Sunday, 15 July 2018

Small Tortoiseshell.

Over the last four years my transect walks through the woodland glades on Ashtead Common have produced sightings of 24 different species BUT one butterfly that I have so far failed to record is the Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae).

Fortunately I had the opportunity to photograph one individual during a visit to Clandon Wood Burial Reserve at the end of June.


It spent ages with its wings closed so I had to be patient and wait for those fabulous colours to reappear.



Saturday, 14 July 2018

Transect Update for Weeks 14 and 15.

My butterfly transect walk for week 14 was undertaken with temperatures around 25 deg.C and just before a short camping holiday in Kent when it soared well above 30 deg.C. On my walk last Monday (Week 15) the temperature was a more comfortable 23 deg.C.

Week 14 produced the highest count of 11 Large Skipper (above) so far this year.


Whilst I logged sightings of 9 Small/Essex Skippers I was only able to clearly identify 4 individuals as Essex Skippers (above).

As expected the most prominent species seen were Ringlets (above) with a total of 171 recorded over the two visits and Week 15 saw the emergence of the Gatekeepers (below). 


I recorded Large, Small and Green-veined Whites on both walks with the former producing 14 sightings and was also the only species that stopped long enough to be captured by the lens.

Large White.

I also recorded my highest count of 26 Purple Hairstreaks in Week 14 and the highest overall annual total so far of 39 easily exceeding any of the previous three years records. The White Admiral tally for this season stands at 40 to date and is double the sightings recorded over the last four years, 


Conversely sightings of Silver-washed Fritillary has so far been much lower than last year.

Three new species for this season were seen in the last two weeks:

Holly Blue.

Peacock.

A female Brown Argus. This is only the second time in four years that I have recorded this species on the transect.

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Friday, 29 June 2018

Transect Update - Week 13.

Once again I chose Sunday 24th to undertake my 'Week 13' transect walk on Ashtead Common under a cloudless sky and a temperature of around 24 deg. C so I was thankful for the overhead green canopy providing some respite from the sun.

On the quarter mile walk to the start of the transect I always stop at a sunny open spot where there is an area of brambles and this often provides an indication of what I may record on the actual transect.


On this occasion there were several Meadow Browns, Ringlet, Large Skippers and a single Marbled White (left) made a brief nectar stop. Unfortunately no Marbled Whites turned up during my timed walk. 

One of the resident Common Buzzards made a fly past as I started my timed walk.


Section 1 produced three new species for this year. First was the Ringlet (above) and ultimately I saw them in all 8 sections recording a total of 58 individuals. Next was a single Purple Hairstreak flying up through one of the oaks.

At the beginning of Section 3 I found another Purple Hairstreak settled on the bracken and when it turned around I noticed a black addition (see below) to the centre of its underwing. I am guessing this may be some form of tick that has attached itself. Sections 4 and 8 also produced single sightings of this species.


The third new addition seen in Sections 1 and 3 was the Silver-washed Fritillary and I logged a total of just four males with only one stopping long enough for a photo call.

As expected the most prominent species was the Meadow Brown again recorded in all sections of the transect with a total of 73 logged.

White Admiral (above) turned up in 5 out of 8 sections with a total of 10 recorded during my walk. With a cumulative count of 27 individuals on my last two walks makes 2018 the best year for this species.

Finally the walk produced sightings of 10 species including Small/Essex Skippers, Large Skipper, Large White and Green-veined White with an overall total of 166 individual butterflies recorded.

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