Bugboys mission

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Janet Turnbull
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Janet Turnbull » Mon Oct 23, 2017 11:51 am

Been playing catch up on your posts Bugboy - I'm impressed how many butterflies you've seen of late, especially the coppers. We hardly seem to have had any here all summer. Gorgeous photos as always! I agree with Greenie that your mushroom is most likely a Common puffball (lycoperdon perlatum).

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Neil Freeman
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Neil Freeman » Tue Oct 24, 2017 7:08 pm

Hi Bugboy...some great late season butterflies in your recent reports :D :mrgreen: The last butterfly I saw around my patch here in the midlands was a solitary Red Admiral last week.

Cheers,

Neil.

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Sat Oct 28, 2017 5:49 pm

Thanks everyone, :) if it's any consolation to those not lucky enough to live near the south coast, they are making me work for it!

28th October, Essex

I fancied a change today and went for a little jaunt into Essex, my WLH hotspot and surrounding areas, hoping that the sun would be warm enough to temp something out for me to admire.

My first spot to explore was a new one for me but one I’ve been meaning to visit for a year or two now, a nature reserve called Two Tree Island. It’s a patch of reclaimed land in the mouth of the Thames estuary, surrounded by saltmarsh and mudflats.

The wind was a rather chilly easterly today which was unfortunate since many of the paths run east/west here so sheltered spots were few and far between. There was plenty of birdlife though and had I not forgotten to pack my bins I’d have spent a fair amount of time picking out the various waders I could hear out on the flats. Closer in the creeks that run through the saltmarsh I disturbed several Little Egret, some wintering Teal and a single Common Sandpiper amongst the numerous Gulls.
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It was an hour after arriving that a butterfly finally fluttered past me and around the corner. I followed and after a bit of searching I spied the bright orange of a Comma, making the most of the weak, hazy sun, deep in a thicket of Nettle and Bramble.
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Another hour or so exploring found no more butterflies but as I was leaving I stopped to watch an Egret looking for lunch.
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It’s definitely worth more visits, especially for some winter birding.

Next it was back over the road and train track to explore some more familiar hunting territory. Again, most the paths run east/west but I know the place well enough to know the best spots and sure enough I found another Comma, a rather rotund female.
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When she gave me the slip I moved on and nearly stepped on a Red Admiral.

This one was quickly joined by two more further up a scrubby slope. There was some occasional interaction which looked very flirtatious, but the female would reject the advances. I got the impression this little gang was quite settled here though, particularly when the female started egg laying, or at the very least was testing for suitable shoots, the chosen nettles were too deep in the scrub for me to inspect.
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Not too bad for a windy last day of British summertime.
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Wurzel
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:22 pm

Good to see you managed a two species day, at this stage of the season you can't rely on even seeing one butterfly :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Sat Oct 28, 2017 10:27 pm

If birds are trumping the butterflies then you just know the season is on its last legs!

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Goldie M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Goldie M » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:42 am

Well done, you found some Butterflies Bugboy :D keep them coming, seeing nothing here now to shoot, what I have seen was flying South quickly :lol: Goldie :D

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Sun Oct 29, 2017 6:49 pm

Thank Wurzel, another two species day today, in fact a two butterfly day!
Definitely David, today was a hard fought battle!
Thanks Goldie, I'm trying but I fear I'm fighting a losing battle now :? Roll on March :)

29th October, Bookham

So what did the first day of winter have in store for me, not a great deal to start with. Despite a sunny start I was followed out of London by a huge swathe of murky, nasty looking clouds and by the time I arrived it was spitting.

Immature stages it was then and it didn’t take much effort to locate a dozen or Brown Hairstreak eggs
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This twig seemed to have been rather popular, 6 in total.

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And at the Small Copper nursery I found four chubby larvae busy demolishing the leaves.
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Note all the hatched eggs

All this searching was to the sound of foraging flocks of Tits and newly arrived Redwing, as if we need reminding about the imminent arrival of winter!

I was keeping one eye on the sky and close to midday I could see some breaks in the cloud coming my way so I headed to Banks Common where the Coppers seem to be hanging on the most this year. The first thing I did here was spook a small gathering of Roe Deer, probably the same group I've seen a couple of times here this year.
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The sunny spells however failed for the most part to materialise and I remained butterflyless for some time despite several circuits hoping to put one up.

It was a brief thinning in the cloud that finally brought one out, a fresh male trying his best to make the most of the conditions, perhaps wishing he was still a fat caterpillar waiting for spring to wake him up. A 30 second spell of actual sun caused him to take to the air and have a little flutter around.
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That seemed to be it though and seeing no more breaks I decided to make the trip home. But no, approaching the station the sun came out again and looking up I was greeted with a clear blue sky behind me, the bank of cloud that had accompanied me for most the day so far finally getting blown southward.

With the sun came the warmth, it now certainly didn’t feel like the first day of winter but even so I didn’t find any more Coppers, nor even relocate the earlier male. For the second time I decided to make the move home and as if to say farewell, a Comma casually glided past me and taunted me for a minute or two whilst it decided whether to land or not. It did and turned out to be a well behaved subject.
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I wonder if this is my final butterfly of the year? I have a few days off over the coming weeks but unless I can magic a sunny day on the south coast somewhere I have a feeling my season has finally come to an end. It's certainly been a long and eventful one though and one that I certainly wont be forgetting for a while :D
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millerd
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby millerd » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:20 pm

A very nice Small Copper there, Buggy - that one wasn't around the other day... :) That Comma seems to have very broad borders compared to some - interesting. It's great to see the 2018 season in the making as well... :)

Dave

trevor
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby trevor » Sun Oct 29, 2017 9:28 pm

There are still a few sites performing down here Paul, Mill Hill is probably the best,
also High and Over and Shoreham Harbour are worth a look.
All three sites have their own suntraps if it is chilly elsewhere.
How far into November we get depends on Jack Frost, and Winter storms.

Happy hunting !
Trevor.

essexbuzzard
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby essexbuzzard » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:35 pm

Yes, don't give up just yet. If there is any sunshine, a trip to the south coast, or even Canvey Island, would be worthwhile. If you visit Two Tree Island this winter, the scrapes at the western end should be full of waders at high tide, including sometimes thousands of knots.

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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Sun Oct 29, 2017 10:51 pm

You're still seeing some good stuff, Bugboy, and by that I include the fleeing deer!

Nice to see a few early stage images to fill in the space which adult butterflies would fill in the midst of the mainstream flight season.

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Andrew555
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Andrew555 » Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:41 am

A great couple of days Bugboy, very nice Copper.

Cheers

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Mon Oct 30, 2017 7:56 pm

Thanks Dave, yes he was definitely only a few days old at most that Copper. Hopefully he survived last nights frosts and had a good day today, there's still plenty of flowers there to keep him going :)
Yes Trevor, those sites are in my mind but I need the magic combination of good amount of sun predicted on a day off to make it worth spending £30 on the train, or even, if I'm feeling brave, booking in advance based on a dodgy forecast to get a cheaper fare... it's in the lap of the Gods at this time of year!
Thanks for the info on Two Tree Island Essex, I'll definitely visit again in the chilly months ahead. Where exactly on Canvey Island are you still seeing Cloudies?
Thanks David and Andrew, there's always something to see if you make the effort. Always beats a day in London that's for sure!
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Tue Oct 31, 2017 7:44 pm

31st October, 1 trip too many

Well after everything I said yesterday, I plumped for a trip down south again, based primarily on persistent allegations on my phone weather app of some sunny spells in that part of the world, had I magicked one final day butterflying, well not really. There was a bit of sun, mostly of the hazy variety but it did get warm enough for me to remove my coat but at Mill Hill there were only a couple of Red Admiral flying around and a Comma as I was leaving, non of whom were in anyway cooperative. I actually spent a fair amount of time trying to avoid the dog walkers, there seemed to be some sort of convention going on!

Perhaps I should have gone to the Shoreham Harbour site first, by the time I got there the sun had become a lot dimmer and cooler so if there were any Cloudies around they were most likely tucked up for the night.

In the end I came away with a grand total of three images! I found a slight detour to Mill Hill on my first visit a month ago, a footpath that goes around some horse paddocks who's owners seem to have made some effort to encourage wildlife. Small fenced off patches seem to have been left to grow wild and I've seen plenty of Red Admiral along the path, every single one of which has seen me long before I saw it so not a single one of these dozens has been snared by my camera. Today was going the same way, with three or four fleeing me both on arrival and as I was leaving but finally I got lucky, one fluttered down on a post as I was stood watching the local Jay population planting Oak trees. So here is the most expensive Red Admiral picture this year... could have at least have had the decency to have been an extreme ab!
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millerd
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby millerd » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:29 pm

How very frustrating, Buggy. Hazy sunshine at this time of year just doesn't seem to do the trick, even when it's not cold. Unfortunately tomorrow looks as if it might be similar... Still - that Red Admiral is a nice individual. :wink: :)

Dave

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Andrew555
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Andrew555 » Wed Nov 01, 2017 9:52 am

Sorry your day didn't pan out down there Bugboy, nice RA though :)

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Wurzel
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Wed Nov 01, 2017 10:13 am

At least you got that cracking image as some consolation Bugboy :D :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Thu Nov 02, 2017 12:30 am

Seems like it's 'pot luck' down your way, Bugboy. Any other site may have returned Holly Blues, Commas, Clouded Yellows, et al. Still a couple of weeks to squeeze them in before the frosts descend!

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:17 pm

Thanks guys, yes very much lap of the Gods at this time of the year, but I'm glad to say they were on my side today :D

6th November, yes that’s right I went butterflying 50 days before Christmas!

A week ago I was tempted down to the south coast by a slightly less than accurate forecast and came home with 3 pictures on my camera, a week later and with far superior weather, I returned home with around 300 to sift through :D .

The small strip of greenery on the seafront at Southwick was my first stop and almost immediately a butterfly fluttered weakly past me. Not a Cloudie or a Red Admiral though but a rather fresh male Small White. It was still only around 9.45 and although bright and sunny there was still a bit of a nip to the air so he was really struggling to stay active.
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The same couldn’t be said for the next butterfly to zoom past me, Clouded Yellows don’t need much warmth to get their engines fully revved up, just a bit of sun! According the weather app on my phone the air temperature was just 4 degrees but in this sheltered patch with its steep south facing bank it was probably closer to 8 or 9. The Cloudie zoomed off leaving me in his wake so I wandered along hoping he had settled somewhere around the corner. He had but I spooked him before I saw him so the next butterfly to get the honour of my camera pointed at its face was a Red Admiral, in fact several, at least three, one of whom was an egg laying female. They were centred around a couple of fenced off areas, profuse with nettles and still flowering Ivy. The fencing itself was acting like a storage heater adding further attraction to this spot.
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A little later I managed to catch up with a Cloudie who was busy stuffing his face on Oxetongue and Clover.
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A second more worn specimen allowed me some nice closeups too.
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Several more Red Admirals were also seen giving me a conservative estimate of six or seven in total
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So I left Shoreham harbour shortly after noon with three species in the bag and made my way over to Mill Hill for what I hoped would be more of the same…
Some addictions are good for the soul!

millerd
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby millerd » Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:24 pm

Lovely shots of the Cloudies, Buggy! :) :mrgreen: Long may they continue down there... :)

Dave


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