September 2011

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September 2011

Postby David M » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:08 pm

The butterfly season is definitely drawing to a close - even the Brown Hairstreaks at West Williamston are starting to look ragged!

With blue skies and 19C forecast I bagged the day off work today and arrived at the Pembrokeshire reserve just before 10.30am. For once, not a single cloud was present in the sky and although the wind was light to moderate, it was insufficient to deter what was a surprisingly good return of butterflies.

Red Admiral 10-15
Speckled Wood 10-15
Hedge Brown 8-12
Common Blue 8
Green Veined White 5-10
Large White 4
Small Tortoiseshell 4
Small Copper 3
Brown Hairstreak 3
Comma 2
Holly Blue 2
Peacock 2
Silver Washed Fritillary 2
Meadow Brown 1

I've never visited this site when the tide has been in, so it came as a bit of a shock to find the water almost encroaching on the path.

Image

There were three people present in the little glade, including the Welshman I met there a week last Sunday, but apart from a brief tree top flight by a Brown Hairstreak, the only butterflies visible prior to 11am were a couple of Red Admirals and a faded Hedge Brown.

I took a walk up to the limestone ridge at the end of the site but saw only a couple of Holly Blues, so I returned to join the Welsh guy back in the glade who was now on his own.

Just after midday, I spotted a movement (actually thought it was a Comma) and a female BH flew into the clearing much to the delight of my companion who was seeing one at close quarters for the first time. She was a little ragged but still in the mood to lay an egg or two.

Image

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She disappeared after 10 minutes or so, and for the next hour we waited to see if there would be any more activity. A Small Copper aroused our interest, then a Comma. Eventually, as we were chatting, the same BH suddenly appeared right beside us on a blackthorn sucker no more than 60cm high.

Again, she soon disappeared, and at 1.45pm I decided to explore the fields at the entrance to the foreshore. There were several Common Blues flying about in this location, as well as a small number of Tortoiseshells, a few Whites and the odd Red Admiral and Peacock. There were also two Silver Washed Fritillaries, a species I've never seen in September previously.

Image

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In the final field before leaving the site, I disturbed another (very ragged) female BH. This is the first I've ever seen here outside of the glade and I decided to check a few of the blackthorn suckers. One of them had 5 eggs laid on it, including two side by side.

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I noticed the clearing work that has been done in this area. Much of the old scrub has been cut down to encourage new growth and with it being in a sheltered dip, this could prove to make Brown Hairstreaks more easy to observe henceforth.
Last edited by David M on Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: September 2011

Postby Hugh Middleton » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:31 pm

Had an hour this afternoon in a little reserve in Licoln itself.
Fair numbers of Small Heath and Common Blues plus Whites and Speckled Wood.

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Re: September 2011

Postby MikeOxon » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:35 pm

September came in with very welcome warmth and sunshine after some very dull days! A walk along the Roman Road at the South side of Otmoor, Oxon. did not bring the hoped-for Brown Hairstreak but there were several Red Admirals and Speckled Wood, with a few rather faded Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns.

My photo of a pair of Common Blues in cop. shows the double fringe on the edges of the male's wings very clearly. The inner fringe has chequered markings while the outer is whiter and unmarked. The female is noticeably smaller and this specimen has a lot of blue scales on her wings.

CmnBlues.jpg
Otmoor, Oxon - 1st September 2011


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Re: September 2011

Postby NickB » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:20 pm

Nice one, Mike. I saw these in cop today....
WTF_1_low_Mill_Hill_1st_Sept_2011.jpg

:shock:
Anyone any ideas...?
N
EDIT: Thanks to Susie, who has identified them as Yellow Dung Flies (Scathophaga stercoraria) (or very similar) I think she is correct - A nice couple to meet....

Given the covering on the top fly, the name certainly "does what says it on the tin" :lol:
Last edited by NickB on Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: September 2011

Postby AndyR » Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:34 pm

A 40 minute visit to Orley Common, Ipplepen today yielded meadow browns, the odd faded gatekeeper, lots of speckled wood, Common Blues, a dull but busy Silver Washed Frit and a splendid Brown Hairstreak. The goal of the visit was to try and spot Brown Hairstreaks so I was chuffed when just as I was about to leave I spotted one. It was on hazel wandering about on a leaf, and let me get nice and close. I reached for the camera, tried to take a photo but no shutter sound, then realised I had left the battery in the charger at home! Oh well.
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Re: September 2011

Postby NickB » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:59 pm

For a final fling this season (well, maybe one more... :lol: ) went to Steyning & Mill Hill today. A beautiful day on the South Coast....
One female BH at Steyning - no pics -with several Red Admiral, Small White/GVW, a Small Tortoiseshell, Holly Blue and Speckled Wood....
Lots of Adonis (m&f) at Mill Hill ...
AB_m_f_1_low_Mill_Hill_1st_Sept_2011.jpg

Also a lot of MB, Small White, Small Heath. A few GV & Large White, Small Copper and odd Gatekeeper....and a beautiful, fresh orange, Painted Lady.
N
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Re: September 2011

Postby Mark Colvin » Fri Sep 02, 2011 7:11 am

Hi Nick,

NickB wrote:Thanks to Susie, who has identified them as Yellow Dung Flies (Scathophaga stercoraria) (or very similar) I think she is correct - A nice couple to meet....

They look very similar but they're not Yellow Dung Flies, which at a quick glance are very similar. They are in fact a mated pair of robber flies though I cannot do them to species.

Good hunting.

Kind regards. Mark
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Re: September 2011

Postby NickB » Fri Sep 02, 2011 11:32 am

Mark Colvin wrote:Hi Nick,

NickB wrote:Thanks to Susie, who has identified them as Yellow Dung Flies (Scathophaga stercoraria) (or very similar) I think she is correct - A nice couple to meet....

They look very similar but they're not Yellow Dung Flies, which at a quick glance are very similar. They are in fact a mated pair of robber flies though I cannot do them to species.
Good hunting.
Kind regards. Mark


Cheers Mark
This confirms the ID I think...
Hornet Robberfly (Asilus crabroniformis)
http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/206422
:)
N
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Re: September 2011

Postby Trev Sawyer » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:39 pm

Possible caption for your fly pic Nick:
"OK, let's see if these glasses are any better then Sir.... How far down the chart can you read now?" :lol: :lol:

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Re: September 2011

Postby NickB » Fri Sep 02, 2011 1:59 pm

:lol:
I feel a "Caption Competition" developing!
:wink:
N

" Back seat driver".....?
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Re: September 2011

Postby MikeOxon » Fri Sep 02, 2011 6:08 pm

It was baking hot on the slope at Lough Down, above Streatley, Berks, this afternoon. I only saw one male Adonis Blue, which was in fairly battered condition but the iridescence was still stunning! My personal guide to identification is that if you are not gob-smacked by the colour in sunshine, then it isn't an Adonis and v.v. On this one, the chequered fringes were barely visible but the colour said it all.

AdonisBlue.jpg
Lough Down, Berks - 2nd September 2011


Other butterflies seen included Small Copper, Small Heath and Meadow Browns. I photographed one 'two-spot' Meadow Brown and was interested to see that the double spot only appeared on the underside of the wing. Both photos below are of the same butterfly.

MeadowBrown.jpg
Lough Down, Berks - 2nd September 2011


Thinking back through the posts this year, there do seem to have been an unusual number of aberrants, of various species.

Mike

p.s. I thought the Robber Flies, in NickB's post, looked rather affectionate, with the caress over the eyes - they're really ugly things when seen for real!
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Re: September 2011

Postby David M » Fri Sep 02, 2011 8:08 pm

That Meadow Brown looks remarkably fresh for a September specimen, Mike.
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Re: September 2011

Postby MikeOxon » Fri Sep 02, 2011 9:03 pm

David M wrote:That Meadow Brown looks remarkably fresh for a September specimen


Yes, there was an amazing variety on the slope. One Meadow Brown was so dull that I thought it was a Ringlet at first, while others looked quite fresh. Of course, we photographers distort the overall picture by concentrating on the 'best' specimens. There were some very bright Small Heaths as well.

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Re: September 2011

Postby NickB » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:04 pm

I too was struck by the number of very fresh Meadow Brown at Mill Hill for instance. A new brood/constant brood since they first emerged, I guess.
N
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Re: September 2011

Postby Hoggers » Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:15 pm

Lydden Nature Reserve at Temple Ewell in Kent is a beautiful place, full of wild flowers and teeming with Butterflies. Whoever manages it knows what they are doing and many thanks to them!
P1000508.JPG

I went along this afternoon and saw many Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Small Heaths.
P1000505.JPG

some Small Coppers, Silver Spotted Skippers and most dazzling of all, Adonis Blues in good numbers.
P1000496.JPG
P1000501.JPG

What with the sun shining and butterflies everywhere I looked it was difficult to believe that we are approaching the end of the season.
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Re: September 2011

Postby David M » Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:37 pm

Hoggers wrote:Lydden Nature Reserve at Temple Ewell in Kent...

...with the sun shining and butterflies everywhere I looked it was difficult to believe that we are approaching the end of the season.


You lucky blighter. I was itching to get out today but it's been wet, miserable and just 15C here in S. Wales. :( :(
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Re: September 2011

Postby Michaeljf » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:30 pm

David M wrote: You lucky blighter. I was itching to get out today but it's been wet, miserable and just 15C here in S. Wales.

Hi David,
we went across the bridge to England after mid-day to West Yatton Down (Wiltshire) - it wasn't much better there - a bit warmer, but generally grey and only a few Whites, Speckled Woods and a few Chalkhill Blues to see. The sun came out for about half an hour only for it to cloud over again and even with the sun it was windy. South East England was definitely getting the best of the weather today (wasn't prepared to go that far, unfortunately) :( .
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Re: September 2011

Postby David M » Sat Sep 03, 2011 7:33 pm

Must admit, I toyed with the idea of visiting West Yatton Down, but the forecast was too ambiguous and as you know, I won't travel unless there's a reasonable guarantee of fair weather.

Tomorrow looks better. Rain isn't due to arrive till mid afternoon near Swansea, so I fancy a little jaunt to Kenfig for late Wall Browns, Small Blues (and maybe even a Clouded Yellow).
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Re: September 2011

Postby Hoggers » Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:12 pm

Hi David - I know what it's like when you want to get out and see some butterflies but bad weather keeps you indoors! It's a case of making hay while the sun shines - tho I think the rain you had today is on it's way down to me for tomorrow!
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Re: September 2011

Postby David M » Sat Sep 03, 2011 8:24 pm

Hoggers wrote:Hi David - I know what it's like when you want to get out and see some butterflies but bad weather keeps you indoors! It's a case of making hay while the sun shines - tho I think the rain you had today is on it's way down to me for tomorrow!


Well, there was more than enough to share around! :)

You're welcome to it.
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