August 2011

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Re: August 2011

Postby Wurzel » Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:01 pm

Visited Keyhaven and Pennington Marsh this morning and over lunch. Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Large White along the back path, 3 Small Heaths on the coast path and one female Wall Brown (finally - but too distant for a decent shot! :( ). More details and photos in Personal Diary later if I get a chance to amongst completing GCSE analysis :( :evil:

Have a goodun


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Re: August 2011

Postby EricY » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:33 pm

Walsey Hills on the Norfolk coast just east of Cley produced my first Painted Lady I have seen in Norfolk this year (did see one up north end of june) . also 2 common blues several spec woods & quite a few whites. Also a Southern Hawker DF & a Red-backed Shrike but distant. Nice Wryneck at Wells on way home. Eric
dl 30 08 11 Sony H50 023 Painted Lady.jpg
Painted Lady, Walsey Hills Norfolk

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David M
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Re: August 2011

Postby David M » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:38 pm

Michaeljf wrote: Monday 29th August 2011 – West Williamston (Pembrokeshire)

I’d wanted to return to West Williamston since last year’s trip (also on the August Bank Holiday) but the weather hadn’t been that reliable. I’d decided that with a good forecast this Monday might provide the best time to go – however, we were already a little travel-weary from coming back from Kent the night before. Nikki who does much of the co-ordinating and managing of the reserve had organised a Brown Hairstreak count from 11-12 so I knew the reserve might be a bit more busy than normal.

After a good drive across to west Wales we arrived to clear sunshine at the reserve just after 9pm. However, my confidence in the forecast turned out to be a bit ill-founded as some cloud came over and it was soon clear that shorts and a t-shirt weren’t the best thing to wear this morning! We did an early morning walk at the estuary’s edge, being careful not to slip on the kelp from the morning’s tide. We got back to the car for the early morning organisation from Nikki – there were probably about 16 enthusiasts and local wardens willing to help with the count - and so Karen and I spent the ‘spotting hour’ in what she calls ‘the middle field’. However, the sun kept on coming in and going away again and I knew this was ‘borderline’ conditions (again) for the Hairstreaks. We had 1 possible sighting at the top of an Ash, but otherwise there were only Speckled Woods, Large and Green-Veined Whites, Small Coppers plus a few Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and one Red Admiral keen to spend time on the ragwort. After our hour we returned to the Estuary banks where there was at least one Painted Lady nectaring from the Sea Asters, plus a few Common Blues making our way past the last field.

We got together with the other spotters just after mid-day and it turned out that the morning was not a big success, with only about 5 Hairstreaks being seen. A couple were in the usual ‘glade’ and some good specimens had been seen at the ‘Limestone Ridge’ further down the reserve. In the glade there were a few nice Commas, plus one Brown Hairstreak briefly dropped down to the Blackthorn. Karen and I would venture out towards the Limestone Ridge later but the weather continued to cloud over and we returned home fairly early in the afternoon as I didn’t think the weather looked like it would improve. All in all, a slightly disappointing trip but only really due to the continuing ‘borderline’ weather conditions. Nikki had also mentioned that the first Brown Hairstreaks of the year had been flying at West Williamston in mid-July, very similar to sightings in Oxfordshire.

Lovely shots once again, Michael.

Shame the weather was playing up (again). It looks almost perfect in your first picture.

Ironically, I was reading Jeremy Thomas's write up of the Brown Hairstreak in Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland earlier tonight, and I was particularly amused by his statement about it being unusual for Brown Hairstreaks to fly in temperatures lower than 20 degrees. If that were true, then this colony would have died off centuries ago as I don't think it's been in the seventies at West Williamston since the end of July!!

You may have been disappointed by the lack of specimens seen, but I was interested to read your comment regarding some being observed at the limestone ridge. I've never seen any there in 3 visits, but last time I did notice string tied round quite a few of the young blackthorn shrubs in this area, meaning that the females are readily laying their eggs at that location.

I may well revisit myself in the next few days (again, very much weather dependent).

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Re: August 2011

Postby Matsukaze » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:43 pm

Yesterday I was looking for dragonflies on the Exmoor mires, which are not good butterfly habitat at all, so it was a little surprising to see a Peacock and a Red Admiral there. The Red Admiral was in "migrate north" mode, but the Peacock just seemed to be basking in an attempt to get warm, with a little heather around by way of nectar source, and neither foodplant nor hibernation site within a mile. Considering the abundance of bog and mire habitat in western Britain, it is surprising we have so few of the Continental bog specialist butterflies resident here.

Numbers on my Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey walks today were by far the lowest they have been in the 5 years I have been walking these routes, although in fairness the weather was barely adequate to do the monitoring.

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Re: August 2011

Postby David M » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:05 pm

Matsukaze wrote:Considering the abundance of bog and mire habitat in western Britain, it is surprising we have so few of the Continental bog specialist butterflies resident here.

Indeed. From what I've read, the British Isles is the foremost place in the world for such habitat.

It always puzzles me too how Large Heath isn't found further south than mid-Wales, yet is present in northern and eastern France.

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Re: August 2011

Postby essexbuzzard » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:29 pm

Had a rare Bank Holiday Monday off work,so took the chance to go to the excellent Lydden Temple Ewell Downs in east Kent,admirably managed by Kent Wildlife Trust. This is a good,reliable site for Silver-spotted Skippers and Adonis Blues at this time of year. I've been comming here for many years, but butterfly numbers seemed down,probably because of the cold,dull weather throughout August again this year,and in no way reflects the management of this reserve,which is excellent.
Some sun in between the cloud today,17C,and SSS and AB were still mainly in good condition and quite easy to find. Also a nice Painted Lady,Brown Argus,Common and Chalkhill Blues(mostly faded),Meadow Browns, Small Coppers,Small Heaths,old female Gatekeepers and Small Whites. A very good day :) .

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Re: August 2011

Postby Michaeljf » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:38 am

David M wrote: Lovely shots once again, Michael. Shame the weather was playing up (again). It looks almost perfect in your first picture.

Hi David,
thanks - part of the reason it looks nice in the photographs is that I've mastered the art of getting a landscape photograph during any sunny breaks :wink:
I'm not much the wiser about the Limestone ridge - like you I saw the egg markers, but it doesn't look like the sort of landscape I'd expect to see Brown Hairstreaks in. Plus it's quite a big spot - I suppose you could easily miss them in such a large area. I think the sightings from that area were all late morning, so it may be that the light is better in that area at that time :| .

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Re: August 2011

Postby Ian Pratt » Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:51 pm

Hoggers wrote:I found this little chap in the field near my house this weekend

Otherwise it has been very quiet. The flowers look rather empty and although i've been out looking the only Painted Lady i've seen this year was a single on Collard Hill back in June when I was surrounded by Large Blues and unfortunately didn't pay it much attention!

Great small copper photos. I have managed to get some video footage of one recently. Yours is in prime condition. Brilliant!

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Re: August 2011

Postby NickB » Wed Aug 31, 2011 6:51 pm

Small Coppers seem to be doing well in the Cemetery too...just
I had to literally stand in front of the mower this morning to stop the council destroying the meadow ...

I then called the council and the local paper and sent this headline and picture...
Envoronmental vandalism_1_low.jpg
"Environmental Vandalism"

together with a Small Copper taken that day "next to the mown strip"

Lots of Small Copper (more than likely at least 10 seen), with the odd Common Blue and Brown Argus still hanging on...with Small Whites and GVWs...
...all having laid their eggs in the areas that they want to mow - now!
Small Copper - in the threatened meadow..

...another one.

I saw a couple of female Small Copper, and a courtship display that lead to nothing...
Male displaying; female bottom-left

Male following female...

...female, left on her own. Either fertilised already or very choosy....

Looks like I may have some fun ahead!
"Conservation starts in small places, close to home..."

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Re: August 2011

Postby Susie » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:27 pm

Keep up the good work, Nick!

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Re: August 2011

Postby NickB » Thu Sep 01, 2011 11:20 pm

Oh - I will :lol:

I think some people feel threatened when I ask:

"What right they feel they have to cut down all the flowers and kill all those insects and caterpillars? What is their justification for that?"

Strangely, I have had no reply to that one!
"Conservation starts in small places, close to home..."

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Re: August 2011

Postby Hoggers » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:14 pm

Work finished early today so I had the chance to visit Wye Downs Nature Reserve this afternoon while the sun was shining. There were quite a few Gatekeepers on the wing with Meadow Browns too.The Small Heaths seem to be doing very well up there ( I counted over 12 in a short time ) and some posed to have their photographs taken

I think the one on the ground was tilting himself to catch some rays.

I also saw a Painted Lady but alas she was camera shy and flitted away before I could take her picture.

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Re: August 2011 rhoumensis in Surrey

Postby adrian riley » Wed Oct 12, 2011 9:27 am

The photographed individual is very like rhoumensis, though the Rhum individuals are slightly more silver. In flight they appear quite 'ghostly' .

Adrian Riley

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