Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

Postby RJDMcBeath » Sun 12 Jun 2011 19:18

Hello Folks,
Nice sunny morning so had a half hours walk up the Ale Water at 09.00. 2 Speckled Wood holding territoty and enjoying the sun and shelter. In our garden at Lamberton 1 Wall Brown, Small White and Green-veined White flying early in the morning. Maybe Ian was not up early enough to catch the sun !. :D
R McB
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

Postby IAC » Mon 13 Jun 2011 21:03

Hi all,
A fine day eventually. On the coast today at Burnmouth. 23 Small Blue in all today with a new site discovered... :shock: 6 Northern Brown Argus, 1 Large White, 2 Red Admiral, 2 Green Veined White, 1 Small White, 2 Wall Brown, 1 very new Small Tortoiseshell, 20 and more Small Heath, 4 Common Blue. Quite breezy by the afternoon..so numbers could have been higher in all species...however I will be more than happy to settle for that.

Oh...and Ron...you must know me quite well. I would have been quite offended if it was not the fact that it is perfectly true. :D

Iain.
Attachments
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Northern Brown Argus a wee bit tatty
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Wall Brown at Burnmouth today
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

Postby NickMorgan » Tue 14 Jun 2011 20:27

Another Small Blue site - does that make three now in that area? That is good news.
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

Postby IAC » Tue 14 Jun 2011 20:42

Hi all,
Down at the Whiteadder today at West Foulden. Very hot indeed. Back to lumbering around sweating and swearing ...Most butterflies just to quick for me today. However I did manage to get a photo of the mythical Northern Brown Argus on the Whiteadder banks. He did lead me a very merry dance over some hidden Meadow Ant hills...which I duly ended up eating grass... before finally settling down. 2 Northern Brown Argus, 14 Common Blue, 3 Green Veined White, 1 Peacock,2 Small White, 2 Red Admiral, 12 Large Skipper.

Moths today... 1 Green Carpet, 7 Six Spot Burnet, and 1 Barred Straw.

A Peregrine stooped past me while I was on the banks, the noise of it cutting through the air is quite frightning...I wonder how the Wood Pigeon feels about it. An Osprey at Bluestone Ford...probably the same bird as the other day. It was sitting on a tree by the river flanked by 2 Carrion Crows...I thought at first it was a Heron until it took off....maybe one day I will get a photo... :lol:

Iain.
Attachments
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Northern Brown Argus on the Whiteadder
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Six Spot at West Foulden
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

Postby IAC » Tue 14 Jun 2011 20:50

Hi Nick,
Yes, quite a surprise to find another site. It could be a case of here today gone tomorrow though. I will need to take another look at the site as their could easily be quite a number....at least I do hope so. These little sub colonies either boom or bust. The main site is still in good order though with quite a few still flying.

Iain.
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

Postby IAC » Wed 15 Jun 2011 17:56

Hi all,
Burnmouth today saw 6 Small Blue, 3 Northern Brown Argus, 11 Small Heath, 1 Large White, and a Painted Lady. I had just been thinking to myself how I had not seen one for a while when....well...that quite often happens.

Iain.
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

Postby IAC » Tue 21 Jun 2011 11:25

Hi all,
The weather continues to be a hindrance to any decent butterfly activity. Some days you realy have to be scraping the bottom of that barrel in order to find anything of interest. Sunday was a good example of another promising day goes wrong. Sunny start, bit of cloud, monsoon, giving way to clear skys and lovely sunshine just when it is too late in the day to do anything...GRRRRRRRR!!!!! Looking on the bright side, its not been to windy lately, so the butterflies you do manage to find are in fairly good nick.

Sunday, I was on the coast from Burnmouth to Eyemouth. I had hoped to get a good look at Northern Brown Argus numbers...but the weather had other ideas. I plodded on though, and found 12 in all. Small Blue at 4..very inactive. Small Heath 20.. coastal numbers not great this year. Common Blue 1..pretty poor total. The only upside of Sunday were 9 very fresh and new Small Tortoiseshell on Burnmouth Hill...unfortunately none of them in action...all were flushed from the coastal path around thistles. 1 Wall Brown straggler and a single Ringlet concluded the miserable day...the rain finally caught up with me as I passed the golf course at Eyemouth...I got very wet indeed despite being clad head to toe in waterproofs.

Yesterday was a mixed bag. At Gordon and Hareford in the morning. Pretty good sunshine and warm!!! Good to excellent butterfly numbers. Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary were quite frankly at plague proportions. Every Marsh Thistle head had at least 1 butterfly attached. I did a timed count circuit and counted 102!! It is quite something to see so many butterflies concentrated like this. I estimate, that considering I only searched a small area of the site, that 300-400 butterflies would be more than likely..quite mind boggling. I would love to see a Small Pearl site in Scotland that is stronger than this one...in fact..in the UK...anywhere.. I do not think I have ever seen so many of one species before...only a mass emergence of Ringlet perhaps. The Small Pearls were nectaring on Marsh Thistle, Bugle and Cross Leaved Heath.
Another wonderful moment occured when a lone Dark Green Fritillary wandered into the middle of the colony. I take it he was a him...as he skimmed at speed...a tangerine terror..checking out all the Small Pearls. Finally the masses of Small Pearl and a few Small Heath squadrons leapt to the air in pursuit of the brightly coloured invader, seeing him off with constant ariel assaults. It was very spectacular indeed. The Dark Greens are very much larger than the Small Pearls...it is not often I have seen the two species side by side...excellent stuff.
Also at Gordon...well, Small Copper, Ringlet, Orange Tip, Green Veined White, and Small Heath mentioned. Not huge numbers of any.

In the afternoon I headed for Greenlaw Dean...the cursed Greenlaw Dean. I have not had a good day at Greenlaw Dean yet this year. Yesterday was no exception. Cloud cover by then and little or no butterflies at all. I swung up towards Halliburton following the Blackadder and had slightly more luck away from the huge flocks of sheep that were busy rendering the landscape to desert. The upper Blackadder was lush and green. Rockrose, Birds Foot, Heath Bedstraw and Tormentil everywhere. Small Heath, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Northern Brown Argus and Small Copper and a single Peacock. Huge numbers of moths...quite common ones, included Yellow Shell, Latticed Heath, Silver Ground Carpet, Chimney Sweepers, Common Carpet..and a few Shaded Broad Bar. Later I found a good number of Red Necked Footman on a forestry track.

The latest weather forecast suggests that it will rain for the next 40 days and 40 nights...that will make a nice change. :D

Iain.
Attachments
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Small Pearl pair at Gordon
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NBA on the Upper Blackadder
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Ringlet near Chirnside
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

Postby IAC » Wed 22 Jun 2011 16:53

Hi all,
Very unexpected respite from the soggy conditions today, with bright sunshine, and a brisk breeze. I set out this afternoon at haste for Pipers Knowe Quarry. Not bad totals with 26 Common Blue, 15 Ringlet, 4 Large Skipper, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Meadow Brown, and best of all 1 Small Skipper...my first of 2011!! I am very chuft...

Iain.
Attachments
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My first Small Skip of 2011
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Common Blue at Pipers Knowe
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

Postby IAC » Mon 27 Jun 2011 18:23

Hi all,
I am a little behind with my sightings from the past few days...so I am as far back now as the 24th June. On the 24th I went south of the border too Cheswick then on to Cocklawburn and finally Berwick upon Tweed following the coastline. The habitat of coastal dunes and grassland is very hard to find in Berwickshire, with the odd pocket around Coldingham and Pease Bay. From Cocklawburn too Cheswick their are fantastic examples of this habitat. Unfortunately the weather was fairly poor with quite a stiff North Easterly and cloud cover. Despite that, some species were seen including Small Heath, Common Blue, Meadow Brown and Ringlet. I am very sure on a better day that far more species are present here. Some excellent moths were spotted including Wood Tiger, Narrow Bordered Five Spot Burnet, Six Spot Burnet, Latticed Heath, Light Arches, Yellow Shell and a Drinker caterpillar. The floral display on the lime based dune sytem is very spectacular and will ,as with butterflies, reveal very good numbers of moth I suspect.
From Seahouse north too Berwick the dune system is replaced by a more familiar coastline of sharp rugged cliffs with good but steep grass slopes covered in Birds Foot Trefoil, Heather and Tormentil. Common Blue and Six Spot Burnet seemed to be everywhere. The cocoons of the Burnets attached to grass stems were quite a site..I did not count them as it would have been impossible...probably the most I have seen anywhere. Many flying Six Spots up to and over 100...and a single Narrow Bordered. The Common Blue as I said were many 50 + probably many hundreds...from the top of the grass slope to the sea..for about a good mile of cliff.
An excellent day had..a return trip guarenteed

Iain.
Attachments
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One of many Common Blue, this one near Redshin Cove.
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A Burnet cocoon, the caterpillar still visible.
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Wood Tiger on the dune grasslands
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2011

Postby IAC » Mon 27 Jun 2011 19:16

Butterfly Conservation Field Trip too Gordon Moss and surrounding area 25th June

This field trip was specifically to look at the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary colony on the fields bordering the moss. As with all field trips though, things are never as simple. You soon find that you are surrounded by just as tantalising distractions in such a place as this.
With 7 hardy individuals gathered and led by Barry Prater, and under traditionally gloomy skies, we set off into the moss itself. We had in our number excellent local knowledge provided by Ron McBeath and David Long. And they soon had us scouring among the Birch and Willow swamp looking for elusive plants such as Coralroot Orchid and Lesser Butterfly Orchid. After a little while we had given up hope of seeing the Coralroot...sadly. But all was not lost as Ron found a single Lesser Butterfly Orchid. It could easily be one of the best things I have seen in quite a while. It is not what you would expect to find in the heart of a dark and damp woodland.
On to the old railwayline that cuts through the moss the, sun shone, and Ringlets seemed to be everywhere, dancing and flapping happily above the wet grasses. We then approached the Hareford Burn that everyone crossed succesfully, thanks to Rons bridge building expertise. Then onto the fields themselves. It only took a few minutes to see the first of the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary and it was not long after that a good number had been sighted. They were extemely docile in the muggy, cloudy conditions..so everyone got very good views. Small Heath,Small Copper, Green Veined White and Meadow Brown also put in appearances. Moths were very good with Green Carpet, Clouded Border, Small Argent Sable...and later what we believe to be Emperor Moth, probably 2nd Instar caterpillars. Rons net was called on many an occasion to capture a flighty moth for id..alas most turned out to be Common Carpet. I quickly learned that the net is the way to go when trying to identify a lively moth...in the past I have used thee, chase it till it settles technique...which has many flaws and pitfalls as I have found out.
We 8 in total later in the day became 4. And we whiled away a few more hours on the wetter fields seeing Sundew and Bog Asphodel among other fascinating plants. The real eye opener though was an Adder we disturbed from the grass tussocks....this is the first I have ever seen.!!!! Quite a magnificent beast I am sure...but not one I would willingly seek out. That is why I suppose our paths have never crossed in the past.
Such a lot more was seen on Saturday and such a lot was learned. I am very used to being a lone butterfly hunter...and the group thing is at times strange...but nevertheless I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks to Barry Prater for hosting yet another great day were not only I, but all, learned something new about our local area.

Iain.
Attachments
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Small Pearls on Marsh Thistle.
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The Lesser Butterfly Orchid..quite a sight.
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The group find a Green Carpet.
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