Thursday, 26 July 2012

Big Butterfly Counting

Spent the last couple of days exploring sites old and new, the focus being Butterflies but at Strumpshaw yesterday I managed to get myself involved in adding a few birds to the BioBlitz list for the week!
Ben had emailed me to let me know the Moth trap would be emptied for the public in the morning, so along with a small group I watched in eager anticipation. Many new Moths for me, including Eyed Hawkmoth, Early Thorn, Rosy Footman, Fen Wainscott, Rufous Minor and a Double Kidney; this one had the enthusiasts excited. After the 2 traps were emptied, I stuck around to join in a bird race for an hour. Two fly-by species from earlier (Siskin and Green Sandpiper) could not go on our list, but we did happen across a family of Spotted Flycatcher! New for the week, not seen since Spring. We also managed Hobby, Common Tern, Stock Dove and a juvenile Water Rail. 51 species in total, thanks in no small part to 3 young budding ornithologists who were on the team. As luck would have it, FirstreesJohn was out and about on the reserve, nice to meet the man himself.
That afternoon I conducted a 15 minute BB count on the patch (since there was bugger all else about).
2 Gatekeeper
2 Comma
White sp 7
Meadow Brown 1
Ringlet 1

Not bad, but I had hoped for more considering the blazing heat.
Anyway, a few pictures from yesterday.
 A very content Oak Egger
Eyed Hawkmoth 'warming up'.

Today, I tried out a recommended 'obscure' site near Poringland. I was greeted by purring Turtle Dove and screaming swifts, lovely start. I was quickly aware that this place was a hive of activity and began another BB count.
8 Meadow Brown
3 Gatekeeper
4 Ringlet
2 Comma
1 Small White
2 Large White
2 Large Skipper
1 Essex Skipper

That's more like it! I also saw at least three 6 spot Burnet Moths, a sure fire indicator of a healthy ecosystem.
Some pictures now follow, plus one Butterfly that I am yet to ID. Any comments here appreciated.

6 Spot Burnet Moth
            Unknown? (Appears to be a Meadow Brown not showing off its fore-wing, thanks for that Kieran).

                                                                 Essex Skipper, I think.

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