Padfield

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Padfield
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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Thu Apr 06, 2017 3:57 pm

I arrived in Suffolk yesterday afternoon, to find orange tips drifting up and down the garden, as well as peacocks, commas and a single holly blue. Today I headed for the coast to check likely large tortoiseshell and green hairstreak sites. None of either - but plenty of peacocks, commas, small tortoiseshells, orange tips, a single red admiral and a couple of speckled woods. It is glorious, if slightly chilly, weather, and though the hairstreaks do not usually fly here until the end of April I think there might be a sighting or two before I go back to CH.

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Guy
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David M
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Re: Padfield

Postby David M » Thu Apr 06, 2017 9:52 pm

I daresay you've rarely walked into such benign UK conditions at Easter, Guy? Looks like you might have more on your plate than normal these next few days.

Well done with the Orange Tip shot. I'd have paid at least £20 for a similar one this afternoon!

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Lee Hurrell
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Re: Padfield

Postby Lee Hurrell » Fri Apr 07, 2017 12:32 pm

Lovely shots, as usual, Guy :)

The "eye" on the rear left hindwing of your Peacock looks like someone has wiped a section out, making it unsymmetrical. I've not seen one like that!

Best wishes,

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

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Fri Apr 07, 2017 3:37 pm

It's a strange one, David. I have records from my childhood of sitting in my plum tree and watching small, large and green-veined whites in the garden on 5th April. There were no orange tips that day. Today, 7th April, it's all orange tips and just one probable small white seen in flight. At least one female orange tip was checking out the flower beds today too.

I agree, Lee - it's an odd patch of decoloration on that peacock. It lines up with a nick on the forewing, suggesting a physical origin, but that might be coincidence. I didn't notice it at the time. I was just enjoying the sight of the butterfly having a feast on the blackthorn.

Here's one of the female orange tips from today:

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Guy

EDIT - my own website, where I host all my pictures, is inexplicably down tonight. There are therefore no pictures on this page. I've notified the hosting service and trust they will be back very soon!
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trevor
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Re: Padfield

Postby trevor » Fri Apr 07, 2017 4:38 pm

Lovely female OT. Guy. My first grounded OT this spring was a female.
Enjoy your UK vacation !.

Trevor.

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Re: Padfield

Postby Wurzel » Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:10 pm

Welcome back Guy, you'll be enjoying a lesser range of species than you're used to, although the quality is still high :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Tue Apr 18, 2017 6:54 pm

Thanks Trevor and Wurzel. I did indeed enjoy the butterflies in my garden, though I had little opportunity to go further afield. The Suffolk green hairstreaks did not put in an appearance before it was time to go.

Back in CH it is cold - much colder than Suffolk. I took an early evening walk today with Minnie, to check on Mr Mackey and Kyle. Mr Mackey is a fat 4th instar now:

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I couldn't find Kyle's leaf spray when I reached that part of the woods because it was beginning to get dark and he was high up. But I did find a new caterpillar on the way home - Timmy:

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I couldn't spend any longer looking because I have to work tomorrow - but one new cat per walk is fine with me.

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Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby David M » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:56 pm

That last image is simply wonderful, Guy. It may be colder in Switzerland right now than in the UK, but nobody living in Dear Old Blighty will ever be able to post a scene similar to that one....and, in addition...be able to see the range of species you enjoy as a matter of routine. :mrgreen:

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:46 pm

Thanks David! There is beauty everywhere, for those who have eyes to see, but it is true that in Switzerland you don't have to look very hard to find it!

It was wall-to-wall sunshine today but with temperatures below freezing at dawn and a chill breeze all day nothing flew. Up here in the mountains we don't have the same ultra-local hotspots that develop in the valley. I was on duty at school in the evening so decided to check out Timmy and Mr Mackey before walking up to Villars by a route I have never taken before (Minnie joins me on evening duties in the boarding house).

Despite the cold, Mr Mackey was feeding eagerly:

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Both those pictures were taken with full zoom from a distance but I think in the second he is retreating to resume the rest posture. Just my presence near his tree alerts him to danger.

Timmy was already resting when I reached him:

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We found no suitable iris spots on the new route but did come across some chamois feeding in a meadow:

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I spotted them before Minnie, luckily. I leaded her up, took these and other photos, then found another path that didn't cross the meadow. The chamois resumed feeding and were not disturbed.

Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby Wurzel » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:23 pm

Cracking shots Guy I've not encountered this before species before, it's a bit like a deer and a bit like a goat :D Though how you could use it to clean your car I can't work out, it seems too big and odd shaped :wink:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Padfield

Postby David M » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:28 pm

I often see chamois from afar when I'm in France, Guy, but you are fortunate to have them in such proximity chez toi. This is, to me, a very skittish animal and I don't think I've ever got to within 200 yards of one.

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Fri Apr 21, 2017 7:43 pm

Hi Wurzel. Chamois are closer to goats than deer, though I agree, they do have a deer-like quality about them. As David says, they are generally wary of humans - with good reason, as they are regarded as game - but I often get close enough to photograph them. They are typically mountain animals, though there is a resident population in my local woods and meadows, sharing the space with the roe deer.

We have a true goat too in the Alps, namely the ibex, or bouquetin, as we call it.

The main difference between them is that chamois are not totally insane. These are bouquetins:

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(look towards the top left ...)

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:26 pm

Continuing this occasional series of Swiss bovids (or near bovids): No. 3 - the camel (Bactrian).

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OK, I admit that was quite a surprise to Minnie and me alike. In fact, I first saw only the tops of the humps over some bushes and thought a couple of clowns in huge furry hats were ambling down the hill. You don't instinctively think 'camel' in the Alps. He seems to be losing a lot of fur in his rear parts. I hope this is moulting, not mange. Many foxes out here have mange.

He was not alone:

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Bactrians are surprisingly huge animals, or at least, give that appearance (not being a fan of zoos, I don't think I've ever actually seen one before). The white one set off towards Minnie and me so I decided to leave that field. I didn't fancy trying to photograph butterflies with a camel breathing down my neck and a mystified dog by my side.

The butterflies - 37 species - offered fewer surprises but were on very good form, despite a sometimes chilly wind. Here is a selection:

Camberwell beauty:

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Glanville fritillary:

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Spotted fritillary:

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Pearl-bordered fritillary:

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Osiris blue:

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Green-underside blue:

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Turquoise blue:

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(male approaching, power series extended ...)

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(quick powdering of androconia ...)

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(... and seconds later it's love hearts all round! I have a lot to learn)

Scarce swallowtail:

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De Prunner's ringlet:

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Baton blue:

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Group of blues, including Osiris, Adonis and Chapman's:

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Provençal short-tailed blue:

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Rosy grizzled skippers:

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I took lots more pictures - it was gloriously sunny all day. This is not an especially early year but it is proving good, for most species, at least. Notable butterflies I have yet to see include chequered blue and mallow skipper, both things I expect to see flying in March. They'll appear in due course, I'm sure - and I wasn't in a particularly strong site for chequered blues today.

Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby Kip » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:37 pm

that is one beautiful pristine osiris Guy, and the dorylas shots are joyful!! I will be in the Haute Savoie in June so will probably miss the best the Alps has to offer this year.

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Re: Padfield

Postby bugboy » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:40 pm

Don't worry Guy, Bactrian Camels always look like that when moulting out their winter coats. Give it a few weeks and it will look like new again. Is someone farming them up there or can you go for Camel rides in the Alps now?
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Re: Padfield

Postby trevor » Sat Apr 22, 2017 7:58 pm

Your image of the Scarce Swallowtail is one of those rare shots that goes to make a very fine picture.
As usual I envy all those species you have at your disposal. The Pearls are showing in Sussex now.

Best wishes,
Trevor.

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Re: Padfield

Postby David M » Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:17 pm

trevor wrote:Your image of the Scarce Swallowtail is one of those rare shots that goes to make a very fine picture.


Agreed. It's simply not possible to have a more unencumbered background.

This sequence is classic 'Padfield' and one I enjoy immensely.

Not so sure I enjoy hearing about 37 species though! :( Racking up 10 is good going in the UK at this time of year.

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Re: Padfield

Postby Padfield » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:30 pm

Thanks, Paul. You'd have loved it today! :D Haute Savoie in June will be good, I'm sure, even if you are too early for the real altitude stuff. I don't think there's such a thing as a bad time to be in the Alps. Maybe Minnie and I will take a trip round the lake to see you ...

That's good to know, Buggy. He didn't seem to be in any kind of distress so I thought it probably was just moulting. Quite exotic creatures, I thought - and seemingly very peaceful.

Thanks Trevor. The scarce swallowtail was moving around incessantly and there was a large element of chance in catching that precise moment. Unfortunately, the left forewing seems to have been moving slightly - perhaps vibrating in the breeze - and is a little blurred.

I'm glad you enjoy the pictures, David, and hope the pleasure outweighs the envy! :D Don't worry - I know you were joking!

Guy
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Re: Padfield

Postby Kip » Sun Apr 23, 2017 12:41 pm

A meet up somewhere would be fantastic. :D (bet you have a good day today if you are able to get out there!!)

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Re: Padfield

Postby Matsukaze » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:23 pm

When we visited Digne a few years ago we were very surprised to find camels grazing beside the road - it turned out that there was a circus in town. We made sure we conducted our butterfly-watching some miles away, in case they let their lions roam around in the same way.


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