Tony Moore

This forum contains a topic per member, each representing a personal diary.
User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Thu Mar 24, 2016 2:53 pm

A visit to the Seychelles seemed an ideal occasion to bite the bullet and start a blog. Actually, it's not the best place, as the islands are something of a butterfly no-go area. There are about 39 species on the country's all time list and five of these are extinct! Several others are only known from odd historical vagrants, and of the remainder, over half, and all the most interesting ones, are only found on Aldabra, which is unfortunately about 350 kms to the south from where we were staying on Praslin. This is the second largest of the granitic islands and is a short plane hop from Mahe, the main island. Our hotel was only accessible by boat and advertised tracks into the surrounding forest so I was hopeful of finding something lepidopterous. We arrived to hammering rain, which persisted until about 4 pm, when we ventured out for a shufti round the territory. Despite one or two nice stands of lantana, there were no butterflies to be seen. Somewhat disconsolate, we headed back along the beach. Suddenly my wife, who has much sharper eyes than me, shot over to the beachside vegetation. Several seriously tiny lycaenids (about 17mm ws) were buzzing around. I think they may have been Gaika Blues (Zizula hylax).

3-Gaika Blue.jpg




Despite visiting two other islands during our time there and doing a good bit of searching, we saw no other butterflies at all!

On our last day, I saw a larger, darker 'blue' and only managed one photo:

L S -t B.jpg



It turned out to be an old friend called 'Common Blue' in the Seychelles! Whilst waiting to try for another shot, I saw a supposed Gaika with open wings for the first time. When I looked at the photo, it had straight antennae, rather than the droopy ones typical of the 'grass blues'. It also had slightly pointed forewings and I think it may have been a 'Sooty Blue' (Zizeeria knysna):

8-Sooty Blue open.jpg




I found another a little later and got an underside:

7-GB4.jpg


Looking again at the pics, I'm not sure if all the tiny Blues were not the same species – either hylax or knysna, and would be very grateful for an expert opinion.

As the holiday was a bit disappointing butterflywise, I post a few other pictures, which I hope may be of interest:

A general view of the beach:

1-DSC06651_edited-1.jpg


A poor shot of a male Black Paradise Flycatcher (Tersiphone corvina, seen on La Digue island. One of about 250 individuals left on the planet:

2-Black Paradise Flycatcher.jpg


A Seychelles Green Gecko:

4-SGG 2.jpg


And a couple of shots of the famous Coco-de-mer, the largest seed on the planet, from the Vallee de Mai on Praslin. Draw your own conclusions...

5-CdM.jpg


6-CDM 1.jpg


A fascinating place.

User avatar
Padfield
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 6765
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:19 pm
Location: Switzerland
Contact:

Re: Tony Moore

Postby Padfield » Thu Mar 24, 2016 5:00 pm

Hi Tony. Your grass blues are all knysna. Hylax has no cell spot and very characteristic markings on the forewing underside, with one shaped like a little horseshoe. This one was photographed in Kolkata:

Image

Guy
Guy's Butterflies: http://www.guypadfield.com

User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Re: Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Thu Mar 24, 2016 6:23 pm

Many thanks, Guy - I'm ever in awe of your encyclopaedic knowledge. :mrgreen: .

Tony.

User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Mon Mar 28, 2016 12:47 pm

A few more pix from the Seychelles (sadly, not butterflies :( ):

An Ensign Wasp (Evaniidae) found flying around our room. Apparently, they are parasitoid on Cockroach eggs and come into houses etc, looking for egg cases.

1-DSC06670.jpg


A Seychelles endemic - the Seychelles Bulbul (Hypsipetes cressirostris)

1-Bulbul.jpg


One of three Giant Tortoises living on the resort. Looks a bit angry about something :) :

1-Giant Tortoise.jpg


A Barred Ground Dove (Geopelia striata). These delightful little birds were very common and frequent visitors to the breakfast table, where they would happily eat from ones hand.

2-Ground Dove.jpg


Not sure which lizard this is - looks a bit like our Sand Lizard. They were very common and would often chase the Grass Blues:

3-Lizard.jpg
.

Tony M.

User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Thu May 19, 2016 3:29 pm

Just back from a brilliant tour with Spatia to Bulgaria and northern Greece. We started near Kerkini lake, where we found several fresh Large Coppers:

3-Large Copper - f.jpg


Also around the lake was a small area of Bladder Senna, where several Iolas Blues were flying. Most were fairly flighty, but we did find an accessible mating pair and an odd male:

4-Iolas Blue p.jpg


1-Iolas Blue m u.jpg
.

We went to an area where there were several Nettle Trees, which had been totally stripped by NT butterfly larvae. Every branch was hanging with larvae and countless pupae. It must be an astonishing sight when they begin to eclose!

2-Nettle-tree pupae.jpg


A nice Chequered Blue appeared:

6-Chequered Blue - u.jpg


5-Chequered Blue o.jpg


More later...

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1558
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Tony Moore

Postby Chris Jackson » Thu May 19, 2016 5:41 pm

Some out-of-the-ordinary photos there, Tony.
Very refreshing.
Chris
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

User avatar
David M
Posts: 7807
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Tony Moore

Postby David M » Thu May 19, 2016 6:14 pm

Some great images already, Tony. Can't wait to see what you've got up your sleeve next!

I just love those NTB pupae.

User avatar
Padfield
Administrator
Administrator
Posts: 6765
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2006 10:19 pm
Location: Switzerland
Contact:

Re: Tony Moore

Postby Padfield » Thu May 19, 2016 8:55 pm

Tony Moore wrote:We went to an area where there were several Nettle Trees, which had been totally stripped by NT butterfly larvae. Every branch was hanging with larvae and countless pupae. It must be an astonishing sight when they begin to eclose!


Amazing. Did your guide say this always happened or was it a one-off? Netttle tree butterflies have a short-lived summer brood that (at least in part) produces the wintering generation. It sounds as if they won't be using their parent trees!

Guy
Guy's Butterflies: http://www.guypadfield.com

User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Re: Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Thu May 19, 2016 10:43 pm

Hi Guy,

It really was an astonishing sight. There were 3/4 good sized trees along a cart track and each looked grey and brown - hardly a trace of green. Thousands of caterpillars - some hanging , pre-pupation, and pupae on every branch. Must be one of the butterfly sights of the planet... The original idea was that we would go back to the site at the end of the trip when there would be thousands of insects all over the ground and adjacent trees. Unfortunately, some of our party had to be in Sofia early and we missed it. Our leader said that it was quite normal and happened every year... I'm tempted to go on next year's trip just to see it again.

Tony.

User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Bulgaria/Greece 2016

Postby Tony Moore » Fri May 20, 2016 11:10 am

The second stop was near Siatista and our trip was considerably enlivened by one of the members, who was a reptile and amphibian man. While most of us looked for butterflies, he was turning over stones looking for snakes. Most days he found something interesting, such as this beautiful Leopard Snake:

7-Leopard Snake.jpg


After much searching, we found a couple of Dalmatian Ringlets quite near the hotel:

5-DR3.jpg



And the tiny Eastern Greenish Black-tip:

6-EGBT 2.jpg


Yellow-banded Skipper and Green-underside Blue were relatively common:

1-Yellow-banded Skipper.jpg


4-Green underside Blue.jpg
.


Finally, one for the Moth-ers. A spotless Burnet ?

3-Unknown Burnet.jpg


More tomorrow...
Last edited by Tony Moore on Mon May 23, 2016 4:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Pete Eeles
Administrator & Stock Contributor
Administrator & Stock Contributor
Posts: 6164
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2006 6:10 pm
Location: Thatcham, Berkshire
Contact:

Re: Tony Moore

Postby Pete Eeles » Fri May 20, 2016 5:58 pm

Tony Moore wrote:Just back from a brilliant tour with Spatia to Bulgaria and northern Greece ... Every branch was hanging with larvae and countless pupae.


Just brilliant, Tony! Never seen this sight myself, but wish I was there, as they say!

Cheers,

- Pete

User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Re: Spatia trip

Postby Tony Moore » Sun May 22, 2016 6:29 pm

We moved on to Monodendri and our species count was rising rapidly. Our snake man found a couple of Nose-horned Vipers:

3-DSC07187_edited-1.jpg


There were a number of Little Tiger Blues flying among some boulders. Most were pretty worn, but I did find one fresh one:

5-Little Tiger Blue - u.jpg


1-Little Tiger Blue.jpg


Gruner's Orange Tips were also seen, mixed up with the ordinary OTs:

6-Gruner's OT -f.jpg


3-Gruner's  OT - m.jpg


Eastern Knapweed Fritillry was rather commoner than phoebe. They are easily separated by the undersides, less so from the uppers, but I'm fairly confident that this is the former:

2-Eastern Knapweed - u.jpg


One of the real highlights was to see Bavius Blue - we saw about 10 individuals in all:

4-Bavius Blue 2.jpg



Back to Bulgaria for the last few days...

User avatar
David M
Posts: 7807
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Tony Moore

Postby David M » Sun May 22, 2016 10:35 pm

Some more rarely seen stunners, Tony.

That female Gruner's Orange Tip is most impressive.

User avatar
Mikhail
Posts: 447
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2008 4:32 pm
Location: Bournemouth

Re: Tony Moore

Postby Mikhail » Mon May 23, 2016 6:54 am

Nobody else has commented so I will. I feel your Southern Small White posted on 20 May is actually a Green-veined White female. I think we may have met briefly at Kozhukh hill while in search of Iolas Blues. Thanks to Mario's help we saw them next day near Kerkini.

M.

User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Re: Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Mon May 23, 2016 10:00 am

HI Mikhail and thank you for your comments.

The SSW id was from Mario :oops: , they all look the same to me....

Glad you managed to find iolas - the Kerkini site is a good bet, but you have to be lucky for any photographs.

Tony.

User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Re: Bulgaria/Greece

Postby Tony Moore » Tue May 24, 2016 9:35 pm

Before leaving Greece, we had a night near Mt. Olympus (very impressive). We found Southern Festoon, still in goodish condition:

05-Southern Festoon 4.jpg


and the very local Eastern Orange Tip!

04-Eastern Orange Tip.jpg


09-EOT M 2.jpg


Back in Bulgaria the meadows were buzzing with butterflies. Several Eastern Festoons in good order:

02-Eastern Festoon.jpg
.

07-Eastern Festoon u 1.jpg


A pair of Zephyr Blues:

06-Zephyr Blues.jpg


And as near as we got to Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell:

08-Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell.jpg
.

All in all a brilliant trip and several 'life ticks'.

Tony M.

User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Sun Jun 19, 2016 5:14 pm

Just back from three days in the Pyrénées-Orientales where day three was a write off - cloudy, windy and very cold. First two days were mixed, but I managed to find 54+ species. Highlights were undoubtedly Bog Fritillary:

38-Bog Frit u.jpg


and Violet Copper - a stunning little butterfly:

10-V C 8.jpg


08-V C 6.jpg


Another 'tick' for me was Provence Orange Tip:

29-P O T u 2.jpg


27-Provence O T.jpg


Being very much a beginner with the European species, I still have a few 'unknowns' to be identified in the relevant forum.

Now the weather in UK needs to improve...

Tony M.
Last edited by Tony Moore on Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Chris Jackson
Posts: 1558
Joined: Mon May 06, 2013 6:35 am
Location: Marseilles, France
Contact:

Re: Tony Moore

Postby Chris Jackson » Sun Jun 19, 2016 7:17 pm

With these three species alone, Tony, your can say that you've come back with a feather in your cap. :D
Chris
https://sites.google.com/site/mespapill ... baume/home
Note: My photos are not covered by copyright. Please feel free to copy for charitable use.

User avatar
David M
Posts: 7807
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 8:17 pm
Location: South Wales

Re: Tony Moore

Postby David M » Sun Jun 19, 2016 9:33 pm

Getting helle and eumedon (presumably at the same site) is worth the same as Chequered Skipper, Black Hairstreak and Purple Emperor on the same day in the UK!!!!

Well done.

User avatar
Tony Moore
Posts: 664
Joined: Tue Jul 01, 2008 6:37 pm

Re: Tony Moore

Postby Tony Moore » Sun Jun 19, 2016 10:19 pm

Thanks, Guys,

And all with a little help from my friends... :D

T.


Return to “Personal Diaries”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests