Dave McCormick

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Dave McCormick
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Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Sat Apr 17, 2010 5:38 pm

Decided it would be good time to start this as my butterfly season just started.

17th: Went on a 4 mile walk from my house, along a meadow, riverside bank and up into an ancient pine, spruce, birch, oak and ash forest (it used to have elsm but they got desiesed back in 1980s and all died)

Warm sunny, not much cloud (17C). Wnt to usual spots to check for butterflies, didn't find any. Walked along into a forest, came out other side and into a place where pigs used to be kept in 1800's. This has been unused so long, but its a great place for hibernating butterflies. Found a Small Tortoiseshell, but in no way was I going to get to photograph it properly, I only got one shot, poor at that:
SmallTort1.jpg
Small Tortoiseshell


Next I walked along a large field edge and came to an area that as Peacock butterflies, in the enterance to an ancient beech/oak forest. There is a river that runs through it. I saw 4 peacock butterflies, as equally hard to photograph. Everyrime I went near one it eiaht flew away, or as I was going to press shutter, another came and had a fight with it. One the occation I did get close to any, they faced the camera, wings pointing away, not a good thing as you can see:

peacock1.jpg
Peacock 1


The Peacock butterflies were mostly in good condition, but one was worn, managed a slightly out of focus shot of it:
peacock2.jpg
Blurry Peacock


I walked further, along a large bank of the river that is going along the edge of two fields, it has lots of mature oaks dotted along it and it runs for half a mile or so. While walking along, found 4 small tortoiseshells, no way easy to photograph. I walked along to the end where a forest begins. There is an old farmhouse here that was used in 1800's but has been abandoned since. The forest is ancient and goes up a high hill, one of the nicest, natural places I have been in.

forest1.jpg
Forest 1

forest2.jpg
Forest2

forest3.jpg
Forest3

forest4.jpg
Forest 4


I walked into the deepest part of the forest and rested under a birch tree, and this caterpillar (I presume not a sawfly larvae?) fell down, it was very small:
redcat1.jpg
Cat


On the way back I found quite a few wood sorrel in flower:
anenome.jpg
Wood Anenome


Also saw lots of primroses everywhere and bluebells getting bigger. On the way back I saw another small tortoiseshell and a Agonopterix heracliana moth flying about and saw a dead, black bracket fungus laying under a mature oak, turned it over and found this caterpillar. Possibly a common or map winged swift caterpillar?
Cat3.jpg
Swift caterpillar?


All in all it was a good day, saw also a few buzzards, a pair of jays and quite a few swallows, here is one of the swallows (You can't get a good photo of one with a Sigma 105mm macro):
swallow1.jpg
Swallow
Last edited by Dave McCormick on Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Susie » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:16 pm

Hi Dave, the white flower is actually Wood Sorrel.

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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:22 pm

Thanks Susie, was kinda wondering at first what it was (post has been edited). Also saw a female large white today, it was emerging from a pupae I found in garden, but I didn't have my camera then and couldn't get a shot of it.
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Susie » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:30 pm

You're welcome. The photos you posted are great anyway and I look forward to seeing more of your posts and photos. :D

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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Sat Apr 17, 2010 8:51 pm

Thanks susie. I forgot to add something. Where I found the first small tortoiseshell where the pigs used to be kept, back in November last year, I was here with my dad and lost my wool hat. I came back today and found it, no only did I find it, I found a moth pupae inside it. (It must have been warm in it and the caterpillar pupated and hibernated in it.)

pupaehat.jpg
Mystery Moth Pupae


I haven't got it ID'd yet, but I brought it home and I will return the adult when it hatches. Be interesting to know what it turns out to be, it doesn't remind me of Angle shades pupae (as its darker usually) and cabbage moth pupae are a bit bigger (I have five I am looking after at moment) so not really sure.

I am heading next weekend to set up a lot of moth traps at my reletives bog, maybe while I am there I might find Green Hairstreak (last recorded in area in 1970s and hopefully its still there) There are large numbers of small heath, common blue and Meadow Brown here (seems common blue use large birds foot trefoil as foodplant as there is no birds foot trefoil there) also quite a few Dark Green Fritillary
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Thu Apr 29, 2010 12:39 pm

Was waiting for the bus this morning at bus stop beside Strangford Lough. SInce I had 30 mins until bus arrived, I walked down to the shore and saw my first small whites and green veined whites of the year (you never have a camera when you need one) and two small whites began courting and then started mating. The two green veined whites I saw where a male and female but were some distance apart, then another male came past. Hoping to go back shortly with camera after I eat and see if I can get any shots of these. In Mountstewart my dad who was ploughing a field saw a holly blue on some cherry blossom (he usually sees them before I do) so I am hoping to find my first soon.

More later if I get photos.
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Thu Apr 29, 2010 3:27 pm

I went back to Strangford Lough, didn't see any of the Small Whites I saw this morning, however I found 4 GV whites, two flying about and a mating pair. I got a video I'll edit and upload as soon as I can. Here is a shot of the mating GV whites:

GVWhite.jpg
GV White Mating


I also got bogged down in boggy seaweed and it wasn't very pleasant smelling, but my first photo og a GV White this year though which was good. Also survayed an area of mayweed/chamomile and want to look there for chamomile shark to see if there is any chance its there as its really rare in Northern Ireland, only known from one location (I know the person who found it) so if I can't find adults, maybe I'll look for caterpillars later on in the year.
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
My Nature videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/DynamixWarePro

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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Sun May 02, 2010 5:56 pm

Only able to go into garden today, slight rain on/off and bit busy. I did see a freshly emerged male large white crawling up the wall of my house, sunning itself and drying wings before it flew off. Can't belive there are still emerging adults in my garden. Wonder how many actually did overwinter here?

If I can, want to look for Green Hairstreaks this weekend at my reletives bog, its was declarted as an area of special interest my butterfly conservation and is being survayed for its plant fauna (has a few rare plants and lots of various orchids about it)

Two images of the bog I got this year:
bogheath_Birch.jpg
Heather scrub on raised lowland cutover bog and birch woodland in distance


Birch_Bog.jpg
Area of bog with birch/sallows


Quite a bit of the bog is birch woodland, if you saw it, you'd think like it’s always been there, (I did) but no. It wasn't there 50 years ago. Back then it was nearly all very wet, open bog with mostly purple heather blanketing it. Suddenly the birch appeared and made woodland. Apparently it has to be controlled now from spreading further out or it will consume the open bog, so the birch woodland has to be stopped expanding.

Also back 50 years ago, there used to be a train line that ran right past the area and connected nearby towns, this has been stopped quite number of years way back (in the 1960s the train line stopped and was taken away from the area). But in around June/July and September when the bog was dry, the shrubs/trees used to catch fire when the train came past and the sparks from the train ignited the dry plants and it all burned back.

The birch woodland has to stay the size it is, te birch if its allowed to grow, sucks the moisture out of the bog and dries it up. I was told by the person who owns it now, when he was about 10 years old, he was not allowed in the bog itself as it was so wet. He said once that when he was young, he put a large shovel into an area of bog and it sank completly and disappeared under the bog because it was so wet then. Its still pretty we today in some places, but not as wet as it used to be.

I moth trap there with someone and I managed to catch a yellow horned moth and confirm it existed there (its not very common around here, glad to see its there and pitty I missed the peak of them when I trapped here):
YellowHorned.jpg
Yellow Horned


Hoping to find Dark Green Fritillaries, the large amounts of small heath, common blues and see small copper here again this year as I saw them last year.
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
My Nature videos: http://www.youtube.com/user/DynamixWarePro

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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Fri May 07, 2010 2:48 pm

Finally saw my first Speckled Woods of the year. I had to go for a Job interview today in town not far away and when I was walking back to the car, I stopped for a sec by some cherry trees with pink blossoms and saw one male speckled wood. Then a female came along. Where is a camera when you want one? Still haven't got a photo of one this year. Going to Lough Neagh, Co Armagh tomorrow for a BCNI event, so might see something different up there.
Cheers all,
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Fri May 07, 2010 6:43 pm

Went out and saw a holly blue male, it wouldn't sit still long enough for me to get a shot of it, it flew too high too. Saw a worn male Small Tortoiseshell, likewise with it, it flew too fast and didn't sit long enough to get a photo of it. Saw a male GV white too, but I managed a short video of it:

Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Sat May 08, 2010 12:47 pm

Went on a BCNI field trip today, to Lough Neagh, Co Armagh. Got there at 8:35 or so, the first issue was the Lough Neagh Black Fly. Estimated 3 trillion of them, they were everywhere, you couldn't escape them, they were covering cars, in buildings and on outside of them, flying in dense black clouds and even covering moth traps that were used overnight. Don't breathe in much, hold your ears and nose, some even used their nets as protection over their heads.

Just a few of the flies, and by few, I mean few:
Blackflies.jpg
Black Flies


I found some meadowsweet plants after and rubbed them on my face and hands, seemed to deter the flies. Furst traps were checked and moths shown, it was really windy and cold overnight and duirng the morning, despite warm sun. just a selection:

Lesser Swallow Prominent:
LSProminent.jpg
Lesser Swallow Prominent


May Highfliyer:
MayHfliyer.jpg
May Highflyer


Thios wasn't trapped here, was brought to show then returned back where it came from (Poplar Hawk Moth):
PoplarHawk.jpg
Poplar Hawk Moth


Same as hawk moth, this Flame Shoulder was also brought to show and returned where it was caught:
FlameShoulder.jpg
Flame Shoulder
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Sat May 08, 2010 1:10 pm

After traps were checked and we had a quick bite to eat, we went on a trek to see if any butterflies were around. It got warmer by then, but less windy. THe flies were still around in their millions. Made photography harder.

First butterflies we saw where 2 Green-Veined Whites and one person spotted a blue butterfly of some sort, but don't know if that was what he saw or just a patch of blue sky through hawthorn bush, but he was convinced he saw a blue butterfly.

Incidently, there isn't a lot of holly bushes around, those that are planted seemed to get stolen, which surprised me. After they are dug up, they can't really be replanted and usually die, so those that take them can't do much with them. In the meadow area we were in, someone tried to net a micro moth, but how he told the difference between a moth and a fly there was beyond me.

Seeing cuckoo flowers, I looked for eggs, found one on one plant. Interestingly what I saw (is this normal?) I found 3 eggs on one cuckoo flower and 3 on another of Orange-Tip (I know caterpillars will eat another to give it more chance of survivng) so why would there be three eggs on a plant?
OTEgg.jpg
OT Egg


The we found more butterflies/moths as the day got warmer. GV WHites, Orange-Tips, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, also saw in moths: 2 common carpet and a female muslin moth. I managed my first OT shot of the year! I got really close to it which I have never been able to do before (although its not a great photo):
OTMale.jpg
OT Male


Saw my first damsel/dragonfly this year here too, a large red damsel:
LRDamsel.jpg
Large Red Damselfly


Managed to catch a Reals Wood White and photograph it, although a few of the group were upset I let it go a little early, but it didn't sit still long to photograph. First photo of a Reals Wood White since 2008 (apparelty there is going to be a documentry made on Reals Wood White to ascerntain the differences in it and wood white as all we know they are found in different habitats as Reals likes woodland where as wood white has been found in different habitat, can't remember which):
RealsWoodWhite.jpg
Reals Wood White


We looked over at a few islands, this one you can see, it has a heron hatchery on it. Also saw some common terns flying about.

Islands.jpg
Island


After this we went past a sycamore tree and I spotted a male holly blue on it. I went over and almost managed to put it in my magnifying pot, but accidently tapped the leaf it was on and it flew away. Two tried to net it, but it didn't happen.

Finally I had to leave early, but we arrived at an area that used to be a road that went through the area, but its cut of and has a hedgerow now. We were told that a mass grave of famine victims were found in the area.

Overall it was a great day, lovley place to look for butterflies and see moths
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Mon May 17, 2010 2:53 pm

Went on National Moth Night at Clandyeboye, Co Down, Northern Ireland, and didn't get much, I used an 125W MV at a walled garden with wildflowers and a under a cherry with blossom. I only got a nut-tree tussock with it. I put a second my home made 11W Energy Saving UV Bulb Trap in an area of forest with a few cut down trees and mostly beech with oak and I put trap under a horse chestnut and got only 10 moths... 2 Water Carpet, 3 Nut-Tree Tussock, 1 Common Quaker, 1 Clouded Drab and 2 Brindled Pug.

Also got to hear about all the bats in Ireland. There is 8 known (two types were found more recent years) and bats can live up to 40 years if they stay free of desieses and parasites most of their life. Was strange, during the talk, all th people went to hear about bats were at the left side of the room, rest of us from butterfly conservation were on right side of the room.

It was a good trip overall. There was 3 125W MV Traps run as well as one 22W Gladiator, one 15 Watt Heath trap, 2 3 6 Watt Heath Traps, one 8 Watt actinic and one 11W Energy Saving UV trap. Rained bad for a while overnight but it was low as 6C, warmer than it has been.

If there was a National Fy Night, my 11W UV trap would have been best, there was hundreds of flies in it! Well I have learned UV lights attract lots of flies.

Also saw a Small White and an Orange-Tip on the way home, although it rained bad after we went to see what was in one of the MV Traps. One 125W MV was in a tree nursery and it got interesting species none other traps got... Small Square Spot, Bright-line Brown Eye and Lesser Sallow Prominent (the LSP was caught in another trap)

Highlights were finding in traps (to name jus a few):

V-Pugs
Scalloped Hazel
Spectacle
Brown Brindled Beauty
Clouded Border

Overall it was a good night, despite the lack of numbers, the varied species was ok.
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Sat May 22, 2010 6:45 pm

Warm 25C here today, went out looking for butterflies, no photos though, saw 50+ cocksfoot moth (2 mating pairs) also:

2 female large white in garden 1 GV white and 1 small white in garden too

Walking along a woodland ride I saw:

2 worn Small Tortoiseshell (flying straight up and down for some reason)
20+ Small WHites
10+ Green-Veined White
1 Holly Blue
1 Possible Reals Wood White (didn't get a definate ID, if it was this would be a new site for it)
1 Speckled wood male (first I have seen near my house, rest I have seen elsewhere)
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Wed May 26, 2010 4:30 pm

Went on a trip to Strangford Lough today (post images later, just home and need to eat) but I saw:

hundreds of jellyfish all over the shorline, must be that time of year again (happens every year) some seemed to be drying up and dying, you could see a hole where the jellyfish was, and what was left of it nearby

Also saw my first Painted Lady flying up from the shore (Strangford Lough is linked to Irish sea where migrants like Clouded Yellow and Painted Ladies, Vestals, Silver Y's, Dark Saword Grass and migrating whites come from)

Saw a number of whites too (20 GV White and 10 Small Whites) also 4 cocksfoot moths and 1 crambus moth I haven't got around to ID yet.

Found this yesterday thought, I was trapping night before with a 125W MV and 11W UV energy saving bulb and must have flew into bushes where light was shining...I came indoors and saw this on my foot...Poplar Hawk Moth. This is it warming up to fly (strangly the camera recoreded its wing beats this slow, I didn't edit speed of the video, it does this with other things like propellers on planes too) Even thought they are common, can't help getting excited about finding these.



Post more later, no time right now
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Padfield » Wed May 26, 2010 8:30 pm

Great video, Dave!

If you are using a 'sports' setting (to catch fast motion without blurring) on your video camera, you may well get a strobe effect when you film something vibrating or spinning. This may appear to slow the motion.

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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Wed May 26, 2010 8:54 pm

If you are using a 'sports' setting (to catch fast motion without blurring) on your video camera, you may well get a strobe effect when you film something vibrating or spinning. This may appear to slow the motion.


Thanks Gut, I am using a Canon 500D on movie mode (I prefer it as Its 1080p HD video and I can use various lenses to get videos and shoot photos easily without having to switch between a video camera and photography), the video mode doesn't really have much settings, the 500D records up to full 1080p video, albeit at the rate of 20 frames/sec. you can't have something like sports mode on video or change speed settings. Only choose the quality and exposure settings. So its not to do with the video settings. Maybe its the frame rate?

I know there is a hack in progress to get the firmware settings for movie mode the Canon 550D onto the 500D as you can do more with movie mode on 550D (It uses AV and TV manual settings on movie mode which you can't change apature values on 500D movie mode or speed settings, also has 24fps) but at moment, thats the way the camera shot the video, it looked that way through the live view before I took the video, so it could be the camera itself that makes fast moving objects appear in slower motion?

While we are on it, here is a photo of the Poplar Hawk Moth Have a better one somewhere):
PoplarHawk.jpg
Poplar Hawk Moth


Video I got last Sunday of a cocksfoot moth (boy thay are hot to get photos or videos of being so tiny) found 50 of them while searching a small meadow patch:



Cocksfoot Moth really looks like a fish when you see it at this angle (female laying eggs in cocksfoot grass stem) - Notice the "eye" on the top of the shot? Thats the fish head
Cocksfootmoth.jpg
Cocksfoot Moth Female
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Mon Jun 14, 2010 9:08 pm

Sorry for no updates in ages, been busy with one thing or another. So back to this:

On 6th I went to my reletives bog, one area I was in was about the size of a football field or a little less. There is also a birch woodland and another open area of cutover bog scrub which is the same size at the other side of the birch forest, but I couldn't get to it because my cousin had cows out feeding on the overgrowing plants around the path. 17-18C full sunshine. Totals I saw:


100+ Small Heath, in a small area that seems like a good find, even though there was so many, they were not at all easy to photograph:
SmallHeath2.jpg
Small Heath


SmallHeath.jpg
Small Heath


4 Orange-Tip, two male, two female, only got a poor shot of a male:

OrangeTipMale.jpg
Male Orange-Tip


Common heath moths were plentiful too, saw about 50+ but most I found were female, only an occational male:

CommonHeathFemale.jpg
Common Heath Female


Saw also about 20 Timothy Tortrix Moths and quuite a few Crambus lathoniellus, a few large white, 3 small copper and 3 Speckled Wood, this one a female:

SpeckledWoodFemale.jpg
Female Speckled Wood


Crambus.jpg
Crambus lathoniellus


Finally caught glimpse of 4 Silver-Y migrants and a battered Small Tortoiseshell

All in all it was a good day. Haven't actually seen butterflies since then besides 2 Large White and a Speckled Wood since. Strange that I haven't seen much butterflies since then. Last night I recorded 20+ Silver Y moths that were feeding on red valerian flowers beside my house, 2 Large Yellow Underwing doing the same (1 male and 1 female) and 3 silver-Ground carpet also feeding:

SilverY1.jpg
Silver Y


SilverY2.jpg
Silver Y 2


Here is a few of the Red Valerian flowers with a Silver Y moth, hard to get photos in the dark with a headlamp thats not so bright. There is a wall a few hundred yards long covered in the valerian, its great for all moths/butterflies and feeding insects as they flower from late April to early December so migrants, passers by and hibernators fuel up here.

ValerianflowersSilverY.jpg
Red Valerian
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:51 pm

I was out today and saw only two speckled wood, a male and female each in different locations. Also a large white graced my garden.

But a few hours back I had quite a scare....Not far from the forest I was going to as to set up my custom built moth trap, is a colony of Buzzards. I was whistling and saw a buzzard flying overhead, then it circled a bit lower, then it turned lower and flew directly at me. I culd see it getting closer and closer! It got really close (a few yards almost) then flew up and met with its partner nearby. I think it had fledging young and may have seen me as a potential threat to them! Quite scary seeing a buzzard flying very fast towards you and seeing its eyes very clearly in front of you! Have to watch it in morning when I go to check the trap.

However I saw my first gold swift and observed thee male ghost swift lekking in tall grass in the forest while in there.
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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Re: Dave McCormick

Postby Dave McCormick » Sat Jun 19, 2010 7:14 pm

Saw a single Large White today and that was it, boy is my butterfly list getting sparce for June, no madow browns or ringlets yet although they have been spotted elsewhere in Northern Ireland.
Cheers all,
My Website: My new website: http://daveslepidoptera.com/ - Last Update: 11/10/2011
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