Neil Hulme

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:39 pm

Thanks, all. More lovely Adonis to come!

Jack - yes, still using the trusty FZ38. After more than seven years of hard use it's looking rather battered, and must be worth less than a trip to the curry house! But that lens is good.

Mark - happy to give you a tour of the Knepp hairstreaks, but timing would be better for next year. By the time I'm back from a holiday in Cornwall they'll be well past their best.

BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:51 pm

More From Mill Hill

I couldn't resist another visit to Mill Hill on Monday afternoon (7 August), as the male Adonis Blues are providing such a wonderful spectacle at the moment, as they mingle with Chalk Hill and a few Common Blues.

I also found another pocket of Silver-spotted Skippers, but they required considerable mountaineering skills to reach. As I sat looking out over the Adur Valley, surrounded by all these little gems, I couldn't help but think how lucky I am to live in this glorious part of the world.

One of the many advantages to living in Sussex is the number of exotic visitors we are increasingly seeing. Just in the last few days we've had Monarch, Continental Swallowtail and Long-tailed Blue; I'm expecting more.

BC Adonis Blue male (1), Mill Hill 7.8.17.jpg
BC Silver-spotted Skipper, Mill Hill 7.8.17.jpg
BC Adonis Blue male (2), Mill Hill 7.8.17.jpg

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Neil Freeman
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Freeman » Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:50 pm

Hi Neil,

Just been catching up on your diary, some lovely images of the Brown Hairstreaks and Adonis Blues, and not forgetting the Silver-spotted Skipper :D

I found your comments on the Vapourer Moth very interesting. I found a single caterpillar in my garden last year from which emerged a female as reported here viewtopic.php?f=29&t=5424&start=1820 and from which I reared a number through this year. In my case the eggs hatched over a period of a week or so and the resulting larvae developed at differing rates, so much so that the first adults were emerging before the last few larvae had pupated. In fact I still have a few final instar larvae that have still to pupate. The first to emerge was a male, followed later the same day by a female and there has been a succession of emergence's over the past couple of weeks since, mostly males with just a couple of females.
Looking forward to the results of Mia's eventual project/thesis :D

Cheers,

Neil.

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:47 pm

Thanks, Neil.
Prof. Mia will report in due course.
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:59 pm

Fritillaries For The Future Project Update

I'm delighted to announce that Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (SPBF) has produced a second brood in Sussex, following the re-introduction of this species (performed in accordance with the ‘BC Code on Introductions and Re-introductions 2010’) to the BC reserves and FC Abbot's Wood earlier this year. They were first spotted during a Bracken management work party at Park Corner Heath on 21 July and have since been seen flying over both our reserves, including egg-laying females. Smaller numbers have been sighted at Abbot's Wood.

County historian Colin Pratt (2011) recounts that partial second broods flew in about a quarter of the years during the 21st century, usually following a strong first brood and in warmer summers. However, to see a partial second brood so soon after the initial re-introduction, must surely bode well, and surveys have revealed widespread and abundant caterpillar feeding damage to violets. It is too early to claim success, so we must wait until next year before getting too excited, but there are clearly grounds for optimism.

This year we have endeavoured to keep reporting to a minimum, so as to allow the butterflies to get on with their business in peace. However, we will be very keen to hear of any sightings in 2018.

Once again, I would like to pay tribute to our captive-breeding team of Theresa Lux, Gary Norman and Mike Mullis, and all who have supported the Fritillaries for the Future project, through financial donations and attendance at work parties. My thanks also go to the Heritage Lottery Fund and Ernest Kleinwort Charitable Trust.

BC SPBF male (second brood), Rowland Wood 21.7.17.jpg
BC SPBF male (second brood), Rowland Wood 27.7.17.jpg

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Wurzel » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:07 pm

That's a fantastic result Neil, and like you say bodes really well :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby essexbuzzard » Tue Aug 08, 2017 9:55 pm

Thanks Neil, next year it is then!

If you are going to Cornwall, be sure to visit Kynance Cove, where Clouded Yellows and plenty of second generation SPBF were flying at the weekend, though it looks like you have seen those already!

Give my regards to Ann. She makes a good pasty does Ann!

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Jack Harrison » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:14 am

Q: is Small PBF double brooded in all of parts of mainland Europe?

And [Large] PBF is apparently sometimes double brooded in southern England. Presumably no reports this year?

Jack

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:52 am

More good news, Neil. I'm not surprised that SPBFs have generated a second brood this year. The season was 'early' at the time of their first emergence, and apart from the last 10 days or so, conditions have generally been good since.

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby bugboy » Wed Aug 09, 2017 4:05 pm

That's fantastic news about the SPBF. I look forward to enjoying the fruits of all the hard work you and your team have put in next year :D

With all these continental visitors I can feel the pull of the south coast again, Newhaven Tidemills might become a second home again :lol:
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:07 pm

Thanks, all. The SPBF situation is very exciting and I'm keeping everything crossed for next year.

Jack - SPBF double-broods everywhere as warm as the warmer parts of Devon as far as I know. PBF is less prone to bivoltinism, despite starting earlier in the year. SPBF double-brooded in about 25% of years in the C20th in Sussex, but PBF only six times.

Mark - Ann's Pasties and my stomach are not strangers. I never eat fewer than two at a sitting. Think Egg-eating Snake.

BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Thu Aug 10, 2017 10:11 pm

Better Hedgerows

This afternoon (10 August) David Cook and I had a very productive meeting with representatives of Mid Sussex District and Burgess Hill Town Councils, to continue our review of wildlife-friendly hedgerow management in the region. Our dealings with both councils have been 'like a breath of fresh air' and it's a pleasure to work with such receptive and proactive people. The details of a new cutting regime, which will benefit Brown Hairstreak and a host of other fauna and flora, have now been finalised.

The weather improved rather late in the day, but just in time for our tour of the Burgess Hill Green Circle meadows. We were delighted to be able to show them a female hairstreak at close quarters and a freshly laid egg. After the meeting, and with the sunshine now at full strength, David and I moved to another meadow and saw a further three females and a male. This is a great area for Brown Hairstreak, and it's going to get even better. We are very grateful to MSDC and BHTC for their assistance.

BC Brown Hairstreak, Burgess Hill 10.8.17.jpg

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David M
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby David M » Sat Aug 12, 2017 7:53 pm

I think all councils could benefit from such meetings regarding hedgerows, Neil, irrespective of whether Brown Hairstreaks are present in the local area.

Too much that is precious is lost needlessly in the name of tidiness. Wales is no exception to this folly.

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:08 pm

Small Pearls And Pasties (Part 1)

I've just returned from a family holiday on the Lizard Peninsula, which coincidentally (ahem) coincided with the second brood flight of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (SPBF). Although I did spend the majority of the week with Hannah and the kids, I still managed two half-days and the entire 'return day' looking at butterflies and other wildlife.

With such an interest in SPBF autecology, being involved with the resurrection of this species in SE England through my BC Fritillaries for the Future project, I was very keen to learn more about the populations on the Cornish coast. Unsurprisingly, there are many differences in the species' behaviour and the types of habitat occupied in these very different regions. Perhaps more importantly, there are also some similarities, and the recognition of these allows clarification of the butterfly's (or more specifically the caterpillar's) most fundamental needs.

The first image shows typical SPBF habitat in this part of the world; a sheltered landslip below the sea-cliffs, where violets grow and multiply in abundance amongst the serpentinite scree, and where a herb-rich, grassy cover develops during periods of stability. More than 30 individuals were seen flying over this particular area.

UKB SPBF habitat, Lizard.jpg
UKB SPBF (6), Lizard.jpg
UKB SPBF (2), Lizard.jpg
UKB SPBF (3), Lizard.jpg
UKB SPBF (5), Lizard.jpg

Of course the Cornish coast has plenty more to offer than butterflies at this time of year; not least its stunning landscapes. The Raven is now a common bird in Sussex, but they look more at home here. I also spent a magical hour amongst a family of Chough, and watched a Peregrine repeatedly stooping at gulls. Keeping with tradition, each walk along this part of the coast (Cadgwith, Lizard, Kynance Cove to Mullion) was fuelled with a couple of Ann's Pasties.

UKB Raven (2) Lizard.jpg
UKB Chough (1) Lizard.jpg
UKB Chough (2) Lizard.jpg
UKB Lizard landscape 6.jpg
UKB Lizard landscape 7.jpg
UKB Lizard landscape 5.jpg

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:11 pm

Small Pearls And Pasties (Part 2)

During our stay on the Lizard Peninsula we based ourselves at Kennack Sands, which proved to be an excellent location for me to thrash my children in an over-competitive crabbing contest. It was also just a 40 minute walk along the coastal path (via SPBF, Wall, Grayling, Clouded Yellow etc.) from my favourite of the many beautiful fishing villages in the area; Cadgwith (first two images). There's a fantastic but poorly publicised (it's for locals!) fishing festival here, and Wednesday evening fish BBQs on the beach. Friday nights in the excellent pub are great, particularly if you enjoy some nautical crooning.

We returned several times for lunch at the Fat Apples Café at Porthallow (near St Keverne), where they serve a world class crab salad and some of the best cakes I've ever eaten. It's a bit 'out of the way', but well worth a visit. For those visiting with children, I can also recommend Roskilly's Farm. There's plenty to do at this entry-free location, including a lovely woodland walk with streams and ponds; great food and ice-cream too!

UKB Cadgwith Cove (1).jpg
UKB Cadgwith Cove (2).jpg
UKB Fat Apples Cafe, Porthallow, St Keverne.jpg
UKB Water wheel at Roskilly's Farm.jpg

Amongst the many SPBF I photographed around the Kynance Cove area was a stunning example of ab. gerda (male), which I relocated just a few days later, now looking rather the worse for wear following some wild weather. However, even on the last day of our holiday (18 August) SPBF were still emerging.

UKB SPBF ab. gerda.jpg
UKB SPBF (8), Lizard.jpg
UKB SPBF (1), Lizard.jpg
UKB SPBF (4), Lizard.jpg

millerd
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby millerd » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:16 pm

That SPBF aberration is a beautiful insect, Neil. Just stunning. :)

Dave

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby trevor » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:34 pm

Some very beautiful Small Pearls, and scenery.
Sounds like a diet might be in order !.
My only experience of Cornwall was in the form of some boozy holidays in Newquay,
with my mates back in the 1970's. Would prefer your style now though.

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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby essexbuzzard » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:28 pm

As you know, Neil, I'm very familiar with that coast- I've walked all of it, some off it many times. But I'm still mighty impressed with your sightings and images. As you will have discovered. And probably know anyway, SPBF behave differently on the western coast than isolated colonies further east. They wander freely over large areas, these contain various pockets of preferred breeding habitat. Perhaps, this has similarities with Silver Spotted Skippers in Sussex, which have far greater powers of dispersal than elsewhere.

And congratulations on sampling the delights of Roskillys Lizard ice cream and crab- we just need to get you on saffron cake and clotted cream and you will be an honorary Cornishman! :lol:

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:20 am

Thanks, all. Another instalment to come.
Mark: One day we should try to co-ordinate a visit. I've no doubt that I've sat on one or two of your favourite rocks! I'll never forget walking this stretch of coast in the first week of September 2014; I've never seen so many or such beautiful Small Coppers.
BWs, Neil

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Neil Hulme

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Aug 21, 2017 7:26 am

Small Pearls And Pasties (Part 3)

Whereas the rest of the family headed back to Sussex on Friday 18 August, I headed to Lizard village to meet up with Harry Drew and his partner Laura, who are both studying at Falmouth University's Penryn campus. I got to know Harry at Knepp, where he spent the Purple Emperor flight season helping out with surveys and the Wildland safari programme. Together we walked to Mullion Cove and back, enjoying some beautiful but blustery weather.

During this walk we spotted the majority of the 19 species of butterfly I saw during my stay, including SPBF, Dark Green Fritillary, Grayling, Wall and Clouded Yellow. However, the highlight for me was the numerous Marsh Fritillary larval webs and clusters we saw.

UKB Harry and Laura, Kynance Cove 18.8.17.jpg
UKB Grayling, Lizard.jpg
UKB Marsh Fritillary larval web.jpg
UKB Marsh Fritillary larvae.jpg

On the return leg of our walk we stopped many times, to absorb the wonderful atmosphere of the Cornish coastline. A great day, spent in great company, in a stunning landscape; that's what butterflying is all about.

UKB Lizard landscape 1.jpg
UKB Lizard landscape 2.jpg
UKB Lizard landscape 3.jpg
UKB SPBF (7), Lizard.jpg
UKB Lizard landscape 4.jpg


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