millerd

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millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Sun May 14, 2017 10:09 pm

Saturday 13th May continued... After Totternhoe, I drove the relatively short distance west to Ivinghoe Beacon. After the obligatory ice cream in the car park, I set off for one of the sheltered gullies where Dukes can be found. Sure enough, there were perhaps ten individuals flying in this particular nook, along with Dingy Skippers and a brand new Brown Argus.
DS1 130517.JPG
BA1 130517.JPG
Others had seen Green Hairstreaks, but I wasn't so lucky. Nevertheless, the Dukes were very amenable and displayed considerable variety.
DB1 130517.JPG
DB4 130517.JPG
DB6 130517.JPG
quite a pale one
DB7 130517.JPG
DB8 130517.JPG
female - six legs
DB9 130517.JPG
rather dark
DB12 130517.JPG
DB14 130517.JPG
DB15 130517.JPG
male - four legs
DB17 130517.JPG
DB5 130517.JPG


Dave

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David M
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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Sun May 14, 2017 10:15 pm

You're definitely enjoying a 'golden' spell right now, Dave. Holly Blues, Brimstones and Commas have seemingly disappeared from my area, and Common Blues, Dingies, Brown Argus, Small Heath, et al are yet to really get going.

Hard to believe we're pretty much on the same line of latitude a mere 100-150 miles apart!

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Re: millerd

Postby Goldie M » Mon May 15, 2017 9:09 am

I second David on his species comment, they've not shown up here yet, just the Dukes, your shots of the Dukes are great, Goldie :D

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Mon May 15, 2017 5:10 pm

Thank you, Goldie - they are lovely little gem of a butterfly with lots of variety between individuals, and we are both lucky to be able to see them without going too far from home. :)

I've been lucky to be able to make the most of what sunny weather there has been and in fact the lack of brilliant sun has made things easier in some ways. I think latitude is clearly not the only factor, David, but I'm not quite sure what is. Overall, you may have had more sun recently where you are, but I think that (in respect of my local patch at least) there may be a benefit from the Heathrow "heat island" effect. Holly Blues in particular are still going strong (quite possibly the progeny of the 2016 strong third brood - this strategy can succeed, clearly).

Sunday 14th May. Good spells of warm sunshine today, so I had a lengthier walk around my local patch. I found what I had hoped to see in the form of two or three Common Blues, the first here this year. They were very flighty in the wind so photos were at a premium.
CB1 140517.JPG
The breeze kept the Small Heaths down on the ground too, but there were reasonable numbers, well spread out.
SH1 140517.JPG
I saw Brimstones, Orange Tips, Whites of all types, several Peacocks surprisingly, Speckled Woods and Red Admirals.
OT1 140517.JPG
Peacock1 140517.JPG
LW1 140517.JPG
RA1 140517.JPG
SW1 140517.JPG
OT2 140517.JPG
And of course there were Holly Blues - numbers do at last appear to be falling slightly, and most of those I saw appeared to be female by their behaviour.
HB1 140517.JPG
HB2 140517.JPG
I saw egg-laying on various plants and have started a separate thread devoted to this subject. /viewtopic.php?t=9308&start=0#p119955
HB lay4 140517.JPG

On the subject of eggs, I also found what I guess are GVW ova on a type of crucifer.
GVW eggs 140517.JPG


Dave

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Wurzel
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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Mon May 15, 2017 9:36 pm

Really nice variation in your Dukes Dave, that 'dark' one is really different :D :mrgreen: Great to see you seeing mulitples of Common Blue as well, last year was dreadful for them so fingers it's looking better for this year :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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David M
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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Mon May 15, 2017 9:57 pm

Another good range, Dave, and I take your point regarding your local climate.

We may be on an almost identical line of latitude, but your inland location makes you warmer from April to November whereas our maritime climate will pay dividends through winter and very early spring.

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Tue May 16, 2017 6:28 pm

It was a good selection of Dukes, Wurzel - the variety helped in establishing that there were more than I thought. By no means all are shown here (I left out several older worn individuals). More Common Blues shortly - they seem to be better than 2016 at two of my nearby sites. :)

You definitely have a softer climate overall, David. And much better views! :) I always like your coastal scenery shots.

Tuesday 16th May. Very warm today, but I was stuck indoors during the sunny part. However, under increasingly grey skies I had a brief sortie into Bedfont Lakes Country Park after work. The warmth prompted a few Common Blues to defy the overcast, but soon even they elected to adopt the head down roosting position.
CB5 160517.JPG
CB6 160517.JPG
CB3 160517.JPG
CB4 160517.JPG
CB8 160517.JPG
One Brown Argus was with them, and I also saw a couple of Small Heaths, and Burnet Companion and Mother Shipton moths.
BA1 160517.JPG

Finally, can anyone identify these bugs/beetles for me?
bugs 160517.JPG

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Re: millerd

Postby bugboy » Tue May 16, 2017 7:16 pm

Hi Dave, looks like the Common Blue may be about to have a better year than last year (can't be much worse) I've started seeing them farely regularly too now.

Your mating beetles are a type of Soldier Beetle, Cantharis sp. probably C. rustica :)
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Thu May 18, 2017 9:30 pm

Lovely selection of Blues Dave, won't be long before the Large Skippers are joining them :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Thu May 18, 2017 10:22 pm

Thank you chaps - more Common Blues today, even after yesterday's extended downpour, plus that elusive local hairstreak! :)

Thursday 18th May. I escaped work for the hour between noon and one and popped into the country park again. There was still warm weak sunshine and I was soon amongst Common Blues in the same spot as the other day - more, if anything, including some very fresh ones.
CB2 180517.JPG
CB4 180517.JPG
CB5 180517.JPG
CB7 180517.JPG
There were also three Brown Argus, a Speckled Wood and a Small Heath.
BA2 180517.JPG
BA3 180517.JPG
SH1 180517.JPG
However, the high point was discovering a Green Hairstreak, a female laying on Birds-foot Trefoil in precisely the same spot as I had seen one last year on 26th May.
GH2 180517.JPG
GH3 180517.JPG
GH lay1 180517.JPG
GH lay3 180517.JPG
I managed to find one of the eggs I'd watched being laid, and was struck by how green it was. I think I expected it to be white like those of the Blues.
GH egg2 180517.JPG

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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Thu May 18, 2017 10:26 pm

That's a great find Dave and great shots of the egg, hopefully they'll come to fruition next year, more Greenstreaks for you :D :mrgreen: Isn't your Greenstreak a 'punctata'?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: millerd

Postby Pauline » Fri May 19, 2017 5:12 am

Great shots of the egg-laying Dave (mind, you're getting plenty of practice recently :wink: :lol: ). I know from personal experience how difficult it is to record this on camera. Not only do you have to be observant enough to recognise the egg-laying is happening in the first place (not entirely easy with some species), you then have to be quick enough to get into position for the shot without spooking the butterfly - oh yeah, and after considering the butterfly there's the camera technicalities to think about! :lol: Great field craft, great result :D :D

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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Fri May 19, 2017 6:20 am

Like myself, you've had a great time this week, after dodging the showers !.
The egg laying Green Hairstreak being the icing on the cake.

Keep up the good work,
Trevor.

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David M
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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Fri May 19, 2017 8:56 pm

Great sequence, Dave, particularly the Green Hairstreaks. This is indeed a fantastic time of year to go 'hunting', with so many new species starting to fly alongside others that have been about for a week or two.

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Sat May 20, 2017 7:58 pm

Thanks, Wurzel - yes I suppose she was a bit spottier than usual. I do hope they are definitely here to stay, though unfortunately the sanitisation squad may well come later on and mow the verge here as they did last year. We can't have untidy Country Parks, can we? :)

Thank you, Pauline - your comments on the camera-work are much appreciated, considering the wonderful images you have posted here on early stages. You're much better at it than I am! :)

Thank you, too, Trevor - it was a lucky hour in which to find this. Green icing on the cake? Reminds me of a song, and that was about a Park as well... :)

Thanks to you as well, David. It's my favourite time of year in many respects. :)

Friday 19th May: I had to go up the M40 this afternoon to collect one of my sons. I gave myself an extra hour and diverted a short way off the motorway to Aston Rowant, another lucky hour when the sun shone before some heavy showers appeared. I walked along the sheltered bottom of the slope, and soon disturbed one or two Brown Argus. Just as the hedge runs out, I glimpsed a flash of bright blue which was found to be relatively fresh male Adonis. The various shots I managed to take show the subtle colour changes depending on the strength and angle of the light. They are lovely insects.
AB1 190517.JPG
AB2 190517.JPG
AB3 190517.JPG
AB5 190517.JPG
AB8 190517.JPG
The sunshine had by now energised other butterflies, and down at the lowest point of the hillside, where there were longer grass stalks old and new, there were a lot of Brown Argus, and good numbers of Common Blues as well.
BA1 190517.JPG
BA5 190517.JPG
BA3 190517.JPG
BA4 190517.JPG
CB2 190517.JPG
Brown Argus seem to be particularly sociable butterflies and there were several instances of two on a stem.
BAx2 1 190517.JPG
BAx2 2 190517.JPG
One such grouping turned out to be a mating pair, with the unwanted presence of second male.
BAx3 1 190517.JPG
I'm glad to say he gave up and found his own stem to sit on.
BA pair1 190517.JPG
It was good to see so many Brown Argus in a small area of the field. However, there is a lot of rock rose in flower currently, so it shouldn't really be a surprise! :)

Dave

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Re: millerd

Postby Butterflysaurus rex » Sat May 20, 2017 9:13 pm

Brilliant Brown Argus photos Dave! I love the threesome with the unwanted male. It seems to be a good year for BA's.

ATB

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millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Sun May 21, 2017 9:12 pm

Thank you, James! :) There were certainly a lot of Brown Argus flying up at Aston Rowant, and had the sun stayed out I suspect I'd have seen even more.

Saturday 20th May: Very little sunshine until too late in the day to do much with it. However, in one bright moment, the warmth was enough to wake up an Orange Tip, which immediately set about nectaring.
OT1 200517.JPG
OT2 200517.JPG
There can't be many more days to see them this year, now, so make the most of it!

Dave

millerd
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Mon May 22, 2017 8:55 pm

Sunday 21st May: More sunshine today as the cloud built then gradually dwindled, finishing with a summery end to the day. I was out during the earlier part, when more cloud made the butterflies easier to get close to. Out of 14 species seen on my local patch this year so far, I saw 13, with the only absentee being the Small Tortoiseshell. No.14 here for 2017 was the Brown Argus, flying amongst the more numerous Common Blues.
BA1 210517.JPG
New kid on the block today
CB1 210517.JPG
A nicely marked "blue" female
CB8 210517.JPG
A lovely fresh male
HB1 210517.JPG
The remaining HB males cannot resist new bramble blossom
LW1 210517.JPG
A rather moth-eaten female
SW1 210517.JPG
One of the first I've been able to approach
GVW1 210517.JPG
A dusky female GVW pausing between laying eggs
Brimstone1 210517.JPG
Hiding away at the end of the day
OT3 210517.JPG
Beginning to disappear, sadly
SpW1 210517.JPG
In Holly Blue territory
SH2 210517.JPG
Getting a little tired now
Peacock1 210517.JPG
Still flying in good numbers
RA1 210517.JPG
One of half a dozen patrolling various shady paths
Comma2 210517.JPG
Two of these still haunting "Comma Corner"


Dave

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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Mon May 22, 2017 8:58 pm

Great stuff with the Brown Argus Dave :D Rex is right this does seem to be a good year for them - I was at the Hill on Sunday with Phizloid and they were the second most common species after the bucket loads of Marshies that were about :D The orange-tip also seems to be doing well as well :D Love the different shades you've captured on the Adonis from electric blue through to pastel, beautiful :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Mon May 22, 2017 9:01 pm

That female Large White seems to have an unusually large, bulging forewing spot. The Green Veined is a beauty too.


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