Neil Hulme

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bugboy
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby bugboy » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:28 pm

Nice footage on Countryfile last night, good to see butterflies getting some prime time BBC1 action! :D
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Tue Jul 11, 2017 8:43 am

Thanks, all. The Countryfile piece on Purple Emperor is on BBC iPlayer http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... -northants at 51.20 mins.

John Craven - Countryfile 9 July.jpg

I think this season's great fall of Purple Hairstreak is due to several factors. Firstly, the population has exploded this year, with vast numbers being seen particularly in the evenings. They're usually quite tricky to spot in the middle of the day, when they are at their least active - but not this summer. The hot weather has also played a part, and many will have been driven down in the search for moisture. There's probably been a 'run' on honeydew too, with unusually large numbers seeking sustenance from Bramble and Creeping Thistle.

BWs, Neil

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Jack Harrison » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:49 am

The best part of 100 years later, Heslop and Co with their long Emperor nets are still being talked about.

Oates and Hulme with their Emperors' breakfast will I am sure be remembered in 2100.

Thanks for the fun chaps.

Jack

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Pete Eeles » Tue Jul 11, 2017 1:50 pm

A very nice piece ... hearing The Clash playing "White Riot" on a butterfly-related snippet was the highlight for me :)

Cheers,

- Pete

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Tue Jul 11, 2017 3:01 pm

Thanks, Jack and Pete. I managed to mention Iggy Pop during the filming, but that part didn't make the cut. Old punks never die (OK, a few have done just that) - in fact many are still playing! Off to see Penetration later in the year.
BWs, Neil

peterc
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby peterc » Tue Jul 11, 2017 4:17 pm

So you and Pete like the punk stuff? Not surprised if you were 13 or 14 years old at the time :) .

ATB

Peter

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:17 pm

Thanks, Peter. A couple of years older than that, although I'm yet to fully mature. :D
BWs, Neil

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Jack Harrison
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Jack Harrison » Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:31 pm

Neil admits that he is :
yet to fully mature
I'm 22 years older than you Neil but I am nowhere near being mature yet. Not sure I want to be.

PS. I have just recorded some Elvis :cry:
But at least my car CDs don't include any Bing Crosby :P

Jack

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:42 pm

Last Orders At Knepp

Sadly, tomorrow (13 July) is the last of this year's Knepp Purple Emperor safaris, and we're set to go out with a bang. Of the last three events, run on 6, 8 and 9 July, we only had to struggle on one, but still saw 16 individuals. On the other two walks we were blessed with emperors in abundance, attacking birds, dragonflies and other butterflies. Even today Matthew Oates recorded 24 individuals in just a couple of locations.

Much of the action is now centred on 'feeder trees', where the tipple of oak sap is causing violent brawls as closing time draws nearer. Up to half-a-dozen emperors (both male and female) are congregating around these trees, and some of the inebriated butterflies seem barely capable of level flight as they depart. Yesterday we watched a middle-aged couple meet on a sap bleed, before tumbling to the ground in a heap.

The emperors of Knepp may no longer be pristine and full of power and grace, but they're still entertaining the crowds and will do so for at least another week. A few are still coming down to meet the visitors, with one lucky chap enjoying a double-trousering today. It will soon be over for another year, so get there if you can.

BC Knepp Empress (2) 9.7.17.jpg
BC Knepp Safari 8.7.17.jpg
BC Knepp Empress 9.7.17.jpg

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:29 pm

Final Knepp Purple Emperor Safari 2017

The last Knepp Purple Emperor safari of the year was a great success, with a total of 26 individual emperors seen on Thursday afternoon. We were treated to a superb grand finale, when an already-mated female performed a spectacular rejection drop from a great height, with two amorous males spiralling down in pursuit. Several times she tumbled to the ground, only to rise up once more and repeat the process; the males sometimes take a while to get the message. We had some very good photographers with us and some amazing in-flight images were taken (to be posted here once forwarded). As always, His Imperial Majesty entertained the crowd, by chasing birds, rival emperors and Red Admirals.

There were plenty of other butterflies on show, including three species of hairstreak; Purple, White-letter and Brown. The Brown Hairstreaks (3) were in excellent condition and included a freshly emerged female. A male Essex Skipper was particularly obliging, allowing us a close-up look at the key identification features.

The 2017 Purple Emperor safaris have been a joy to lead; Matthew Oates and I will probably increase the number next year, as they seem to be getting more popular every season. Thank you to all those who came along; I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.

BC Knepp Safari 13.7.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak male, Knepp 13.7.17.jpg
BC Essex Skipper, Knepp 13.7.7.jpg
BC Knepp, Brown Hairstreak male (David Hasell).jpg
Last image by David Hasell

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Sat Jul 15, 2017 11:53 pm

Great to catch up on your breathless last couple of weeks, Neil. The Emperor may be on the wane but it looks like Brown Hairstreaks are set to take its place!

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:28 am

Hi David
You hit the nail on the head there!
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sun Jul 16, 2017 5:29 pm

Hairstreak Heaven

The Purple Emperor season may now be waning, but there are plenty of other reasons to visit the Knepp Wildland. The place is currently awash with hairstreaks and on Friday (14 July) I saw three species sitting within a couple of metres of each other. Purple Hairstreak numbers have fallen from peak but are still very high, while only a few, tatty White-lettered are still flying.

Most of the excitement is now being provided by the Brown Hairstreak, the males of which are dropping down to feed on Fleabane and Creeping Thistle. I suspect that this unusually co-operative behaviour is being driven by a shortage in the arboreal food-supply, caused by this long, hot summer. I joined a search team of Matthew Oates, Derek Longhurst (visiting from Australia) and Harry Drew to look for these beauties, with a combined total of 16 male Brownies being recorded at low level.

Many people were caught out by this year's unusually early Purple Emperor season; I would encourage Brown Hairstreak fans to head out next weekend.

BC Brown Hairstreak male (1), Knepp 14.7.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak male (2), Knepp 14.7.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak male (3), Knepp 14.7.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak male (4), Knepp 14.7.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak male (5), Knepp 14.7.17.jpg
BC Brown Hairstreak male (6), Knepp 14.7.17.jpg
BC Purple Hairstreak female, Knepp 14.7.17.jpg

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sun Jul 16, 2017 7:35 pm

Butterfly Conservation Big #ButterflyCount

18 people joined me for today's (16 July) BC Sussex walk to Eartham Wood, during which we performed a 15 minute count for the Big #ButterflyCount. That short period provided us with 10 species, including a female Purple Emperor, White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary.

It was pleasing to see so many White Admiral (c.17), reflecting the best season for this species since 2010. Other butterflies included Large Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Green-veined White, Brown Argus, Red Admiral, Peacock, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. One of our group also found a very nice full-grown Comma caterpillar. Given the generally overcast conditions, I think we did rather well.

BC BBC walk, Eartham Wood 16.7.17.jpg
BC Comma caterpillar, Eartham Wood 16.7.17.jpg

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Wurzel
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Wurzel » Sun Jul 16, 2017 9:15 pm

Fantastic set of Brownies Neil :D Looks like Shipton next week will be the place to be :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

PhilBWright
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby PhilBWright » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:10 am

"Willow Island"

Dear Neil,
I hope those future experiments with Purple Emperor in "native Willow only woods" go well.

Kind Regards,

Philip

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:49 pm

Wow! This is ridiculously early for Brown Hairstreaks, Neil, and you are resetting my natural calendar as to when I can go to observe this precious species in Pembrokeshire.

Normally, the second weekend in August is the best time, but given the season in 2017, I fear that the last weekend in July will see them about, which is almost stupefyingly early!

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:27 pm

Thanks, Wurzel. Time to throw a sickie and head to the ranges. :D
Hi Philip. I don't believe in monocultures, so we'll retain a few oaks. :wink:
Hi David. Don't get caught out by this super-early year. We're not seeing female Brownies yet, and they need a while to really get going in the Blackthorn, but they'll be dropping before the end of this month.
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:55 pm

Heaps Of Hairstreaks!

The Brown Hairstreak season is now well under way on the Knepp Wildland. Matthew Oates and Harry Drew headed out early to count the males around 'master trees', while I spent several hours in one place, observing hairstreak behaviour. 'Master trees' are usually Ash or Field Maple but at Knepp, perhaps unsurprisingly, they also use sallows.

The sallow in my image held at least a dozen males this morning, which zipped around this and adjacent trees until retiring to the crown and becoming inactive just before 10 am. After resting for an hour they began to drop into the Creeping Thistle and Fleabane to nectar. At one point I had four males feeding within a patch of flowers little more than a metre square. The combined total of male Brown Hairstreaks this morning was 51.

Matthew and Harry also saw a male Wall, this being the 34th species recorded on the Wildland since 2005. Purple Emperor activity continues to wane, but a female-heavy count of 20 was eventually achieved, with many visiting sap bleeds.

BC Knepp Brown Hairstreak Master Tree 17.7.17.jpg
BC Male Brown Hairstreak 1, Knepp 17.7.17.jpg
BC Male Brown Hairstreak 2, Knepp 17.7.17.jpg
BC Male Brown Hairstreak 3, Knepp 17.7.17.jpg
BC Male Brown Hairstreak 4, Knepp 17.7.17.jpg
BC Male Brown Hairstreak 5, Knepp 17.7.17.jpg

Janet Turnbull
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Janet Turnbull » Tue Jul 18, 2017 10:05 pm

Stunning photos of the Brown Hairstreaks, Neil!
Janet


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