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Sunday, 18 August 2013

Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady...Doorstep Butterfly Invaders !

As you may or may not know, there has been a recent influx of butterflies from the continent lately. I know some people will be up in arms "they come over here, drinking our nectar "..but the influx of Clouded Yellows really has been quite exciting. It's been a good few years since the last invasion of any significance, and getting to see one locally became a priority by last weekend.
 Around 6 pm last Sunday I twitched a find made by my blogging patch neighbour JK. Despite a bit of panic on arrival when the Yella Fella slipped away, we relocated it and I had good views and a record shot.

Clouded Yellow

The weather Saturday was not butterfly friendly, so I concentrated on the birding. I was done and dusted for the day when a message from fellow local birder TH informed me there was a couple of Wheatear down on the paddocks,( probably put down by the gloomy drizzle). I was there in 5 minutes and grateful for the heads up.


 The venerable informant had also mentioned a good spot down the road for Clouded Yellows, so with the weather looking brighter Sunday I scooted a few miles Southwest to the site he had alluded too. Finding a field full of Fat Hen as described, it was chuffing with Whites, and soon I had counted 4 Clouded Yellows. Those I photographed were a little worn, but I managed to observe at length a very smart male. They really shift, and I settled for observation rather than chasing my tail trying to photograph them.
Also on the wing were Common Blues, including some nice blue females, as well as Small coppers and Speckled Wood.

♀ Common Blue

 However, the highlight  of the morning was finding a Painted Lady, my first of the year, and only my second ever.

Painted Lady

 I was in for a couple of Surprises when I stopped off on my patch on the way home. Not only did I find the second colony of Purple Hairstreak in successive weeks, but also spotted my second Painted Lady of the day. Just like buses ey ? !

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Spotted Flycatcher and Purple Hairstreak, great weekend on the patch

Saturday I started what was intended to be a circular walk of the patch. It started well when I spotted a nice Hoverfly, but rapidly went pear-shaped when I realised there was no memory card in the camera. Fortunately the Hoverfly, A Great Pied, was still hovering about when I returned after my false start.

Great Pied Hoverfly

A section of woodland that rarely yields much, was alive with birds for a change. Initially I had spotted a Great Spotted Woodpecker, but the clearing containing a collection of dead trees also hosted Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Nuthatch and Treecreeper. However the reason I lingered and made no further progress that morning on the walk was discovering a family group of Spotted Flycatchers.

Spotted Flycatcher

Last year, I had a similar find, about 300 yards from that spot, and  almost on the same date.
It was only my second sighting of the species this year anywhere. It was a show stopper and I had no time to complete the circuit. On heading home a Heron gave a rare opportunity for a patch record shot, which I gladly accepted.

I recorded Purple Hairstreak on the far south side of my patch last year, but this year so far had not had a sniff ( anywhere). However as I neared the end of Sundays tour, I stopped at an Oak I had not thought to check out before. Within a few minutes I saw a small butterfly move. They are little butterflies and never easy to find as they spend so much time lurking within the leaves of oaks. When I finally located it, I was absolutely thrilled to see it was a Purple Hairstreak, a new and  second site for them on the patch. Getting a record shot was a challenge,  but it was all about the find. A great weekend on the patch.

Purple Hairstreak

Interestingly this sighting was within 3 days also of when I saw it on the patch in 2012

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Black Wave moth, and other homegrown delights

My bespoke, hand crafted Bee hotel ( a spare lump of wood with some holes drilled in it ) has so far been an unmitigated success. In all now 7 of the holes have been sealed by the leaf cutter bees, whom I had great pleasure observing throughout July. There were often half a dozen vying for entry to one of the residences larger suites.

My other hobby horse has been the moth trap. What  a contrast that has been to my inaugural 1st year of 2012 ! Things started ticking along nicely once winter finally left after Easter, but July was a veritable mothfest ! I was regularly getting 50 plus ( bear in mind its only fitted with 20w eco bulb )

The species list scooted along and I am currently over a hundred up on last years total. bear in mind I rarely count Micro's at the moment, unless they are very obvious, that's something for later. Of late, the bobby dazzlers have been the likes of these.
Burnished Brass

Buff tip

 However, the last week or so things have settled down, so while numbers trapped have still been good, the number of new species appearing has slowed down. A trap full of Willow Beauty, Riband Wave and Common Footman was losing it's gloss. On Saturday I prayed the Moth Santa would deliver something good, and set the trap out as dusk fell.

Next morning, it seemed to be standard fare ( oh how blasé we become, last year at the same date I had just 1 Riband Wave!! ) save for a couple of Silver Y's, which were garden lifers, but not unexpected given the southerly winds and general sightings elsewhere. However I potted a dark 'carpet like' moth, took his mug shot and let him go. Eventually I pinned an ID on it  a Black Wave . I was seriously pleased with this, not exactly a common moth in North Worcs,  and nationally scarce category B. A great moth for the garden trap !

Waved Black