jackz432r

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jonhd
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Re: jackz432r

Postby jonhd » Wed Aug 02, 2017 12:10 am

Excellent detective work, Paul.

Jon

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Pete Eeles
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Pete Eeles » Wed Aug 02, 2017 6:23 am

I agree - great work, Paul! I'm always in admiration of people who find new sites, rather than relying on known areas!

Cheers,

- Pete

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:21 pm

Thanks all for your comments :D

Pete Eeles wrote:I agree - great work, Paul! I'm always in admiration of people who find new sites, rather than relying on known areas!

Cheers,

- Pete


I am always looking Pete, but it is not quite as easy as it may appear from that last post :wink:

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Mon Aug 07, 2017 9:10 pm

White Letter Hairstreak 2017 - Part 2

I was keen to rear this species again so I set off on several egg searches at various sites during the winter. I was eventually able to rescue 3x healthy eggs (several others were found to be unhealthy) by February 2017. These were located after strong winds on wind damaged twigs found on the ground. One of these eggs was actually hatching as I found it. The first two eggs hatched on the 25th & 26th of February respectively and the remaining one on the 1st March. This timing is almost exactly in line with those I reared in 2016 which were from the same location.
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26.12.2016 ovum
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11.3.2017 1st instar larva
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5.4.2017 2nd instar larva


The young larvae of this species are extremely difficult to keep track of. The colouration, size and habit of the young larvae make them particularly difficult to locate, often seeming to disappear for a few days. They are often tucked in head first between the various parts of the Elm flowers.
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11.4.2017 3rd instar larvae
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Larvae remained quite active despite the cold snap at the end of April. By the 2nd week of April (3rd Instar) larvae seemed to be choosing leaves over seed pods to feed on. All 3 larvae had pupated by 22th May, but I was only successful with a single adult emergence on June 15th.
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1.5.2017 4th Instar larva

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3.5.2017 4th instar larvae showing significant colour variation. Both larvae are the same age
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Development overview (approximate timings taken as an average from 3 larvae):

1st Instar – 17 days
2nd Instar – 19 days
3rd Instar – 17 days
4th Instar – 26 days
Pupa – 25 days
P1130826.JPG
17.6.2017 Adult White-Letter Hairstreak 2 days after emergence

Pauline
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Pauline » Tue Aug 08, 2017 5:24 am

We both know from past experience that this isn't an easy one to rear Paul. Well done on your success.

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Tue Aug 08, 2017 2:16 pm

Superb larval images, Paul, and your gleaming adult specimen is a very beautiful and appropriate reward.

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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:47 pm

A fantastic selection Paul :D You're become the 'go-to' man for Whitters :D 8)

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:52 am

A belated thanks for those last few comments :D . I seem to have neglected my diary a little this year. Lack of time has meant I have focused on being out in the field rather than in front of a screen. However, here are a few recent bits & bobs:

October 2017 - Elm Trees, Red Admirals & Storm Brian

My continued search for the White Letter Hairstreak in Hampshire has me out and about after any spell of windy weather. This is always a good time to look for eggs on wind damaged twigs both in new and existing locations. My list of new locations to check out gets ever larger, the more promising looking sites always taking priority. Subsequently, there are sites which I have known about for a few years which I have yet to study and others I have found more recently and visited several times.

One of these promising recent discoveries is a site close to Central Portsmouth. A single street planted Elm tree conveniently overhanging a carpark. On 1.10.2017 the discovery of twigs at this location with empty eggs on them, probably from last season, filled me with excitement. I was hoping for something more conclusive after storm Brian, but I unfortunately did not get it. This tree is in a hard landscaped area and nearly all wind blown debris is instantly blown away so I shall probably have to wait till next flight season to 100% confirm White Letter Hairstreak at this site. I am not aware of any known sites in central Portsmouth so hopefully this will be another new discovery for me.
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I am encouraged by my findings at this Elm close to Central Portsmouth
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20.10.2017 I spotted this Red Admiral in the garden during storm Brian!


The morning after storm Brian was a lovely sunny morning and I visited several other sites looking for eggs, some known and some not. The search for eggs was disappointing with nothing new to report, but at nearly every site I was accompanied by a Red Admiral or two. I even managed to spot one in the garden during storm Brian in a sheltered spot during a brief sunny interlude. It took to the air briefly several times but was buffeted so much by the wind that it soon settled back down.
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21.10.2017 The morning after storm Brian Red Admirals were out in several different locations.
P1140997.JPG

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Sat Nov 04, 2017 11:03 pm

Good to see you're still hard at it Paul :wink: :D That's a really well marked bialbata you've got there :D
Hope you can make it to the Social...

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:05 pm

Good to see you back, Paul, and even better that you're still in active pursuit of White Letter Hairstreaks, no matter what stage of development.

Nice Red Admirals by the way. I guess that's all most of us will see from here on in. :(

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Wed Nov 08, 2017 11:12 pm

Thanks David & Wurzel for your comments :D

Saturday 28.10.2017 - Southwick & more Red Admirals

As noted in several other diaries, we seem to be awash with Red Admirals at the moment. I set off to one of my Red Admiral 'hotspots' to get my fix. I was pleasantly surprised by the number of Red Admirals I saw, in excess of 23 together with a couple of Speckled Wood. However, I managed to leave home without a memory card in my camera :oops: . (my apologies for the quality of some of these images taken on my phone)
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Female Red Admiral at rest
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Sheltered, sunny and south facing field margin....ideal conditions for Red Admirals.

As would seem to be the norm in recent years in suitable locations, profuse egg laying was taking place. At least 3x females were seen actively depositing eggs on new Nettle growth. A cursory examination of various Nettles revealed a plentiful supply of eggs at this sheltered, sunny location. The biggest surprise was to find a Red Admiral egg on, what I believe to be, Common Hogweed (Heracleum spondylium). Further searching turned up no more eggs on this unexpected foodplant so my guess is that this was an error of judgement on the part of one female Red Admiral. I have marked the location of this so I can check on it, but I would think any larva likely to find its way to the Nettles amongst which it is located. Although I had no memory card I was able to grab a couple of shots from a combination of my inbuilt memory and my phone.
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Red Admiral egg found on Common Hogweed
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Common Hogweed growing amongst Nettles

As in previous years I have retrieved a couple of these eggs to rear through the Winter. I will at some point post my report on Winter Red Admiral early stages from last Winter (sorry for the delay Vince :oops: ). It would be interesting to know how far North Red Admiral early stages are able to survive during the Winter months.

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Andrew555
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Andrew555 » Thu Nov 09, 2017 9:18 am

Hi Paul, very interesting reading for me, as a relative newbie.

Cheers

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Thu Nov 09, 2017 5:35 pm

Paul Harfield wrote:..I was pleasantly surprised by the number of Red Admirals I saw, in excess of 23 together with a couple of Speckled Wood...


That's quite a haul for November, Paul. I'd be happy to see that number on a July day!!

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Sun Nov 12, 2017 9:09 am

Thanks both for your comments :D . Yes David I was very pleased with that Red Admiral count, but it was in fact 28th October.

trevor
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Re: jackz432r

Postby trevor » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:21 pm

I once got all the way over to Chiddingfold forest before realising that my memory card
was still in my lap top, at a distance of 54 miles from home all I could do was curse. :oops: .
Fortunately the Purple Emperor did not show that day, so my frustration was not compounded.

Hope you have had a great season,
Trevor.

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Sun Nov 12, 2017 5:47 pm

23 that late in the season is mighty impressive :shock: - it looks like 2017 really is the year of the Red Admiral :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Tue Nov 14, 2017 5:46 pm

Paul Harfield wrote:Thanks both for your comments :D . Yes David I was very pleased with that Red Admiral count, but it was in fact 28th October.


Thanks for clarifying, Paul, although it's still notable for the back end of October!

Paul Harfield
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Paul Harfield » Tue Nov 14, 2017 10:56 pm

Thanks all again for your comments :D. I managed to remember my memory card this weekend :?

Saturday 11.11.2017 Knowle Village

I had some spare time on Saturday so I thought I would check out my other primary Red Admiral site, I had an hour before it started to rain heavily. This is the location where I have recorded Winter Red Admiral egg laying most frequently. It is a similar location to Southwick being field margins and is similarly sunny and sheltered. The favoured spots for egglaying seem to vary slightly from year to year.
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This small area of Nettles was peppered with Red Admiral eggs
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There are 10 Red Admiral eggs on this single Nettle shoot
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In one small patch of new Nettle growth I counted nearly 30 eggs including one shoot which had 10 eggs on it. This was a new spot where I have not seen eggs before. In areas where I have seen profuse egglaying in previous years I was only able to locate 1 or 2 eggs. I was unable to locate any larvae at this visit. Despite the weather at least one Red Admiral was seen. This may have been the same one that briefly joined me when I took shelter from the rain in an empty farm building. It fluttered around in the entrance for a while before disappearing off out into the rain again.

Sunday 12.11.2017 Southwick

Back at Southwick, 2 weeks on since my last visit. I was able to locate 2 larvae (2nd instar I think) which I will endeavour to keep track of during the winter. The egg laid on Common Hogweed was no longer present. No Egg laying was observed during this visit, in fact I was unable to find any eggs at all today, I guess they have either hatched or been predated.
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Wild 2nd instar? Red Admiral larva
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This photo shows where the youngest larvae are likely to be found within the very youngest leaves at the growing tip bound together with silk.

Despite the much cooler temps I was still able to locate 13 adult Red Admirals covering the whole spectrum of condition from very fresh to very worn. I will try and visit this site regularly over the winter to monitor what is going on Red Admiral wise here.
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Red Admirals were still out in force despite the cooler conditions.
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P1150095.JPG
This stretch of south facing wall is a reliable source of winter Red Admiral activity of all types

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Wurzel
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Re: jackz432r

Postby Wurzel » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:29 am

Three out of four life stages in a couple of days is a great haul Paul :D Those Red Admirals are really having a great year :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: jackz432r

Postby David M » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:18 am

Thanks for the image putting the habitat in context, Paul. At this time of year, those butterflies that are still active DO tend to keep to these microclimates.


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