Marek (The Annoying Czech)

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The Annoying Czech
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Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Tue Mar 20, 2012 7:58 pm

Since I slowly started to feel homy here, it might be a good time to set up a diary instead of overloading Overseas.

In the meantime, many things happened. My granny died so I inherited a big old house (a manor built in 1860s) under a big old chestnut tree. Both loss and the heritage relations was disgusting in every sense, but now I'm fully focused on reconstruction together with my family. I decided to live in the most traditional part of the house and I'm intending to move to big attic once (there's actually two of them).

There are the stables just by and many horse pastures round about, so I feel like Johnny from Patti Smith's Horses lyrics. One of the pastures is sheepish, which I rate rather negatively, because I might be fooling around with the idea of breeding Large Blues. From the memories of my childhood I suspect Large Coppers to have a longtime colony just behind the garden, with one find during two visits in 2011.

I don't know much about British family and land habits, but here's fairly common to own remaining lands of you ancestors - kulaks. I'm planning to write up some old-time intermezzo sooner or later, including 100-yrs-old photos. Starring: Church, Bolshevists and alcohol. Very soon I realized that now it's me who has to keep an eye on family treasure, including that bloody family tree I have to find.

It is broadly said that Czech = handyman. Lets say it this way: it's either an urban legend or I'm an exception. Fortunately, my stepfather (on the photo below) can do wonders with living.

We came in January...

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...withdraw temporarily in cruelly cold February...

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...and re-declare the war in March.

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I have a strong, naive feeling I will be happy there.

Regarding butterflies, it should be fine from now, after a long, snowy February and sunny but windy beginning of March. In fact, there is a 30 C shift between FEB and MAR from -10 (or less) to up to 20. That clearly supports my theory there's no Spring between Winter and Summer any more. No chance to match the Alpine or south England very early sightings of yours.

List of species seen so far:
Brimstone
Comma
Peacock
Small Tortoiseshell
The Orange Underwing
moth (very common but already receding)

My actual chase list: Large Tortoiseshell, Camberwell Beauty, first Holly Blues, early Maps. Maps are a Spring classic!

Oh, and I have a new (used :D) Sigma 105 mm Four Thirds Fit lens only for butterflies. Still getting familiar with, taming the f/2.8 aperture lust that destroys my bloody photos!

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I hope you'll enjoy the thread during the season and never get annoyed with species not exactly available in British gardens, presumably Dispars and Duskies :Dth
Last edited by The Annoying Czech on Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby Padfield » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:29 pm

Hi Marek. I'm sorry for your loss. This is obviously a time of big changes and challenges for you and I wish you well. I also look forward to following your season in your new personal diary!

Guy
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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby David M » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:33 pm

Sorry to hear about your recent travails, Marek.

Great idea to open a diary on your new abode. I look forward to reading about what you see in the vicinity.

PS - a Czech friend sent me a book on butterflies which is partly in English - Motyli Ceske republiky : Rozsireni a ochrana. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and wondered if you knew about it?

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby Lee Hurrell » Wed Mar 21, 2012 2:04 pm

Hi Marek,

I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I do hope you enjoy living there - I look forward to hearing about what you find nearby in your diary.

Best wishes,

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

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Wed Mar 21, 2012 7:32 pm

padfield wrote:Hi Marek. I'm sorry for your loss. This is obviously a time of big changes and challenges for you and I wish you well. I also look forward to following your season in your new personal diary!
Guy

Since I'm closely watching your diary (along with Traplican), you're absolutely welcomed in mine :D

David M wrote:Sorry to hear about your recent travails, Marek.
Great idea to open a diary on your new abode. I look forward to reading about what you see in the vicinity.
PS - a Czech friend sent me a book on butterflies which is partly in English - Motyli Ceske republiky : Rozsireni a ochrana. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading it and wondered if you knew about it?

Combined with occassional butterflying, working on/at/around the house is very enjoyable and fulfilling. I naturally do know the book and soon I'll have both as a "gift" of transect mapping & mapping of Silesian Beskydy Mts. It's our essential source, although not the only one. I wonder who might be that good-natured, book-giving friend of yours...? :D

Lee Hurrell wrote:Hi Marek,
I'm sorry to hear of your loss. I do hope you enjoy living there - I look forward to hearing about what you find nearby in your diary.
Best wishes,
Lee

Thanks, I do. I mean I will.


* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


I guess diary means posting day by day, so I proudly present I was annoying two Lagre Tortoiseshells that I like to call Largies. A happy couple, I believe - isn't that female on the right fertilized? :D

Since I long for better open-wing photos in less cloudy weather, I'm pretty much sure I'll be annoying the couple tomorrow again. I believe this is species to be seen as early as possible, May might be already late. Have this in mind when planning a trip to continental Europe.

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:04 pm

I don't yet know whether your time machines finally works or Central European witners are so protracted, but I have to claim some diaries of yours are just suspiciously green. By now, I met only the hibernators, with strong suspicion the Camberwell Beauties are still sleeping. It's certainly not a guilt of temperature which is already very annoying!

I couldn't afford to spend as much time with butterflies as I wanted to, though I found another Large Tortoiseshell(s) site.

And picked out two snaps from the camera. I already deleted that Comma thing, because I find the photo uninteresting, but it's still quite sharp and with bokeh and so...

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Wed Mar 28, 2012 5:53 pm

It's somehow getting harder to happen on a butterfly-friendly weather, mainly for two reasons. A) My Spring is probably not as excellent as yours, often incalculable and windy. B) General cussedness of things is that it is needed to manage something around the house reconstruction when most hot & sunny. My general 2012s rule is to prefer quality before quantity.

Numbers of Large Tortoiseshells are something I'm quite happy about. It's my third most abundant March species after Small Tort's and Peacocks. I recently found one right against my house, and about five hours ago I nearly knocked down one individual with car. Anyway, they'll still disappear in April nearly for a year!

Since they're sometimes two per biotope, I've been often witnessing their dances in the air/treetops and resulting rapid flight back. If I'm witnessing mating rutuals or fights for a territories I don't yet know :D I also learned LTs are more clever than some other species, refusing to sit the hell down when I'm clearly in sight. They also tend to ignore fragile remnants of last year's vegetation, like raised dry nettles, probably because they're too big and heavy, so getting bokeh is often a problem.

And I still find Brimstones not photogenic.

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Fri Apr 13, 2012 4:34 pm

The weather here is typically incalculable (but not disastrous), just as my free time. Today was very fine, hot & sunny. Still, these three photos represents my semi-weekly summary :D

I didn't have a chance to shoot Camberwell Beauty so far, unlike commoner Large Tortoiseshell that I haven't seen for more than week.

Today I've seen first butterfly newborns. It was Map butterflies, numbering about five ex. Now I had to make a certain endeavor, but soon they'll steal a prominent positions in my abundance counts. I must say I like their underside, not frontside, but the individuals were either too active or sunbasking, therefore no underside photo. Since almost nobody is posting Maps here, I'm enclosing at least head detail (already moved to trash - I can do better, especially with potential of thousands of Maps fluttering around from mid April to early September).

See you soon, Britons :D

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby Wurzel » Fri Apr 13, 2012 9:30 pm

Thousands of shots of map! :shock: :mrgreen: I'd settle for just one!

Have a goodun

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby essexbuzzard » Fri Apr 13, 2012 11:46 pm

Yes,i agree-keep the Map shots coming,the spring generation is lovely,and one never seen by most of us Brits. Even if we can visit CZ or other parts Europe,we are likely to do so in summer,long after the spring brood is finished.
Cheers.

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:02 pm

Spring is here, Britons! My first seen butterfly today was Swallowtail, but I lost him among the shrubs. He was so small-sized :D Would I reach first Swallowtail season sighting if I were in UK? :D

Also, first Maps and some Pierids are hatching out. Spring Maps are fairly problematic, very moving on the ground, avoiding the elevated vegetation, but, according the last photo devalued by the grass, their back wing has a certain artistic potential :D Maybe tomorrow.

Today, 2-3 mating Maps were provoking me right from the window when painting the radiators :!:

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:16 pm

Heeya :D

I announced Central European Spring like 14 days ago, but after not seeing a single cloud for more than two days, and temperatures up to 30 C, I should probably announce Summer. (The picture under hyperling is unusually annoying, so beware if you have a serious heart problems. :P) The highest mountain on the horizon is still covered with snow, though.

I hope to realize trip at Děvín Castle, Palava Mts. near Czech-Austrian border to see polyxena, podalirius, mnemosyne, orion and some others. Last decade of April is always a breakthrough! :D

I finally outsmarted Maps mentioned above, shamefully late with respect to their abundances. They're perching in both front garden and back garden, but this one is from the forest road where the individuals looked slightly different, as well as using more attractive vegetation for the photographer. Some imagos are already pretty much worn.

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I'm also seeing Swallowtail regularly, much like my friends. But only fluttering, not hilltoping. Seems to be a "Swallowtail Year" for both machaon and podalirius (whose local northern distribution border ended cca 5 km southwards from my village in 2011).


M.

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Tue May 01, 2012 9:11 pm

Since the Summer is already on my doorstep, I improvized the first trip to Medlánecké Hill, Brno, South Moravia, seeing Swallowtail, Scarce Swallowtail and Festoon in solid abundances, just as I hoped to. I would simply describe the locality as two highly xerothermal, parkland hills right behind a 380.000 city, markedly visited by artists, lovers, young arsonists and nudists. I crossed B. dia and P. malvae too, as well as some less interesting species, but more or less failed in shooting. It all cost around 20 quids (including buying a wrong ticket), so it was relatively economical, as well as ecological :D

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Swallowtail is widespread in the country and on the increase, but good opportunity is a good opportunity.
I found Festoon biotopes too late, it's basically a ruderal animal. But still a valuable catch of species under protection. I already love the species!


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Scarce Swallowtail was both the commonest and the most ready-to-shoot species on the hill(s), clearly knowing how to engage my attention.

Today was first sulky day since (cca) 20/4/12, with temperature dropping from 30 to 27 C. The forecasts talks about continuing drops, but I doubt it. The whole decade with almost entirely bright sky, you should arrive... Some shots from my closest neighbourhood of the species that are fairly common for me.

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Map, clearly a newly emerged individual, totally torpid in today's cloudy but hot weather. I was looking for Weaver's Frits, but I've found Maps instead. Again.
Short-tailed Blue, two individuals of a Spring generation yet seen. Common in Moravia, rare in Bohemia.

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby David M » Tue May 01, 2012 9:27 pm

The Annoying Czech wrote: markedly visited by.....young arsonists and nudists.


:shock:

Well, it's not often you see both of those nouns in the same sentence!

Amazing how butterflying can lead you into such debauched situations.

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Sat May 05, 2012 8:17 pm

I must say the individual enclosed below wins my unofficial "First Chequered Skipper 2012" contest, patrolling over the same piece of land as his last year's ancestors (maybe even sitting on the same flowers). Since I've seen none in the morning, I think he might have emerged before the noon.

One half-dead Swallowtail. Some straggling Short-tailed Blues. Tons of Maps. 12 species overall.

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Tue May 15, 2012 7:52 pm

I've continued in chasing our most beloved insect, trying to find something new (one of the funniest things about Central Europe are dispersions and fluctuations), but I failed for now. In this particular case I thought I see decoloratus instead of argiades, though:

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But, whilst argiades is getting more and more common year after year, decoloratus (on its northern distribution border) remains "not found".

I didn't know where to go butterflying last week, so I've chosen Štramberk, the nearest (30 km) sought after place, otherwise known as the home of Apollos (one of the last in CE, actually). The arboretum was unfortunately closed, but I whimpered a lot and before long I managed to be the only visitor that day :D

I didn't find or shoot much, but life's not a fairy tale...

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The keeper showed me some future Apollos, two neighbouring caterpillars of this instar should allegedly be a rarity. Or he probably just wanted to impress me :D

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Oh, and I got my first this year's tick. I wonder what took them so long. Stupid worthless parasites!

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby Matsukaze » Tue May 15, 2012 9:13 pm

David M wrote:
The Annoying Czech wrote: markedly visited by.....young arsonists and nudists.


:shock:

Well, it's not often you see both of those nouns in the same sentence!

Amazing how butterflying can lead you into such debauched situations.


I can think of a few good butterfly locations around here that might fit that description.

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Mon May 28, 2012 9:49 pm

Dobrý večer!

I feel I owe you some stories.

I found my first Common Blue on May 11. Now they're EVERYWHERE. Found them mating a couple of days ago and made this very average photo...

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...as well as with worn argiades initially considered to be decoloratus. Naive fiction...

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On May 19 I took my good old faithful wagen, Clapustine, and went to Váté písky ("Blown Sands") and Čertoryje (Chertorye; "Devil's Ditch", "Devil digs the ground"), southern Moravia. Seen many species (as fully expected for the orchid meadows biotope), although in lower abundances... here goes some.

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Second place visited this year and second place affected with fire within a week, I don't honestly remember the last heavy rain - might have been in winter.

Seen here the first Large Copper this year, once a hygrophilous butterfly. Spotted near the sands... As well as another Festoons quite nearby in probably the ugliest place ever visited.

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Later I found two new species for my village, Sooty Copper (1 male ex.) and Green Forester (small population). I found SC when seeking for a first Large Coppers and made, however crazy it may sound, locally much more worthy find. (Tityrus - mountainous and/or sandy ground species.)

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Under such circumstances, I got even bigger butterfly taste, and yesterday it was Wallachia (southern Beskydy Mts./northern Moravia) with season rather starting up, but already with good abundances. Especially bolorias were abundant, as well as restless. That coldblooded Heath Fritillary is my this year's favourite, although I put him on the dead straw on my own. The Clouded Apollo comes from the only Beskydy Mts. population pretty high in the mountains in a ski area. Atrocious terrain, should have chosen some lowland non-hardcore colony...

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Now I'm drinking Carolans :D Have fun, amigos.

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby essexbuzzard » Mon May 28, 2012 10:02 pm

Great stuff Marek-nice to see you are finding your way around your new home and surroundings-keep up the good work!
Look like you have some great species there!

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Re: Marek (The Annoying Czech)

Postby The Annoying Czech » Sat Jun 09, 2012 4:19 pm

Today's crappy weather might be a good time for update:

In my village, I slowly switched to my favourite summer place - a small fen with a several conserved meadows around, each one of unique look, probably unchanged for decades. Initially, I was about to see a Spring Large Coppers, which's often a lottery, and finding three new species, but no Large Copper till March 31. The third one is a Black Hairstreak - a strong population in blackthorns and blackberries at the edge of the fen (and, later, in seveeral other places).

P.S. I eventually saw Large Coppers in three places - near the blown sands, hygrophilous meadow and unkept meadow edge. That's pretty good variability and probably explains much about its dispersions. I also love aggresiveness of their males, sometimes attacking humans. Good luck with that.

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In the meantime, first Lesser Marbled Fritillaries were emerging and straggling around the meadow rims and sometimes around the fen. My surprising 2010 and 2011 finds turned into an abundant but probably isolated colony, probably feeding on blackberry. Unlike other Fritillaries, especially Bolorias, I appreciate those to be easily distinguishable.

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Since I hate routine, I made a near trip closer to the mountains, seeing both the laziest and the nosiest species ever. Those Apollos were first and fresh, probably males as usual. Photographed in mild rain.

Purple Edged Copper is more valable target for me than Large Coppers, because they're scarcer (but not scarce). Again, no sun.

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