Thursday, 4 September 2014

A Rare Brown Hairstreak Butterfly Appears, And An Adonis Blue At Last....

Thanks for all your input following yesterday's Paint Post. I went out and bought some shades in pink/ peach/ lilac and apricot today and have painted strips of those on the walls for comparison. I like the idea of using two colours so will experiment with that. It's got to be done this weekend so no pressure!

Dave and I had an enjoyable couple of hours up on Broughton Down looking for flutters. It is a standing joke between us this summer that I have yet to see an Adonis Blue and to photograph one, as well as a Clouded Yellow and a Silver Spotted Skipper, whereas he has bagged all three.

I have learnt with wildlife that some things are worth waiting for and so it proved with the Adonis. We had walked some distance round the hill and were making our way up the old Celtic Embankment when I spotted a small faded brown butterfly low on the ground.....


She allowed me to pick her up....


Dave got out his Trusty Bins to check the pattern of the wing spots and......pronounced that she was an Adonis! So, my first ever one was a female and they are harder to find than the boys. Double Chuffed.


We walked on and I found these people, who were everywhere.....

Common Green Grasshopper

Striped-wing grasshopper

 
Bush Cricket (I think)
At the top of the hill is this magnificent beech. A King Tree if ever I saw one.....


We saw a few Speckled Woods basking on leaves. I always think of these as Autumn Butterflies.....


Mushies are starting to come out....


And Hips and Haws are in evidence on the trees.....


We walked over the top of the Down and suddenly, there they were.

Adonis Plural.

At least three different males. Are they not the most amazing colour you've ever seen?







As well as the extraordinarily bright turquoise, they can be distinguished from the more ubiquitous Common Blue (which can also be very bright when newly emerged, although not as turquoise as the Adonis) by the black lines that cross over into the white edging around the wing margins.

I was made up to see them and felt that getting a pic of a Clouded Yellow and a Silver Spotted Skipper would be greedy after that. As it happened, we didn't see any anyway. There were some Common Blues about as well, but mostly faded. The one below is a Common Blue Female. We also saw some Brown Argus, who seem to be having a good year.
 

Here's the Adonis on the floor in front of Dave taking a pic of it. They're not as small as the Brown Argus, but even so you can see they are not massive,.....


The sun wasn't really playing ball and the wind was stirring, so we decided we'd head back to the car. And on the way, I spotted this sitting on the ground.......We went over to investigate and it flew up into a nearby tree......


We were both puzzled for a few minutes until we got a closer look. I knew it wasn't anything I'd seen before and it was Dave who recognised it as a Brown Hairstreak, one of the Uk's rarest butterlies. It is only found in a handful of sites, mostly in the Southern UK, although there is also a breeding colony in the Burren in Ireland. Hedgerow loss is largely blamed for it's decline and it is listed as a Priority BAP Species (Biodiversity Action Plan) as a consequence. It is also on the GB Red List as vulnerable.

As with Emperors, the Brown Hairstreak is an elusive flutter- males spend most of their time at the top of the canopy, but when they do descend to the ground they are described as 'tame and approachable' in my butterfly book. This was one....

Dave and I had planned to travel to one of the sites about an hour from here that is known to have a colony a few weeks ago, but various things intervened and we didn't make it in the end, so it was very special to find it just sitting on the path in front of us. 

This is a faded one as they usually have bright orange wing tips and it's a male. You can see the streaks on the lower wing that give it its name. All hairstreaks have beautiful 'tails' at the base of the lower wing: it's missing on this one because he has seen better days.....

Once again I was very lucky- as with the beautiful Purple Emperor earlier in the summer, this lovely Hairstreak allowed me to pick him up and he sat on my finger for ages while we got our record shots before gliding off into a nearby tree....Magic.





I will record the sighting with Butterfly Conservation. 

I drove home really chuffed to have seen the stunning Adonis at long last, as well as the totally unexpected blessing of the Hairstreak.

I'll leave you with some pics of Poppy, who is completely ignoring the vet's advice.....










Wishing you all a peaceful evening.

CT :-)

27 comments:

  1. The Adonis is stunning. Nature really knocks you out doesn't it. I love Poppy.
    Leanne xx

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    1. It really does. I know I am easily pleased when it comes to wildlife, but those two butterflies today really were special. xx

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  2. I have yet to meet a dog who listens to their vet......naughty puppies x

    Fab pics as always, I love the tree and in the words of the kids "It's totally awesome" x

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    1. Naughty indeed. She's been a total scamp today. The Down is a great place full of beauty xx

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  3. I wondered what the secret was to taking pics of flutters, as when I get near enough they fly away, then I saw the camera, of course I don't have a powerful zoom, that's the problem.
    Love the pics of Poppy.
    Briony
    x

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    1. I don't have a powerful zoom on mine either- I have to crawl slowly towards them on my knees and hope they'll let me get so close I'm nearly touching them with the lens!
      Pop loves that ball- she spends hours chucking it about in the garden while Ted looks on nonplussed as he's not a ball person at all! xx

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  4. What great butterfly finds :) That cricket is a female dark bush cricket. I found lots of those a couple of weeks ago further south, we don't have them up here.

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    1. Thanks Lou- great to have confirmation, as I am a bit ropey when it comes to crickets and hoppers! :-)

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  5. That butterfly could prevent the by-pass from cutting Davis and Ruth's farm in two.

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  6. Wonderful photos, you've inspired me! Congrats on spotting the butterflies, it must have been magical.
    I wondered if you take your dogs with you when you go butterfly spotting? I have two (larger) dogs, and a 6 year old boy, and I find it near impossible to seek out wildlife!

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    1. I usually leave the hounds at home for serious wildlife outings- for reasons you will appreciate as a fellow hound-parent. Our children are all teenagers now, so mostly consider the thought of flutter hunting entirely beneath them, and M is not massively interested, so I tend to go by myself or with Dave who is a font of knowledge about them. Good luck with your hunt- I tried to have a read of your blog but it had vanished? Thanks v much for the comment, Sara :-)

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    2. Thanks for replying! I guess I'll have to leave the girls at home and pretend that I don't see their guilt-inducing expressions!
      I've been tweaking my blog, it should be viewable now but I haven't written a post for a month!

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    3. I walk mine first thing, then they are (hopefully) both knackered when I pick the keys up to go out again and usually would rather stay in their beds. Oh, the lengths we have to go to! x

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  7. Beautiful photos, you forget how small some of the butterflies are, especially the blue one you have photographed.The tree looks fab..good luck with the decorating...
    Amanda xx

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    1. They can be really tiny. I guess close-up photography gives no sense of scale. Fantastic day out yesterday- hope being back at work is going OK? Bet you're looking forward to the weekend! x

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  8. The adonis is stunning, I learn so much from your posts. I wouldn't have given the Brown Hairstreak a second glance

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    1. I know what you mean- sometimes rare things don't look like rare things! Glad you enjoyed and hope you're feeling better today x

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  9. The roots on that beech tree are amazing. Poppy might be ignoring advice, but she is certainly so very full of joy, she has to bring light and life wherever she goes!!! xx

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    1. She is a ray of sunshine. Although yesterday she was being a pain in the a**e because her energy levels seem to have hit a new all-time high. Ted and I were frazzled by evening as a result! Love her though and wouldn't have her any other way x

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  10. Oh wow, you have become the Butterfly Whisperer! Now two different butterflies on your finger is just plain greedy! Congrats on the Hairstreak and Adonis Blue. I haven't seen either of them. Love the pink grasshopper too! :-)

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    1. Pretty good huh? Have since heard it's the first confirmed record of a Brown HS for this area of Hants, so I'm thrilled :-)

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    2. Wow, you are one prolific blogger, photographer and walker! Isn't that tree a stunner, trees like that bring out my inner hippy and tree-hugger. Good luck with the decorating, we are up to similar work ourselves this weekend. Have a great weekend!
      Shauna.x

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    3. How fantastic to have seen all these wonderful butterflies. I would not have had a clue what they were, but your descriptions help me to sort out the common markings from the special markings.
      As for Poppy....who ever takes the vets/doctors advice anyway?

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    4. Shauna- my blog posts may drop off a bit from the end of Sept as I'm back at college then and brain-power is needed elsewhere! I loved the Beech too- a real stunner. Have a lovely weekend - let me know how the decorating goes! xx

      Suze- I am getting better at flutter ids having spent the summer studying them. Am so pleased you find the blog useful- sometimes I get more from blogs in terms of working out what things are than I do the ID books. Pop has spent the morning trying to eat the Red-Legged Shield bugs I took out of the moth box and returned to the garden. I don't think they taste very nice but she is determined! Naughty, naughty, naughty.... :-)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x