Janet Turnbull

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Janet Turnbull
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Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Fri Mar 03, 2017 12:45 pm

I'm not sure whether I'll be able to keep this up, but now I'm taking so many photos of butterflies in earnest it seems a good idea to use this diary to see what I get over the year. I'm starting with an account of my first 'serious' butterfly hunt last July.

Inspired by an excerpt from Patrick Barkham's book 'The Butterfly Isles' I decided to seek out some of our more exotic butterflies. My husband and I made a visit to my cousin in Pitstone, Buckinghamshire, with a view to spotting butterflies on the North Downs. It was early July 2016 and our most dramatic discovery was the Marbled White, which does not appear to come as far far north as Manchester.
20160705-Marbled-White-Pitstone2.gif

Just down the lane from my cousin's house is a wonderful wild flower meadow which has SSSI status, and the Marbled Whites were in abundance there too. In the evening they settled down on the flower tops to sleep.
20160705-Marbled-White-Pitstone.gif


On the way home we called at Fermyn Woods and we walked round slowly, not entirely sure what to look for. It came on to rain so we went back to the car. In a short while the rain eased off so I went out again, leaving Alan behind in the car, reading a book. The sun came out and then I was thrilled to see a White Admiral (only the one and briefly, on the ground)
20160707 White Admiral Fermyn Woods.jpg

I managed a couple of shots before it flew away and a young man who had come up behind me confirmed it was a White Admiral. He was familiar with the woods and as we walked round together we saw several male Purple Emperors on the ground. The brief shower must have enticed them down.
20160707 Purple Emperor-Fermyn Woods1.gif
20160707 Purple Emperor Fermyn Woods2.gif

20160707 Purple Emperor-Fermyn Woods3.gif

10 days later I tempted another friend to return to the woods with me with the promise of almost certainly seeing Purple Emperors, and we didn't see a single one. But we did catch a glimpse of a Silver Washed Fritillary.
20160719-Silver-Washed-Fritillary1--Fermyn.gif

20160719-Silver-washed-fritillary2--Fermyn.gif

We did see Commas, Ringlets, Large and Small Skippers and what may have been Essex Skippers.
20160719-Comma-combo.gif

Ringlet-LSkipper-S-Skipper.gif

20160719-Skippers-mating-combo.gif

Are they Small or Essex? Can anybody tell me?
Last edited by Janet Turnbull on Fri Mar 03, 2017 5:14 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Wurzel
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Wurzel » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:25 pm

Welcome Janet :D Great start and I'm looking forward to your future postings. This is a really friendly and supportive group to join so if you need any info about sites or species then don't hesitate to ask. :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Janet Turnbull
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:05 pm
Location: Sale, Cheshire

Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:40 pm

Thanks for the welcome, Wurzel! I'm new to blogging so I don't know if I'm doing it right. At the mo I want to catch up with myself so I'm going to write about last year's adventures ready to go forward to this year.

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MikeOxon
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby MikeOxon » Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:47 pm

I turned away for a moment and while I was away, your first post grew :) You clearly had a good day at Fermyn. There's no 'right' way to blog - I simply use my own pages as a diary and as a spur to trying to improve my photography. Let's hope for a good year ahead!

Mike

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:00 pm

Thank you Mike - I'm looking forward to the coming year too! Planning to 'do a Barkham'! Btw, what is that gorgeous blue butterfly on you profile picture?

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Goldie M
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Goldie M » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:14 pm

A welcome from me has well Janet, your Husband sounds a lot like mine :lol: He'll read a book if necessary I'm the the one who loves looking for Butterflies :D Goldie :D

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby MikeOxon » Fri Mar 03, 2017 2:49 pm

Janet Turnbull wrote:Btw, what is that gorgeous blue butterfly on you profile picture?

A tropical species, photographed by a friend when I was visiting the 'Butterflies in the Glasshouse' event at RHS WIsley - Morpho peleides

I know someone who was very disappointed on being introduced to 'our' (re-introduced) Large Blue, since they were expecting something more akin to the Morpho :)

The Barkham book is a great inspiration that brought back many happy memories of my own butterfly explorations with my, then young, son.

Mike

Janet Turnbull
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Location: Sale, Cheshire

Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:48 pm

Goldie M wrote:A welcome from me has well Janet, your Husband sounds a lot like mine :lol: He'll read a book if necessary I'm the the one who loves looking for Butterflies :D Goldie :D


Thanks Goldie! I see you saw the Purple Emperor last July too!

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Goldie M
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Goldie M » Fri Mar 03, 2017 4:03 pm

I did Janet, my first sighting of the Male PE, I 'm going back there this year because it's great to see so many Butterflies on one trip, also saw WA, SWF,PHS and many others ,A great day out! Goldie :D

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby bugboy » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:44 pm

Welcome from me too Janet, like others have said there's no right or wrong way to write your blog, just have fun with it :)

Regarding your Small/Essex (SmEssex) Skippers, it's difficult to say. To be conclusive you need a clear shot of the underside of the tip of the antennae, or if it's a male, the scent patch in the middle of the forewing. If I were forced to decide I'd go for Small Skips but I'm far from certain.

You'll find the main site (I presume you've already explored that) very useful with sections on identifying the tricky species and up to date maps with the best sites for each species plotted on them.

I look forward to seeing your diary grow over the season :)
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby trevor » Fri Mar 03, 2017 7:59 pm

And a warm welcome from me too Janet.
You have got off to a very good start already !. Many will be envious of your
Purple Emperor, and that White Admiral made for an unusual shot.
Your Silver Washed Fritillary is a female and could be a Valezina, not sure though.

Given a week or two, and some good weather, you can start to enjoy the Spring species.

Good luck, looking forward to more,
Trevor.
Last edited by trevor on Fri Mar 03, 2017 9:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby MrSp0ck » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:06 pm

Welcome too

I would go for Small Skippers as the dark upperside to the Antennae rather than the orange/brown upperside with a clear black underside tip on the Essex Skipper.

1.smessex.jpg


this shows how obvious an Essex really is, we say 70% are Small Skippers, on a site that has both, if you struggle to see, its a Small Skipper.

The Marbled White is spreading into your area, so in the next decade i would expect it to get locally to you.

MW atlas-uk-butterflies-2010-2014.jpg

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Wurzel » Fri Mar 03, 2017 8:18 pm

Alright Janet, you added some more photos which are great :D . If in any doubt with Small or Essex Skippers just declare them Smessex :wink: Trevor is quite right about your Silver Washed, it's a Valezina, a Greenish Silver Washed Fritillary - still a Silver Washed but a different form - a great find as sometimes you can go a couple of years without seeing one like this :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby millerd » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:42 pm

Hi Janet, a welcome from me too, and I'm looking forward to some more of those excellent photos. :) I am also heartily envious of the valesina version of the SWF, something that continues to elude me! Green is the word, certainly... :mrgreen:

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby MikeOxon » Fri Mar 03, 2017 10:56 pm

More additions, I see! It's up to you, of course, but I suggest that you start a new post when you add more information. That way, it get 'flagged' in the Recent Entries list, which is where many of us look first.

Mike

Janet Turnbull
Posts: 132
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:05 pm
Location: Sale, Cheshire

Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Fri Mar 03, 2017 11:56 pm

bugboy, Wurzel, MrSp0ck, thanks for helping with the SmEssex - I agree it will be a Small Skipper.
Millerd and trevor - thanks for your welcome! And I'm amazed I've scored a valesina...Wow!
MikeOxon, how do I start a new post? I thought the PD was supposed to be a single post? I haven't understood something here!

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby MrSp0ck » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:01 pm

Other areas like sightings, have useful posts, and the year end Species Best shots are a good read too.
your valesina is good, i have only had glimpses of them, and no photos.

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MikeOxon
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby MikeOxon » Sat Mar 04, 2017 12:59 pm

Janet Turnbull wrote:how do I start a new post? I thought the PD was supposed to be a single post? I haven't understood something here!


I simply make new entries by 'replying' to my own thread. I often put in a title, to give the date and place of each entry. As far as I know, that's how most people do it but I just followed my nose :)

Mike

Janet Turnbull
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Location: Sale, Cheshire

Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Sun Mar 05, 2017 8:47 pm

A Hunt in the Meadows
9th August 2016

Having joined Butterfly Conservation at the end of July 2016 I was really keen to photograph some of our less common butterflies before the summer was over.

I sent an email to Mike, the manager of Ryton Woods Meadows, asking if the silver-washed fritillaries and white admirals were still flying as I was planning a visit in the next two days. They were, replied Mike, although they were getting to the end of the season. As an afterthought he added, ‘Do you know the gate code?’ Too late I sent a message back asking what it was. I didn’t get a reply before I set off from Manchester.

Parking up at Ryton Pools Country Park I purchased a map and enquired at the information desk where the Butterfly Conservation place was. They weren’t sure, but park worker Ben found out and set me on the path to the road where he said there was a five-barred gate. ‘But it might be locked’, he said.

I came to a gate which was secured with padlock and barbed wire, and it looked very industrial so I carried on to the next gate, also padlocked. It looked like the right sort of meadow so with my BC membership card in my pocket I climbed the gate and fought my way round the edge of the field of chest-high grass. There was a track, of a kind, which I realised later was made up of animal runs. I found cinnabar moth caterpillars on the ragwort and dozens of gatekeepers and meadow browns, including a pair who flew off indignantly, still firmly attached to each other. The field was next to a police training ground and I felt I was being watched, so I was relieved to finally get round to the gate again. Climbing over I stopped at the first gate I’d seen and then saw the signs, ‘Butterfly Conservation.’ I stood by the gate and tried to ring Mike. No reply. So I climbed over and wandered along the tracks. Buzzards were calling and I stood and watched them circling overhead, and spent some time trying to get a decent photo of them.

Eventually I came to a gate – unlocked this time – which led from the field to a pleasant grassy ride and it looked highly suitable for butterflies. I followed it first to the road and then back towards Ryton Pools. Again, numerous meadow browns, gatekeepers, green-veined whites, some pretty moths, but no fritillaries or white admirals. I ate some blackberries. Photographed lots of butterflies on flowers. Surprised a hare. Saw a green woodpecker. And then suddenly, a very large orangey-brown butterfly shot out of a bush as I brushed it. A fritillary! It settled on a fern, watching me from behind four metres of protective brambles. Overjoyed I trained the camera on it and managed just one shot before it flew up into a tree. Nothing would coax it down. The sun went in. It closed its wings. I moved into the brambles to try and get a better view and startled a white admiral which flew away and out of sight.

Eventually the sun came out again but the fritillary wasn’t going to play ball, so I bade it farewell and carried on walking, hoping to see another, but my luck was out. Making my way back to the visitor centre I met Ben, out cutting the grass verges. ‘Did you find it?’ he asked. We chatted a while and on discovering the park would be open for another three hours I went off to find the bird hide and watched a family of little grebes on Pagets Pool. A walk in Ryton Woods to finish the day was an interesting exercise in orienteering. Thank goodness for GPS!

I arrived home to find an email from Mike with the gate codes. Next time, I’ll contact the site manager in good time before I go!
S W Fritillary watching me from a safe distance
Fritillary,-Ryton-Woods.gif

Fritillary-closed-Ryton-Woods.gif

Common Carpet moth
20160809-Green-carpet-Ryton.gif

Shaded Broadbar (thanks Wurzel for corrections!)
20160809-Barred-Hook-Tip-Ryton.gif

(Ready for correction if I'm wrong!)
Last edited by Janet Turnbull on Wed Sep 13, 2017 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Wurzel
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Wurzel » Sun Mar 05, 2017 10:45 pm

Great read Janet and glad that you got your Fritillary :D I think your Moths are Common Carpet and Shaded Broad-bar, but I like you stand to be corrected :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel


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