Bugboys mission

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Andrew555
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Andrew555 » Tue Nov 07, 2017 9:23 am

That Shoreham spot sure is delivering, great shot of the White, and Cloudies.
I know what you mean about coming home with 100's of pics, I'm the worlds worst at sorting through them! :)

Cheers

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:19 pm

Thanks Andrew, yup the frost free south coast is still worth a visit if you happen to catch a sunny day with nothing to do :)

6th November, Part 2

Even before I got to Mill Hill I was seeing Butterflies. Waiting for the train at Southwick, I watched a pair of courting Red Admirals flying around the station and then walking up to the reserve more were seen. The footpath that circles the Horse field produced several more, all of whom flew up from my approaching shadow, but I saw enough to see at least one was very fresh.

At Mill Hill the first thing I saw was a Fox, or rather he saw me, and we had a stare off for a minute before he skulked off into the undergrowth. Since I was still watching his rear end when he vanished into the shrubbery I awarded myself a win for the stare off!
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A few steps later I found myself in the middle of a Red Admirals territory, who circled me a few times before settling.
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As I was taking a few snaps a couple of cars slowed down out of curiosity to what I was doing, the first drove of but I heard my name called from the second one. Rather embarrassingly I failed to Recognise Dave Cook at first :oops: .

After a quick chat he drove off up to the top car park and I had a brief encounter with species number four of the day, a Comma sailed gracefully over my head and over the hedge, never to be seen again.

I wandered down to the sheltered bottom corner where I’d had most luck on previous visits and found three Cloudies, one of which was my first female of the year.
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Meeting up with Dave again near the top car park I found out the driver of the first car was a friend who had come up specifically for the Cloudies, and he wasn’t going to be disappointed!

We stayed on the upper slopes for a couple of hours and came to the conclusion we had double figures of Clouded Yellows around us, mostly males but also two females, in varying states of disrepair, although one male was probably only a few days old at most.
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There were also a couple of Whites, one a presumed Small and the other Dave was able to get close enough to confirm a female Large making a total of five species for the day. Safe to say it was a vast improvement to the previous visit
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trevor
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby trevor » Tue Nov 07, 2017 3:02 pm

At least that second rail ticket to the South coast was value for money !.
It's amazing how those Cloudies hang on into November.

Great report,
Trevor.

essexbuzzard
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby essexbuzzard » Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:51 pm

Well I'm glad you finally got lucky! The low November sunshine is very weak, as we are only a few weeks away from the shortest day. So any kind of high cloud means nothing gets through.

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Andrew555
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Andrew555 » Wed Nov 08, 2017 12:01 pm

Great days still to be had, nice one Bugboy :)
All these end of season reports are amazing to me, I had no idea how long things went on.

Cheers

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Wurzel
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:34 pm

Those shots could almost have been from August Bugboy :shock: :D :mrgreen: I just can't seem to presuade my wife that a trip to the seaside is just what we need so I might miss out on Cloudies this year :roll: :lol:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:31 pm

Nice to see the Cloudies still going, Bugboy, along with a fair few others for November too. :)

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Thu Nov 09, 2017 6:04 pm

Yes Trevor, much better value, works out not far of £1 a butterfly :D, excellent value for early November!
Thanks Essex, yup I magicked a glorious sunny day on a day off :)
Thanks Andrew, a few years ago neither did I!
Out of the wind it could have been a cool summer day Wurzel, I was in shirt and sunnies by noon 8)
Thanks David, there's still a few sunny days predicted down here too, maybe time to squeeze in one or two more sighting before Xmas!!!
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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Mon Nov 13, 2017 6:04 pm

12th and 13th November, the dying embers of 2017

Two sunny mid-November days, not the most obvious days to go out hunting butterflies, especially since I have my winter woolly’s on now, but in this day ‘n’ age you never know what may appear. It was a toss-up what day to go where, two days and two sites in mind, no prizes for guessing what those sites may be :wink:.

In the end I plumped for Shoreham on the Sunday, hoping that the south facing slopes and banks would shelter me from the arctic breeze. Not much luck in the respect unfortunately since the northerly wind had a distinct westerly twang to it and was circumnavigating the otherwise sheltered sunny sites and put a very firm lid on the temperatures.

A bit of wandering down on the harbour did turn up a solitary Red Admiral in the same spot they seem to be hanging around.
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A cursory look round on the nearby Nettle growth added several more eggs to the previous visits total.
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The only other things flying here were birds, lots of birds. This little spot does seem to punch above its weight in the biodiversity stakes. Wrens, Dunnock, House Sparrows, Goldfinch, Robins, Meadow Pipits and Greenfinch were amongst the avian life seen in and on the dense undergrowth
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A pair of Kingfisher were darting along the water’s edge, too nippy and nervous to grab a picture though.

On my last visit I also noticed some Kidney Vetch in flower
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and today I had a proper look around, discovering good amounts of the stuff on the path and the water’s edge. I’m not sure if Small Blue have been recorded here but there is definitely enough Vetch to support a small colony. (A look in a book called The Butterflies of Sussex by a couple of blokes called Blencowe & Hulme, there does seem to be a small blue square smack over Shoreham in the Small Blue entry)

Mill Hill, as I expected, was rather windswept. Had it not been for the strong wind I’m sure I would have seen a Clouded Yellow or two as on the odd occasion when the wind abated you could feel the warmth of the sun, but sadly, these breaks were few and far between and very short lived.

--------------------

Monday felt decidedly colder. Bookham was bathed in a mixture of low weak sun and crisp frosted leaves and I certainly wasn’t going to find any butterflies but there’s always eggs and larvae to find.

Even so I was surprised to find two active Small Copper cats in their little nursery. Of course ‘active’ is a relative term in this context, at temperatures only a few degrees above freezing I imagine any feeding was happening in slow motion. But with these leaves being frost encrusted only a few hours previously, you gotta hand it to them, they are tough little things!
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Elsewhere, and for the third year in a row on the same low hanging branch of an Oak I found a Purple Hairstreak egg.
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I keep meaning to stake out this tree one summer afternoon in the hope of catching a female egg laying, maybe next year...

Like yesterday birdlife was numerous, flocks of Redwing could be heard in the Blackthorn thickets and various small birds were busying around looking for small morsels to keep them going. One of the most numerous (and you can’t say this very often nowadays) was the Marsh Tit, they seemed to be everywhere today!
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As usual at this time of year I also kept my eye out for Brown Hairstreak eggs, finding around 30 new ones scattered far and wide. Like the Small Copper’s they are tough little things. This is the same egg before and after defrosting!
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Last time I discovered a cluster of around a dozen on a particularly popular Blackthorn sucker, but unfortunately, the ongoing work to encourage Nightingales here, (removal of dense scrub to promote fresh growth), had nearly destroyed this particular Blackthorn. It had been well and truly trampled by whatever heavy machinery had been used recently. A bit of rooting around though uncovered nine. I’m not sure if they are all still viable, several suffering varying amounts of superficial damage to the outer shell but as of today I have seven rescued eggs living in the back of my fridge. The remaining two were attached to the main ‘trunk’ of the shrub and I couldn’t remove them with destroying them.
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Wurzel
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:59 pm

Good to see Marsh Tits Bugboy - they’re underrepresented I reckon :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby David M » Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:33 pm

Things seemingly going a bit slack everywhere now, Bugboy. These recent frosts have finished off most of the butterflies that remained so even a Red Admiral is notable right now.

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Andrew555
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Andrew555 » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:36 am

Interesting stuff Bugboy, I like your bird shots :)

Cheers

millerd
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby millerd » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:06 pm

That's a great selection of "other stages" from Bookham, Buggy. :) I wish I had the patience (and better eyes!) to scour the vegetation and turn up all those. I really should try a bit harder...

Dave

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bugboy
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby bugboy » Thu Nov 23, 2017 8:23 pm

Thanks guys :). My season seems to have finally come to an end but I'll still find time to potter around my favourite sites with camera in hand just in case something catches my eye.

Talking of coming to an end here's a bit a review and some highlights of my 2017 (very much an abridged version). It's been somewhat hectic to say the least and I came a whisker away from completing the Mission, only those pesky Mountain Ringlets escaping me this year and if I am to believe the weather reports on the day, only by an hour or two :roll: ! Still, ending the season on an impressive 55 species isn't to be sniffed at, only four years ago my life list sat at around 35!

Three trips to incredibly beautiful parts Ireland and Scotland saw me ticking off three more lifers, Cryptic Wood White, Chequered Skipper and Northern Brown Argus, with invaluable help from Janet Turnbull and Iain Cowe, despite the best attempts by rather inclement British summer. A day trip to the Welsh borders nearly ended in disaster but dogged determination bagged Large Heath and I finally managed to make it to Chiddingfold with the help of Susie to see some English Wood Whites. And who could ask for a better pair of lifer bookends on British soil than Large Tortoiseshell and Queen of Spain Fritillary!!!
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Finding eggs is, with a few exceptions, obviously rather difficult but following ovipositing females makes things somewhat easier and I managed to add a few more species to that particular list, including recording the moment with a Grayling :D . Taking that process one stage further I also found my first ever Brown Hairstreak larvae
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Amongst the other highlights included coming across a meadow full of SPBF in Chequered Skipper country, my White-letter Hairstreak colony exploding in numbers with probably around 40-50 seen low down in one day, another glorious day spent chasing Lulworth Skipper down on the stunning Dorset coast and finally filling the gaping hole in my personal sightings of mating Orange-tips. Finally, along with a lot of others, the colour purple features highly in my memories of 2017 and I had my first full on proper Purple Emperor encounter, i.e. I was used as food :D 8)
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There's so many more encounters I could mention but I'd still be typing into next week if I tried to list them all. I'm not sure how 2018 could beat all that but I'm more than willing for it to give it it's best shot! However, I suspect my June will be focused somewhere in North West England or central Scotland!
Last edited by bugboy on Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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trevor
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby trevor » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:21 pm

You've had a great year, Paul, and I've no complaints either !.
Unlike you I've still to track down species not found in the south.
2017 was a remarkable year for Hairstreaks, some of your images of them
earn you a belated mrgreen ! :mrgreen: .

Next year we'll do it all again, bring it on !!.
Trevor.

millerd
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby millerd » Thu Nov 23, 2017 10:25 pm

A brilliant season, Buggy. 55 species is pretty good, especially when you see what it included... Like Trevor says, the Purple Hairstreaks really stand out. :mrgreen: Hard to follow, really. :wink: :)

Dave

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Andrew555
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Andrew555 » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:37 am

What a fantastic season Bugboy! well done. :D
Great shots of beautiful butterflies, hard to pick a favourite, they are all :mrgreen:

Cheers

Chris Jackson
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Chris Jackson » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:46 am

Some great highlights of 2017, Bugboy.
You certainly got around. All the best for 2018.
Chris
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Wurzel
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Wurzel » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:06 pm

You had a fantastic season Bugboy, here's hoping that 2018 is just as rewarding, if not more so :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Neil Freeman
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Re: Bugboys mission

Postby Neil Freeman » Fri Nov 24, 2017 8:10 pm

What can I say...not only is 55 species an achievement in it's own right but to include Large Tortoiseshell and Queen of Spain Fritillary in the same year as well. I bet that is a club with very few members :D :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Cheers,

Neil.


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