Saturday 30 June 2018

White-letter Hairstreak, Beddington Farmlands

Checked out Irrigation Bridge in the week for the White-letter Hairstreaks. Saw one within five minutes so presumably more than one around. They have a relatively short flight period which lasts a few more weeks. More information of White-letters HERE

 White-letter Hairstreak, Beddington Farmlands, June 29th 2018
 The site is public and easily accessible from the eco-village Bedzed, in Hackbridge. Parking is restricted in Bedzed so may need to park in adjacent roads and walk up Helios Road to the community field (with outdoor gym and garden). There is a metal gate on the opposite side of the field which can be accessed by crossing the field following the white line on the map above. Walk through the gate and head towards the Elm trees on the old bridge. The butterflies can be found anywhere on these Elms- best found by scanning the tops for erratically flying small butterflies. 
 Small White, good numbers of other butterflies in the vicinity of the bridge and surrounding fields including Small and Large White, Marbled Whites (10+), Purple Hairstreak (on the oaks north of the large field where the school is being built), Large, Small and Essex Skippers, Meadow Browns and Speckled Woods. Also the field is good for Black-tailed Skimmers. 
Most of the birds have gone quiet and gone to ground especially in this heat. This singing Chiffchaff refused to give in. 

Monday 25 June 2018

Back in the Crack

Back in the crack of London and I'm not happy about it. 
Here's a few pics over the last few days. 
 The white cliffs of St Margaret's- one of our past favourite rarity hunting areas 
 A few Kittiwakes in the Channel on the way back 
 Privet Hawkmoth on the last morning at the Austrian campsite
 Orache Moth- last day of Austrian campsite 
 Purple Treble Bar- last day of campsite
 Bordered Gothic- campsite 
Gothic campsite 
 Boxworm moths- back at the Beddington obs 
Peach Blossom- a few of these at the obs
 Obscure Wainscot- the 2nd record following last year's first record for Beddington 
Juniper Webber- a first for the farmlands according to our records 

Thursday 21 June 2018

European Road Trip Day 20- Kaunertal Glacier

An epic end to our road trip with a drive up to 2750m to the Kaunertal Glacier. A fascinating transition from bare snow covered rock to rich species rich wildflower meadows as we descended.

Lots of interesting plants- made a start on identifying some here- provisional ids- please step in if any the wiser. 

Alpine Choughs, Snowfinches ,Water Pipits and Alpine Marmots were at the top. 

View over the Italian Alps from top of the cable car at 3100m. 
Around 2500 meters- Marmot country 
Around 2000m 
Around 1500 meters 

Alpine Marmot ('Groundhog') 

A few plants in altitude descending order 
Alpine Azalea, Loiseleuria procumbens (cheers Domen_
Snowbell sp, Soldanella pusilla or minima
Mountain Sorrel
Thorny Thistle 
Bladder Gentian 
Alpine Saxifrage
Trumpet Gentian, Gentiana acaulis or clusii (cheers Domen)
Rhododendron ferrugineum
Lesser Butterfly Orchid 
Meadow Crane's-bill 
Ragged Robin- dominated in the wet patches of the meadows 
Alpine Catchfly ? Lilium sp? 
A tall wildflower meadow: Meadow Clary, Star of Bethlehem, Yarrow, Mountain Clover, Sanfoin, Oxeye Daisy, Red Clover, Great Burney etc
A lower carpet of wildflowers, Yellow Eattle, Buttercup sp, Cornflower, Rock Rose, Red Clover, Mountain Clover, Yarrow, Hoary Plantian, Oxeye Daisy etc 
Carthusian Pink 
Viola sp 
Cotton Grass
Grass of Parnassus

Broad-leaved Marsh Orchid, Dactylorhiza majalis (Plant Net id 220521) 
Common Spotted Orchid (Plant Net id 220521) 
Common Twayblade
False Heath Fritillary 
Small Argent and Sable 
White-spotted Sable Anania funebris

Sunday 17 June 2018

European Road Trip Day 19- Apollo Butterfly in the Alps

So after setting fire to itself last week our VW T5 campervan has decided to play up again today with the engine emission warning light coming on which scuppered our plans to try an ascent to a 3500m nearby glacier by road. As it was a Sunday it wasn't possible to get the problem sorted either so we were left hanging around Prutz. 

Nonetheless it turned into a great day, firstly because Jacob walked today for the first time- did at least six or seven steps and secondly because I found an Apollo Butterfly in the hills just up from our campsite. 

Once again a few provisional ids- please step in with corrections especially the Fritillaries! 

 View over Prutz from adjacent slope
 Northern Wall Brown- smaller than Large Wall Brown with distinctive irregular transverse discal and basal and discal lines in upperwing 
 Closest I can get on this one is Knapweed Fritillary (above and below) of the Southern Alps alternans form with a lack of post discal spots (more of a Mellicta upperwing pattern) and a distinctive row of post discal orange spots on the hind underwing. Also a broken mid line in the discal band and no contrast in the sub-margin and outer margin. 

 This one looks good for High Brown Fritillary with large discal spots on upperwing and distinctive white-pupiled, reddish-brown post discal spots on underwing and white pearls on sub-margin of underwing

 The small size contrast between the yellowish margin and paler sub-margin lunules, combined with the reddish post-discal band suggests either a female Nickerl's or Assman's Fritillary
 Arran Brown- the distinctive under hind-wing markings makes this relatively easy to identify  
 Lulworth Skipper - hopefully that black line in the upper forewing excludes all other similar looking skippers in the region 
 Clouded Apollo 
 Apollo- the only shot I could get as it was mainly flying round. I actually heard the sound of its wing as it took off! Was hoping to sneak this in on this trip.
Five-spot Burnet type 
 Our third camp site of the trip- not a particularly great site but certainly in a great location 
View over Prutz. If the van holds up will be heading down that valley in the background tomorrow.