millerd

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millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:36 pm

With the change in the weather today to something much chillier, I saw just a single Holly Blue this morning! The others must have retreated well into the ivy.

Monday 10th April. It really did feel cold first thing today, but a few things were stirring in the strong sunshine (except for the Holly Blues, anyway :( ). Noticeably, the Speckled Woods were up and about, joined soon by Orange Tips and a few GVW.
SpW1 100417.JPG
SpW2 100417.JPG
OT1 100417.JPG
OT2 100417.JPG
OT3 100417.JPG
GVW2 100417.JPG
A female Comma sat on the nettles, warming up prior to an egg-laying run no doubt, and there were one or two Peacocks.
Comma1 100417.JPG
Peacock1 100417.JPG
I also found a very new looking Small Tortoiseshell close to the woodpile, and I am convinced that they are still emerging from hibernation even now.
ST1 100417.JPG
Later on, when clouds were interfering with the sunshine, I rescued a roosting Orange Tip from a precarious perch far too close to a path used (and abused) by off-road bikers, though I imagine they are disappointed that there is no longer any mud to spray around. :)
OT5 100417.JPG

Dave

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:00 pm

Tuesday 11th April. Sunnier than yesterday and a fraction warmer - enough to energise the Holly Blues again. There were lots around this morning, and though some are now showing signs of wear there seem to be a fair number of fresh ones too.
HB5 110417.JPG
HB1 110417.JPG
HB2 110417.JPG
HB6 110417.JPG
HB3 110417.JPG
HB4 110417.JPG
The day was split between the Blues and Orange Tips, of which there were also good numbers.
OT5 110417.JPG
OT7 110417.JPG
OT6 110417.JPG
I watched a female (probably laying) being accosted by an eager male and displaying characteristic rejection behaviour.
OT1 110417.JPG
OT2 110417.JPG
OT3 110417.JPG
I also watched another male discover a female who hadn't been mated, and the two joined in very short order.
OT pair1 110417.JPG
They were subjected to the attentions of several other males, but were eventually left in peace.
OT pair2 110417.JPG
Also seen were the usual spring mix, and I managed a photo of a Large White male today alongside the other variety on display.
LW1 110417.JPG
GVW1 110417.JPG
SpW2 110417.JPG
RA1 110417.JPG
Comma2 110417.JPG

Off to Yorkshire tomorrow for a few days, and extra clothes have been packed. It looks none too warm up there... :(

Dave

trevor
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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Wed Apr 12, 2017 7:41 am

HI Dave,
Glad you got your pristine Large White. Great Orange Tip sequence too.
I think we are both fortunate to have a very productive ' local patch ' almost on the doorstep.

Enjoy Yorkshire,
Trevor.

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Wurzel
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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Wed Apr 12, 2017 5:15 pm

You did really well to get both those OT 'action ' shots and the Large White male :D :mrgreen: The Large Whites can be a right bu££er at this time of year :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Thu Apr 13, 2017 12:19 am

That’s a lovely sequence of images again, Dave, particularly the rejection posture of the female Orange Tip which I have seen but never photographed.
You clearly have more patience than me!

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:19 pm

Thanks, all. The Orange Tips were just a case of being in the right place at the right time and clicking away. A certain amount of luck involved... :) I was pleased to see and get a record of the Large White too, after Trevor's great shots earlier. :)

I have just spent several days up in Yorkshire, and it was a bit of a contrast. On Wednesday 12th, I managed to see a Holly Blue during a stop in Rugby en route to York, but that was all. Thursday 13th was at least dry, but only occasionally sunny and not at all warm. A walk at Allerthorpe had one brief butterfly moment, when the sun emerged whilst we were by a gate between the woods and open fields. The small piece of field margin produced a Speckled Wood, an GVW, a Small White and an Orange Tip. The last of these was clearly famished as even the disturbance engendered by me climbing the gate did not budge it from the patch of dandelions, and I managed a photo or two.
OT1 130417.JPG
A few other Orange Tips were seen from the car later on, but that was it for the rest of the break. Despite some sunshine on Easter Saturday up at Castle Howard, nothing was flying.
CHTW 150417.JPG
CH 150417.JPG
Easter Sunday was particularly miserable, with rain and 8 degrees at 3 in the afternoon as we set off south.

Monday 17th April. Home again, but there was very little sun on my local patch and I only saw two butterflies all day. One was a Speckled Wood which was struggling to warm up on the ground, and the other was a strongly marked male GVW (most spring males are largely white), which had a deformed hindwing probably caused as it emerged from the chrysalis.
SpW1 170417.JPG
SpW2 170417.JPG
GVW1 170417.JPG

Dave

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Wurzel
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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:46 pm

That is a strongly marked GVW Dave :D :mrgreen: I know the feeling of days out without butterflies - the weather in Wales hasn't been that conducive and in three days I've seen a single White, Specklie and 2 Small Torts :( Oh well it can only get better...and I'm sure your Holly Blues have missed you and your dulcet tones :wink:

Have a goodun
Wurzel

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Tue Apr 18, 2017 7:48 pm

Thanks, Wurzel - the chilly weather seems to have come south with me and despite the sun today I didn't see much, though there were a few Holly blues around.

Tuesday 18th April. I had a quick sortie into Bedfont Lakes CP at lunchtime, hoping for Green Hairstreaks, but all on show were a Brimstone, a couple of Holly Blues and three Speckled Woods. Two appeared to be egg-laying females and were bustling in and out of the base of the hedgerows. The third posed nicely however.
SpW1 180417.JPG


After work, I had a meander around some of my local patch. Given the low temperatures, the Holly Blues were already retreating to the trees where they roost - I watched three settle down in this way quite a way up. The various white butterflies were doing the same thing, and I managed bad shots of all three species high up in the foliage.
SW1 180417.JPG
LW1 180417.JPG
GVW1 180417.JPG
A few Speckled Woods were still active, and there were no less than three Commas in their customary haunt - one at least looked quite fresh, though generally they are looking worn now.
Comma2 180417.JPG
Comma1 180417.JPG
Comma4 180417.JPG
Orange Tips were winding down for the day, though I found a female still wandering along and generating male interest.
OT2 180417.JPG
OTx2 180417.JPG
OT1 180417.JPG
I watched one male flying endlessly up and down before finally selecting a bit of cow parsley to settle on. Once chosen that was it and he went straight to sleep, antennae tightly together.
OT4 180417.JPG
OT6 180417.JPG


Dave

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Wurzel
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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:23 pm

You still did really well despite the cooler weather Dave :D :mrgreen: That female OT has massive markings :shock: Hope things improve round your way.

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Tue Apr 18, 2017 10:42 pm

Those architectural surroundings are almost as beautiful as the butterflies, Dave!

You've done pretty well with your Orange Tips thus far...I hope things continue in a similar positive vein over the nest few weeks.

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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Wed Apr 19, 2017 9:44 pm

You're right, Wurzel - she does look heavily marked. :)

The Orange Tips have been doing well, and have been very obliging too, David. Hopefully we'll keep seeing them well into May. :)

Wednesday 19th April. A local walk again after work, and today was sunnier, slightly warmer, and less windy. However, I was a bit later setting out. Nevertheless, I saw more than yesterday, including several Holly Blues heading for bed in the ivy. One managed a disdainful look down from above my head.
HB1 190417.JPG
I saw a handful of Commas again, and several GVW.
Comma1 190417.JPG
GVW1 190417.JPG
The stars this evening though were the Orange Tips, with a couple of females and around ten males in various places. One female was nicely cooperative.
OT1 190417.JPG
OT2 190417.JPG
OT3 190417.JPG
At one point, I had two males and a GVW basking in close proximity on the hawthorns, but the shot I took just has three white blobs on a bright green background. However, other males were more obliging, including one with a clear wing defect.
OT4 190417.JPG
OT5 190417.JPG
OT6 190417.JPG
OT8 190417.JPG
This did not affect his flight, but meant he was far from being camouflaged when he settled for the night.
OT12 190417.JPG
OT7 190417.JPG
OT11 190417.JPG
OT9 190417.JPG

Dave

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Goldie M
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Re: millerd

Postby Goldie M » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:21 pm

Lovely Orange Tips shots Dave , Goldie :D

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Thu Apr 20, 2017 8:42 pm

Thursday 20th April. Thank you Goldie! Well, it's been said by several folk that you cannot have too many Orange Tips, and I subscribe whole-heartedly to that view, as you may have noticed. :)

I went out locally again after work (after five in fact) to see if any were still flying in the tag end of today's sunshine. I wasn't disappointed, and within a a few hundred metres of home I found a few settling down for the evening, alongside a similar number of Green-veined Whites. Their behaviour was generally very similar, with much consideration of various flowerheads before making the decision to stay put. The GVW were less ready to call it a day, and were much more easily disturbed by the breeze, or one of my less cautious footsteps. The Orange Tips on the other hand, once those antennae were firmly together to the front, were there for the duration.
GVW1 200417.JPG
GVW2 200417.JPG
GVW3 200417.JPG
GVW4 200417.JPG
GVW5 200417.JPG
GVW7 200417.JPG
OT1 200417.JPG
OT2 200417.JPG
OT3 200417.JPG
OT5 200417.JPG
OT6 200417.JPG

I moved on, seeing if anything else was around. I looked up at an elder tree to see why an odd splash of white had caught my eye, but it was only when I had zoomed in fully with the camera that I realised this was a butterfly. Two, in fact - a mating pair of Large Whites. I did my best with full zoom to capture the event, which I don't recall having seen before.
LW pair1 200417.JPG
LW pair2 200417.JPG

Despite lengthening shadows I continued around the familiar track, scanning the cow parsley flowers for further roosting butterflies. It was only on the way back, with a bank of cloud making things increasingly dark, that I found a whole selection of Orange Tips dotted at intervals along the path. I found the only photos that came out were those using flash. Here are a couple of these, one male and one female I think.
OT8 200417.JPG
OT7 200417.JPG

I love this precise time of year, with the Orange Tips at their best, when you can go out in the early evening and be guaranteed the sight of these exquisite butterflies roosting after their hard day in the sunshine.

Dave

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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Thu Apr 20, 2017 9:18 pm

A truly lovely sequence of Butterflies closing down for the night, something I have yet to try.
Those Large whites have adopted a very advanced position, about page 350 in the manual I should think.

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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Fri Apr 21, 2017 6:27 pm

Great set of shots again Dave, your're right in the assigning genders I reckon :D Nice to see some Green-veined Whites as well, I've only encountered a couple so far this year :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

Wurzel

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Sat Apr 22, 2017 9:24 pm

Thank you, Trevor. I shall study page 350 with interest... :) To be honest, the position and the setting reminded me of Silver-washed Fritillaries, which are of a similar size.

Thanks, Wurzel. Yes, by the time I can confidently work this out and determine the sex, they'll be gone for another year. :( Still a few more weeks of Orange Tips left, I hope. :)

Saturday 22nd April. (Part One) Despite unpromising cloudiness earlier on, I decided to go out further afield today. Right decision without a doubt. I headed for Noar Hill and arrived at about midday, and the sun was beginning to gain the upper hand.Within only a few minutes, I had seen a Peacock, a couple of Dingy Skippers and a Duke of Burgundy.
DS1 220417.JPG
DS2 220417.JPG
DB1 220417.JPG
I wandered on through the cowslip-covered chalk pits, and saw more Dukes and Skippers, and the occasional Brimstone and Orange Tip.
DB2 220417.JPG
DS4 220417.JPG
Brimstone 1 220417.JPG
I ended up in the last pit, where I found a like-minded enthusiast concentrating on another Duke.
DB3 220417.JPG
DB5 220417.JPG
There were at least three here, as at one point all three of them were within a foot of each other - this of course lasted a mere second before two took off skywards. My new acquaintance also discovered a Green Hairstreak and mentioned she had been told others were around. On my way back down, I did find a little group of then sharing a large holly tree with several Holly Blues. They were all high up and very active, almost impossible to photograph. One perched for a second or two.
GH1 220417.JPG
I also found a Holly Blue low down while the sun was in, and waited... As it warmed when the sun returned, it opened beautifully.
HB2 220417.JPG
HB3 220417.JPG
I saw further Dukes on the way back to the gate.
DB6 220417.JPG
DB7 220417.JPG
DB8 220417.JPG
DB9 220417.JPG
DB10 220417.JPG
DB11 220417.JPG
On reaching it, I spotted a much lighter orange butterfly fluttering over a damp patch of ground and eventually settling on it and sucking up moisture. I was very surprised to discover this was a female Duke of Burgundy.
DB12 220417.JPG
DB13 220417.JPG
Firstly, I don't recall seeing any female butterfly do this, and it is the first Duke (Duchess!) I have seen "puddling". But it is very dry out there at the moment... The butterfly itself was very lightly marked, even for a female - is this within normal variation? It's quite striking.

An excellent visit, but there was still time for a trip somewhere else.

Dave

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bugboy
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Re: millerd

Postby bugboy » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:33 pm

Looks like you hit the jackpot today Dave and the final Duchess must be an ab. I've actually found females licking dry mud paths twice, one last year and one in 2015, both at Ivinghoe Beacon. I thought it strange myself. There's pictures of both females somewhere in my PD. Looking forward to part 2 :) :mrgreen:
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:09 am

What a fabulous day you had. Vibrant is not a word to describe a Dingy Skipper,
under normal circumstances, but yours is a stand out Butterfly.
I imagine your camera was working overtime with so much going on.
Gorgeous female Holly Blue too. :mrgreen:

Trevor.

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Neil Freeman
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Re: millerd

Postby Neil Freeman » Sun Apr 23, 2017 9:44 am

Great report and photos from looks like a fabulous day Dave :D

I am far from an expert but that Duchess does look unusual. I have seen a female taking minerals form a path once before, a few years ago at Prestbury Hill, as I remember that was a dry spring too.

It seems you took your Holly Blue whispering with you as well :mrgreen: :D

Cheers,

Neil.

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Wurzel
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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Sun Apr 23, 2017 6:10 pm

Fantastic set of shots of the Dukes Dave :D :mrgreen: Plus the usual Holly Blue :mrgreen: :roll: And an ab Duchess :mrgreen: :mrgreen: I'm going to run out of Greens if you keep this up Dave :shock: :lol:

Have a goodun

Wurzel


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