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Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 12:03 am
by Neil Hulme
Hi all,
A couple of stories just posted to the BC Sussex website. Might be helpful for those wanting to see Brown Hairstreaks.
Neil

News for Saturday 8 August 2009: I visited Steyning Rifle Range in warm sunshine, almost immediately seeing 4 male Brown Hairstreaks flitting around the Master Trees above the spring-fed ponds. After getting no more than a brief glimpse of a female Brown Hairstreak heading across the open fields, I was about to change venue when a second one appeared, giving a small group of us superb views as she sat in the hedge-line for a while, before heading off on an egg-laying run. I then moved on to Steyning Round Hill, where the very steep slope allowed head-height viewing of two male Brown Hairstreaks in the Master Tree above the quarry. My ninth of the day was a female, again on a mission to lay eggs along the blackthorn scrub-line. The Wall Brown is certainly having its best year in Sussex for a very long time and I counted 22 here without searching exhaustively. A female Clouded Yellow provided a nice bonus.

News for Sunday 9 August 2009: 46 people attended the BC walk on the Rifle Range - part of the Steyning Downland Scheme Area. Most were keen to see the Brown Hairstreak, one of our two target species and Britain's most elusive butterfly. Guardian journalist Patrick Barkham joined us, in the hope of seeing the last of the 59 species he needed to complete a 'full house' in the course of his 2009 UK tour. After just over an hour, and with the pressure to deliver building, I was delighted to hear Roger Martin shout that he had a Brown Hairstreak in front of him. There was no panic and no need for crowd-control, as a long string of people patiently queued to see this pristine female through a telescope - a quite unusual scene! For much of the time she sat 'flat open', showing off the beautiful, fiery orange patches on her forewings. As is often the case, quite a number of people stayed on after the official end to the walk, adding a few more species to the already impressive tally we had accumulated. The list included Wall, Clouded Yellow, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Chalkhill Blue, Holly Blue, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Meadow Brown and Small Heath. While waiting for the Hairstreaks to show we were treated to the sight of a Hobby and Sparrowhawk thermalling above us. Thanks to all that came along and made it such an enjoyable event.

News for Sunday 9 August 2009: A brief stop and search of the earthworks at Chantry Hill was all that was necessary in providing the good news I was hoping for. The Silver-spotted Skippers that arrived here in August 2007 have managed to hold on through the diabolical late summer weather of 2008. I am now confident that the species has really got a foothold here, seeing 9 males quite quickly. The slopes here are alive with butterflies and there are very high numbers of Brown Argus to be seen. Wall have also colonised the site and a previous visit on 3 August (prior to the Silver-spotted Skipper emergence) produced my first ever sighting of Small Blue here. Those visiting to see the Silver-spotteds need to sift through quite high numbers of Small and Essex Skippers, which are persisting much later than on most sites in Sussex.
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Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 1:53 pm
by vawn
there are alot of ringlets in my garden and a few meadow browns. is this a good opportunity to mention i saw an orange tip fly across a road in hayle cornwall last month?

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 3:59 pm
by Dave McCormick
Weather today was poor, dark clouds that lead to heavy wet rain, but in the time it was dry, it was very cloudy and getting dark, but it was humid and loads of painted ladies (around 20) made their flight around the buddliea bushes in Mountstewart Gardens as did 2 peacock and a lone red admiral, also found the wings of a small tortoiseshell and red admiral (no idea what happened)

But I did see a interesting site (my camera was off at time and it was too late to photograph it) but as I was kneeling down to photo a painted lady, directly in front of me a blue tit came out of the bush, directly at a painted lady in front of it, the painted lady barely made it off the ground, but then 4 flew up of the ground, around the blue tit, the tit looked disorientated by this and then flew back into the bush again. Then a short while after the rain came on (I was in forest nearby at time, got soaked but I was close to my house so it was ok.)

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 4:50 pm
by Jack Harrison
I couldn’t resist this at the back of a petrol station at Ely: a superb combination of colours. Shrub is Hardy Plumbago Ceratostigma willmottianum. It also attracted Peacocks, Tortoiseshells and whites – seems to be a good nectar plant and very attractive. About 120 cms high and 200 cms across.

Jack

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 5:54 pm
by Neil Hulme
Hi all,
I met up with a couple of 'BC buddies' to look for Brown Hairstreaks this morning. We had 5 sightings of at least 4 different females at Steyning. I didn't get the 'spread-eagled' shot I was after, but was very happy to capture one of them 'mid-lay', unobscured by the usual tangle of blackthorn spines.
Neil
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Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 6:33 pm
by Gruditch
Very nice Kipper, think I may have to pop over to Shipton at the weekend now. :mrgreen:

I'm not sure if it's the same everywhere, but we have had a bit of a, Large White population explosion here. Lisa was just doing the data input, and the Transect Walker programme said, "are you sure, this butterfly does not usually occur in these numbers". We had two sections with 60+ in, and 317 in total, what a great year. :D

But believe it or not, Meadow Browns are way down in numbers. :?

Gruditch

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:15 pm
by vawn
this afternoon,

3 red admirals
6 large white
3 speckled woods and a little blue one less than 2cm across

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:47 pm
by Neil Hulme
Hi Gruditch,
On all Brown Hairstreak sites I know the key period (for females) is 11.30am - 2.30pm, and they react very quickly to spells of full sunshine after periods of dull or semi-bright weather. Matthew Oates told me he saw 44 BH at Shipton a couple of days back, but these were almost all males seen early in the morning (c.8am onwards), when they show well around the top of ash trees. This weekend should see plenty of females out there. The girls started to emerge in force on the 8th here, so they are still all in mint condition - but it won't be long before they start snagging their pretty little wings on those nasty blackthorn spikes :evil: so it's definitely time to get out there. Happy hunting!
Neil

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2009 7:50 pm
by alex mclennan
Brown argus seen in Bedford this afternoon. I can't recall seeing this much white in the wing spot before. Apologies for the poor picture - I grabbed this record shot and as I moved in on it, it took off and disappeared.
Alex
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Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:04 pm
by Dave McCormick
I was out on a bicycle ride today and brought my camera and glad I did too, found this female Holly Blue coming home:
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Here is the same one feeding on a dying bramble flower:
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Large White with bumblebees:
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Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:44 pm
by Rogerdodge
Dave
found this female Holly Blue coming home

Where had she been?

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 4:51 pm
by Dave McCormick
Rogerdodge wrote:Dave
found this female Holly Blue coming home

Where had she been?


Haha, having fun with speclked woods probably :D . Looked very willing to photograph even though it was a bit high up for me to photograph well.

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:00 pm
by Jack Harrison
Roger wrote:
Where had she been?
I am reminded of a story my father used to love to tell. Dad was a newspaper reporter for the Eastern Daily Press and one day was asked to call on a Major Castle who had apparently seen a UFO. When interviewed the Major said: “As I was returning home from the Red Lion late at night, I saw this....” Father was unable to dissuade him that this would be misunderstood; the quote was published unaltered.

Jack

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 5:39 pm
by Zonda
I know what the Major was going through.....I too have seen huge butterflies with two foot wingspans in a tent,,,in my back garden......However,,,that was only an alcohol induced dream.

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:09 pm
by Matsukaze
Hi Gruditch, in this part of Somerset Large White is doing well but is not superabundant. The smaller whites are also having a good year and outnumber it.

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:07 pm
by eccles
A visit today with Denise, Xmilehigh, and our driver of the day, Wavelea1 (many thanks Mike!) to Shipton Bellinger saw several brown hairstreak but none would come down from the treetops. The best I could do was point a long lens at it. This is a 100% crop.
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From there, a visit to Broughton Down produced a dozen or so nice condition silver spotted skipper. The explosion in white numbers was repeated here with huge numbers of large white, plus lots of small white and brimstone.

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:52 pm
by Jack Harrison
13th August. Holme NNR, Hunstanton, Northwest Norfolk produced one tatty Clouded Yellow. POOR quality record shot.
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Seven Wall Browns, one elderly Grayling and uncountable numbers of Common Blues, numerous Brown Argus, Small Copper plus all the expected common species. On the beach along the strand line, there were tens of thousands of dead ladybirds. Apparently there has been immigration in the millions all along N.Norfolk coast. Presumably many didn’t make it so died at sea only to be washed up later.

Jack

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 9:27 pm
by Denise
I ditto Eccles comments. Thank you Wavelea1 for driving today.
I did manage a record shot of Brown Hairstreak, but a poor one at that. :evil: They were just too high up and with only intermittent sunshine, didn't come down.
We went to the grid reference posted on Hampshire BC sightings page by Matthew Oates, SU 21994 45729, and saw our first hairstreak within minutes. Thanks Matthew.

At Broughton Down I managed this shot of a Silver-spotted Skipper ovipositing.
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My best SS Skipper shots were taken at our third and last stop of the day at Stockbridge Down. Also seen here, lots of Chalkhill Blue, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Copper, fresh Painted Lady, Peacock, Brown Argus and more whites.
A great day out, in great company. Thanks chaps.

Denise

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:55 pm
by Alex
After seeing Small Coppers in the garden the other day, a little jaunt around a few areas local to Bath yesterday did confirm that there is a reasonable abundance of this species on the wing at the moment, so worth some extra vigilance checking all those little orange/brown butterflies that seem to be everywhere when the sun actually does come out.

Re: August 2009 Sightings

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:34 pm
by Gruditch
Sussex Kipper wrote:so it's definitely time to get out there. Happy hunting!


Cheers Kipper, but as it looks like the whole world, is now descending there at the weekend, :roll: I think I'll give it a miss, perhaps go and find some Adonis instead.

Gruditch