Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

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bugboy
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby bugboy » Sun Jun 11, 2017 9:41 pm

I'm loving and hating looking at this thread in equal measures, so many gorgeous images to go all :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen: over.... except perhaps for that last one, not so envious about that one any more :wink:
Some addictions are good for the soul!

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:34 pm

I guess you've seen Chequered Skipper within the last couple of weeks, Bugboy? :)

Species seen - Hesperiidae

1. Dingy Skipper
2. Mallow Skipper
3. Tufted Marbled Skipper
4. Red Underwing Skipper
5. Safflower Skipper
6. Southern Grizzled Skipper
7. Oberthur's Grizzled Skipper
8. Large Grizzled Skipper
9. Chequered Skipper
10. Small Skipper
11. Lulworth Skipper
12. Large Skipper


Decent smattering of this family, although none were present in overwhelming numbers. A handful of territorial Tufted Marbled Skippers were encountered:

8TuftedMS(1).jpg


Oberthur's Grizzled Skipper was probably the most common within the pyrgus genus:

8Oberthurs(1).jpg


Keeping a lookout for other pyrgus was a constant theme. We managed to identify a few Large Grizzled Skippers, including this one which had to spend a minute or two in an inspection chamber!!

8LGSupps(1).jpg


Here's how it looked before its temporary incarceration:

8LGSuns(1).jpg


Red Underwing Skippers were fairly commonplace in terms of how regularly they were seen, but numbers on any one site were always in single figures:

8RedUwg(1).jpg


Towards the end of the trip, Lulworth Skippers started to be observed:

8Lulworth(1).jpg

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:11 pm

Species seen - Papilionidae

13. Spanish Festoon
14. Clouded Apollo
15. Apollo
16. Spanish (Iberian) Swallowtail
17. Swallowtail


As I have mentioned previously, Apollos were around in reasonable numbers, and at the start of the trip Clouded Apollos were easy to find too:

9CloudedApollo(1).jpg


Four Spanish Festoons were seen, and Spanish Swallowtails were certainly in the range of 30-50. 'Common' Swallowtails were observed too, in ones and twos here and there which is normal. What wasn't normal was finding this huge machaon larva on a fennel plant:

9Swallowtaillarva(1).jpg


This adult was becalmed on a cloudy morning:

9Swallowtail(1).jpg

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Wed Jun 14, 2017 9:22 pm

Species seen - Pieridae

18. Wood White
19. Orange Tip
20. Provence Orange Tip
21. Western Dappled White*
22. Black Veined White
23. Large White
24. Southern Small White
25. Small White
26. Green Veined White
27. Bath White
28. Clouded Yellow
29. Berger's Clouded Yellow
30. Brimstone
31. Cleopatra


If anything, Pierids were the 'signature' butterflies of the week, with many hundreds seen.

One of the memories I'll lock away was the sheer numbers of Black Veined Whites. They were almost at pestilent levels, with individuals turning up just about everywhere and many hundreds seen whilst driving. This image of them puddling en masse along with a solitary Green Veined White is merely an indication of how frequently they were encountered:

10BVWpuddling(1).jpg


Both Berger's and Clouded Yellows cropped up regularly. I'm ashamed to admit that Berger's escaped my camera lens but this female Cloudie was irresistible:

10CloudedYellowfemale(1).jpg


Large Whites were ubiquitous too, and they were always a delight to behold, as they appear larger and darker than our own UK specimens:

10LgeWhitefemale(1).jpg


Bath Whites were often in the mix too, although they tended to pop up in very small numbers just about anywhere. This male was kind enough to stay relatively still during a cloudy spell:

10BathWhitemale(1).jpg

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bugboy
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby bugboy » Thu Jun 15, 2017 7:00 am

Some lovely images once again David. Looks like there's also a Small White with those Black-veined (the one at the top) and is that a Fritillary of some sort on the right hand side?
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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Thu Jun 15, 2017 4:14 pm

bugboy wrote:Some lovely images once again David. Looks like there's also a Small White with those Black-veined (the one at the top) and is that a Fritillary of some sort on the right hand side?


Hi Bugboy, you're right, there IS a Small White present and if I remember correctly, the Fritillary was a Heath. There's also a lycaenid at the top which I think was an Adonis Blue.

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:44 pm

Species seen - Riodinidae

32. Duke of Burgundy


Took a few days for this sole European member of this family to turn up, but in the end we probably saw 30+.

Here's a mating pair observed on the Violet Copper excursion at a location nearby:

11DoBpair(1).jpg

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Fri Jun 16, 2017 8:15 pm

Species seen - Lycaenidae (Coppers)

33. Small Copper
34. Violet Copper
35. Sooty Copper
36. Purple-Shot Copper
37. Purple-Edged Copper


A nice array of Coppers seen, with Violet Copper obviously being the icing on the cake.

Small Coppers turned up in the same way they do in the UK, and Sooty Coppers were probably just as common, with the females being particularly beautiful:

12SootyCopperfemale(1).jpg


It was good to see a handful of Purple-Shot Coppers. Here's a male:

12PurpleShotmale(1).jpg


....and a female:

12PurpleShotfemale(1).jpg


More surprising was the presence of Purple-Edged Copper, which I was not expecting to see:

12PurpleEdgedmale(1).jpg

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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby essexbuzzard » Fri Jun 16, 2017 9:16 pm

I have seen purple edged in the Pyrenees in July, David, but it does seen a bit early?

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Sat Jun 17, 2017 7:27 pm

Yes, it was a surprise to see it, Mark, but a pleasant one!!

Species seen - Lycaenidae (Hairstreaks)

38. Green Hairstreak
39. Blue Spot Hairstreak
40. False Ilex Hairstreak
41. Sloe Hairstreak


As described earlier, False Ilex Hairstreak was the commonest of this family, but quite a few Green Hairstreaks were seen at the Violet Copper location, which is at altitude, so one would expect a later flight period.

Small numbers of Blue Spot Hairstreak were seen as well as this solitary Sloe Hairstreak, which turned up on the last afternoon:

0Hairstreak(1).jpg

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Sun Jun 18, 2017 6:16 pm

Species seen - Lycaenidae - (Blues)

42. Lang's Short-Tailed Blue
43. Small Blue
44. Osiris Blue
45. Provençal Short-Tailed Blue
46. Holly Blue
47. Chequered Blue
48. Green Underside Blue
49. Silver Studded Blue
50. Brown Argus
51. Mazarine Blue
52. Escher's Blue
53. Turquoise Blue
54. Amanda's Blue
55. Chapman's Blue
56. Common Blue
57. Adonis Blue
58. Geranium Argus


Keeping track of the myriad numbers of Blues is always a challenge, particularly if you factor in the females.

One member of this family we weren't expecting was encountered on the last full day - Lang's Short-Tailed Blue:

13Lang's(1).jpg


At any time, Amanda's Blue is irresistible:

13Amanda'supps(1).jpg


13Amanda'suns(1).jpg


Once again, a handful of delightful Chequered Blues showed up:

13CheqBlue(1).jpg


Green Underside Blues are always welcome, but my familiarity with them now means it takes something special to reach for my camera. A mating pair certainly fulfilled that criterion:

13GUndBlpair(1).jpg

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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Mon Jun 19, 2017 9:00 pm

Species seen - Nymphalidae - (Fritillaries)

There is always a good range of Fritillaries on the wing in southern France, but I was surprised by how many we racked up during this trip...probably 4 or 5 more than I had anticipated.

59. Cardinal
60. Dark Green Fritillary
61. High Brown Fritillary
62. Queen of Spain Fritillary
63. Lesser Marbled Fritillary*
64. Marbled Fritillary
65. Pearl Bordered Fritillary
66. Weaver's Fritillary
67. Spanish Fritillary
68. Marsh Fritillary
69. Glanville Fritillary
70. Knapweed Fritillary
71. Spotted Fritillary
72. Provençal Fritillary
73. Meadow Fritillary
74. Heath Fritillary
75. False Heath Fritillary


Aside from the excitement of Spanish Fritillary and Cardinal, there were plenty of other satisfying encounters with this family. Queen of Spains seemed to turn up in small numbers almost everywhere:

14QoS(1).jpg


With time, I'm gradually starting to get my eye in for Provençal Fritillaries:

14ProvFrit(1).jpg


Meadow Fritillaries are rather more delicately marked:

14MeadowFrit(1).jpg


This unusual aberrant was probably a Meadow Frit, but I suppose it could equally have been a Heath Fritillary, which built in numbers quite spectacularly in the second half of the week:

14Meadowab.(1).jpg


At the start of the week, Glanvilles were so common as to be unworthy of bothering with. This mating pair were worthy of an image or two though:

14Glanvillepair(1).jpg


Weaver's Fritillary was another species that kept cropping up in small numbers:

14Weavers(1).jpg


Luckily, I was one of only three within the group to see the sole High Brown Fritillary recorded:

14HBF(1).jpg


Similarly, I was one of only three to see the only Marbled Fritillary (although I missed out on Lesser Marbled Fritillary which was seen by all the others at a different site):

14MarbledFrit(1).jpg


Dark Green Fritillary was very scarce too, but everybody got a helping with one individual that couldn't be separated from its thistle, whilst this fresh specimen was seen roosting on the only damp afternoon of the week:

14DGF(1).jpg

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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Tue Jun 20, 2017 9:42 pm

Species seen - Nymphalidae (Aristocrats)

76. Red Admiral
77. Painted Lady
78. Peacock
79. Small Tortoiseshell
80. Comma
81. Map
82. Camberwell Beauty
83. Large Tortoiseshell*
84. White Admiral*
85. Southern White Admiral


As ever seems to be the case in southern France, this group weren't terribly prominent.

Migratory Painted Ladies passed by with great regularity, but the others were all seen in relatively small numbers.

One species that did turn up on the day we ventured into the Aude departement was the Spring form of the Map butterfly. This specimen was rather worn, but turned everybody's heads as it nectared upon riverside umbellifers:

15Map(1).jpg

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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Wed Jun 21, 2017 10:33 pm

Species seen - Nymphalidae - (erebia)

86. De Prunner's Ringlet
87. Bright Eyed Ringlet


Last year, only De Prunner's Ringlet from this family turned up, and it was again quite prominent, with many dozens seen:

16DePrunnersRinglet(1).jpg


This time, Bright Eyed Ringlet appeared as well, albeit in quite small numbers:

16BrightEyedRinglet(1).jpg

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Thu Jun 22, 2017 9:50 pm

Species seen - Nymphalidae (General Satyrids)

88. Speckled Wood
89. Wall Brown
90. Large Wall Brown
91. Pearly Heath
92. Dusky Heath
93. Small Heath
94. Spanish Gatekeeper
95. Meadow Brown
96. Marbled White
97. Western Marbled White
98. Grayling*


Western Marbled Whites are commonplace at this time of year in this region, and once again we saw many dozens, although they are reluctant to pose for images:

17WesternMarbWh(1).jpg


Marbled Whites will go on to be probably the most ubiquitous species (save perhaps for Heath Fritillary & Pearly Heath) but the group only saw two, and I personally only saw one, a beautifully fresh specimen on the last full day:

17MarbledWh(1).jpg


Spanish Gatekeepers were even more common, becoming almost worthy of dismissal at times:

17SpGatekeeper(1).jpg


Dusky Heaths were about in decent numbers at the Spanish Fritillary site, and Small Heaths turned up with great frequency in low numbers, but on the last couple of days, Pearly Heaths suddenly exploded into life, and they really ARE worth a second look because when fresh they are quite stunning:

17PearlyHeath(1).jpg

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Roger Gibbons
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby Roger Gibbons » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:36 am

David, are you sure that your Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) is not an Iberian Marbled White (M. lachesis)?

The hindwing discal markings of both are similar and very variable, but from what I can see of the forewing markings, it looks more lachesis than galathea to me. I'm not saying it is lachesis (an upperside view would confirm either way), but I think it is a distinct possibility, and I suggest you have a closer look.

You were in the right area and your timing would coincide with the start of the lachesis flight period.

Roger

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:15 pm

Roger, many thanks for this and I believe you are right.

Unfortunately, I never saw this butterfly in flight (I found it roosting during a wet afternoon) which is a shame, because as you say, an upperside would have been definitive.

Of course, galathea is usually more heavily marked in southern France than it is in the UK, so if anything one would expect even darker underside markings than normal and this is much more weakly marked even than the form we see in Britain.

What clinches it for me are the sub-marginal chevrons - in galathea these are bold whereas in this specimen they are faint. I also acknowledge your observation regarding the forewing undersides - this individual has a clear apical spot whereas galathea has more of a 'smudge'.

I would err quite considerably towards lachesis and would be interested to know your degree of confidence.

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:31 pm

....just for comparison, I have posted images of the galathea seen at Daneway Banks last Saturday with this (now probable) lachesis:

1MarbWhite(1).jpg


17MarbledWh(3).jpg

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Roger Gibbons
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby Roger Gibbons » Fri Jun 23, 2017 7:20 pm

It's the forewing discal mark that attaches to the costa that I believe is definitive.

I'm always wary of making assertions but - allowing for typical English understatement - I'm about 95% sure this is lachesis. I think you could confidently say this is species 99 for the tour (always assuming you don't have to dock galathea from the list).

I have only seen it at the far eastern end of its range near Nimes on a few occassions (and hopefully again next week). The last time I was there it was 37C and I saw a total of six butterflies, all of which were hiding in the shade.

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David M
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Re: Pyrenees Orientales, 23 May - 31 May 2017

Postby David M » Fri Jun 23, 2017 10:37 pm

Thanks again, Roger. Like you, I too am now over 90% certain, although I'll mention this to Julian & Matt to see if we can get a 'ruling' on the 'Marbled White' seen the day before (but not by me). It too could well have been lachesis.


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