20 July 2013

Butterflies on the North Downs

Spent the day at the Butterfly Conservation New Members Day, held at the Field Studies Council centre at Juniper Hall in the North Downs near Box Hill, Surrey. Had a excellent day and met some very knowledgeable and dedicated people who run the Surrey branch of Butterfly Conservation and carry out important conservation work at the branch's Oaken Wood reserve.

A Chalkhill Blue Lysandra coridon, and a couple of Marsh Tit were a nice bonus in Juniper Hall grounds. An afternoon walk along the footpath at Juniper Bottom produced several Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja, a couple of Silver-washed Fritillary Argynnis paphia, lots of Ringlets Aphantopus hyperantus, Meadow Browns Maniola jurtina and Gatekeepers Pyronia tithonus, quite a few Marbled White Melanargia galathea and Commas Polygonia c-album, a few Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae, 2 Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta, a Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni, Large White Pieris brassicae, at least 1 Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola, a few Large Skippers Ochlodes sylvanus and a White Plume Moth Pterophorus pentadactyla.

Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja

Several Pyramidal Orchids Anacamptis pyramidalis, 2 Common Spotted Orchids Dactylorhiza fuchsii were also noted during the walk.

Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis

The day was finished off nicely with a pair of House Sparrows outside my living room window. My first ever record after living here for 14 years!

19 July 2013

Moor butterflies

Very quiet birdwise at the patch today. On Staines Moor; 2-3 Common Tern, 2 Little Egret and 1 Gadwall along the Colne, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Common Swift E, 6-7 Barn Swallow, 4 Green Woodpecker, 2 Kestrel, lots of Linnet and Goldfinch (including a juvenile), 2 Reed Bunting, a few Meadow Pipit, and a Skylark were about it. The moor is looking very dry after two weeks of high temperatures and no rain.

Large numbers of butterflies flying today in the hot weather. Common Ragwort Senecio jacobaea and several thistle species are flowering everywhere, providing an abundant food source. Gatekeepers Pyronia tithonus are now out in force and Meadow Browns Maniola jurtina and Small Skippers Thymelicus sylvestris must number in the hundreds. 1 Marbled White Melanargia galathea (a surprising a new addition to the fledgling Staines Moor butterfly list!), 1 Brown Argus Aricia agestis, 1 Painted Lady Vanessa cardui, 1+ Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas (watched laying eggs on grasses), several Small Tortoiseshells Aglais urticae, plenty of Small Whites Pieris rapae, and 1 Peacock Inachis io. Lots of Six-spot Burnets Zygaena filipendulae around and a single Cinnabar Tyria jacobaeae (but lots of caterpillars on the Ragwort). Managed a few half reasonable photos despite the very bright conditions and the relentless bloody annoying wind.

Painted Lady Vanessa cardui

Brown Argus Aricia agestis

Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris

Six-spot Burnet Zygaena filipendulae

Impressive numbers of Banded Demoiselles Calopteryx splendens along the Colne today, and 1m Keeled Skimmer Orthetrum coerulescens, several Emperor Dragonflies Anax imperator and a couple of Brown Hawkers Aeshna grandis. Also, thousands of Common Red Soldier Beetles Rhagonycha fulva everywhere.

On Stanwell Moor; 2f Blackcap, 4 Chiffchaff, 2 Common Whitethroat, 1 juv. Robin, a few juv. Long-tailed Tits and Blue Tits, 2+ Comma Polygonia c-album, a Peacock and lots of Banded Demoiselles noted.

A very parched Staines Moor viewed from The Butts

18 July 2013

Macros through the macro

A few common macros photographed over the last few days. Riband Wave Idaea aversata, Least Carpets Idaea rusticata and Common Emeralds Hemithea aestivaria are especially common at the moment. Finally chosen a moth trap that will also enable me to survey moths at the moor as well as in the forest interior at my second patch, REGUA, in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest in October.

The Snout Hypena proboscidalis, 12 July 2013

The Snout Hypena proboscidalis, 12 July 2013

Bright-line Brown-eye Lacanobia oleracea, 13 July 2013

The Uncertain Hoplodrina alsines or The Rustic Hoplodrina blanda, 13 July 2013. Until (and if) I get better at separating these two
species, I'll lump 'em together. Many thanks to Les Hill (@dorsetmoths) for advice on this difficult species pair.

Least Carpet Idaea rusticata, 13 July 2013

Common Footman Eilema lurideola, 13 July 2013

Dwarf Cream Wave Idaea fuscovenosa, 13 July 2013

Riband Wave Idaea aversata of the plain form ab. remutata, 13 July 2013

Small Blood-vein Scopula imitaria, 9 July 2013

Dark Arches Apamea monoglypha, 18 July 2013

Yellow Shell Camptogramma bilineata, 18 July 2013

Scalloped Oak Crocallis elinguaria, 10 July 2013

Common Emerald Hemithea aestivaria, 7 July 2013

16 July 2013

Birdwatch magazine article about REGUA

Beware, shameless plug coming up! Check out my article in this month's issue of Birdwatch magazine (July 2013), looking at how birding tourism is helping to conserve and restore part of Brazil's Atlantic Forest.

15 July 2013

Micros through the macro

Just a few of the common micro-moths caught over the last few days. Love micros!

Crambus pascuella, 7 July 2013

Chrysoteuchia culmella, 9 July 2013

Small Magpie Eurrhypara hortulata, 9 July 2013

Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, 9 July 2013

Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla, 9 July 2013

Udea prunalis, 9 July 2013

Celypha striana, 13 July 2013

Clepsis consimilana, probably a female, 13 July 2013

Ephestia unicolorella, 13 July 2013