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Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:10 pm
by Vince Massimo
Hi all,

Had a few hours at Colley Hill, Reigate, Surrey, which is easily accessable from Junction 8 of the M25. Over 100 Silver Spotted Skippers seen, outnumbering Meadow Browns by 4:1 on the south eastern slopes (TQ249518). There were also 12 Chalkhill Blue in the same area. Whilst I have only previously seen the Skippers on the steep slopes, there were 10 scattered around the top edge today, which is usually dominated by Meadow Brown and Common Blue. There were only 6 Painted Lady and all of the many Peacocks are gone. Also seen were 4 Gatekeeper, 5 Small Heath, 1 Speckled Wood, 1 Small Copper, 20 Common Blue, 2 Brown Argus, 2 Small White and 2 Large White.

Cheers,

Vince

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 6:49 pm
by eccles
Another trip to Shipton Bellinger for brown hairstreak with Jerry and Denise today saw plenty of active males in the main master tree near the Tidworth Road end but no females came down to play. Absolutely zilch at the Shipton Bellinger end. We must lack the Gary/Lisa knack. The weather wasn't too great either as the length of the forecast sunny periods could be measured in seconds. :(

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:21 pm
by Neil Hulme
Hi Andy (Perseus),
Yes, feel free to use the Brown Hairstreak images. The one you saw at Mill Hill may well have come as a surprise to you, but I very much doubt that it was either a 'vagrant' or has been introduced. Brown Hairstreak is our most elusive species 'by a country mile' and many sites are known solely from egg surveys. The eggs are much easier to see than the adults. Steyning is throwing them up with impressive regularity (once you know where to look and when), but until I discovered eggs here in January 2008 the colony was unknown. Similarly, it was only when I discovered eggs on Cissbury Ring (January 2007) that Brown Hairstreak was added to the species list for the site - despite being transect-walked for decades and visited by butterfly-watchers on a very regular basis. They can be living on 'your patch', undetected, for donkey's years! Now you know they're there and will be watching out specifically for them, you will start to see more - but great patience is required! Steyning Rifle Range is at TQ168112. I saw 6 different females 'down low' here today - report later.
Neil

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:26 pm
by Neil Hulme
Hi all,
Steyning Rifle Range was still producing the goods today - and getting quite busy! No less than 6 different female Brown Hairstreaks down low, differentiated on the basis of wear and tear (although one was fresh and scale-perfect). Some appeared several times during their wanderings around the site. I watched quite a lot of egg-laying today and I reckon they are just about at peak. I was surprised at how readily they flew over several 100 metres of open ground to get to new stands of Prunus (they prefer to lay on bullace here), rather than hugging the hedge-lines. I didn't get any shots that I was particularly pleased with today, but just seeing so many of these beauties made it a memorable one.
Neil
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Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:26 pm
by Matsukaze
How are Brown Hairstreaks in flight distinguished from Vapourer moths? I usually see a few of the moths fluttering around at this time of the year and later, and am about 10 miles outside the butterfly's known range in Somerset. I've often wondered if I might be looking at Brown Hairstreak without realising it.

Purple Hairstreak high in the trees a couple of miles south of Bath this evening, and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in the garden, enjoying the soapwort I have provided especially for it!

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:46 pm
by Neil Hulme
Hi Matsukaze,
Vapourer males appear more ginger-coloured in flight, which is erratic and usually at much greater height than Brown Hairstreak. Unless Hairstreaks are covering open ground (see above), their flight is usually over quite short distances around the Prunus stands, whereas Vapourers just keep on going! BH is also noticeably larger.
Neil

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:49 pm
by Susie
Walked past my local master tree this morning and there was at least one brown hairstreak hanging around but up quite high. Still good numbers of painted lady, red admiral, small tortoiseshell, large and small white and a few peacocks and common blue in the back garden today.

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 9:57 pm
by Matsukaze
Thanks Neil. I really must look for this butterfly, but chances are it will have to wait till next year now.

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:13 pm
by Dave McCormick
Did not see much butterflies today, put 2 heath traps out to see what moths are about, already saw a August thorn female and a marbled beauty female.

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:57 am
by Jack Harrison
Duke - second showing

Surprisingly I haven't seen this article mentioned:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8208428.stm
Matthew Oates seems to be happy for the info to be made public (quoted in item)

I might give Ivinghoe a look later this week.

Jack

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:12 am
by Zonda
Duke - second showing

Are these late showings from eggs laid in the spring? Will this flush be viable, given that there are no cowslips, or primroses around at this time of the year :?:

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:24 am
by Pete Eeles
Zonda wrote:Are these late showings from eggs laid in the spring? Will this flush be viable, given that there are no cowslips, or primroses around at this time of the year :?:


They are around - just not in flower. Eggs are laid on the underside of the leaves, which is what the larvae feed on. The only "downside", I guess, is that some of the foodplants will be rather shrivelling when compared to their "flush" in spring.

Cheers,

- Pete

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:30 am
by Zonda
I'm living and learning. :D

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:08 am
by Jack Harrison
In the days when it was ‘OK’ to collect things like eggs of the Duke, I feared that problem of shrivelled leaves when I bred them on garden primroses/polyanthus. They would eat the most apparently unsuitable 'dead looking' leaves.

My own garden primroses are flowering again at the moment with good new leaf growth. No Dukes on them I'm sorry to say!

Jack

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:14 am
by Nigel
The Dukes 2nd brood were featured on BBC radio four around 7am this morning

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:56 pm
by Zonda
They would eat the most apparently unsuitable 'dead looking' leaves.

Which is good news, and will encourage enthusiasts to look out in August.

Re: August 2009 Sightings - Beetle

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:33 pm
by NickB
Apart from numerous tatty Chalkhills, Cambs&Essex BC walk at weekend on Devil's Dyke produced this impressive Musk Beetle -Aromia moschata
Long_Horn_beetle_Aromia moschata_low_15_08_2009.jpg

N
Had a look for 2nd brood Dingies - but none seen...

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:11 pm
by Ian Pratt
Some photos from the last two evenings at Brading Down(Chalkhill blues) and Bonchurch Down(Adonis blues). Glorious weather on the Isle of Wight and a good number of fresh butterflies. :D

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 10:50 pm
by Matsukaze
Still a few fairly fresh male Chalkhills at Draycott Sleights early this evening. I tried very hard to find Grayling there, but none were to be seen - however another declining brown, the Wall, was probably the commonest butterfly in the Draycott/Stoke Camp area, which was good to see. The rare Chalk Carpet moth could also be found on Draycott.

A slightly aberrant female Common Blue was also seen:

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Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:45 am
by eccles
Matsukaze, probably your best bet for Grayling in the Mendip Hills region would be Crook Peak. Good to hear the second brood walls have emerged at Draycott Sleights.