I watched one the other day and it flew round eyeing each bee almost as if it was working out whether the individual would be worth 'coping' with before moving onto and sizing up another potential victim. :D

Have a goodun

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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Pauline » Sat Aug 26, 2017 5:40 am

A friend had just called to tell me she'd seen and photographed a Hornet dismembering and eating a large fresh Red Admiral - in a garden centre - when I saw your shots Buggy. I've had them in the garden before (a nest :roll: ) and it's amazing how quick they can demolish apples off the tree too. You must have been quick off the mark to get such shots :D

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Goldie M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Goldie M » Sat Aug 26, 2017 8:27 am

Great shots Bug boy we don't seem to get many Hornets here, well I've not seen many, unless they call Hornets Horse Fly's around here and we get them at Arnside and GB :D Goldie :D

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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby kevling » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:33 am

Buggy,

A little late catching up with the diaries this week. Love those Adonis Blues from Denbies, they're stunning electric blue colour takes your breath away.

Regards Kev

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:55 pm

Thanks for all the comments concerning the Hornets. I'm amazed there's any insect life left at all at Bookham, they really are everywhere!
Goldie M wrote:Great shots Bug boy we don't seem to get many Hornets here, well I've not seen many, unless they call Hornets Horse Fly's around here and we get them at Arnside and GB :D Goldie :D

I'm not sure they are found as far north as you yet Goldie. I know they are spreading north though like many of our butterflies so they are probably not far off from colonising your part of the world :)
kevling wrote:Buggy,

A little late catching up with the diaries this week. Love those Adonis Blues from Denbies, they're stunning electric blue colour takes your breath away.

Regards Kev

Thanks Kev, bright cloudy conditions really do make them glow!

Work

A glorious couple of days was spent at work this weekend. I did however manage to fit in my transects and checking on the Common Blue egg I saw being laid a couple of weeks ago I found it had hatched, very recently :)
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trevor
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby trevor » Mon Aug 28, 2017 12:30 pm

Queen of Spain in Sussex, day off next week !. Go for it Paul, go for it !.
I'm always thrilled to find them in France.

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:54 pm

trevor wrote:Queen of Spain in Sussex, day off next week !. Go for it Paul, go for it !.
I'm always thrilled to find them in France.


:lol: an early night for a crack of dawn start has already been planned Trevor :wink:

28th August, The Marshes

A sunny bank holiday Monday means only one thing on my local patch, too many people :(. So although I finished at 12 today I didn't pop out with my camera until early evening, when most of them would hopefully have moved on to the local pubs. The Sky by then had turned a bit milky but it did give me some wonderful colour saturation for what was still active. Small Whites have really recovered locally since the spring, double figures were seen this evening and mostly quite fresh. Only one settled long enough for a picture though, a female trying to avoid an amorous male.
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I found a Green-veined playing peek-a-boo around some Michelmous Daisies.
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The late flush of Meadow Browns is still emerging, mostly females were disturbed plus two mating pairs. I followed one pair for a bit and was rewarded when the female opened her wings, a real stunner by Meadow Brown standards. :)
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No Common Blues today but I'm sure I was being watched by them somewhere!

Fingers crossed tomorrows day out comes up with the goods :wink:
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millerd
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby millerd » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:56 pm

Good luck for tomorrow, Buggy! :) :mrgreen: (I have to go to Cardiff... :( )

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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:22 pm

That's a beautifully marked Meadow Brown female, Bugboy, very like the ones in the south of France.

Good luck with the QoStomorrow. I'd love this butterfly to establish itself here....it has to be one of the likeliest contenders!

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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Mon Aug 28, 2017 9:11 pm

Bon chances with the Queen tomorrow Bugboy, from reading Neil's report you've just to turn up and they're there :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

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