September 2011

Discussion forum for sightings.
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Re: September 2011

Postby Michaeljf » Thu Sep 29, 2011 8:38 pm

Thursday 29th September – Ystradfellte waterfalls, Brecon Beacons

As we weren’t sure how long the good weather would last, Karen and I took the day off work and headed up to the Brecon Beacons. I’ve seemed to have missed autumn colours over the Brecons for about four years, so we headed up to the waterfalls near Ystradfellte (middle of the Brecon Beacons National Park). The weather as forecast was wonderful and warm all day: I spent most of the morning trying to photograph Dippers at the waters edge. There was one lone Small Tortoiseshell that stopped on Karen’s cap for a couple of minutes: it soon nipped off again after spending a second on one of the few ‘seats’ made by some of the chopped tree-stumps. We left about 1:45pm, and on the road back from Ystradfellte (the road to Sennybridge / Heol Senni) I noticed there were caterpillars on the road. In fact, there were a lot of caterpillars on the road (some no doubt had been squashed by the traffic, even though there aren’t that many cars that use this road). We stopped the car and I found out that these caterpillars were all Fox Moth caterpillars – there were loads of them – probably between 50-100 on this stretch of road about half a mile long. I picked up about 5 from a small area of the road and put them a little way across on the grass. I’m not sure if they were crossing the road or just warming up on it: I can only guess how many caterpillars might have been on this stretch of land. Not a good place for them to crawl though, no matter how good the weather was.


The stretch of walk near Ystradfellte leading to the waterfalls of Sgwd Y Eira, lovely in the autum sun.

This must have been the most Dippers I had seen along this walk. They're still difficult to photograph, mind you.

The one brief Small Tortoiseshell that visited as we sat down near the first waterfall.

Venturing back from Ystradfellte, there were loads of these Fox Moth caterpillars crossing the road. They're quite big, as you can see.

These were only 5 I picked up from a 10 yard square on the road where we stopped.
I hoped they'd be safer in the grass, though they may not stay there for long! :roll:

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Re: September 2011

Postby Gibster » Thu Sep 29, 2011 9:20 pm

Apologies for being a bit off-topic, but whilst throwing out numerous craneflies (Sam's not too keen on them!) I noticed a large reddish bug on the curtain. It was a Western Conifer Seed Bug, a recent arrival in UK. Have a peek at and if you see one follow the link and report it!


Raising £10,000 for Butterfly Conservation by WALKING 1200 miles from Land's End to John O'Groats!!!
See or look up Epic Butterfly Walk on Facebook.

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Lee Hurrell
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Re: September 2011

Postby Lee Hurrell » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:30 pm

Michaeljf wrote:Thursday 29th September – Ystradfellte waterfalls, Brecon Beacons

Lovely report, Michael!

Love the Dipper, the sunlight through the trees (always a winner with me) and the Small Tort with the spiral.

Best wishes,

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

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David M
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Re: September 2011

Postby David M » Fri Sep 30, 2011 12:42 pm

Visited my mum in the Isle of Man last Saturday and I was delighted to see a fair number of Red Admirals flying around in the sunny weather on the island. Saw a handful of Small Tortoiseshells, a solitary Large White and a couple of Speckled Woods too.

Monday in particular was decidely pleasant, with light winds and 16C temperatures. The view of the north of the island from the mountain road (the T.T.course for those of you interested in motorbikes) was beautifully clear:


I had to take the ferry back to Heysham rather than Liverpool on the Wednesday owing to essential maintenance being required on the fastcraft. Again, it was a beautiful morning and a calm crossing and it felt quite strange sitting on the exposed upper deck on 28th September in just a T-shirt. The picture below is of the Tower of Refuge in Douglas Bay at 7.45am. The tide is right out and this is one of only a handful of opportunities per year to actually walk across the bay and onto Conister Rock to reach the tower.


By the time I arrived at Heysham it was 12.15pm and 24C. I couldn't resist taking a little detour to Warton Crag, which I could see clearly from the ferry terminal. Once there I climbed to the top and the views toward Grange-over-Sands and Arnside Knott were lovely:


Again, there were a fair few Red Admirals on the wing, and around a dozen Speckled Woods too. I also saw a Peacock, a Comma and a White which was too small to be a Large White so must have been either Green-Veined or Small.

I also encountered three Brimstones, two females and a male, all voraciously nectaring on the few thistle plants that were still in flower:


I don't know about anyone else, but I found it quite incongruous to be walking along in such warm conditions whilst simultaneously scrunching fallen autumn leaves beneath me. Where was this type of weather during July and August? It's welcome of course, but tempered with disappointment that so few butterflies are around to revel in it. To make matters worse, on the drive back down the M6, the temperature rose to an incredible 25.5C between Preston and Wigan!!!

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Re: September 2011

Postby millerd » Fri Sep 30, 2011 5:10 pm

Probably around 28-29 degrees (the car claimed 30, but it's prone to exaggeration) this afternoon at Heathrow. A quick walk near the River Colne at around 4pm was blessed with a couple of Speckled Woods, a Common Blue (male), a Small White, two Red Admirals, a Comma and four Small Heaths. All were very active in the unaccustomed warmth - I think I've grown used to more sluggish behaviour over this less than sunny summer!


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Re: September 2011

Postby Wildmoreway » Fri Sep 30, 2011 9:50 pm

Cockington, Torquay 2 Speckled Woods sunning themselves in the water meadows and a Speckled Wood and Red Admiral on Ivy by the Tea Shoppe as well as a what looked like a Tree Bumblebee.

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