Friday, 26 June 2015

Friday Flutters - Transect Update.

Speckled Wood.
Throughout the first nine weeks (mid April to mid May) of recording butterfly sightings during my fixed transect walks on Ashtead Common N.N.R. this northern part of the ancient oak woodland had produced just ten different species with the most abundant being Brimstone (14) and Speckled Wood (21).

On many visits the total number of species logged were in low single figures mainly due to the lower temperatures and gusty winds.  Fortunately there were other distractions such as watching and listening to singing Chiffchaff, Wren, Blackcap and Garden Warblers.



During these periods of flutter inactivity I gathered a few images of some of the wild flowers encountered along my route including Garlic Mustard, Hawthorn, Stitchwort, Speedwell and Primrose.


My walk earlier this week was again under a grey sky with the sun almost permanently obscured but the species and numbers logged contrasted dramatically to all my previous visits.

My first sighting in a small sunlit clearing was a resting male Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus).


 



Apart from a couple of flying Speckled Wood I didn't spot anything else throughout the first three heavily shaded sections of the transect. As I entered one of the the main open wooded pasture glades I spotted a distant flying Meadow Brown but got briefly distracted by this Scorpion Fly (Panorpa communis).  

Walking across the open grassy glade towards the King Oak produced 17 Meadow Browns (Maniola jurina) and several more were logged in two subsequent sections.


 


While stepping gingerly through the ferns to photograph the Meadow Browns I spotted a Ladybird and took a quick record shot without paying much attention to its probable identity but later realised that it was one of the European invaders, a Harlequin (Harmonia axyridis).

The other Skipper species logged that was relatively easy to identify by the long thin curved sex brand was a number of Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris).





The Small (T. sylvestris) and Essex (T. lineola) Skippers are often encountered in the same grassland habitat and notoriously difficult to distinguish between unless you can confirm the underside colour of the antenna-tip so I'll reserve judgement on this final image (below).



The final tally for this walk was 31 butterflies but only four species. Hopefully the coming weeks will produce some more interesting sightings.  FAB.

For some views of 'Sunbathing Reptiles' check out my most recent post on FABirding.

Linking to Saturday's Critters, Macro Monday 2 and Nature Notes.

22 comments:

  1. love the skippers and always enjoy the speckled wood.

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  2. What wonderful detail of the butterflies, Frank, absolutely amazing as they are so small, let's hope the hot weather promised will give you even more chances to share your pictures, Kate

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  3. Very pretty shots. That invader lady bug is pretty, too, but I guess not good to have around?

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  4. Exquisite shots. Love the details of the butterflies.

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  5. Lovely photos of the butterflies and I really enjoyed the ladybird.

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  6. Wild flowers and buterflies. Nothing better Frank. Great imaes. Have a lovely weekend.

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  7. Wonderful flutter images. The flowers are gorgeous too. I love the cute ladybug. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

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  8. Fantastic photos and the added joy of the ladybug.

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  9. Those little skippers are a challenge to photograph, then again, a lot of critters are ;)

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  10. Those wildflowers are adorable. Great shots of the butterflies and insects. Have a great day!

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  11. I am a big fan of the Skippers and have been out and about today, but with mainly Speckled Woods to show for my efforts. Great pictures as always.

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  12. You never disappoint us Frank, stunning entries, love those butterflies!

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  13. Nice collection!
    Have a great Sunday!

    xoxo, Juliana | PJ’ Happies :)

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  14. Beautiful butterfly, skipper (and ladybug) shots! Love the wildflowers also. Very nice!

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  15. Great shots Frank,let's hope a few more come out to play with the expected heatwave next week.

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  16. Beautiful captures! I love the butterflies and the flowers.

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  17. What a lovely place. Your photos are just awesome to see. I don't get to see a variety of butterflies here in New Zealand.

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  18. I agree, you always have a wonderful nature post. I am concerned as I am not seeing many butterflies. I knew that seeing a monarch might be a challenge, but I am not seeing anything, none at all except for some small skippers which I then try to identify..... Michelle

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I hope you enjoyed your visit and I always appreciate your comments and feedback.

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