millerd

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Wurzel
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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:59 pm

Red Admirals seem to be doing really well this year Dave and you're seeing some especially nice ones, the first shows the extension of blue up the inner margin of the wing :D :mrgreen:

Have a goodun

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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:29 pm

You've done really well lately Dave, especially with those Holly Blues, which you seem to have 'magnetised' throughout 2017. Particularly impressive is your image with the aircraft invading the butterfly jousting space. No chance of that round me....in Swansea, we're not in the line of low flight paths, so this kind of event is out of the question!

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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:04 pm

The Red Admirals are doing very well round here, Wurzel. Going back over my records for the year, they have been the most frequently seen and most abundant by far. :) Seeing them in numbers over the last eight consecutive days has certainly helped! :) It does mean there are lots of opportunities to see all the little variations between individuals.

Holly Blues come in third on the list on my local patch, David, which should come as no surprise! As you know, they are a favourite of mine as well. This may account for the apparent magnetism... :wink: :) The aircraft are even more abundant, unfortunately, but you get used to them. It does make for slightly unusual shots if the timing is just right. :)

Monday 9th October: Another warm but mostly cloudy day. A short spell of sunshine energised the butterflies and unusually the first one I saw on a local walk was a Comma, high up on some ivy.
Comma1 091017.JPG
The rest of the walk was predictable, with Speckled Woods (4)...
SpW1 091017.JPG
...and Red Admirals (18) appearing in their usual haunts. These three all looked new, especially the second one, which held its wings in an odd fashion and had a distended looking abdomen with the segments curiously forced apart.
RA2 091017.JPG
RA3 091017.JPG
RA4 091017.JPG
When the sun went in, I diverted to the local coffee shop. Outside was a planter which I think had herbs in it earlier in the year but now was rather overgrown. On some variety of crucifer (it may even have been a horseradish plant) I spotted no less than three Small White caterpillars of various sizes. I would guess they will reach the chrysalis stage before any real cold weather arrives.
SW cat3 091017.JPG
SW cat2 091017.JPG
SW cat1 091017.JPG


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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:36 pm

That is a really interesting looking Red Admiral Dave :D I wonder what caused that - if she's female could she be gravid and fit to burst?

Have a goodun

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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Tue Oct 10, 2017 4:51 pm

That could be it, Wurzel. :) The butterfly was very new - its fringes were perfect, and it was posed unusually with the wings held apart from one another. It's definitely fatter than the one in the photo above.

Tuesday 10th October: A very grey day with minimal brightness. However, in the tiniest of brighter moments, the extra warmth was enough to stir one or two of the indefatigable Red Admirals into flight. Even a spot or two of drizzle made no difference - I saw five altogether today. A couple of sparring Speckled Woods (undistracted by aeroplanes today) appeared as well, plus a wandering Small White.
RA1 101017.JPG
Apparently sucking something up from the hop flowers or leaves - perhaps showing a preference for beer over blackberry wine...
SpW1 101017.JPG
If the sun were to appear in earnest I am sure there would be quite a lot more. However, it looks as though we may have to wait until the weekend for that down here. I did see a hawk, settled in a tree until a passing truck disturbed it. Another kestrel?
bird 101017.JPG


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Re: millerd

Postby essexbuzzard » Tue Oct 10, 2017 5:39 pm

Yes, it's a kestrel. I think Thursday is looking reasonable weatherwise, Dave...

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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:00 pm

Things MUST be winding down if you're seeing just Red Admirals and Speckled Woods, Dave. In just a few short weeks, Red Admirals will doubtless be out there on their own.

This is undoubtedly the toughest period of the calendar. Roll on next March!

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Re: millerd

Postby Goldie M » Thu Oct 12, 2017 5:06 pm

Hi! Dave, still seeing a few Butterflies here in the Garden, I thought your Hawk was a Sparrow Hawk :D they look a lot a like to me :D Goldie :D

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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Thu Oct 12, 2017 10:25 pm

Thanks, Essex. The kestrel was larger than it looks in the photo - it was taken from some way off. You were right about Thursday too... :)

Things wound up again with today's sunshine, David, after almost a blank day yesterday. There still seems to be a bit of life in the season. :)

You're seeing a great selection in your garden, Goldie - I have to go a little further, but not much. :)

Wednesday 11th was nearly blank - but not quite. Under cloud, but in a brighter moment, I spotted two Red Admirals flying around the trees.

Thursday 12th October was a different day entirely. The sun was out most of the day, but it was 11 o'clock before it started to warm up. However, the Red Admirals were out there ready for it, basking all over the brambles and then heading off to the ivy. Most were very new, but I did notice a few more ragged ones today. Overall, I conservatively counted 21 individuals.
RA1 121017.JPG
RA4 121017.JPG
RA8 121017.JPG
RA11 121017.JPG
RA5 121017.JPG
Commas were also around, as you might expect, with five seen in a variety of places.
Comma1 121017.JPG
Comma3 121017.JPG
Speckled Woods appeared too, looking very tired - six seen in all.
SpW1 121017.JPG
Quite surprisingly, out in the large meadow area near the motorway, several Whites were flying.
SW1 121017.JPG
Most were Small Whites, but one (on examination of the distant shot I took) turned out to be a male Green-veined White.
GVW1 121017.JPG
Finally, in amongst the basking Red Admirals and initially flying around at ankle height, was another male Holly Blue. It sat on the ground to bask, changing location a couple of times but eventually perching up a bit on a dandelion leaf. I managed shots from various angles, showing how the blue colour varies quite a bit depending on the light.
HB1 121017.JPG
HB4 121017.JPG
HB5 121017.JPG
HB6 121017.JPG
HB7 121017.JPG
HB12 121017.JPG
There was also one last Comma, blending perfectly with the colours of the autumn foliage...
Comma4 121017.JPG
... but as ever the Holly Blue made my day.
HB10 121017.JPG

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Re: millerd

Postby trevor » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:46 am

That Holly Blue is brand new, surely unusual for this time of year ?.
I've noticed that the blue intensifies if the wings are held part open,
one wing reflecting off the other.
Really great open wing shots too.

Trevor.

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Re: millerd

Postby Neil Freeman » Fri Oct 13, 2017 6:46 pm

That is a beautifully fresh looking Holly Blue Dave :mrgreen: :D not seen one for some time round here.

Cheers,

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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:09 pm

Fantastic set of images Dave but the highlight has to be the Holly Blue, your specialism :D :mrgreen:

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Re: millerd

Postby David M » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:30 pm

That male Holly Blue has made my day too, Dave. As others have mentioned, it is an undoubtedly freshly emerged one; it is quite pristine.

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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:52 pm

Thank you everyone. It was a lovely insect that Holly Blue, and though a few third brood individuals appear every year round here, that didn't make it any less special. :)

Friday 13th October: another grey and breezy day today unfortunately as it was entirely warm enough to tempt the butterflies out. I saw another Holly Blue today, but in a different location and well out of reach, and I also came across a female Common Blue being bowled along by the wind. I followed a female Small White for a while, but never got any closer than a very distant shot.
SW1 131017.JPG
Curiously, no Commas or Speckled Woods appeared today, but the irrepressible Red Admirals did - around a dozen by my count, many of them just sitting on the grass or the ground and whizzing around energetically when disturbed.
RA2 131017.JPG
RA4 131017.JPG
They are not easy to spot with their wings closed. I managed a few shots including one with some unusual spotting. I have noticed that the black areas often have a reddish sheen to them, and along the border of the black area on the hindwing there are a series of more intense black spots - like black spots on a black background (if that makes sense). One individual today had blue centres in these spots. Blue centres to the spots within the hindwing red bands are not that unusual, but this is the first one I've seen with blue dots in the black area.
RA1 131017.JPG
RA spots 131017.JPG
I have altered the contrast slightly to bring out the black-on-black spots, and the blue centres are quite clear. The endless subtle variety of this splendid species comes into its own with so many to study. I have seen hundreds this month... :)

Dave

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Re: millerd

Postby bugboy » Sat Oct 14, 2017 9:29 pm

millerd wrote:Thank you everyone. It was a lovely insect that Holly Blue, and though a few third brood individuals appear every year round here, that didn't make it any less special. :)

Friday 13th October: another grey and breezy day today unfortunately as it was entirely warm enough to tempt the butterflies out. I saw another Holly Blue today, but in a different location and well out of reach, and I also came across a female Common Blue being bowled along by the wind. I followed a female Small White for a while, but never got any closer than a very distant shot.SW1 131017.JPG Curiously, no Commas or Speckled Woods appeared today, but the irrepressible Red Admirals did - around a dozen by my count, many of them just sitting on the grass or the ground and whizzing around energetically when disturbed.RA2 131017.JPGRA4 131017.JPG They are not easy to spot with their wings closed. I managed a few shots including one with some unusual spotting. I have noticed that the black areas often have a reddish sheen to them, and along the border of the black area on the hindwing there are a series of more intense black spots - like black spots on a black background (if that makes sense). One individual today had blue centres in these spots. Blue centres to the spots within the hindwing red bands are not that unusual, but this is the first one I've seen with blue dots in the black area.RA1 131017.JPGRA spots 131017.JPGI have altered the contrast slightly to bring out the black-on-black spots, and the blue centres are quite clear. The endless subtle variety of this splendid species comes into its own with so many to study. I have seen hundreds this month... :)

Dave


I had one with that blue spotting inside the red hindwing band a couple of years ago at Bookham, I think we named it ab buggeri :lol:

Edit: my one can be seen near the top of this page, you got better pictures though :mrgreen: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=8077&start=460
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:31 pm

Yes, that's the same ab, Buggy. I'm happy to stick with the name chosen... :wink: :lol:

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Re: millerd

Postby Wurzel » Sun Oct 15, 2017 5:16 pm

A 'blue badger' Red Admiral - not to be sneezed at :mrgreen: and I definitely think the name is a keeper :lol:

Have a goodun

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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:12 pm

It was an interesting variation, Wurzel - one hopes there are no Small Copper genes in there. That would turn the whole of taxonomy upsidedown I suspect... :)

Saturday 14th October: Some weak and intermittent (but warm) sunshine this morning, enough mobilise a few more of the local Red Admiral Army (should that be Navy? :) ), but no particular surprises today: 14 Red Admirals (at least one with the red bands divided - ab. fructa) , 3 Speckled Woods (including one newer one), and a single Comma.
RAx3 141017.JPG
RA1 141017.JPG
RA2 141017.JPG
RA3 141017.JPG
ab. fructa
RA4 141017.JPG
this is yesterday's blue badger again I think
SpW1 141017.JPG
a pretty new individual - most are worn now

Going back through my RA photos, I would say that the white spot ab. bialbata crops up to some extent in one in three individuals. Are there any official stats on this does anyone know?

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Re: millerd

Postby bugboy » Sun Oct 15, 2017 7:49 pm

You must have seen well over 100 Red Admirals on your patch this year Dave, they've had an absolutely stonking year!
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Re: millerd

Postby millerd » Sun Oct 15, 2017 9:35 pm

Possibly 100 just this month, Buggy. If you add the numbers I've seen each day (2nd-15th October inclusive), it comes to 235. Allowing for repeat sightings, 100 might be feasible... If I go back to 11th September, bearing in mind several blank days, the total is 418. The vast majority of those seen were fresh as well.

I imagine a few will be around tomorrow, too... :)

Dave


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