Jasonbirder

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jasonbirder
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Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Sun Mar 09, 2014 6:38 pm

Hello to everyone on the forum...first post!

As seems to be all the rage at the moment...courtesy perhaps of Patrick Barkham's "The Butterfly Isles" I'm going to have a try at seeing all of the British Isles Butterflies in 2014...influenced heavily by the fact that I'm far more likely to persuade my wife to come to the Isle of Wight on a sunny June weekend than I ever was to persuade her to join me on a storm lashed Shetland Island in October!

Everyone seems to have been out seeing butterflies this weekend...the sunshine and warmth getting them moving everywhere and so, prompted mainly by jealousy of my parents recording a Comma in their garden today (March 9th) I spent the day out and about locally...accompanied by my faithful dog Freya (good at flushing Butterflies...less good at ID'ing them)

Plant growth still at a bare minimum on my local patch...but lots of butterflies sunning themselves in the rough grass or engaging in high fluttering fights with rivals! A couple of hours bagged me over 20 Small Tortoiseshell, 4 Peacock and 2 Comma

I was surprised at how big and black the Peacocks looked in flight compared to their relatives and by the dainty bedraggled appearance of the Comma...its so early in my year list I haven't even invested in a camera yet...so poor quality photo's courtesy of my iPhone!

Brimstone is my next target if the Sunny weather holds out!

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Pete Eeles
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby Pete Eeles » Sun Mar 09, 2014 6:41 pm

Welcome to UKB, Jason! And good luck with the challenge! I look forward to hearing how you get on.

Cheers,

- Pete

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Wurzel
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby Wurzel » Sun Mar 09, 2014 10:27 pm

Welcome and good luck Jason :D

Have a goodun

Wurzel

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Neil Freeman
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby Neil Freeman » Mon Mar 10, 2014 8:41 pm

Welcome and good luck from me as well Jason.

Cheers,

Neil

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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby Mark Tutton » Mon Mar 10, 2014 9:51 pm

Welcome and Good luck Jason - where are you located?
Mark :D
The wonder of the world, the beauty and the power, the shapes of things, their colours lights and shades, these I saw. Look ye also while life lasts.

jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Mon Mar 10, 2014 10:58 pm

Thanks for all the encouragement...I'm up in Notts...a little too far North to be ideal...so it'll be a challenge indeed to "mop up"

jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:33 pm

Whilst still very sunny today (March 11th) up here in the East Midlands a brisk North Easterly breeze made it feel cooler and kept the temperatures down.
A short lunchtime walk around Attenborough NR only produced a couple of Small Tortoiseshell and a single Peacock, I was hoping to find more butterflies nectaring on sallow or Flowering Buckthorn but was sadly disappointed...I was treated to excellent views of a splendid male Bullfinch greedily eating flower buds and a very grey looking ChiffChaff, but my search for Brimstone and Red Admiral before the end of March must go on!

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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby Chris Jackson » Wed Mar 12, 2014 9:47 pm

Hi Jason,
Welcome to UK Butterflies. I'm originally from Leicester so I can appreciate the challenge you must face trying to find butterflies in the East Midlands. I'm now living down on the Med. so I'm slightly spoilt in that respect. I'll be keeping an eye on your sightings.
Good luck,
Chris

What have you decided about a camera then ?
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jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:38 pm

Not 100% committed...but possibly going to acquire a Panasonic FZ38 - looks alot of bang for very little buck!

jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Thu Mar 13, 2014 11:19 pm

A sunnier day today without the cool north-easterly breeze of the last couple of days saw the mercury reaching 16 degrees.

A lunchtime butterfly hunt beckoned...still looking for the last two hibernators before the end of March...
A work appointment left me looking unsuccessfully for Rainworth Lakes...which I though might offer a chance...I instead found myself wandering the dry sandy Birch and Conifer stands of Rainworth Heath LNR - an interesting looking area of reclaimed colliery tops and sludge settling lagoons...looks like it might be productive for the commoner Blue's and Brown's later in the season...I did spot a very mobile and elusive Brimstone amongst the Birch's and grabbed a pic of an Orange Underwing sunning itself on one of the paths

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I was amazed to hear the unmistakeable croak of a Raven - which flew overhead and demonstrated by its size and long diamond shaped tail that I wasn't imagining things!

A short drive to another local nature reserve Dukes Wood proved no more productive...despite some fantastic habitat it was a Butterfly desert...I'll definitely be back later in the year though, a lovely piece of woodland with plenty of sun-dappled rides and grassy clearings...I look forward to seeing what will emerge as the months go by! A showy Marsh Tit meant it wasn't a completely wasted drive...before it was time to return to the office!

jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Thu Apr 03, 2014 10:35 pm

After being tied up during the glorious weather over the weekend...with commitments ranging from Mothers Day to Wembley to Meadowhall...the warmth and sunshine co-operated into Tuesday (April Fools Day) enabling me to get an hour or so's butterfly hunting in over lunch and between appointments...

One of the nice things about my new-found interest in Butterflies is that it has introduced me to lots of tiny little local nature reserves that, in the past I would probably have zoomed past on my way to far-flung Islands and Headlands...I've already visited Rainworth Heath, Peter Fiddler LNR and Dukes Wood - todays lunch hour saw me visiting Carr Vale LNR a lovely wetland site belonging to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust on what was previously old colliery spoil heaps, subsidence flashes and disused railway lines. I believe it has clocked up an impressive site list of butterflies too including some someone dubious releases in past years!

I was lucky enough to encounter good numbers of Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks in flight and feeding on Dandelions in the damp grassy meadow area's and a couple of male Brimstones prospecting along the line of Hawthorn and Elder adjacent to the River Doe Lee - including one that was vigorously chased off by an aggressive Small Tort!

The scrubby shaded area's didn't produce to many butterflies - but I was gratified by sightings of Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer and the insistent singing of many ChiffChaff which really is a sign spring has arrived with a vengeance!

Next stop was back over the border in Nottinghamshire at Whitwell Wood LNR - on getting out the car I hadn't even got as far as the wood entrance when a Brimstone whizzed past me following the line of the busy main road - braving the traffic I followed it down the verge...before watching it briefly tussle with another male Brimstone...one disappearing over the brambles...the other crossing the road and commencing a circuit which eventually brought it back to me...despite its regular patrol it never settled...but my eye was drawn to a paler specimen which revealed itself as a Female - while this did perch briefly on the bramble I wasn't able to capture a record shot...

Inside the wood itself I followeed the broad paths, paying attention to the sunlit intersections and cleared areas - again there were good numbers of Small Torts and Peacocks active - and smaller more delicate russet coloured vanessids which could only be Comma. I've not seen enough of them in my brief career as a butterfly watcher to be bored yet...they are a lovely delicate intricately shaped butterfly and a clear favourite of mine! When they weren't being bullied by the more pugnacious Tortoiseshells I was able to capture pictures of them camouflaged perfectly amongst the leaf litter - or sunning themselves on fallen wood.

Plenty of Brimstones were obviously prospecting for mates - flying purposefully among the trees...seen distantly in flight...though they occasionally dropped briefly into the leaf litter, settling with closed wings and allowing a brief record shot.

Finally as just about to leave the wood a pale butterfly caught my eye...while I assumed Brimstone - its weaker flight and more delicate jizz caught my eye and I pursued it until it settled - an very early male Orange Tip and my first of the year. A fitting end to my butterfly hunt...

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Goldie M
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby Goldie M » Fri Apr 04, 2014 2:01 pm

Welcome Jason, you were lucky with the Orange Tip none sighted here yet in the North, Goldie :D

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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby Wurzel » Fri Apr 04, 2014 9:50 pm

Congrats on the OT - :D :mrgreen: still not seen one over here, in fact I think only one has been recorded in Wiltshire so far this year, I think the cooler weather is holding them back :?

Have a goodun

Wurzel

jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:35 am

Warm and overcast here overnight (Newark on Trent, Notts) but despite the good conditions...poor results in my Moth Trap overnight...
A couple of Early Grey and a Ruby Tiger.

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jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Sun Apr 06, 2014 11:37 am

Overcast and breezy yesterday - not a productive day for Butterflies, despite getting out and about in some lovely countryside!
Headed for the North Yorkshire Moors National park and spent some time enjoying the fantastic carpet of wild Daffodils - perhaps if we'd headed south I might have connected with some Lepidoptra!

Still Low Mills at Ferndale is a fantastic place to enjoy a profusion of these bold jolly flowers! Hopefully Monday will enable me to catch up with my first Orchids of the year!

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Goldie M
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby Goldie M » Sun Apr 06, 2014 2:14 pm

Great Photo's again, Goldie :D

jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Sat Apr 12, 2014 1:38 pm

A bit behind on my activities...not been in front of the PC much!
Wednesday 9th April
Was grey, chilly and breezy - not conducive to Butterfly hunting at all! Still an hour before a Derbyshire based appointment allowed me a wander up Cressbrook Dale I'll be back to look for Brown Argus later in the year!
A fantastic Limestone Landscape and a well known site for Early Purple Orchid sadly I was too early for any flowers...but a proliferation of Rosettes hints at a good display in a few weeks time!

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jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Mon May 19, 2014 11:14 am

I've proven singular unable to keep up with my personal diary...obviously the sunshine has meant too much time butterflying and not enough time at the PC!

So I'm going to re-boot it in a slightly simpler format...I'm just going to type the notes from my logbook up direct and add the appropriate pictures from the day/site to the posting...

Hopefully this will be quicker...enabling me to catch up with the backlog...and keep it up to date in real-time!

So starting again from the beginning of April...apologies for any duplication!

jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Mon May 19, 2014 11:14 am

Early Spring Butterflies

April 1st 2014 Sunny, Broken Cloud 15 Degrees

Carr Vale LNR http://www.derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/reserves/carr-vale-flash

Good numbers of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacocks in flight, basking in the sunshine and nectaring on early flowering Dandelion in the meadow adjacent to the flash.

At least 2 ♂ Brimstone prospecting along the riverside hedgerow of Hawthorn and Elder - one of which was decisively chased off by an aggressive Small Tortoiseshell.

ChiffChaff and Blackcap singing in the spring sunshine. Also confiding Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting showing well at the track-side Feeding Station.

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Whitwell Wood Forestry Commission http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/EnglandDerbyshireNoForestWhitwellWoods

Good numbers of ♂ Brimstone obvious immediately upon leaving the car. Showing well on prospecting circuits along the Bramble and Hawthorn hedges adjacent to the edge of the wood and road-side.

Orange Tip sunning itself briefly on Bramble - small and delicately marked...much smarter than the oh-so similar Small or Green-Veined White!

Plenty of Primrose and Wood Anemone flowering in the sunlight area's adjacent to the wider rides or in the cleared area's. Good numbers of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell in these area's too...basking in the sun or making aggressive territorial flights when disturbed by another butterfly! Numbers of Comma on show - basking with open wings on fallen wood or dead leaves - less agressive than their more robust relatives and immediately obvious in flight...their warm fritillary-like russet colouration and more delicate jizz making them stand out.

A single pristine ♂ Orange Tip on show near the entrance gate (adjacent to the A57) - identifiable in flight at a distance as it flashed its neon-orange wingtips! Newly emerged not a mark on knock on it!

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jasonbirder
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Re: Jasonbirder

Postby jasonbirder » Mon May 19, 2014 11:20 am

Early Spring Butterflies

April 9th Sunshine, Brisk Wind, Cold 10 Degrees

Cressbrook Dale NNR http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/conservation/designations/nnr/1006046.aspx

No sign of any Butterflies in cold blustery conditions...though this is a good site for Brown Argus later in the year.

A single early Wheatear on territory, showing well on the drystone walling its white rump obvious in flight.

Lots of Early Purple Orchid rosettes, but none in bloom yet!

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