Wurzel

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Wurzel
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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:30 pm

Cheers Pauline :D It was all down to the butterfly and the evening light :D
Cheers Trevor :D Hope you find some corkers :D
Cheers Goldie :D Sometimes things just work out right :D
Cheers Philzoid :D Sports mode it was, just click the wheel round to the little running man and away you go 8)
Cheers Dave :D Thanks for all the Mr.Greens - they're only borrowed and I'm sure I'll be sending a load back your way soon :wink: :D
Cheers Bugboy :D Thanks for ID I was struggling with that one - the females are much harder to ID :D
Cheers James/Rex :D I was surprised how well studded they were - usually the males have hardly any :)
Cheers Kev :D It has to be one of the best named sites in the UK an that's art of the attraction as I think the name puts off many and you end up with the place to yourself :D

Big Trip Number 3 17-06-2017 Part 1

So where to head next – that was the question? There were several options but these had been whittled down to two options – Large Blues or Heaths. As the temperatures looked like being in the mid to high twenties with strong sun Large Blues would be bombing around and we wouldn’t be guaranteed a mating pair so we plumbed for Heath Fritillaries (and having read David M’s PD since this actually turned out to be the best decision). So nice and early I set off to Philzoids’ and on arrival he presented me with several nice Moth ticks, so a great starter.
We then changed to his car an using a mixture of Philzoids recall of traffic reports and Googlemaps and Dr Nightmares dulcet tones form my Satnav we made it to East Blean in surprisingly good time. As we pulled into the car park I spied two small brownish butterflies. Hopping out of the car I confirmed them as Heath Fritillaries – job done, time to go home! In amongst getting cameras ready and boots on we racked up at least 3 different Heaths, a Meadow Brown and a brilliantly orange and massive Comma. We could have stayed here all day but instead we set off to explore the reserve itself.
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We started off in the small section where we found our first Frits two years ago and here there were plenty fluttering around more weakly than their larger cousins but making up for speed in stamina. They could fly and fly. Also they had an annoying habit of looking like they were about to land but then not doing so, a bit like Orange-tips. Also around in this section were Meadow Browns, a Large White and Ringlets. A real bonus was my first White Admiral of 2017. Although it was very flighty it was still a joy to behold as it would pick up speed, slicing through the air and then glide. Just before turning sharply it would seem to hang in the air from a price of string like an Airfix model. Due to the sun and the heat all the butterflies were very flighty so we moved on through the wood, the Bracken along the side of the track wold occasionally hold a Heath or Meadow Brown or Ringlet. We also managed a record shot of a White Admiral which chose to take nectar from a Bramble in the shade of a small tree.
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The next section we came across had been coppiced even more recently and there were only a couple of Heaths here. The White Admiral reappeared and seemed to be using a certain tree as a sentry post. It would fly off and quarter the clearing or maybe challenge a second White Admiral before landing back on an adjacent branch on the same tree. I was chuffed to witness this behaviour but even more chuffed as now I had two sets of White Admiral shots – two more than last year!
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We then slowly headed back to the car after a nurdle through various section of the wood, some of which looked pretty overgrown and in need of a coppice. Whilst in the first section we’d checked out the mercury climbed even higher, so high that the butterflies only started landing for the briefest of refuelling stops. In fact apart from a courting couple most shots were a bit smash and grab. In fact some butterflies seemed to be actively seeking shad, landing on the lower leaves of the Hornbeam and so sheltered by the leaves above like a sun parasol. Just as we were tearing ourselves away we encountered a White Admiral (the first we’d seen?) which again seemed to be holding territory.
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We finally made it back to car park and so retired for lunch…

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Andy Wilson » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:30 am

Great Heath Fritillary shots, Wurzel! I am closer to East Blean Woods (only 2 hours away) and I've made an annual pilgrimage there for several years now, which I always combine with lunch at an excellent pub I know just outside Canterbury!

The site is amazing, with butterflies all over the place, and 95% of them are Heath Fritillaries. This year, the only other things I saw were a few Meadow Browns and a single White Admiral.

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Goldie M » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:54 am

Lovely Heath shots Wurzel, :mrgreen: :mrgreen: they make me nostalgic, I used to see them every year when I went to Blean Woods but I went to the other entrance which is in Blean itself near where my Daughter lives, our Grand Children were at school then, we go to Kent July or August now so I've not seen them for a few years. :( So it was great to see your shots :D Goldie :D

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Philzoid » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:26 pm

Andy Wilson wrote:The site is amazing, with butterflies all over the place, and 95% of them are Heath Fritillaries. This year, the only other things I saw were a few Meadow Browns and a single White Admiral.
Indeed. When we went there in 2015 it was a solitary Heath fest. The only other butterfly seen I think was a Red Admiral :o . This time lots of other species with the White Admirals an unexpected welcome bonus :D

That open-winged white Admiral is a cracking "record shot". Love the description of the WA flight behaviour 8)

Phil

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Neil Freeman » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:26 pm

Hi Wurzel,

Just caught up with your Silver-studded Blues...cracking shots and that female is a beauty :D

Looks like a great day with the Heath Fritillaries, I have never seen them at any of their south-east colonies, my own experiences of this species being in Cornwall and Exmoor.

Cheers,

Neil.

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Re: Wurzel

Postby millerd » Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:21 pm

Excellent Heath Frits, Wurzel - I somehow missed them this year through some lapse in organisation. Blean Woods remains my favourite site. :)

Dave

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:05 pm

Cheers Andy :D As Philzoid said the first time we went there were only 2-3 species in the entire place. We did slightly better this time but it strange to think of Heaths as a 'rare' butterfly when you go to East Blean and see practically nothing but them :shock:
Cheers Goldie :D That must have been great,to just pop over to see the Heaths :D :mrgreen:
Cheers Philzoid :D There's more White Admiral action to come :wink:
Cheers Neil :D I'm the opposite having never seen Heaths in the West, maybe next year - it would be interesting to see them in a different setting :D
Cheers Dave :D Missing out on a species has been easy this year as everything seems to have happened at once :roll:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:32 pm

Big Trip Number 3 17-06-2017 Part 2

We retired for lunch but the butterflies were never far away in fact we were both able to take shots while munching as the butterflies would take nectar in the Brambles behind the car and there were also visits from Large Skippers as well as a White Admiral and H.Comma.
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W then checked out the little section by the entrance to the reserve where there was a profusion of Common Cow-wheat. As the area was more shaded with shivelight the butterflies were less flighty and we also had a few fleeting clouds which further helped to settle the butterflies. We also found another White Admiral holding territory and I was able to get a little bit closer than the last time; ‘if it continues like this then I’ll eventually end up right in one’s grill’ I thought to myself.
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We then headed back into the wood via a different path from the car park which eventually ended up back at the second coppiced area we’d visited earlier where the White Admiral was still holding court. As second flew in and it seemed to be duelling before they broke and our one returned to its’ tree. Another White Admiral or the same one came in again and ‘our’ WA took off and approached like a Spitfire, all guns blazing heading into the melee but when it reached the ‘invader’ it’s behaviour was different. It followed behind flew higher and overtook and then dropped lower and hung back, circling the ‘invader’ repeatedly a bit like a Silver Washed courtship. We stayed in the same place upwards of quarter of an hour and the White Admiral would fly out and come back again and again. It enabled me to get some of the best and closest underside shots, capturing the orangey-red along with the bluish tinge of the abdomen.
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Somehow we tore ourselves away and set off for Wrecclesham with the vague hope of picking up a faded Glannie. The field area of the site is still in good nick but the pond has gone and the track and surrounding verges are ruined, tarmacked over and ripped to shreds. We saw numerous Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns and Large Skippers and I also saw my first Small Skipper of the year along with other highlights like a fresh looking Common Blue and 8 Small Tortoiseshells – a supposed Surrey rarity! Unfortunately we sought in vain for the Glannies and headed for home hot, tired and thirsty.
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After a stop-off in the clubhouse where the barman broke the world record for slowest pulled pint of Shandy we continued homeward, still tired but thirst slaked and now cooler. The final part of the trip was bombing back West down the M3 and A303 which…h was spent remembering the cracking butterflies we’d seen – what a fantastic day…Large Blues next?
Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Wurzel

Postby millerd » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:59 pm

What a great selection, Wurzel. :) My personal favourites are the second Heath Frit and the first White Admiral. Lovely photos, both of them. :mrgreen:

Dave

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Re: Wurzel

Postby MikeOxon » Fri Jul 14, 2017 10:50 am

What a splendid Heath-fest, Wurzel, and some delightful shots to remind me how beautiful are the undersides of White A.

It's strange, the way that Heath F seem to like to have a place to themselves, so that Blean is almost a butterfly mono-culture. It was just the same when I visited one of the Exmoor colonies, a few years ago. Other butterflies seemed to stay away from the main Heath F site. I wonder why this should be so?

Mike

p.s. liked your use of 'shivelight', presumably from Hopkins "Shivelights and shadowtackle in long lashes lace, lance, and pair. " -so wonderfully evocative of light and shade in the forest!

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:15 pm

Cheers Dave :D Both of those shots are high on my fave list as well :D To be honest I was more chuffed at actually getting a White Admiral shot at all as last year I drew a blank for this species :shock:
Cheers Mike :D I've only been to East Blean once before but it was very similar, if not worse. The butterflies seem to be in the most recently coppiced areas so perhaps they're one of only a few species that can utilize the resources on offer? Thanks for the appreciation of 'shivelight' - I read an article recently that detailed how certain words and phrases were disappearing and so I noted them down with the intention of trying to use them where appropriate. Shivelight was one such word, nurdle is another. There are a few more so keep your eyes peeled :wink:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Katrina » Sat Jul 15, 2017 9:43 pm

Great White Admiral shots! I find them very tricky to get close to.

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Butterflysaurus rex » Sat Jul 15, 2017 10:16 pm

Hi Wurzel, it's been a while since I visited East Blean but the coppiced areas were where I found the majority of the Heath Frits as well. I was told the car park was the best place to see them, when I arrived there were none to be found there! I had to search for half an hour before I found them. Fabulous set of WA shots, as Katrina says they can be very tricky indeed to photograph.

James

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Mon Jul 17, 2017 11:54 am

Cheers Katrina :D I've struggled with White Admirals myself but I've found two tricks that work, first see if they're 'holding a territory' like the ones I saw at East Blean as they'll keep coming back to a similar spot, second one is find a large Bramble as when they're nectering they hang around for ages. :D
Cheers Rex :D I was told the car park as well and it was only this time that they were actually there :D

The Little and Large Show…or Daneway Banks 18-06-2017

Once I got back from the epic day with the Heath Frits I poured myself a glass of medicinal, settled down on the sofa with Mrs Wurzel and took in some Netflix. I didn’t really watch the show (Anne with an E?) instead I rewound the memories of the day and relived the glories. I then started musing about what to do next…I realised that what with one thing and another I wouldn’t be able to make any big trips for at least the next two weeks, I may be able to fit in a quick trip to Bentley but that would be about it. Hence come Sunday morning I was making my way to Daneway Banks with the bank of Brownie Points seriously depleted (two trips in a weekend :shock: ). I was trying to make it before the temperature got too high and the butterflies gave it up for the day.

Almost as soon as I got on site I spotted the slatey grey-blue of arion; it put up a second and they momentarily went into a pitched battle. When they broke apart I followed one which flew up the bank to the more level ground beyond where it perched just long enough to get a record shot. Job done I could relax and enjoy the butterflies more as now the trip wouldn’t be a write-off in terms of mileage/petrol.
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I followed the path along the top towards the diagonal path that bisects the reserve and rises, breaking through the trees to the top meadow and the Dew Pond. On the way there were Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites and occasionally a darker Ringlet fluttering around busily. As I crossed from my path to another I spied a grey silver blob, far too large too to be a grass head, it was a mating pair. I managed just a couple of shots before they broke and they were swiftly followed by a second pair. Or it could have been the same pair reconnecting. Another patrolling male dropped in occasionally to chance his arm at spoiling the party without any success.
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A fourth Large Blue visited the area, missing out the mating pair and flying differently. It flew with more of a search pattern, seeming to seek out purple flowers and ignoring all the others. It settled and started thrusting it’s abdomen around and into the Thyme it had alighted on. It was interesting to witness the different flight patterns of the genders. On one stop it was just taking nectar and so I held my head over it casting it into shadow. This trick worked as she opened up so I was able to get an open wing shot to add to the days’ collection.
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From here I made my way back to where the mating pair had been and followed the diagonal track up and through the trees to the top meadow. The temperature had crept up a few more degrees and a lot of the butterflies were flying more frantically. I tried the shade technique once more but it didn’t yield such good results and so instead I focused on closed wing shots instead.
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I worked my way back to the little copse near the entrance and paused here a while amidst the Large Skippers and a territorial Specklie to have a coffee and get out of the heat. Feeling cooler I set out for my final once over as the butterflies were getting silly frantic as the mercury continued to rise. I followed a female and tried some in flight shots, flicking between Sport and Macro as she’d fly then settled and feed/egg lay.
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A tiny darker butterfly crossed paths with the Large Blue and so I followed it. As it settled I realised I was experiencing my very own Little and Large show. I’d spent time with Eddie and now here was Syd.
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Feeling chuffed at seeing the smallest and largest of the British Blues I headed home. As I enjoyed the shade of the canopy on the walk back down the hill to my car I realised that I’d seen a reasonable range of butterflies butterflies including; Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Common Blue, Large Skipper, Specklie and an unidentified Smessex but I’d only photographed two species all day! Here’s to Little and Large.

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Philzoid » Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:40 pm

Hi Wurzel
So disappointed not to have made it to Daneweay this year :( . Last year we had a great day out, with butterflies galore not to forget the ‘characters’ we met too :) .
It’s been quite a contrast over the two visits. Last year it was nearly all open-wing whist this year mostly undersides and in-flight shots. But, that mating pair :shock: That is one hell of a capture … pose and detail, a brilliant photo :D :mrgreen: . In just two trips there you’ve almost got the lot. Larvae next ? :wink:

Btw desperately waiting for that shandy reminded me of this: - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAGLstjcLZA

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Re: Wurzel

Postby millerd » Mon Jul 17, 2017 9:40 pm

Large and Small together, Wurzel - that's a first! :mrgreen: Lovely shots from Daneway, and that mating pair is brilliant: the ageing male and the lovely new female - how do they do it? :wink: :)

Dave

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Re: Wurzel

Postby trevor » Tue Jul 18, 2017 6:12 am

It's always a risk when travelling a long distance for a particular species,
Salisbury to Canterbury is quite a long journey.
So i'm glad you were rewarded at East Blean and Daneway, with some great shots.

Trevor.

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Wed Jul 19, 2017 9:36 pm

Cheers Philzoid :D I was chuffed with that one :D I reckon the bloke in the Club was worse as he was just pulling the beer and mixing not even waiting for it to settle :shock: Next year we will make it to Daneways, I think I'm going to give up the 'number of species in a year' and focus on completing teh list...
Cheers Dave :D As I get older I'm more inclined to believe that it's because the females appreciate experience over exuberance Dave :wink: :lol:
Cheers Trevor :D There's always that little thought at the back of your head..."I'm travelling all this way and I'm going to dip" :? Luckily it usually turns out nice again :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel
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Re: Wurzel

Postby Wurzel » Wed Jul 19, 2017 11:06 pm

Larkhill 21-06-2017

AM
I started at the half-way point and made my way to the main track. The usual species were about and evident but I started to see more golden skippers – in fact they were all over the place. There had been a literal population explosion and as I walked down the small part of the track and my legs brushed against the grasses and they’d fly around in a swarm almost. I imagine from a distance it would be like witnessing pollen billowing from grass heads.
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Also amongst the Smalls and Smessex I find my first definite Essex Skipper of the year, the ink pads clearly visible without having to get down a crunch my neck to confirm the identification. Other identification features seem to leap out as well, the sex brand is thin, short and straight and the overall impression is of sandy and beige than orange if that makes sense?

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There are also a few females around – like this small – which showed that species really aren’t hanging around this year. They’re emerging early and in mass and then getting on with the business in hand, meeting their biological imperative. I might have wondered this before, and I know that I will do again, but cold we be in for a quiet autumn as species will have been and gone?
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22-06-2017

AM
I again stopped at the half-way point and this time I took my life into my hands as I transected the main path and kept on the smaller track that headed North. Alongside this there is a small ‘hedge’ of scrub with Bramble and Knapweeds so I investigated what was roosting in amongst this. There were still Marbled Whites but they’re not looking quite as smart as only a week ago, less two tone black and white and more on a grayscale. A similar thing can be said for the Ringlets which as starting to lose their margins and fade at the edges. The highlight though was the sheer number of Smessex Skippers, with 16 in a single view at one point all roosting together.
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PM
A very quick afternoon stop-off again at the half-way point and there were butterflies everywhere although most would take off at the merest of approaches. There were so many Skippers and Meadow Browns and Ringlets that it was impossible to count them. Much easier was observing a single aged Common Blue and 4 Small Tortoiseshells
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23-06-2017

AM
I was only stopping the once today as it’s POETS day. I stopped at the half-way point but this time checked out the small bushes near the car and they were alive with Ringlets including some nice fresh ones. At one point I could count 14 in one view as they were scattered around the bushes at various heights. There was a nice range of spotting to be seen with some nice bright ‘eyes’ as well as one with an unusual ampersand looking spot.
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I moved further on and checked out the ‘hedge’ which held the usual suspects including a stunning set of Small and Essex Skippers who both posed beautifully for me allowing a nice comparison of the two different looking sex brands.
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Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: Wurzel

Postby Goldie M » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:14 am

Great Skipper shots Wurzel, I think the Essex is much lighter in colour than the Small Skipper when fresh what do you think?
Goldie :D


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