Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Butterflies and more from Cranford CP

I had a very productive count on my UKBMS butterfly transect today - a total of 234 butterflies of 14 species during a 90 minute route walk - full tally count below
 
Small Skipper x 6
Essex Skipper x 2
Large Skipper x 3
Large White x 61
Small White x 17
Small Copper x 10
Common Blue x 6
Holly Blue x 4
Red Admiral x 6
Comma x 2
Speckled Wood x 13
Gatekeeper x 70
Meadow Brown x 34
and my shock find of the day - Purple Hairstreak x 1
 
The Purple Hairstreak was totally unexpected and a first for me at Cranford CP - normally these unassuming small butterflies are found high up in oak trees but this one was in the grass by some buddleia and by the time I had registered what it was the little beauty had flown along with any photo opportunity I nearly had
 
For the last two years I've seen White-letter Hairstreaks but up until today I haven't seen any at Cranford Park this season
 
Stand by for an overload of butterfly photos
 
Large White

Large White

Large White
 
Red Admiral

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood
 
Speckled Wood
 
Comma
 
Small Skipper

Small Skipper

Essex Skipper

Essex Skipper

Essex Skipper
 
Small Copper

Small Copper

tatty Small Copper

Small Coppers

Small Coppers

Small Coppers
 
Holly Blue

Holly Blue

Common Blue - male

Common Blue - male

Common Blue

Common Blue

Common Blue - female

Common Blue - female

Common Blue - male

Common Blue - male
 
Gatekeeper - female

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper - male
 An added bonus was a solo sighting of a Six-spot Burnet
 
 
Before the heat got too much there was quite a bit of hover activity - my four below have had ids confirmed by Roger Morris and Graham Watkeys
 
These images just goes to show how varied the hoverfly species are

Volucella pellucens

Myathropa florea

Eristalis pertinax

Sphaerophoria scripta
 Another added critter bonus was this beautiful female Flower Beetle
 
 
There's a new strip of meadow flowers just before the car park - now it is in full bloom it is attracting a wide variety of insects
 




 
I didn't expect to see much in the way of birds today - most will be going through their moult or busy bringing up second broods
 
I heard the Kingfisher by the river calling twice but didn't spot it
 
Despite loitering by the oaks for a while I neither heard nor saw any Little Owls
 
There are still at least one pair of Skylarks nesting by the cattle enclosure
 
But the biggest surprise for me is that there are no signs of any juvenile Kestrels yet - In 2016 and 2017 I saw juveniles in the second week of July but not this year - I did catch a brief glimpse of the adult male today but that was all - hopefully they are just a little late this year and I'll have another recee next week
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, 15 July 2018

It was all about the Six-spot Burnets at Rhyl today

I'm spending a couple of days with my family in Rhyl and usually I would spend an hour or so down the beach taking photos of any waders around the rock pools but today when I went for my walk the tide was in and there weren't any birds to see
 
But I wasn't disappointed as the warm weather and blue skies meant there were plenty of insects to observe and photograph
 
First up are the butterflies - ids under each one
 
Small Copper

Small Copper

Gatekeepers

Gatekeeper

Grayling

Grayling

Common Blue
Other critters included plenty of these Soldier Beetles
 
 
and as to expected in July plenty of Cinnabar moth caterpillars


 
 But the most prolific little critter seen today were the hundreds - and I mean hundreds - of Six-spot Burnet moths
 
Theses striking looking day flying moths are similar in appearance to the Cinnabar moths but Burnets have just spots on their wings where as Cinnabars have a red strip along with a few spots on their wings
 



 


 
There is also a species called Five-spot Burnet but sometimes the distinguishing spots can merge together which makes a true id near on impossible - it also doesn't help that some Six-spots have very faded almost yellow spots
 
From Splash Point in Rhyl walking along the Prom to Prestatyn Ffrith beach there is a chain link fence along the golf course - and all along that fence I found loads of Six-spot Burnet pupa cases
 
 
but as I looked closer I realised some were actually emerging





 
This is a first for me and I lost all track of time taking loads of photos of this incredible spectacle
 
One such pupa case was attracting a pair of moths who seemed intent on mating - I'm still not 100% sure if this was a male hanging around a newly emerged female or whether these two just happened to want to mate around an un-emerged pupa but either way it made for some fascinating observation
 

 


 
Not quite my usual blog from when I'm in Rhyl but a very different one focusing on something that the majority of people were walking past without realising