Thursday, July 18, 2019

πŸ“– 10-year Butterfly Review πŸ¦‹

πŸ¦‹As my blog celebrates its 10-year anniversary this year I thought it would be a good time to completely review and reminisce on my many trips across Europe & North America. While doing so and looking over numerous unpublished images I found that one area, in particular, required closer inspection.

My trips to Northern and Southern Spain, France and other European destinations over this period have primarily concentrated on birding and this was the area that took priority. Notwithstanding I've photographed and observed many Butterflies over this period and frankly I've been found wanting when it comes to logging and identifying these amazing insects.

After a complete review, I have now produced a personal database of my Butterfly listings and can publish some of the images that never quite made it onto the original blog posts. As I post I'm still in the process of identifying many of my images but below is the database thus far as of July 18th 2019.

Naturally, if I'm lucky enough to identify new species already in my files, or indeed additions to my 'life-list' these too will be added onto the database.

Monday, July 15, 2019

πŸ“– Weekend on the 'Cut'

☁️🌧⛅️18/21C Thursday 11th May ~ Monday 15th May 2019 ~A long weekend out on the canal and despite the weather being mostly cloudy the odd sunny period brought out the Butterflies & Dragonflies.

It's always good to be back on the 'CUT'
On Friday I took a circular walk around the Oxford Canal towpath which takes me from our mooring at bridge 100 near Flecknoe up to bridge 98 and then across country past Wolfhampcote Farm. From here the track meanders until you reach Hillcrest Farm, before taking the gravel road back to the canal rejoining at bridge 101.

Female Beautiful Demoiselle a surprise find on Friday!
The surprise came at a gated section of the road just beyond Wolfhampcote Farm when I noticed a female Beautiful Demoiselle! Having managed to follow it for a while she posed long enough for a few photos. This is only my second ever sighting of this species for Warwickshire.

Gatekeepers starting to appear in numbers
Lots of pristine Gatekeepers are now starting to appear and Meadow Browns and Ringlets were by far the most abundant. Other species were made up of (11) Marbled White, (3) Large White, (2) Small White, (1) Green-veined White, (3) Small Skipper, (4) Small Tortoiseshell, (2) Red Admiral and (3) Comma.

Nice to have a Brown Hawker actually taking a breather.
Southern Hawker
Surprisingly not many Banded Demoiselle or indeed Common or Azure Blue Damselflies along the canal but both Brown Hawker and Southern Hawker were noted.

Other highlights included a Tawny Owl perched in a tree directly in front of the boat on Saturday night around midnight. I did try to sneak out for a closer look, only managing a silhouetted view as the bird departed across the adjacent wheat field. 

Common Sandpiper along the canal today
A gentle cruise back to the marina this morning produced a Red Kite, which I often see along this stretch and most likely nesting nearby. I also noticed a Common Sandpiper and managed to slow sufficiently for a photo before it eventually flew further back along the canal.

Other Images of the Weekend...

Bush Vetch ~ A new addition to my I~Naturalist database
Some fine-looking moons over the period

Small Tortoishell


Wednesday, July 10, 2019

πŸ“– Fermyn Woods

⛅️22C Wednesday 10th July 2019 ~A morning visit to Fermyn Woods Country Park near Kettering with Alan Boddington.

Male Purple Emperor 
The main reason for our visit was the magnificent and extremely elusive male Purple Emperor. More often than not views are restricted to treetop level where they feed on aphid honeydew and tree sap. However, if you're lucky, particularly in the early morning the males will descend to the ground, where they probe for salts either from road surfaces or from animal dung, the latter of which in this instance was the case.

Male Purple Emperor wing pattern
We managed probably just three specimens during our stay, the one photographed, plus at least two others in the canopy. An enjoyable visit but it was a surprise to only encounter three White Admiral and just a single Gatekeeper. Although there were plenty of whites on the wing I didn't manage to locate any Green-veined.

List of Species for the Visit...

Large White (11), Small White (13), Brimstone (1), Purple Emperor (3), White Admiral (3), Red Admiral (2), Painted Lady (1), Comma (4), Silver-washed Fritillary (17), Marbled White (N), Ringlet (N), Meadow Brown (N), Gatekeeper (1), Speckled Wood (1), Purple Hairstreak (7), Essex Skipper (1), Small Skipper (15), Large Skipper (7), Silver Y Moth (1), Brown Hawker (5), Southern Hawker (2), Four-spot Chaser (6)... *N depicts too numerous to count!


Other Images of the Day...

Red Kite ~ Always a treat when visiting this area
Silver-washed Fritillary

Essex Skipper

Four-spot Chaser

Magnificent Male Purple Emperor