Notes and Views - March 2017

Discussion topic for observations that should be highlighted in the regular Notes and Views articles.
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Vince Massimo
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Notes and Views - March 2017

Postby Vince Massimo » Sun Mar 12, 2017 3:27 pm

Scarce Tortoiseshell

Another historic sighting has now been discovered in old images. The report comes from Peter Willmott, who photographed a Scarce Tortoiseshell at Salcey Forest, Northants on 9th March 2014. This date implies that the butterfly overwintered here and must have arrived in the UK during the summer of 2013, thus pre-dating the observed main influx of this species into Britain in 2015.

Salcey Forest, Northants  9-March-2014 Peter Willmott.jpg
Peter Willmott 9-March-2014

Reported in UKB Personal Diary viewtopic.php?f=29&t=9248#p117327

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David M
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Re: Notes and Views - March 2017

Postby David M » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:09 pm

A most interesting observation.

Is this species overwintering in tiny numbers clandestinely in the UK?

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Re: Notes and Views - March 2017

Postby Vince Massimo » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:07 pm

An unusual sighting of a mating pair of Small Tortoiseshells by Neil Hulme at Ferring Rife, Sussex on 13th March. Reported on BC Sussex Twitter https://twitter.com/BCSussex/status/841385007268651009

Ferring Rife-13.3.17.jpg
Neil Hulme


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Re: Notes and Views - March 2017

Postby Vince Massimo » Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:14 pm

A female Large Tortoiseshell was photographed by Neil Hulme at North Stoke (near Amberley), Sussex on 28th March. Reported in UKB personal diary viewtopic.php?f=29&t=4065&start=2480#p117866

Large Tortoiseshell (female), North Stoke 28.3.17.jpg
Neil Hulme 28-March-2017


Another individual, this time a male, was photographed in the same location on 3rd April by Paul Atkin
Reported in UKB personal diary viewtopic.php?t=8077&start=1000#p118202

IMG_0117 bugboy.JPG
Paul Atkin 3-April-2017


Yet another male was spotted at North Stoke on 9th April by Paul Cox. Reported on Sussex BC website under that date http://www.sussex-butterflies.org.uk/sightings/

large-tort- Paul Cox -April-2017.jpg
Paul Cox 9-April-2017


There must now be high hopes that this site will produce fresh adults in July.


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Re: Notes and Views - March 2017

Postby David M » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:38 pm

Vince Massimo wrote:An unusual sighting of a mating pair of Small Tortoiseshells by Neil Hulme at Ferring Rife, Sussex on 13th March. Reported on BC Sussex Twitter https://twitter.com/BCSussex/status/841385007268651009


Surprised no-one has commented on this. I've been keeping an eye out for this for many years but have never seen it.

Well done, Neil. Another scoop.

If you can capture Peacocks and Red Admirals similarly engaged then we will need to declare you a God! :)

PS - interesting that the antennae aren't visible on either sex.

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Re: Notes and Views - March 2017

Postby Neil Hulme » Mon Apr 03, 2017 6:06 am

Thanks, David. I'm having some nice white robes fitted this week.
Well spotted on the antenna front. Although the butterflies had only been in cop for about five minutes at this point, they are asleep. From the limited data I have (observation of three couplings) there does seem to be a pattern, with females finally succumbing as the afternoon chills - all these pairings are set to last through the night. I've no doubt that some occur earlier in the day, but all of those that I've watched will be getting breakfast in bed.
BWs, Neil

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Re: Notes and Views - March 2017

Postby David M » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:03 pm

Thanks for that, Neil. I suspected that:

a) this species coupled in the undergrowth and/or

b) the timing was when human eyes generally weren't upon them

God knows how many courting Tortoiseshells I've watched over the years never to see an actual pairing.

Are you as au fait with the modus operandum with Peacocks?


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