Tony Moore

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Tony Moore
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Re: Pyrenees-Orientales

Postby Tony Moore » Mon Jun 20, 2016 1:48 pm

There were quite a lot of these flying around some boggy ground - whizzing about like mini-helicopters. I believe they are Libelloides coccajus and fairly rare. If approached too quickly, they wrap their wings around their bodies and move rapidly anti-clockwise around to the far side of their stem.

libelloides coccajus.jpg


Tony M.

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Tony Moore
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CY pupa

Postby Tony Moore » Fri Jul 01, 2016 3:51 pm

My Clouded Yellow pupa is just about to eclose, but I think the terrible weather has made it decide to stay snugly in its pupal case for now.:mrgreen:

1-CY pupa pre-eclosion.jpg


Off to Mercantor on Monday, so hope for some interesting species in a couple of weeks.

T.M.

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Tony Moore
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Alpes Maritimes

Postby Tony Moore » Sat Jul 23, 2016 4:02 pm

I've just returned from 13 amazing days in the French Alps. I saw at least 100 species and must have missed many more due to inexperience. If there are any ID mistakes below, I would be grateful if they could be pointed out. It's all a bit confusing for someone used to 55 possibles and only one Pyrgus!
The weather was brilliant - wall to wall sunshine except for a major thunderstorm one evening, when I was tucked up with a fine jambe de lapin and a demi of the local Var rouge. The plus side of this was that the next morning the peaks were glistening with fresh snow.

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My first destination, at about 1000m., was heaving with butterflies and amongst the clouds of fritillaries, Marbled Whites and blues various, I found a couple of Great Sooty Satyrs ( a first for me). A male:

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and the sexually dimorphic female, which I was lucky to find resting with open wings:

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Spotted Frits were very common with plenty of the curious two-tone females on show:

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And then curiouser:

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And curiouser:

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This last looked like a Nazi fighter steaming past.

An embarras de richesses – Blue spot Hairstreak on a Lizard Orchid ( I think ):

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A fresh female Purple Shot Copper:

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And a Weaver's Fritillary, which was taking in the last of the sun and finally elected to perch and close its wings allowing a shot of the 'purple patch'.

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Pretty good first day...

Tony M.

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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Padfield » Sat Jul 23, 2016 7:43 pm

I look forward to the rest, Tony. But it's difficult to see what could beat a blue-spot hairstreak on a lizard orchid!

Guy
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Tony Moore
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High Alps

Postby Tony Moore » Sun Jul 24, 2016 11:35 am

Took off up the mountains the next morning. Je vois les lacets dans mes reves... (sorry about the lack of circumflex).
I was looking for cynthia at over 2400m and when I arrived at the top, at 11.20 nothing was to be seen ( apart from stunning views all round):

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I was startled by a very loud screech behind me and was delighted to see a rather irate Marmot, whose territory I had unwittingly invaded:

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Around 12.40 I spotted a white flash and within minutes was surrounded by Cynthia's Frits. During the afternoon, I probably saw more than 20 individuals within the area of a football pitch – a major thrill. I ended up with pix of both sexes and a even a mating pair. These were deep in the undergrowth and I didn't have the heart to move them just for a photograph – I can imagine how I would have felt... :mrgreen:

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On the way down, I found several Scarce Coppers – surely one of the most beautiful of European butterflies when fresh:

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I was looking specially for Purple-edged Copper (another tick) and am pretty sure that this is one:

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I also saw a light colourd 'Comma' nectaring at the bottom of a stony gully. I nearly broke my neck scrambling down to it, to find that it was only dull old c-album. Although there are Southern Commas in the area, I didn't manage to find one.
Cynthia's Fritillary has always been something of an iconic butterfly in my book. I had seen it before, in Bulgaria, but only fleetingly. The view today made my whole trip worthwhile in one go!

To be continued...
Last edited by Tony Moore on Sun Jul 24, 2016 5:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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David M
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby David M » Sun Jul 24, 2016 2:42 pm

Nice to see you got your quarry, Tony....and yes, that last Copper is definitely Purple-Edged! :)

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Tony Moore
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Sun Jul 24, 2016 3:50 pm

Thanks, David - much of it down to you...

T.

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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Chris Jackson » Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:25 pm

A lovely selection of medium and medium-to-high altitude butterflies Tony.
You've surpassed yourself this year with one thing and another. Plenty of good souvenirs for next off season me-thinks. :D
Chris
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Tony Moore
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Sun Jul 24, 2016 4:59 pm

Thanks, Chris - I now have to stay alive and fit enough until next year.... :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

The mortal remains of T. Moore Esq;

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Tony Moore
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Last installment

Postby Tony Moore » Mon Jul 25, 2016 10:38 am

I spent the second half of the holiday at the Hotel de la Vallière at St-Martin d'Etraunes. Although the hotel bit is a little tired, it's cheap and the food is stunning – if you're in the area, look nowhere else. End of Commercial Breakl!

There were plenty of Erebias to be seen and most were Almond-eyed:

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I wasn't good enough to pin any others.
Pretty sure I saw Common Brassy Ringlet, but it declined to be photographed.
The beautiful Martagon Lily was much in evidence on the alpine slopes:

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I found a Fritillary in the grass at about 1400 m , which looked odd. At first I thought it was graeca due to the very sharp angle of the front edge of the hind wing :

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When it opened its wings, I was distinctly frapped dans le gob:

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B. napaea aberration ?? Very interested to hear what others think...
There were also good numbers of Scarce:

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And 'Ordinary' Swallowtails:

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Heath Fritillary was the commonest frit:

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And I was very pleased to finally catch up with False Heath – a newbie for me:

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Niobe Fritillaries were common on a tiny patch right behind the hotel:

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But the highlight of the trip was a beautiful little river valley, where I found Glandon and Damon Blues and several very cooperative Small Apollos (all life ticks):

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Very tiring for an OF like me, but a terrific experience – highly recommended.

Hope I make it next year,

Tony M.

Sorry about the Lily appearing at the bottom and two ringlets, but I've lost the whole post twice and am not prepared to risk attempted adjustment :mrgreen: .
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Padfield » Mon Jul 25, 2016 11:32 am

Hi Tony. Mountain Boloria species can be tricky to identify at the best of times - so a remarkable aberration like yours poses quite a challenge. However, the blackness of the cell markings on the underside forewing does suggest graeca.

Have you got an underside for that false heath fritillary? It doesn't look like false heath to me ...

Guy
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Tony Moore
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False Heath Fritillary

Postby Tony Moore » Mon Jul 25, 2016 3:25 pm

Hi Guy,
The reason the FHF didn't look right was because it isn't one - I posted the wrong photo after struggling with my posting for 40 minutes - d'oh! It should have been this one:

1-DSC07931_edited-1.jpg


Which, I hope, is nearer...

Thank you for your opinion on the graeca ab. - I hope there will be a few more comments.

T.

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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Wurzel » Mon Jul 25, 2016 9:51 pm

Fantastic stuff Tony - the Spotted Frits are stunning looking butterflies :D :mrgreen: I don't have any ID tips for your aberrant sorry but it's interesting that a Pearl-bordered aberrant was seen at Bentley Wood and the underwing markings look quite similar :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Tony Moore
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Sun Jul 31, 2016 10:34 pm

Thanks, Wurzel, for the kind comments.

Here is another photo from the trip. Crab Spiders and their depredations were common, but this one seems to have left the remains of its last meal hanging up as bait. It appears to have only bothered to eat the abdomen :mrgreen:

1-DSC07784_edited-1.jpg
.

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Tony Moore
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Re: Costa Rica

Postby Tony Moore » Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:08 pm

Just back from Costa Rica, which must be one of the finest wildlife destination on the planet. The Costa Ricans appear to have realised in time what an incredible natural rescource they have and are taking great care to protect what is left. Vast tracts of the country are now national parks and the locals ae very proud of theirheritage.
We started in the cloud forest, near San Ramon and, when we arrived in late afternoon it was, well, cloudy... We were staying in what used to be the President's summer retreat, about 9 km into the forest down a very rough track. The first evening, the main hotel building became a gigantic moth trap. The weather conditions must have been just right as there were literally thousands of moths on every available space – walls, windows, floor – it was impossible not to tread on some of them. There was everything from the smallest clearwing to enormous Rotheschildi silk moths. Surprisingly, there was no army of gekkos munching relentlessly through this bounty. It was possible to recognise many of the families – Hawk-moths, tigers, noctuids etc but these species were generally 2/3 times larger than their European counterparts and generally more brightly coloured. For the mothers amongst us, I post a few pix. Any I.Ds are tentative and open to correction. The first is the Imperial Moth (Eacles imperialis decoris). No.2 is one of the Pseudoderphia (I think...), and the third one of the Automeris, possibly postabida.

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An amazing pyralid?

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+ others unknown...

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To be continued...

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Tony Moore
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Re: Costa Rica

Postby Tony Moore » Fri Sep 16, 2016 12:46 pm

The next day saw some sunshine and the butterflies and hummingbirds soon appeared. While waiting for a Leodonta dysoni to settle,

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a hummingbird sat not two metres away.

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A small clearing had been cut in the edge of the forest and flowering shrubs planted to encourage these birds. A number of Parides species were availing themselves of the early morning nectar source. I think these are P. seostris zestos.

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and P. lycimines

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I had not been to Central or South America before and it was truly revelatory to see these butterfly families that I had only seen in books and butterfly farms before. That evening, we went on a night hike to find tree frogs. Unfortunately, as these animals are very light sensitive, we were not allowed to use flash. This was a double pain when I found one of my all time 'wannasees' – the Pink-tipped Satyr (Cithaerias menander) roosting under a branch. This was the best I could do with the light of three torches!

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We coaxed large tarantula out of his hole and also saw a retiarius spider with his net at the ready.


In Europe, we worry about having 50 or so Skippers to contend with, in Costa Rica there are over 1000! There were good numbers to be found in the 60 hectares of grounds, including the Two-barred Flasher (Astraptes fulgerator):

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one of the 'Longtails' possibly Dorantes:

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and a Fiery Skipper (Hylephilia phyleus)

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An afternoon walk along a deep forest track produced this lovely heliconid:

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I have so far been unable to pin it down (figuratively, I hasten to add), and would be grateful for any ID suggestions.

To be continued.

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Tony Moore
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Re: Costa Rica

Postby Tony Moore » Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:22 pm

Last butterfly is apparently Heliconius pachinus on very good authority from the Singapore Butterfly Site.

T.

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Re: Tony Moore

Postby David M » Sat Sep 17, 2016 8:40 pm

Wow! Some incredible lepidoptera there, Tony. I daren't visit such places as these as I fear that I might have to subsequently give up work to devote myself to full time study of them.

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Tony Moore
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Re: Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Sat Sep 17, 2016 9:23 pm

Hi David - my feelings entirely. It was just so amazing.

I'm now working on any possibility to get out there again (including trying to find my wife a job at San Jose University :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Tony.

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Tony Moore
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Re: Costa Rica

Postby Tony Moore » Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:37 pm

The 'Longtail' Skipper above is Dorantes Longtail (Urbanus dorantes).


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