Janet Turnbull

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Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:09 am

Goldie and Bugboy - thanks for telling me about the salmacis - and pointing out the difference between the M and F body shape, which is something I had not realised before.

Mike - I googled the heath fragrant orchid but didn't find a photo which appeared to match mine.. I wonder of anyone else knows :?:
By the way, I'm glad you survived to tell the tale after your foray round the M60 - I find it utterly confusing :oops:

Janet Turnbull
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Hampsfell 10th July

Postby Janet Turnbull » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:13 am

The Cumbria BC organised a trip, led by David Jackson, to Hampsfell in search of Dark Green and High Brown Fritillaries. Despite heavy rain most of the way up the M60/M61, the sun came out for the expedition. Enthusiastic habitat management by the local farmer in conjunction with BC is ensuring the butterflies will be able to extend their breeding ground over a wider area. The leaders of the party caught specimens so that we could get a closer look, and carefully released them where they had been captured
Both the target species were seen, although all my photos turned out to be High Browns.
IMG_5362 High Brown1-s.jpg

IMG_5365 High Brown2.jpg

Other species present included Meadow Browns, Skippers, Common Blues, Northern Brown Argus, one very late and battered Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary and at the end I found a Lacewing moth, Chrysopa perla.
IMG_5383 Common Blue-s.jpg

IMG_5387 Northern Brown Argus-s.jpg

IMG_5381 Small PBF.jpg

IMG_5391 Lacewing-s Chrysopa perla.jpg

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Wurzel
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Wurzel » Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:39 pm

That must be a terrible situation Janet, all your Frit shots turning out to be HBF :shock: :mrgreen: :wink: I think I really am going to have to sort out a northern foray :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:35 pm

Hoping I wasnt too late for the Large Heaths, I went to Whitchurch NNR yesterday. It was too overcast with infrequent sunny spells for much butterfly activity although as I parked the car the sun shone briefly and I was surrounded by ringlets. That didn't last but I did get some shots of a female black Hawker - no males to be seen.
IMG_5497 Female Black Hawker1-s.jpg

IMG_5513 Fem Black Hawker2-s.jpg

A man out looking for dragonflies told me about Prees Heath so I went over there and apparently a number of Silver Studded Blues had been seen, but I didn't find them. However I think I may at last have an Essex Skipper...
IMG_5546 Essex Skipper-s.jpg

IMG_5548 Essex Skipper2-s.jpg

A Six-spot Burnet was examining the heather and a Small Heath shared a ragwort with a couple of Cinnabar caterpillars.
20170714_183158 six-spot burnet-s.jpg

IMG_5562 Small Heath_ Cinnabar cat-s.jpg

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Sat Jul 15, 2017 3:52 pm

bugboy wrote: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'.


So does that mean the one with the white spots is not an artaxerxes, Bugboy?
Confused :oops:

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Sat Jul 15, 2017 4:49 pm

I'm thinking of trying the Great Orme for Silver studded blues over the next week - does anyone have any good clues where the best places might be - or am I too late?
Janet

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby bugboy » Sat Jul 15, 2017 6:47 pm

Janet Turnbull wrote:
bugboy wrote: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'.


So does that mean the one with the white spots is not an artaxerxes, Bugboy?
Confused :oops:



Hmmm, well this is me thinking aloud. Someone with a much better understanding of genetics may know for sure:

Since salmacis and artaxerxes are races/subspecies of the same animal I would assume that they both have latent/recessive genes that are dominant in the other giving rise the differences we see. If this is true then it wouldn't be unusual at all for the odd specimen to show characteristics of the other every now and again. Artexerxes is quite variable visually as well, the ones I saw weren't particularly blessed in the 'white spot dept' compared with some images I've seen. So as far as I understand all yours will come under the salmacis umbrella.

Genetics is all vary complicated and I have a very limited understanding of it. Off course one persons species is another persons subspecies and a third persons race. it just depends on what geneticist you talk to, in many ways it's quite a subjective science. sometimes it's best to just let other people worry about stuff...

Janet Turnbull wrote:I'm thinking of trying the Great Orme for Silver studded blues over the next week - does anyone have any good clues where the best places might be - or am I too late?
Janet


Not 100% but I have a feeling that is an early site so you may be a month late, Neil Freeman visited last year so you could check through his diary and look at dates.

Janet Turnbull wrote:However I think I may at last have an Essex Skipper...

Yes you have, absolutely, 100%, unequivocally! :D
Some addictions are good for the soul!

Janet Turnbull
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Prees Heath 17th July

Postby Janet Turnbull » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:48 pm

Prees Heath deserved a return visit as it was so late in the day when I went on Friday. It was a perfect day and the heather was humming with blue butterflies. I'm sure most of them were SSB but the silver spots did not show up well, if at all, on most of my examples. However I did eventually manage to find a good example and spent a long time bothering females as they fluttered low over the heather and then crawling deep down to lay eggs. A single shot of a courting couple turned out well but the pair did not hang about.
IMG_5609-1 SSP less marked.jpg

IMG_5616-1 Open wings.jpg

IMG_5631 SIlver Studded Blue.jpg

IMG_5632 SSB upper.jpg

IMG_5652 SSB fem upper.jpg

IMG_5638 Egg laying.jpg

IMG_5648 Courting SSB.jpg

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Wurzel » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:10 pm

That is an excellent example of what to look for when trying to ID a Essex, it looks like the little scamps have had their dabs taken by the Rozzers :wink: Interesting to see the Silver-studs still hanging on and one looking reasonably fresh.
Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Neil Freeman » Fri Jul 21, 2017 7:06 pm

bugboy wrote:
Janet Turnbull wrote:I'm thinking of trying the Great Orme for Silver studded blues over the next week - does anyone have any good clues where the best places might be - or am I too late?
Janet


Not 100% but I have a feeling that is an early site so you may be a month late, Neil Freeman visited last year so you could check through his diary and look at dates.


Sorry Janet, just seen this so a bit late now. I did go last year in late June and saw loads, the report is on page 89 of my diary. I would definitely recommend a visit but late June/early July seems to be best time.

Glad to see you got your Essex, great shots :D

Cheers,

Neil

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Sun Jul 23, 2017 3:32 pm

Thanks Neil - I will make a point of getting there early June next year as it sounds such a great site for all sorts. I did have some success at Prees Heath though!

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Sun Jul 23, 2017 4:09 pm

22nd July - Hunt for new WLH sites at Rossendale
Grenville and I met up with Tom Dunbar and a group from Lancs BC to seek out new sites of the White Letter Hairstreak. Alongside the Irwell at Waterfoot were a number of elm trees and when the sun finally broke through we observed several WLH flitting in the treetops. We then moved on to Whitewell Bottom where we discovered a few more and also managed to get my first photo this year of a Large White which nectared on the Sweet William flowers in a garden.
IMG_5749 Large White.jpg

A Meadow Brown and a Small Skipper also stopped by.
After a while we moved on again to a third site on a main road where there was a very big elm tree but it appeared devoid of WLH during the time we watched, although Red Admirals and a Small Tortoiseshell were nectaring on privet where we had parked the cars. At this point Tom's group went on to Helmshore old railway line, Haslingden where they had a very successful sighting, while Gren and I returned to Waterfoot and wandered up the footpath above the main road and found several Small Skippers.
IMG_5757 Small Skipper.jpg

Thank you Tom et al for a good and informative day out!

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby David M » Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:55 pm

Good to hear about WLH sites in the north of England, Janet. It’s a difficult butterfly to find, and an even harder one to observe. If you can find elms though, you’ve always got a decent chance of locating the butterfly.

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:12 pm

David M wrote:and an even harder one to observe.


They certainly don't make it easy, David! One member of the group had a spotting scope so we were able to get a good look at one or two but the only photo I managed was a silhouette! :lol:

24th July: St Werbergh's Metrolink station, Chorlton
I took the tram to St W's and didn't even need to leave the platform. I counted 9 Gatekeepers, 3 Large Whites, 2 Small Whites, a Large Skipper, 2 Commas and a blue which didn't keep still long enough for me to tell which it was. And then there was a tragedy. A Painted Lady was waiting on the platform, and she flew down to sit on the warm stones beside the track. A tram came, she panicked and flew up in front of it... and I didn't see her again. That was the first PL I have seen up here.
IMG_5775 Gatekeeper-s.jpg

IMG_5778 Comma-s.jpg

IMG_5787 Small White-s.jpg
IMG_5787 Small White-s.jpg (93.1 KiB) Viewed 322 times

IMG_5788 Large Skipper-s.jpg
IMG_5788 Large Skipper-s.jpg (66.29 KiB) Viewed 322 times

IMG_5782 Painted Lady-s.jpg

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:00 pm

29th July: St Werbergh's again
Time to do a bit of catching up with the diary!

Another trip to St Werbergh's station in the afternoon where I found Speckled Woods on the bank. Wandering up the Fallowfield Loop I discovered a patch of Lords and Ladies, or Cuckoo Pint. A Small white was resting on some bindweed and a Red Admiral seemed to prefer the warmth of the ground. Along the stretch which follows the stream I witnessed a tussle between two males over a female who was nectaring on a thistle. The victor went for his prize but was given the 'Keep off me I've got a headache' by the female, who pointed her body straight up so that he could not get near. Good for you, I thought.

20170729_152020 Lords+Ladies-s.jpg

20170729_154017 GVW Unwelcome suitor.jpg

Small Skippers, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were also to be found along that stretch.
Taking the tram back to Sale Water Park I thought I'd look in on the wild flower meadow - it has not been specially seeded but it has done very well since the volunteers cleared a lot of scrub. However, I only found blue damsel flies.

20170729_165115 Damsel-s.jpg

Janet Turnbull
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10th August: Scotch Argus at Smardale

Postby Janet Turnbull » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:10 pm

I managed to persuade Alan to come with me to Smardale and since we stopped at Tebay for lunch I was able to buy a replacement copy of a book to send my son in Norway - the original having been lost in the post. Great news though - Royal Mail paid up! But that's another story.
We parked just off the road and walked about 3Km to join the disused railway track. Just before the packhorse bridge, a Dark Green Fritillary teased me by staying just too far away to get a very good picture.
IMG_5855 DGF crop.jpg

On then towards the viaduct, and the freshest specimen was the first we came across - after that they all seemed a little worn, which wasn't surprising because before reaching the viaduct we met three groups of people who told us that students from Lancaster Uni were catching and numbering Scotch Argus butterflies - the reports varied from 500 to 700 but at any rate, they had caught a lot. At the viaduct itself a man from Cumbria Wildlife Trust was netting them as well, looking to see if any of them had numbers, and further along two men with nets who had no affiliation to anything were doing the same out of curiosity. I felt sorry for the butterflies which were potentially being traumatised three times.
The Scotch Argus were certainly plentiful and were mostly fluttering low in the grasses and nectaring on the wild scabious.
IMG_5873-ed Scotch Argus.jpg

IMG_5893 SA.jpg

IMG_5896 SA.jpg

And then I discovered I had found numbers 6 and 33
IMG_5913 SA numbered.jpg

IMG_5927 SA number 33.jpg

By 5pm we turned back and I did so hope I'd see the DGF again, and although the sun was still strong the butterflies had all disappeared from that area.

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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby maverick » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:28 pm

:?
Janet Turnbull wrote:I'm thinking of trying the Great Orme for Silver studded blues over the next week - does anyone have any good clues where the best places might be - or am I too late?
Janet

Just seen your post Janet
I know the silver studded on the orm very well, but I think they will all be gone by now.
The best place is up by the cable car station .you can drive right up past it and into the car park by at the start of the toboggan run .as you pass through the cattle gate to walk up the Orm there is a small blackberry bush on the right they are always in there. Good luck

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Fri Aug 18, 2017 9:42 pm

Hi Maverick, thanks for this info - I'll make sure I get there next year! I heard the Orme was an early site so I went to Prees Heath instead, and they were still there.
Janet

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:07 pm

15th August: Aston Rowant - Silver Spotted Skippers and Chalkhill Blues
I had been monitoring the weather forecast for Oxford hoping for a couple of fine days in order to go hunting for Silver Spotted Skippers and Chalkhill Blues in the Chilterns. On Tuesday it looked as though that and the following day would be reasonably sunny so I booked a bed at YHA Oxford for the night.
I chose Aston Rowant as it seemed to have the greatest range of species and I was not disappointed. From the car park I set off towards Beacon Hill and on emerging from the woods onto the open, flowery hillside, I found butterflies practically flinging themselves at my feet asking to be photographed. I literally had to watch where I walked to avoid stepping on Meadow Browns.
IMG_5978 M Brown.jpg

IMG_6021 Meadow Brown F.JPG

IMG_6022 Meadow Brown M.JPG

A beautiful chocolate Brown Argus settled on the ground and there were others nectaring on the wild marjoram.
20170815_152607 BrA f.jpg

IMG_5971 Br Argus m.jpg

IMG_6103-BrA.jpg

Before long I found the Silver Spotted Skippers behaving very skipperishly and making it difficult to get a photo. Eventually I managed to chase one down until it settled on a bed of rock rose leaves. Studying the photo afterwards I saw there was a single egg on the upperside of a leaf just below the Skipper, and I wondered if it was accidendally hers of if it belonged to a Brown Argus pretending to be a Northern Brown.
20170815_154605_001-ed SSS.jpg

20170815_154641 SSS-2.jpg

IMG_6027 SSS.jpg

IMG_6034 SSS.jpg

IMG_6110 SSS.jpg

The Chalkhills were abundant, some of them looking rather tired and battered whilst others were still in good condition. The males seemed to favour the carline thistles, scabious and achillea, whilst the females were lower down in the grass and leaves.
20170815_160059 ChBlue.jpg

20170815_162121 ChBlue.jpg

20170815_173610 F Ch Blue.jpg

IMG_5997 Ch Blue.jpg

IMG_6000 Chalkhill Blue.jpg

IMG_6003 M+F Chalkhill Blues.jpg

IMG_6053 ChB.jpg

IMG_6066 ChB m+f.jpg

IMG_6068 ChB.jpg

Past the first meadow there was a lesser density of flowers but I still found a Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath and a Peacock - I thought there might have been more of them. Up on the top of the hill there were a number of white butterflies which did not stay still long enough for me to ID them.

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Janet Turnbull

Postby Janet Turnbull » Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:52 pm

Oxfordshire continued..

Whitecross Green Wood

The following day, by happy chance, the Upper Thames branch of BC was going out on its annual hunt for Brown Hairstreaks. Having followed Tom Dunbar around for nearly a year up at Gait Barrows looking for BrHS eggs and larvae I didn't manage to go on the day of the big hunt, so I was glad of the chance in Oxfordshire.
Whitecross Green Wood isn't too well signposted off the road but I found the butterflyers just in time and within fifteen minutes of setting off, after getting excited about a Purple Hairstreak, the first Brown Hairstreak was spotted midway up an oak tree. I had forgotten to bring binoculars but was the only one to have a scope, and so a queue formed to have a squint. I managed a very long shot with my compact (of course I only had the macro lens on the SLR) and although the quality isn't great, it is enough to identify.
IMG_2757 Br Hairstreak-1.jpg
IMG_2760 BrHS open.jpg

A Purple Hairstreak caused more excitement and must have been newly emerged as it was happy to remain on the twig whilst someone held it steady for all the photographers. Later, anoth PH fluttered down to the grass in front of me, and again was a willing sitter.
IMG_6143 P Hairstreak.JPG
IMG_6169 P Hairstreak.JPG
IMG_6175 P Hairstreak.JPG
IMG_6181 P Hairstreak.JPG
20170816_121141-ed P Hairstreak.jpg

There was quite an abundance of Common Blues and I was pleased to see some quite lovely females but not so many males.
20170816_123855 CB f.jpg

IMG_6202 Common Blue - f.JPG
IMG_6205 C Blue - f.JPG
IMG_6216 C Blue - m.JPG

After lunch I joined three other butterflyers who had spotted a BrH on some brambles, and we waited an hour for another sighting but the sun had gone in and so had the butterflies.
I then decided to look for the dragonfly pond, and just then the clouds cleared and the sun made a reappearance. As I stood at the corner of a narrow path I noticed a Meadow Brown in the long grass but on second glance it was a Brown Hairstreak! It flew towards me and landed close by, and I managed a single shot as it spread its wings.
IMG_6230 Brown Hairstreak f.jpg

It then flitted around my legs and settled within 12 inches of my feet. It closed its wings and I had a perfect view - although I could not get into position for a snap.
After this I didn't mind that the sun had gone in again, and decided to call it a day. It even sustained me (together with a cup of lukewarm coffee from Warwick services) through the long delays and slow traffic on the M40 and M6N to get home. (Yes - I know I should have taken the toll road!)
Also seen this day:
Peacock, Gatekeeper, Silver Washed Frit both m and f, Small Copper, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Brown Argus


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