Janet Turnbull

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Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Mon Jul 03, 2017 5:08 pm

bugboy wrote:
Vince Massimo wrote:Quite right, Paul. Definitely a Large Skipper (in this case, a female) viewtopic.php?f=37&t=5300#p46763
Some of us (including me) were looking at the wrong image.

Vince


Phew, glad we got that cleared up! Sorry for all the confusion taking over your diary Janet :)


Well, thank you Mike, Bugboy, Neil and Vince for all weighing in - and I reckon I'll be able to identify an Essex in future if I see one! :D

Janet Turnbull
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Location: Sale, Cheshire

Fermyn Woods, Sunday 2nd July

Postby Janet Turnbull » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:04 pm

The forecast was good so I played hookey from church and went down to Fermyn Woods - I went in the second week of July last year but all the reports said the butterflies were out earlier this year. I arrived about 11.45am and as I walked up the path from the gate opposite the airfield the first butterfly to catch my eye was a Green Veined White which settled in a tree. I saw a small group of people obviously watching something on the ground and edging closer I saw it was a Purple Emperor; it was quite oblivious to our presence. They said it was a female - unusually - as there was no purple on it, and remarked how the males had all stayed in the trees and only females had come down. I got some shots of it and when I examined them later it seemed to me that there was in fact some blue/purple sheen, so it must have been the angle.

A hundred yards further on another PE was being admired, and as I walked slowly towards it, the butterfly left the group and flew towards me, landing at my feet. I was thrilled and hardly dared move, but carefully got the camera onto position and got some shots. This one also appeared to be brown, but again, later examination showed a hint of purple.
IMG_4892 P.Emp-s1.jpg
IMG_4894 P.Emp-s6.jpg
IMG_4897 P.Emp-s4.jpg
IMG_4907 P.Emp-s3.jpg
IMG_4909 P.Emp-s2.jpg

Continuing along the path I noticed several White Admirals which were flying quite low and nectaring on the brambles - there were so many I couldn't believe I had seen only one last year, not counting the one I accidentally bumped into so that it flew away.
IMG_5104 W.Admiral-s.jpg

There has been an explosion of Ringlets which were everywhere along the verges - in fact they were the first butterflies to greet me when I parked the car down the road. Meadow Browns were also quite abundant and Speckled Woods flitted in the shadier areas.
IMG_4928 Ringlet-s.jpg
IMG_5080 MBrown-s.jpg

I came to a sunny corner which I remembered for being popular with skippers last year, but instead of skippers it had been taken over by Silver Washed Frits. There were six or eight flitting around and nectaring on the brambles, apparently not minding the Commas and Meadow Browns which were sharing the same flowers with them. There were both males and females, which at first I mistook for Dark Greens, but of course their underwings gave them away. I spent a good forty minutes there until a man who had previously spoken to me came back to say there was a Purple Hairstreak round the corner. It was newly emerged and was resting, pumping up its wings in the sun. It gathered quite an audience, and when I left I discovered another flat out on the ground just fifty yards away. It looked in poor shape as though it had been knocked down, but when I gently touched it, it sat up and folded its wings, giving a good view of the streak. I was impressed by the size of some of the lenses which were subsequently trained upon it.
IMG_4957 Male SWFrit-s.jpg
IMG_4971 Male SWFrit under-s.jpg
IMG_4960 Fem SWFrit-s.jpg
IMG_4973 Fem SWFrit under-s.jpg
IMG_4983 Fem SWFrit-s.jpg
IMG_4992 Comma+SWFrit-s.jpg

IMG_4964 P.Hairstreak1-s.jpg
IMG_4968 P.Hairstreak2-s.jpg

IMG_4970 PH audience-s.jpg
An audience for the Purple Hairstreak

Further on I found Red Admiral - I saw only three all day - and where the trees receded the Skippers appeared. Three Small Tortoiseshells showed up and I thought it might be a colony, but although I watched for a while no more appeared. A Large White flew past, clearly on a mission and although it almost lit on the occasional flower it would not stop. I still haven't managed a record picture of one this year. The two Small Whites I saw were more amenable.
IMG_4926 Large Skipper-s.jpg
IMG_5131 Small Skipper-s.jpg
IMG_5127 Small Tort-s.jpg

Although I walked all round Ladywood, I did not see any PEs there, or indeed anything which I had not already seen in the first part of the woods. By now it was 5.30pm and back near the entrance gate I found a SW Frit which had just emerged but it seemed to be in difficulties - one forewing was not pumping up. Maybe it just needed more time.

It was a most successful day, clocking fourteen varieties, the most I have ever seen in one day.
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IMG_4990 Comma+MBrown-s.jpg
IMG_4929 Small White-s.jpg
IMG_4918 Comma-s.jpg

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bugboy
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby bugboy » Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:46 pm

Great stuff Janet, it's been a crazy year for Purple Hairstreaks, I've never known so many people finding them and getting closeups of them! That White you have is a male Green-veined btw :)
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Goldie M
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Goldie M » Tue Jul 04, 2017 6:59 pm

That's great news Janet, hope fully I may see one next week when I visit Fermyn, lovely photos too roll on next weekend. Goldie :D

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Neil Freeman
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Neil Freeman » Tue Jul 04, 2017 7:43 pm

Janet Turnbull wrote:
bugboy wrote:
Vince Massimo wrote:Quite right, Paul. Definitely a Large Skipper (in this case, a female) viewtopic.php?f=37&t=5300#p46763
Some of us (including me) were looking at the wrong image.

Vince


Phew, glad we got that cleared up! Sorry for all the confusion taking over your diary Janet :)


Well, thank you Mike, Bugboy, Neil and Vince for all weighing in - and I reckon I'll be able to identify an Essex in future if I see one! :D


Ah! but in my case, I got my pointy bits mixed up :oops: Oh well, I knew it wasn't an Essex.

Great report from Fermyn and some lovely photos. I haven't managed to get there for a couple of years now even though it is only a 90 minute drive from my house. My plans this year have been thrown out somewhat by some species emerging early.

Cheers,

Neil

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby millerd » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:02 pm

Great report from Fermyn, Janet - you saw more than I did a couple of days earlier! :)

Dave

Janet Turnbull
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Location: Sale, Cheshire

Ashton on Mersey 3rd July

Postby Janet Turnbull » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:54 pm

Staying local, I parked up in the lane by the sewage works and walked along the Trans Pennine Trail. A red admiral flew up from the ground, circled round and settled back on the path in the sun. A Large White went bombing past and after crossing the footbridge over the Mersey I wandered around Stretford Meadows to the east of the footpath to Urmston. Here it is mainly grass and few flowers apart from brambles around the edge and I saw a few Skippers and a Meadow Brown but very little else. I retraced my steps and went into the western part of the meadow, and was immediately greeted by at least half a dozen Commas, perching on the pestiferous Himalayan balsam and leaping up to chase off anyone who came too close.
IMG_5170 Comma-s.jpg

Some bindweed with huge white trumpets attracted a Large Skipper which fancied itself as being part of a Georgia O'Keeffe painting while a Small Skipper contented itself with a thistle. I chased after a Meadow Brown for ages and eventually caught it as it settled with its wings open, low in the grass.
IMG_5173 Large Skipper-s.jpg
IMG_5177 Small Skipper-s.jpg

I didn't see much else so I left and walked up towards the paddock and noticed a female Common Hawker resting on the brambles.
IMG_5189 female Common Hawker-s.jpg

Returning to the footbridge I decided not to cross back but to carry on along the cycle path which runs close to the hedgerow, instead of along the lower towpath, and was rewarded with my first (British) Gatekeepers of the year, hobnobbing with a number of Meadow Browns and a Speckled Wood. A female Banded Demoiselle caught my eye but she seemed to be alone and I could not find any males.
IMG_5202 Gatekeeper2-s.jpg
IMG_5203 Gatekeeper-s.jpg
IMG_5206 Speckled Wood-s.jpg
IMG_5200 Meadow Brown-s.jpg
IMG_5207 Female Banded Demoiselle-s.jpg

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MikeOxon
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby MikeOxon » Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:39 pm

From the broad ante-humeral stripes and the prominent triangle on segment 2, I'd suggest that your dragonfly (IMG_5189) is actually a Southern Hawker - up near the northern limit of its current range, although global warming is probably changing this boundary! You are well placed to observe these movement trends in butterflies and other temperature-sensitive species.

Mike

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bugboy
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby bugboy » Tue Jul 04, 2017 9:51 pm

MikeOxon wrote:From the broad ante-humeral stripes and the prominent triangle on segment 2, I'd suggest that your dragonfly (IMG_5189) is actually a Southern Hawker - up near the northern limit of its current range, although global warming is probably changing this boundary! You are well placed to observe these movement trends in butterflies and other temperature-sensitive species.

Mike


Agreed. You can separate Southern Hawkers from all the others in the UK by looking at the end of the abdomen where the spots join in the final segments to form two coloured bands. All other Hawkers have spots right to the tip.
Some addictions are good for the soul!

Janet Turnbull
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Location: Sale, Cheshire

Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Wed Jul 05, 2017 8:25 am

MikeOxon wrote:From the broad ante-humeral stripes and the prominent triangle on segment 2, I'd suggest that your dragonfly (IMG_5189) is actually a Southern Hawker - up near the northern limit of its current range, although global warming is probably changing this boundary! You are well placed to observe these movement trends in butterflies and other temperature-sensitive species.

Mike

Thanks, Mike and Bugboy - Actually I did wonder if it was, but then I thought it must be too far north to be a southern hawker.

Janet Turnbull
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Location: Sale, Cheshire

White Letter Hairstreak hunt, 5th July 2017

Postby Janet Turnbull » Wed Jul 05, 2017 9:39 pm

I so wanted to see a WLH and determined to try Brockholes, since Goldie had such a good day there. Although the forecast was for clouds and sunny intervals, it looked as though there might be enough sunshine to make the journey worth it and I even got my husband interested enough to go with me and bring his spotting scope. We found the spot, and spent almost two hours staring at the wrong tree. There were quite a few other butterflies around: several Commas, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Gatekeepers, but the WLH refused to show.
we sat on the bench and watched a Red Admiral as it licked the stones on the path by our feet. We were about to leave it, and walk on through the woods and Alan said to have one more look at the brambles. I suddenly realised which tree we should have been looking at and so Alan got the spotting scope out again and set it up, while I scanned the branches with binoculars. And then I saw it - a dark blob on a leaf. Through the scope we saw it was indeed a White Letter Hairstreak - we were so excited! But it looked so odd - as though it had its wings open.
Swapping the scope for a compact zoom camera on the tripod, I eventually found the butterfly again and realised why it looked as though its wings were open.
IMG_2487 WL Hairstreak pair-s.jpg

On a minor key after this, we continued to walk round Brockholes and came upon a Mother of Pearl moth and what I believe is an Emerald dragonfly, which only allowed me one shot before it darted off.
IMG_5242-Mother of Pearl moth.jpg

IMG_5253 Emerald dragonfly.jpg

trevor
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby trevor » Thu Jul 06, 2017 11:03 am

I have just read your report from Fermyn woods. I don't think anyone on UKB
can have had a more species rich day out, in one location, than you.
I would love to have soaked up the atmosphere there that day.

All the best,
Trevor.

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Goldie M
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Goldie M » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:15 pm

Well done Janet, a mating pair WLHS has well :D I'm glad you found the spot alright :D Fingers crossed for Fermyn for me now, I'd a similar day to you last year where I saw all those species, it was the 17th July, that's why I thought going back about that time would be okay, just shows you never know. Goldie :D

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:51 pm

MikeOxon wrote:From the broad ante-humeral stripes and the prominent triangle on segment 2, I'd suggest that your dragonfly (IMG_5189) is actually a Southern Hawker - up near the northern limit of its current range, although global warming is probably changing this boundary! You are well placed to observe these movement trends in butterflies and other temperature-sensitive species.

Mike


I met an entomologist at Brockholes (another 37 miles further north from me) yesterday who told me the southern hawker was one of the commonest dragonflies up here, so they must have migrated north quite rapidly.
Janet

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MikeOxon
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby MikeOxon » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:20 pm

Interesting! I've read somewhere that the 'common' Hawker is actually now relatively scarce - I've never managed to photograph one.

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Wurzel » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:47 pm

Fantastic set of posts recently, I'm playing catch-up as work has been frantic, it looks like Fermyn is the place to be, great Emperor shots :D :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Janet Turnbull
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Gait Barrows 9th July

Postby Janet Turnbull » Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:53 pm

The weather looked fair so I went up to Gait Barrows. By the time I was halfway up the M61 the clouds had rolled in. I discovered Warton Crag was on the way so I called in there first - what a gorgeous wildflower haven! - but other than Small Skippers and Ringlets tere seemed to be no others on the wing that I could see. Still overcast, I went on to Gait Barrows. There were several cars already there and I had a job finding a parking spot but someone chose that moment to leave so I nipped into his place. Then the sun came out and stayed out for the rest of the afternoon. My first hit was a very tired and tatty Brown Argus, and almost immediately a Grayling landed in front of me, snapping its wings shut an leaning up to the sun. I teased it with a grass stalk and it flexed its wings enough to show me the eye of the forewing before it decided it didn't want to play any more and took off. The next Grayling was so spread out that much more of its forewing was visible.
IMG_5270 Brown Argus.jpg

IMG_5278 Grayling1.jpg

IMG_5279 Grayling2.jpg

A much younger Brown Argus appeared and I had difficulty deciding if it is a Brown Argus or a female Common Blue - it seems to be halfway between the two but Goldie pointed out that unspotted NBAs are ssp Salmacis.
IMG_5303 Brown or Blue1.jpg

IMG_5298 Brown or Blue2.jpg

And then a Northern Brown Argus showed up for me but I didn't get a photo of its underside.
IMG_5305 Northern Brown Argus.jpg

I called in at Warton Crag again on the way back but the butterflies were still hiding. I did find an orchid which I could not identify - it looked different from the ones I've seen up to now.
IMG_5320 Orchid1.jpg

The traffic was slow as it passed Brockholes so I popped in there to see if the WLHs were about, but no. I noticed several more elm trees along the main path, all with well-chewed leaves, and a patch of nettles with a number of Peacock caterpillars (thanks, Bugboy!) working hard on them.
IMG_5333 RedAd Cats.jpg
Last edited by Janet Turnbull on Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Goldie M
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Goldie M » Mon Jul 10, 2017 9:19 am

Hi! Janet, I got told once that the Northern Brown Argus without the spots is called( ab Salmacis ) it's still a NBA, so well done with
the one with the spots, because I think I'll only ever got the salamis at GB before :D Goldie :D

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bugboy
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby bugboy » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:13 pm

Goldies' absolutely right, all Brown Argus in that part of the world are Northern Brown Argus form/subspecies salmacis. South of the border they usually lack the white spot and look very similar to the southern species but as you saw the do sometimes throw up the occasional white spotted animal. The second one pictured is a male, the thin tapering abdomen shows this (compare it to the white spotted animal which is obviously a female), so a Common Blue female could be ruled out in that case without having to check the underside spotting :)

Also your caterpillar is a Peacock, Red Admirals are much plumper and rarely if ever venture outside their 'tent'.
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MikeOxon
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby MikeOxon » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:18 pm

I think your orchid may be a Heath Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia borealis) - you have a knack of finding the ones I haven't seen! The long narrow lip points me in that direction but I'd welcome other views


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