Tony Moore

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David M
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby David M » Tue Aug 01, 2017 10:12 pm

Well, if THAT one's alberganus I'll take up birdwatching instead! :)

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Padfield
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Padfield » Wed Aug 02, 2017 5:56 am

Yes, that last one's definitely manto!

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

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Tony Moore
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Re: Rainy Days

Postby Tony Moore » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:00 pm

The Penkenbahn disappearing ;into the mist:

1-Weather.jpg


The day was enlivened by this little visitor:

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The rain gave over for an hour and I used my free Penkenbahn trip. An early Alpenrose:

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A neat little wasp:

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And the biggest hoverfly I've ever seen. Much stouter than the English Volucelli:

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By then I was soaked, and the siren voices of the hotel bar called ever more loudly...

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Tony Moore
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Re: Austrian Alps

Postby Tony Moore » Thu Aug 03, 2017 1:36 pm

One which I forgot from avant le deluge was a Large Wall Brown, the only one I saw all week:

1-Large Wall Brown 1.jpg



On Wednesday I was up at the Sommerbergalm, the first stage of the Hintertux cable-car(2100m), by 11.30. The sky had clouded over and it was quite chilly. I wandered around for an hour, seeing very little and was considering a return to the reletive warmth of the valley, when I saw a smallish Erebia, which looked a bit different. It was not very active and after chasing it around for the best part of an hour, managed both upper and under shots:

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I think it's a Blind Ringlet (my first), so was pretty pleased with that. By now the coolth had ameliorated and there were more butts flying around. I had seen a few worn Maz Blues, but this smart female suddenly appeared:

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A little further on in a sheltered depression was this spanking fresh little Boloria :

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I think it's pales, which means that all the experts will say napaea. Actually, I don't care if it's Charaxes jasius, it was a beautiful little butterfly.

As I was working my way back to the lift, there was a rocky area off to the left with some sedums around. It was a bit steep for my old pins, but I went up anyway. 30 metres later:

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Serendipity, indeed! And with its head showing, rather than buried up to the neck in some flower head. It was very dozy and I was able to photograph it at will. Certainly a memorable butterfly moment for me.

I spent the last day up the Rosenalmbahn, walking down the piste from the top to the Mittelstation. Many Ringlets, including these, which I hope are both E. euryale :

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A magnificent fresh Red Admiral kept me busy for a bit:

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and an Essex Skip and a Tatty Titty Fritty finished the day:

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There were a couple of other Erebias, which I'll post in the I.D. Section.

Austria is not like Mercantor or the Dolomites, but still an agreeable place to spend a week (stay at the Strass Hotel, via Ingham's cheapos – food was exceptional).

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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Roger Gibbons » Thu Aug 03, 2017 2:58 pm

Sorry to be a spoilsport but the Erebia is manto again, even if it is blind. These Erebia are as much of a minefield as Pyrgus (well, almost). Just to illustrate that, manto has a Pyrenean subspecies constans which is dark brown to black and completely devoid of any markings upper or underside, so it doesn't look remotely like the nominate species.

I agree your Boloria is pales. I don't claim to be an expert, but this one looks pretty clear to me.

Roger

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Tony Moore
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Thu Aug 03, 2017 3:26 pm

Thanks, Roger (ARRrrrrgggh!),

One out of two, anyway... :mrgreen:

T.

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Tony Moore
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Re: Mauritius

Postby Tony Moore » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:55 am

Just returned from two weeks in Mauritius on a R&R trip for my hard working wife – I should be so lucky!
Presumably, because of its remoteness, the island only boasts 30 or so butterfly species, but most are fairly common, and about half of them were seen during our stay, plus a real surprise on the last day...
The hotel had a draconian anti-mosquito spraying regime so there was little to be found in the gardens. Fortunately, there was a track opposite, through some derelict farm land, which was absolutely heaving with butterflies. Most were lycaenids – Lang's Short-tailed Blue ( Leptotes pirithous) the commonest. These were more strongly marked than their European counterparts:

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There were good numbers of African Grass Blues (Zizeeria knysna):

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and the occasional Tiny Grass Blue (Zizula hylax):

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I watched one of these ovipositing and could barely see the ovum, it was so tiny – probably no more than .25mm diameter – too small for my camera to cope with!

The Leopard (Phalanta phalantha) was also very common, sailing around the vegetation but rarely still long enough for a photograph:

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Many Malagasy Grass Yellows (Eurema floricola) flapped around the bushes, but also rarely stopped:

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I visited this track most days and also saw a few Citrous Swallowtails (Papilio demodocus), African Emigrants (Catopsilia florella) and one Coeliades ernesti, a largish Hesperid, but sadly no photos.

There was no need of an alarm clock there as we were woken each morning by the raucous cries of the Scarlet-whiskered Bulbul, an elegant species, which could often be persuaded to take food from the hand:

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The Common Fody was another frequent visitor:

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Tony M.


TBC

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David M
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby David M » Mon Sep 11, 2017 9:11 pm

You're like Phineas Fogg, Tony, with your regular globetrotting! :)

Interesting to see species from parts of the world few of us visit, and I particularly like the Common Fody. I used to breed birds and this species looks a bit like a Bullfinch x Canary mule. Very attractive.

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Tony Moore
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Re: Mauritius

Postby Tony Moore » Tue Sep 12, 2017 2:30 pm

On the second day, we did a 10k trek through the Bras d'Eau nature reserve, a few miles to the north. It is one of the last strongholds of the Mauritian Paradise Flycatcher – now down to about 200 pairs on the planet. During a brief rest break, one appeared a couple of metres away. We had a great view, but by the time I had the camera ready, it had turned around. For what it's worth, here's a poor back view of a rare little bird:

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In the reserve, we had our first views of the Brilllant Blue (Junonia rhadama). The male is an impossible electric blue in the sunshine and several of them flying together is a memorable sight. When they land with open wings, they are very jumpy and it took a while to get these shots:

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The underside is very cryptic, and when sitting with closed wings, the seem to feel safe and are more easily approached:

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A little Satyrid – Heteropsis narcissus – was very common in any shady woodland. It is slightly larger than a Small Heath, but rarely sat with open wings:

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When fresh, it is a little jewel, but this rather worn one was the only open wing chance that I had:

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We saw three Mauritian Friars (Amouris phoedon), an endemic species on the walk; they fly quite slowly around the trees in shaded areas. One finally landed low enough for a shot. An elegant species:

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They are slightly smaller than the Plain Tiger (Danaus chrysippus) which was also seen along the rides:

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A day spent in the famous Pampelmousse Botanical Gardens was something of a disappointment. It is really an arboretum, with no flowers and precious little fauna.
The only photograph from the trip was a Green-backed Heron (Butorides striatus):

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I had a late walk along the track when I got back. I spent some time watching a Grass Yellow, hoping that it might settle, when I realised that I was not the only one watching it... An endemic Ornate Gekko (Phelsuma ornata) was also looking for dinner:

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TBC
Last edited by Tony Moore on Tue Oct 10, 2017 11:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sonam Dorji
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Sonam Dorji » Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:17 pm

The Brilliant blue is indeed Brilliant butterfly!!!

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David M
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby David M » Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:35 pm

Sonam Dorji wrote:The Brilliant blue is indeed Brilliant butterfly!!!


Indeed it is. Exceptionally beautiful insect, and the others are highly attractive too, along with the birds and that magnificent lizard.

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Tony Moore
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Re: Mauritius

Postby Tony Moore » Wed Sep 13, 2017 8:48 pm

One of the best 'wildlife' places on the island is the Black River Gorge, where there are bits of original forest, including the once widespread Ebony. We dutifully did a trek in this National Park, but were eventually defeated by the Mauritian equivalent of the Stable Fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) They swarmed in their thousands, landing and biting any bit of exposed skin, totally unaffected by Deet or any other repellents – murderous little beasts. We did see a couple of Citrous Swallotails (Papilio demodocus) and a probable Mascarene Crow (Euploea euphon), but by then were so uncomfortable that we were hammering back to the car.
Back on the track near our hotel, I found a largish, strongly flying lycaenid, which proved to be the Brown Playboy (Deudorix antalus). This is a splendid insect, whizzing around after anything which appears in its territory. They became more common as we got into September:

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I also saw a single Long-tailed Blue (Lampedes boeticus) – at least, that's what I think it was:

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We visited a wonderful old plantation house called 'Eureka', which had been lived in until 1986. It had the most marvellous grounds, which bordered a deep valley with several waterfalls and swimming holes. It was something of a scramble to get to the bottom, but well worth it, both for the waterfalls and a sighting of an endemic butterfly, high on my hit-list – Neptis frobenia. It has no English name, but should be called the Mauritian Sailor. It flew around in a patch of dappled sunlight and sat beautifully for its photograph:

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The highlight of the trip was saved for the last day, when we trekked around the Vallee de Ferney. This is a working sugar plantation that extends into a largely untouched wooded valley with marked trails. It is the last stronghold of the Mauritius Kestrel and they have a couple of reared birds, which are fed daily. During our very pleasant trek, we saw the usual suspects, but when we returned to the kestrel feeding station, I saw a large butterfly – or possibly a small bird – land on a dead tree about thirty metres away. As I approached, it became obvious that is was something unusual – it looked like a charaxid, of which family, none is known to occur on Mauritius:

small file.jpg


The expert opinion is that it is a female Blue-spotted Emperor (Charaxes cithaeron), an East African species unrecorded in Mauritius! It looked in very clean condition to have been blown 2000 miles across the Indian Ocean. There seems to be little interest in butterflies in Mauritius and I wonder if the species has been quietly breeding in the valley without being noticed. At this time, I'm awaiting a reply from the Mauritian authorities, but I'm still jumping up and down with excitement. An amazing end to a wonderful holiday.

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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Wurzel » Thu Sep 14, 2017 7:48 pm

Fantastic range of species Tony :D :mrgreen: :mrgreen: Though I'm not sure about the 'Brown Playboy' sounds a little unPC that :shock:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Tony Moore
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Thu Sep 14, 2017 8:39 pm

Thanks, Wurzel - it did seem something of a privilege to see such stuff.

I have still heard nothing back from the Mauritian authorities about the Blue-spotted Emperor. They do appear to be consumed with apathy where matters entomological are concerned. Does anyone have any ideas about whom I might contact? If a first time species were found in Britain, it would be on the front page of the Times! :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Tony M.

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Re: Tony Moore

Postby NickMorgan » Thu Sep 14, 2017 9:38 pm

Hi Tony,
Great to see the butterflies you saw in Mauritius. Not surprisingly you saw much the same as I did, although I didn't manage a Neptis frobenia, which I had really hoped to see. I have a contact at the Mauritius Wildlife Foundation who I contacted after my visit. He is a butterfly enthusiast, but wasn't quick to respond to my first e-mail. The butterfly I saw was Hypolimnas anthedon, which hadn't been recorded on Mauritius since 1957! I will look out his contact details and PM them to you. It may be at my work e-mail, so will be next week.
Thank you for sharing your pictures. I certainly want to go back to Mauritius soon.


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