August 2011

Discussion forum for sightings.
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Perseus
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August 2011

Postby Perseus » Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:45 pm

Hello,

1 August 2011
As I was not happy with my one acre transect count on Mill Hill the previous day, I went to the lower slopes and made a fresh count in very good conditions (humid, weak sunshine, 20.2 °C, ESE Force 4) and in the 20 minutes (timed) it took me to amble along the transect, I counted 58 Chalkhill Blues (including six females). The count included one mating pair. Although this has been typical of the last couple of years, it was only a tenth the total of a good year and below par even for poor years. The first of three second brood male Adonis Blues showed, and without trying half a dozen second brood Dingy Skippers, including courting pairs, fluttered into view. This was more that usual years when only a few are seen. There were the expected frequent Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Common Blues and Small Heaths, a few Large Whites and one yellow Brimstone Butterfly. I sat down above the winding path (the transect are is south of the path) and watched a further 20 Chalkhill Blues including a mating pair that flew close enough to be photographed. I returned by the quickest ridge route and noted on the top part of the hill two male Chalkhil Blues, enough Common Blues to indicate they must be common in the top meadows. A Wall Brown fluttered over me. A Brown Argus on the southern part of the Mill Hill was unusual in that location.



Mill Hill Reports 2011
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2011.html


Cheers

Andy Horton
glaucus@hotmail.com
Adur Valley Nature Notes
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Adur2011.html
Adur Valley Nature Notes: July 2011
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/July2011.html
Sussex Downs Facebook Group
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111843132181316
Last edited by Perseus on Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mark Senior
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Re: August 2011

Postby Mark Senior » Mon Aug 01, 2011 5:21 pm

Mill Hill Shoreham , today a little later than Perseus 2.30 till 4pm

Common Blue 100 plus mostly on the upper level
Chalkhill Blue around 60 mostly on the lower slopes
Adonis Blue 6 all except one on the lower slopes
Holly Blue 1
Meadow Brown around 20 well spread
Gatekeeper 5
Marbled White 1
Speckled Wood 2
Small Heath 6
Wall Brown 5
Brimstone 2 1 Male 1 Female
Small Copper 1
Red Admiral 3
Peacock 1
Dingy Skipper 4
Small or Essex Skipper 3
Clouded Yellow 1
Large and Small Whites several

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Perseus
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Re: August 2011

Postby Perseus » Mon Aug 01, 2011 8:50 pm

Hello Mark,

It is interesting how closely our numbers matched. If I did by normal passage trip I would have recorded just the 58 compared to your 60 Chalkill Blues. But because i wandered up the steeper slopes (mostly sitting down), I added another 20 estimated.

I added a few other species the day before.

Where was the Clouded Yellow seen for the web page? I mght have to go up again if the rain holds off.

Mill Hill Reports 2011
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/MillHill2011.html


Cheers

Andy Horton
glaucus@hotmail.com
Adur Valley Nature Notes
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Adur2011.html
Adur Valley Nature Notes: August 2011
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/August2011.html
Sussex Downs Facebook Group
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111843132181316

Mark Senior
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Re: August 2011

Postby Mark Senior » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:01 pm

Hi Andy
The Clouded Yellow was patrolling the bottom slopes right by the boundary hedge . My route today was down the footpath at the Shoreham end to the lower slopes , along the bottom , up through the pixie path and along the top near the road back to the car park again at the Shoreham end .

Cheers
Mark

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Perseus
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Re: August 2011

Postby Perseus » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:09 pm

Thanks Mark,

I call the scrub in the north-west of Mill Hill NR the Hawthorn scrub.

The Pixie Path is off the Nature Reserve and my name for the footpath from the Waterworks Road south of the bridge.
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Slonk2011.htm

This footpath number 3138

http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Pixieland2008.html

I expect my web pages are not as clear as they ought to be. Maps to follow sometime.

Andy Horton


#
Mark Senior wrote:Hi Andy
The Clouded Yellow was patrolling the bottom slopes right by the boundary hedge . My route today was down the footpath at the Shoreham end to the lower slopes , along the bottom , up through the pixie path and along the top near the road back to the car park again at the Shoreham end .

Cheers
Mark

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MikeOxon
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Re: August 2011

Postby MikeOxon » Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:14 pm

I started August with a walk on the Chiltern edge above the Oxfordshire plain. Watlington Hill proved to be rather poor for butterflies but I did see a rather faded late Dark-green Fritillary - I thought I had missed them this year. A few Silver-spotted Skippers took a lot of finding as they zipped between flower heads. Later in the afternoon, I went to Aston Rowant and what a contrast!

AstonRowant1.jpg
View from Aston Rowant slope to the M40 (London-left, Oxford-right)

The slope above the M40 was buzzing with countless SsSkippers - every flower head seemed occupied, with queues forming in places!!!

AstonRowant2.jpg
Aston Rowant NNR - 1st August 2011

There were also plenty of Chalkhill Blues, and I include the now obligatory 'poo' photo.

AstonRowant3.jpg
Aston Rowant NNR - 1st August 2011

The carpet of wild flowers on the slope was delightful and it was still hot and buzzing with activity when I left at about 6pm.

AstonRowant4.jpg
Aston Rowant NNR - 1st August 2011


Mike
Last edited by MikeOxon on Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Crispin
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Re: August 2011

Postby Crispin » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:07 am

Interesting to see what Mark and Andy saw at Mill Hill.

Could be worth keeping an eye out for Silver-spotted Skippers at Mill Hill and Anchor Bottom. They were recorded just around the corner at Faulking Hill in 2009 and they are spreading west. The next most westerly population in Sussex is over at Kithurst.
Faulking Hill - I like that name it is a very steep hill so F***ing Hill is quite apt in my opinion.

Loads of Silver-spotted Skippers at Malling Down. :D
Didn't find any along the Seven Sisters Monday 1st. :(
But I was impressed by the number of Chalkhills and Dark-green Fritillary around Crowlink, Muggery Pope (TQ445045) and Southerham near Lewes.

Not many Chalkhill at Malling Down. I think the sward is probably too short – intense rabbit grazing.

You may be interested to see these photos of Silver-spotted lava & pupa found recently.
https://picasaweb.google.com/1134455316 ... 5JOtlO--TA
I wouldn't be too surprised if egg, lava, pupa and adult could be found this week.

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NickB
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Re: August 2011

Postby NickB » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:42 am

I went out yesterday to check on our own CHB colony at the Devils Dyke, Newmarket, prompted by our discussions on Mill Hill. Numbers were in the hundreds - but remember our peak transect count a couple of years ago was over 1200; this year I suspect it will be less.
Arrived later in the afternoon; in the first section CHB showing better than previous year (over-jealous clearances created perfect sward for CHB, but reduced our Dingy Skipper count by 2/3rds in that section this year), with lots of Small Scabious coming through. The rest of the Dyke along the July Course is also showing well with good numbers of CHB, though we will have to wait until the transect counts to get a truer picture. Horseshoe vetch seems to be doing well - in mats alongside the paths and also in amongst the sward; there is no grazing on this site. All management is via cutting and removal/burning of material on site. The odd Essex Skipper, 5+ MB, Gatekeeper and Large White, with several Brown Argus and the odd Common Blue - not many CBs around anywhere.
Good to see lots of female CHBs - and also to observe a couple of abs.
CHB_f_3b_low_DD_1st_Aug_2011.jpg

CHB_f_3_low_DD_1st_Aug_2011.jpg


CHB_f_1c_low_DD_1st_Aug_2011.jpg
abs postcaeca ?

CHB_f_1aa_low_DD_1st_Aug_2011.jpg
abs postcaeca ?


and some "normal" females...
CHB_f_2_low_DD_1st_Aug_2011.jpg

CHBx2_1_low_DD_1st_Aug_2011.jpg
Last edited by NickB on Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Conservation starts in small places, close to home..."

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Perseus
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Re: August 2011

Postby Perseus » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:01 am

NickB wrote:I went out yesterday to check on our own CHB colony at the Devils Dyke, Newmarket, prompted by our discussions on Mill Hill. Numbers were in the hundreds - but remember our peak transect count a couple of years ago was over 1200; this year I suspect it will be less.
Arrived later in the afternoon; in the first section CHB showing better than previous year (over-jealous clearances created perfect sward for CHB, but reduced our Dingy Skipper count by 2/3rds in that section this year), with lots of Small Scabious coming through. The rest of the Dyke along the July Course is also showing well with good numbers of CHB, though we will have to wait until the transect counts to get a truer picture. Horseshoe vetch seems to be doing well - in mats alongside the paths and also in amongst the sward; there is no grazing on this site. All management is via cutting and removal/burning of material on site. The odd Essex Skipper, 5+ MB, Gatekeeper and Large White, with several Brown Argus and the odd Common Blue - not many CBs around anywhere.
Good to see lots of female CHBs - and also to observe a couple of abs.



Good to hear of a comparison. Don't let them have cattle grazing on the site. It cause no ends of problems. But it won't cause that big a fall in Chalkhill Blues in the short term. On the lower slopes of Mill Hill, the only management is the removal of invading Privet. On the upper slopes it used to be forage harvesting that worked well. Now it is cattle that does not work and messes up the meadows, and much worse.

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NickB
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Re: August 2011

Postby NickB » Tue Aug 02, 2011 11:55 am

Hi
I guess one major difference on this particular section of the Dyke - where CHB are at their most prolific - compared to others, is the lack of grazing by rabbits......
Newmarket race course, through which the Dyke runs, take a dim view on million £ horses falling down rabbit holes when they race or exercise, so measures are taken to ensure they do not flourish on that bit of the Dyke.... :shock:
On other sections and on the Fleam Dyke, there are generally some small areas which are kept as rabbit-lawns by their inhabitants, and though CHB densities are lower than the DD at Newmarket, numbers of other species are generally higher. Where little management takes place, rabbits do provide areas of short sward (which some ants appreciate and where CHB bask) and disturb the earth, so it it not always bad.
One thing it appears Horse-shoe vetch does not like is trampling, so any cattle would seem to be counter-productive; I am told old stock-men used to deliberately overstock areas which contained large areas of vetch, to break it down to create better pasture afterwards...
N
"Conservation starts in small places, close to home..."

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Perseus
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Re: August 2011

Postby Perseus » Tue Aug 02, 2011 12:33 pm

NickB wrote:Hi
I guess one major difference on this particular section of the Dyke - where CHB are at their most prolific - compared to others, is the lack of grazing by rabbits......
Newmarket race course, through which the Dyke runs, take a dim view on million £ horses falling down rabbit holes when they race or exercise, so measures are taken to ensure they do not flourish on that bit of the Dyke.... :shock:
On other sections and on the Fleam Dyke, there are generally some small areas which are kept as rabbit-lawns by their inhabitants, and though CHB densities are lower than the DD at Newmarket, numbers of other species are generally higher. Where little management takes place, rabbits do provide areas of short sward (which some ants appreciate and where CHB bask) and disturb the earth, so it it not always bad.
One thing it appears Horse-shoe vetch does not like is trampling, so any cattle would seem to be counter-productive; I am told old stock-men used to deliberately overstock areas which contained large areas of vetch, to break it down to create better pasture afterwards...
N


Hello,

I agree* about the cattle trampling as a deliberate process to destroy Horseshoe Vetch for pasture. The trouble is if afterwards if it is not continously grazed, thorn will appear afterwards. That is what happened on the downs above Shoreham and Lancing. But after the water supply was pumped in. Mill Hill was land classified historically as a rabbit warren. Ther reason for the short sward is lack of ferility at Mill Hill, which is why it was left as a Nature Reserve. Rabbits probably crop the sedges at a low height like a garden lawn.

I did not make it to Mill Hill today. Halfway and I lost my bicycle lock. It was too sticky anyway. I did see 17 Chalkhill Blues on the outskirts of town.

*This was done by deduction but latterly confirmed by farmers. This is the single chief cause of complaint with the farmers by butterfly collectors (past) on Mill Hill.

Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2011.html

Cheers

Andy Horton
glaucus@hotmail.com
Adur Valley Nature Notes
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Adur2011.html
Adur Valley Nature Notes: August 2011
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/August2011.html
Sussex Downs Facebook Group
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111843132181316

EricY
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Re: August 2011

Postby EricY » Tue Aug 02, 2011 7:45 pm

Local today, down to beach @ 7am for the Snettisham high tide wader roost. Fairly good numbers of returning waders many still in summer plumage. Saw 1 grayling, 1Red Admiral, 1 Peacock in off the sea & a fair number of gatekeepers on path to reserve. Here is a pic of wader take off by my little camera so not the best. By the end of month roosts will be much better. You may have seen the "Snettisham spectacular" on TV several times. Some of you do birding as well & if anyone would like to see it for real, I will post best tide times at end of this post.
dl 02 08 11 Sony H5 008 Wader take off.jpg
Wader take off


Afternoon spent at Holme, NWT reserve was quite breeze but warm, 15/20 common blue, 1 wall, several gatekeepers & meadow browns & a few small heath. NOA reserve had 2 Humming bird hawkmoths, 7/8 Red Admirals, 4/5 Peacocks all on or around the gold Buddleia weyerana + 1 Grayling. Found this 6 spot Burnet moth on the NWT reserve, but what is it mating with?
dl 02 08 11 Sony H50 013  Six spot Burnet moth mating with what.jpg
6 spot Burnet moth, mating with what?


Best Snettisham tides for wader roost in next 2 months:-
August 31 (wednesday) 7.6mts @ 8.26am
September 1 (Thursday) 7.6mts @ 9.08am
September 2 (friday) 7.4mts @ 9.50am

September 29 (thurs) 7.7mts @ 8.03am
september 30 (Fri) 7.7mts @ 8.47am

I always reccomend being in RSPB c/pk 2hrs 20mins before high tide as is a 15/20min walk to start of reserve. This puts you on a gate at end of beach bungalows 2 hrs before the high tide & you can saunter down with the waders as tide comes in. On these high tides they are off the mudflats about 1 hour before HT onto the reserve & usually take off from there approx 1 hour after HT. Eric

nick patel
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Re: August 2011

Postby nick patel » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:43 am

awesome day out at arnside and warton.

hundreds upon hundreds of scotch argus out at the knott, even in drizzly weather, was decent.

a few nice brimstones and walls at warton.

all in all a 23 species day! :)

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Perseus
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Re: August 2011

Postby Perseus » Wed Aug 03, 2011 3:24 pm

Hello,

Good pics of the Scotch Argus. I have never seen this butterfly.

3 August 2011
A slow amble over the middle slopes of Mill Hill in the post-midday sunshine (22.8 °C) saw me venture in glades and thorn off my usual path, noting that Kidney Vetch was frequently seen in a small area (south of the Triangle) when only occasional flowers had been seen before. It was amongst abundant Wild Basil and clumps of Marjoram and this area attracted four male Chalkhill Blues and a pair of courting second brood Dingy Skippers (of five seen in under an hour). A Chalkhill Blue was noted visiting Plantain and Wild Basil. Common Blues were the most frequent butterfly with over 70 blue males seen. Other butterflies were frequent Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Small Heaths, a few Large Whites, a few Wall Browns, one Peacock, one Comma, and a few Six-spotted Burnet Moths. Under the shade there were frequent Speckled Woods.
The meadow north of the car park (which was usually so good for Common Blues) was now invaded by Brambles and a Common Ink Cap mushroom grew from a dried out cow pat (which should have degraded months ago).
Unusually, I rapidly (>15 minutes) traversed the transect acre of the lower slopes, counting 42 Chalkhill Blues (just one female) two male Adonis Blues, one Marbled White, and the usual Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Small Heaths and one Treble-bar Moth.

First Adur Butterfly Dates 2003 to 2011
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/ButterfliesFFT.htm

Adur Butterfly & Large Moth List
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Butterfly-list2011.html

Cheers

Andy Horton
glaucus@hotmail.com
Adur Valley Nature Notes
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Adur2011.html
Adur Valley Nature Notes: August 2011
http://www.glaucus.org.uk/August2011.html
Sussex Downs Facebook Group
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=111843132181316

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David M
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Re: August 2011

Postby David M » Wed Aug 03, 2011 5:51 pm

Can't escape Holly Blues at the moment. One was fluttering round the shrubbery outside my workplace this afternoon.

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Dave McCormick
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Re: August 2011

Postby Dave McCormick » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:14 pm

Went down to the large hill with flower meadows, deciduous forest (Oak, ash, beech, willow, elm, lime), larch plantation, hazel/dog rose/hawthorn hedgerow and a potato/carrot field and while there saw 5 small tortoiseshells, 2 GV whites, 2 large whites, a holly blue (Male) but the highlight was a single Peacock butterfly! Have not seen one in so long it was a welcome sight. Was actually looking for common blues which I have seen a few times there (only one each time) but didn't see any.
Attachments
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Peacock Butterfly
Cheers all,
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Wildmoreway
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Re: August 2011

Postby Wildmoreway » Wed Aug 03, 2011 7:15 pm

Orley Common near Newton Abbot Devon

Visted there yesterday afternoon 2nd August plenty of Gatekeepers. Meadon Browns and Brown Arguses, also saw one Brown Haistreak female but she was set upon by a Gatekeeper before I could get a photo :cry:

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MikeOxon
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Re: August 2011

Postby MikeOxon » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:25 pm

EricY wrote:Found this 6 spot Burnet moth on the NWT reserve, but what is it mating with?


Don't worry - nothing illicit! It's the female flava form of 6-spot burnet. See http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?id=5435 for another photo.

Mike

EricY
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Re: August 2011

Postby EricY » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:17 am

thanks Mike, I do not remember seeing this "flava" form of 6 spot before & in my pic the sixth spot is almost non-existant but just about visible. Eric

Piers
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Re: August 2011

Postby Piers » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:43 am

I disagree with Mike, flava is very yellow, and when you see it there is no mistake. It could be just an aged specimen, they do become very pale, almost translucent. The hind wings also appear to be red, flava has no trace of red at all.

Having said that, it's very difficult from a photograph, so Mike d'Oxen could well be correct. :)

Piers.


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