July Sightings

Discussion forum for sightings.
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David M
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Re: July Sightings

Postby David M » Mon Jul 19, 2010 5:31 pm

Not wanting to waste what looks like being the only glorious day of the week, I was off at 9am to West Yatton Down near Chippenham in Wiltshire to check out the Chalkhill Blues.

I arrived at 10.20am and spent nearly 3 hours wandering round this beautiful sheltered site.

I spotted 2 gents along the western slope and it turned out one was the owner of the site and was recording butterflies with his friend. We saw 4 Chalkhill Blues (all males) but the landowner told me they had only just started emerging and that at their peak you could expect to see 80 or so here given ideal weather conditions. He was most amenable and even offered me some information regarding two bona fide White Letter Hairstreak Wych Elms in nearby Colerne. He also said the best day's return he'd recorded was 26 different species (I saw 21 today, which is easily a record for me). They had seen an Essex Skipper earlier in the day, but sadly I did not. He informed me the site is also inhabited by Holly Blues, Dark Green Fritillaries and Purple Hairstreaks (whilst I guess Painted Ladies and Clouded Yellows occur in good years).

An excellent site which I would recommend to anyone although some of the sides are quite steep. There is marshy ground at the bottom with shrub cover as well as fairly dense woodland to the west of the site. The north facing down is mainly of long grass, but the opposite site is shorter, with some scrubby patches which is where I located most of the Common Blues/Brown Arguses.

The day's tally was:

1. Ringlet 60-80
2. Green Veined White 40-60
3. Marbled White 40-60
4. Hedge Brown 30-50
5. Meadow Brown 30-50
6. Common Blue 25-40
7. Small Skipper 15-25
8. Large White 12-20
9. Brown Argus 19
10. Peacock 11
11. Comma 8
12. Small Copper 4
13. Chalkhill Blue 4
14. Small White 3
15. Silver Washed Fritillary 3
16. Small Tortoiseshell 3
17. Red Admiral 2
18. Brimstone 2 (1 male, 1 female)
19. Small Heath 1
20. Speckled Wood 1
21. Large Skipper 1
Brimstone female WYD.jpg
Female Brimstone
Brown Argus WYD.jpg
Brown Argus
Comma WYD.jpg
Basking Comma
Chalkhill Blue 1 WYD.jpg
Chalkhill Blue
Chalkhill Blue 2 WYD.jpg
Common on the site when at their peak according to the owner
Peacock WYD.jpg
Eleven seen today, all beautifully fresh
Peacock and MB WYD.jpg
Peacock with Meadow Brown on scabious
WYD 1.jpg
View of the site from the north west
WYD 2.jpg
Main area for Chalkhills apparently is along the west slope in the distance
Last edited by David M on Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Jonathan Evans
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Jonathan Evans » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:43 pm

Went for a walk today at my local patch- Glamorgan Canal Local Nature Reserve, North Cardiff, and was 'gobsmacked' to encounter not 1 but 2 very obliging White-letter Hairstreak. This was the first time I've seen the species and it was the last place that I expected to find them. Obviously I've never seen them at this site before. Both were happily nectaring, one on Rose bay willow herb and the other on bramble (there is a great deal of both at this site). I was exceedingly happy indeed, and from now on will always expect the unexpected. :D

Jon

White-letter Hairstreak 1.JPG

White-letter Hairstreak 5.JPG

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Michaeljf
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Michaeljf » Mon Jul 19, 2010 6:51 pm

Jonathan Evans wrote:Went for a walk today at my local patch- Glamorgan Canal Local Nature Reserve, North Cardiff, and was 'gobsmacked' to encounter not 1 but 2 very obliging White-letter Hairstreak.

Blimey Jon, you don't happen to have a multimap grid reference for those Hairstreaks or at least a postcode for GC LNR? Not that I have a chance to go during the week (some of us work, you know!). And no doubt the bit of nice weather will be gone by Saturday :cry: And if either you or David have a good South Wales spot for Brown Hairstreaks, that would be just as well received :wink:

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David M
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Re: July Sightings

Postby David M » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:07 pm

Michaeljf wrote:
Jonathan Evans wrote:Went for a walk today at my local patch- Glamorgan Canal Local Nature Reserve, North Cardiff, and was 'gobsmacked' to encounter not 1 but 2 very obliging White-letter Hairstreak.

Blimey Jon, you don't happen to have a multimap grid reference for those Hairstreaks or at least a postcode for GC LNR? Not that I have a chance to go during the week (some of us work, you know!). And no doubt the bit of nice weather will be gone by Saturday :cry: And if either you or David have a good South Wales spot for Brown Hairstreaks, that would be just as well received :wink:


I'd be equally interested in this location, as WLHs are proving continually elusive for me.

As for Brown Hairstreaks, it is my intention to do some research and visit at least one site in Carmarthenshire soon (if the weather ever allows it).

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Michaeljf
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Michaeljf » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:24 pm

I'll be sick as a parrot if it turns out to be Forest Farm in Whitchurch, as I was only there on Saturday, the cloud cover made the canal bleak and I went home after all I saw was one lone small white.... :cry: :mrgreen:

Jonathan Evans
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Jonathan Evans » Mon Jul 19, 2010 7:55 pm

Hello Michael,

It is indeed Forest Farm in Whitchurch, and I saw the Hairstreaks in the fields above the canal. Park at Asda or Longwood Drive on M4 J32, and take the path next to MacDonald's, turn left through a gate and after 50 yards you reach the first field.The Rose bay willow herb were I had the first Hairstreak is on the right halfway along the field. The second Hairstreak was in the third field on the brambles halfway along the northern edge. Best of luck.

Jon

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Michaeljf
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Michaeljf » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:17 pm

Jonathan Evans wrote:It is indeed Forest Farm in Whitchurch, and I saw the Hairstreaks in the fields above the canal.

Hi Jon,
thanks - I know those fields fairly well, as I went up there a couple of times earlier in the year to get a photo of the foxes that live in the woods to the left of the third field (going towards the tower). I noticed at the time, as an aside, that there were plenty of dog violets on the edges of the first field and wondered if any Fritillaries lived around that area. Looks like I'll be going up to the fields on the weekend if the weather is half-decent :wink: I wasn't even aware that there were Elms there though there are a wide range of trees in the woods. Nice spotting, either way! In fact, I wonder if WL hairstreaks have been reported for that site before, as the atlas details printed in 'The state of butterflies in britain and Ireland' by Fox, Asher et al (2006) doesn't look like it has a marker over the N/West of Cardiff.

Thanks Michael

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Jack Harrison
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Jack Harrison » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:35 pm

Just a bit of fun - i/d teaser.
Image

Jack

millerd
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Re: July Sightings

Postby millerd » Mon Jul 19, 2010 8:59 pm

Jack - my guess is WLH sitting happily on a bramble flower...

Dave

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Matsukaze
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Matsukaze » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:43 pm

A Hummingbird Hawkmoth in the garden this evening, following on from one I saw a few miles away on Saturday. Has anyone else seen these recently?

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Re: July Sightings

Postby Piers » Mon Jul 19, 2010 9:52 pm

Hi Matsukaze,

Just in the last few weeks they seem to be popping up all over in South Wilts. Prior to that they had been very few and far between this year.

Felix.

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Charles Nicol
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Charles Nicol » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:36 pm

Went to Bedford Purlieus for the first time yesterday. Wonderful numbers of butterflies; hairstreaks especially strong.

Plenty of Silver Washed Fritillaries and White Admirals.

4811435161_4e81cfcd9c_z.jpg


Charles

:D :D :D

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Lee Hurrell
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Lee Hurrell » Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:58 pm

I saw a Humming Bird Hawk moth at Wilmington, East Sussex on 10th July.

Cheers

Lee
To butterfly meadows, chalk downlands and leafy glades; to summers eternal.

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Pete Eeles
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Pete Eeles » Tue Jul 20, 2010 5:44 pm

Charles Nicol wrote:Plenty of Silver Washed Fritillaries and White Admirals.


And a nice photo of a Brown Argus and Purple Hairstreak.

Are you keeping us on our toes, Charles? :lol:

Cheers,

- Pete

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David M
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Re: July Sightings

Postby David M » Tue Jul 20, 2010 10:21 pm

Charles Nicol wrote:Went to Bedford Purlieus for the first time yesterday. Wonderful numbers of butterflies; hairstreaks especially strong.

Plenty of Silver Washed Fritillaries and White Admirals.

4811435161_4e81cfcd9c_z.jpg



Great photo.

Were White Letters descending to lower levels along with Purples?

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Charles Nicol
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Charles Nicol » Wed Jul 21, 2010 1:53 pm

thanks Pete & David for your kind appreciation of my pic :D :D

i went back again today and there are still loads of White Letter Hairstreaks on the marjoram & thistles ( about 2 feet off the ground... so quite low !! ). the Purples had retreated to the Oak canopy perhaps due to the cloudier conditions.

the only new species i spotted today was...a Speckled Wood :shock: :shock:

Charles

Eris
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Eris » Wed Jul 21, 2010 3:45 pm

My garden is still playing host to these guys, I found this one yesterday on the Tansy. I found a PH in almost exactly the same place on the tansy last year as well, so it obviously is a favourite plant of theirs.
purplehs3july.JPG


And this was on the sweetpeas in the front garden.
sweetpeabrimstone1.jpg


And the gatekeepers are everywhere.
gatekeeper1.JPG


Also spotted
one Red Admiral
Several Large Whites
One common blue
A peacock,
a lot of meadow browns,
And a Silver washed frit also flitted through the garden today but did not stay long enough for me to go and get the camera out.

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David M
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Re: July Sightings

Postby David M » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:08 pm

I decided to risk a soaking (forecast was for intermittent, heavy showers) and pay a quick visit to Pentwyn Farm Reserve near Monmouth which is an 11ha site featuring 4 unimproved hay meadows.

What surprised me was that in spite of being located approx 10 miles from the Springdale site near Usk, there were no Marbled Whites to be found, whereas Springdale is teeming with them.

I managed just an hour before black clouds began looming large and the return was fairly mundane (mostly the usual suspects plus a couple of Essex Skippers):

1. Meadow Brown 50-80
2. Green Veined White 10-20
3. Common Blue 7
4. Small Skipper 6
5. Comma 3
6. Small Copper 3
7. Small White 3
8. Hedge Brown 2
9. Essex Skipper 2
10. Peacock 1
11. Ringlet 1
Essex Skipper Pentwyn.jpg
Two of these spotted this afternoon

Jonathan Evans
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Jonathan Evans » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:12 pm

I revisited the fields at Glamorgan Canal Local Nature Reserve, North Cardiff, today, hoping to see some more White-letter Hairstreaks. I did find another another 1, which was again nectaring in an area of bramble. This one was very low down, at knee height. I also encountered a nice Holly Blue, which was good enough to perch within range, before flying high up into a maple. As I scanned the top of the maple, I spotted a small butterfly, which I briefly thought was the Holly Blue, but soon realised was a hairstreak. After a brief flight, it alighted in the maple and offered very good views through binoculars, revealing itself to be a Purple Hairstreak! :D This is the first Purple Hairstreak that I've seen and, as with White-letter Hairstreak, I was unaware of their presence at this site. I watched the PH, as it opened it's wings and basked, for about 20 minutes. It then flew down past me and back up into an oak near the maple. I continued watching in the hope that it would come down onto the bracken beneath the oak, but rain cut short my vigil.

The fields at the reserve are well worth a visit at the moment, as they are simply brimming with butterflies. Today I saw Comma, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Large Skipper, Large White, Meadow Brown, Purple Hairstreak, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Small Copper, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Speckled Wood and White-letter Hairstreak. Next time I might get a Purple Emperor! :lol:

Jon

White-letter Hairstreak 11.JPG

White-letter Hairstreak 9.JPG

Holly Blue 1.JPG

Small Copper 14.JPG

Common Blue m+f 2.JPG

Small Skipper m+f.JPG

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Michaeljf
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Re: July Sightings

Postby Michaeljf » Wed Jul 21, 2010 4:37 pm

Jonathan Evans wrote:The fields at the reserve are well worth a visit at the moment

Yes, if only I could get away from work :( - still, Friday looks OK for weather. Maybe I can snatch a quick half-hour then!


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