Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

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Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

Postby IAC » Wed 03 Jun 2009 16:53

Hi all,
I was off too the coast at Partanhall and Burnmouth again on June 1st, a real flaming June day , again...a great butterfly day. The northern Brown Argus now expanding up the cliffs above Burnmouth tumbling and dogfighting with Painted Lady and Small Copper. Large Whites and Green veined White stopping too nectar and the odd fleeting Wall Brown on the upper reaches...wont be long before they are joined by Grayling and possibly the first few Small Tortoiseshell.
Further down the coast Small Heath were in abundance, peaking now I would think....50+ seemed too be everywhere by mid day. Small Blue were again in huge numbers, I counted 30-40 before deciding just too sit back and marvel at the spectacle.
Painted Lady were very frequent firing around the headland at breakneck pace, and Small Copper guarding territories on the grassy slopes.On my way back from the clifftops, 1 Wall Brown twisting and turning trying too shake a squadron of Small Heath, hellbent on pursuit. I have never had days like this since 2006....so that makes it extra special.

A strange discovery I made on Tuesday of a rogue Northern Brown Argus on the Chirnside- Reston disused railwayline was a first for my patch...not only that , it turned out too be a 4 spotter....thanks too Richard Buckland who described it correctly as ab. quadripuncta.....I have never seen this before, but then , I only have a few years experience with butterflies...and I am learning too expect the unexpected. On Tuesday also observed 2 Peacock in reasonable condition and 1 very battered Small Tortoiseshell...a few Painted Lady, very worn.....Large white and GVW and Small White and Orange Tip....1 Small Copper and a mystery butterfly I had down as a Wall Brown....but I cant be sure. So lots too see and plenty still too come .

Cheers IAC.
Attachments
IMG_0001_5.jpg
Small Blue on Kidney vetch
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Northern Brown Argus. ab. quadripuncta
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Small Heath on the Berwickshire coast
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

Postby IAC » Tue 09 Jun 2009 19:03

Hi all,
A recent visit too Pipers Knowe in east Berwickshire on the 6th produced my first good sightings of Common Blue of the year. I would think around 12 males and very fresh. Also some Small Copper 6-8, and Large White 4-6....Small White 6-8 and 1 male Orange Tip, the OTs have had one very long season. No GVW sightings...they have gone too ground, momentarily. Painted Lady very common, 30 odd. Painted Lady seem to be following the old routine...every 50 yards and territorial at thistle stands. No significant sightings of Red Admiral this year....only 2 so far.

Cheers IAC.
Attachments
IMG_0001_7.jpg
Up close...One of many Painted Lady.
IMG_0001_8.jpg
Territorial Small Copper at Pipers Knowe.
IMG_0001_6.jpg
Common Blue, at Pipers Knowe.
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

Postby IAC » Tue 09 Jun 2009 19:14

Hi all,
Burnmouth on Sunday...a real struggle to find anything, 1 Painted Lady and 1 Large White. 6 Northern Brown Argus flying only briefly in a momentary glimspe of sunshine...I was able though to get some more photos of these tenacious littla characters. Managed to find a very heavily marked upperwing more akin to the Brown Argus, also sporting the 4 spot quadripuncta ab...see photo.

Cheers IAC.
Attachments
IMG_0001_5.jpg
Northern Brown Argus awaiting the sun.
IMG_0001_3.jpg
Male and female NBA. Partanhall
IMG_0001_4.jpg
quadripuncta.heavy upperwing markings.
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

Postby scottshanks01 » Thu 11 Jun 2009 14:21

On the 2nd of June I set off to the East coast from a warm and sunny Glasgow (24oC) to hunt for Small Blues and Northern Brown Argus at Burnmouth. I was hoping to record the density of flowering kidney vetch at a site supporting good numbers of small blues. Passing Edinburgh, the sky was increasingly overcast and the temperature had dropped down to 12oC! It wasn't looking hopeful.

As I parked at the side of Burnmouth harbour, the sky was still overcast, but not too windy, so with fingers crossed and my GPS to record any sightings, binoculars and my camera I made my way along the cliff face/shore line to the North. There were plenty of patches of kidney vetch, but unfortunately no small blues, however I did see 7 Painted ladies, 3 Wall and 1 small heath as I walked/scrambled towards Breeches Rock. As the wind had started to pick up and with the sky darkening I decided to turn back, stopping and inspecting areas with kindey vetch, but still no small blues.
Then just before arriving back in the harbour I spotted something small and dark flutter from a patch of kidney vetch to another slightly further up the slope. Grinning like an idiot I quickly got my binoculars out hoping for a small blue, only to find it was a Northern Brown Argus, my first of the year, but still a wee bit of a disapointment.
NBA on kidney vetch.jpg
Northern Brown Argus on Kidney vetch

NBA.jpg
NBA, Burnnouth 2nd June 2009

Rocks north of Burnmouth.jpg
Rocks North of Burnmouth. Breeches Rock?


A local walking her dog warned me not to go walking along the cliffs to the south of the harbour, so maybe I missed the best bit?
Scott Shanks
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

Postby IAC » Sun 14 Jun 2009 08:43

Hi all,
At Pipers Knowe on the 11th. Weather was cool for June,no more than 12-13oC..my quest was too find Large Skipper...but I had no luck. Only 5-6 Common Blue and a few Small Copper and a Painted Lady. 1 female Common Blue laying on Black Medick, first of the year..a few weeks time there will be masses of Ringlet and Meadow Brown here.
Attachments
IMG_0001_13.jpg
Common Blue female looking for foodplant.
IMG_0001_12.jpg
Common Blue at Pipers Knowe
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

Postby IAC » Sun 14 Jun 2009 08:58

Hi all,
I took a trip to a sight I have never visited before on the 12th at Greenlaw Dean in search of Northern Brown Argus.
Weather was warm and sunny so I at least was hopeful of seeing something if not NBA. The area is a deep river valley, steep slopes, matted in Rockrose and Tormentil...after a slow start I eventually found one or two fresh NBA...then a few more and a few more. In a timed count I managed 28...but this site could hold more. There were many other attractions such as 50+ Small Heath, many Small Copper territories and a good few Painted Lady nectaring on Thyme along the higher slopes, a few Common Blue and 1 Peacock,a few whites and a single Meadow Brown chased from the grass. Also managed to see my first Humming-bird Hawkmoth of the year and a Mother Shipton....a great sight...I will be back.

Cheers IAC.
Attachments
IMG_0001.jpg
A fresh and new Common Blue.
IMG_0001_6.jpg
NBA on patrol at Greenlaw Dean.
IMG_0001_1.jpg
Hummingbird Hawk on the slopes.
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

Postby IAC » Sun 14 Jun 2009 09:25

Hi all,
Yesterday...at the last minute decided to make a dash for Gordon Moss reserve, hoping to dodge those heavy thundery downpours. the encroaching cloud did not bode well, however after a few hours it cleared to blistering June sunshine. I was in search of a mythical beast thought long ago to have ceased its existance among the Birch and Mosquito infested jungle of the Moss. The Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, hardly the beast of Bodmin...but probably as elusive. After blunting the machete and seeing the last of the bag handlers escape back to were we had come...I ventured on...determined. And finally in a clearing by the woodland edge a first sighting...only briefly...and hoping that it was not a Comma. I waited for the sun to escape the cloud cover...and ..yesssss.....Small Pearl Bordered it was...amazing...eventually saw 8-10..nectaring on Bugle a great sight...an unbelievable sight...I am jumping through hoops to have seen them. Some of these guys were quite fresh, maybe a few weeks ware in others.The real challenge will be to find other sites nearby....to be continued.
Also here Small Copper 6-8 and Small Heath again 50+....they are very numerous this year. Some Orange Tip and GVW and a Peacock and Painted Lady.

Cheers IAC.
Attachments
IMG_0001_11.jpg
SPBF worshipping the sun.
IMG_0001_9.jpg
SPBF resting on the Moss edge.
IMG_0001_10.jpg
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary.
IAC
 
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

Postby IAC » Sun 21 Jun 2009 21:52

Hi all,
A late start today at Pipers Knowe Chirnside today, did not expect such a good day weatherwise, so it was well into the afternoon when I arrived. My goal was to track down my first Large Skipper of the year...and I can tell you now that I failed...however, all was not lost...Painted Lady were out in numbers, maybe 20 or so nectaring on Clover..I have a feeling though that 2006 was a stronger year for theses guys in this area. A big surprise today was a next gen Small Tortoiseshell..a beauty...word from down south is that they are numerous, which is for now good news....what with the parasite problem and all. Also a few last gen Small Torts..and a last gen Peacock, still in prime condition despite everything. Small White and a GVW looked very fresh...I am wondering if these guys are also newbies... A few Large White in good condition...and 1 male and 1 female Orange Tip....a very prolonged year this year. I am thinking that Orange Tip are not doing so well after last springs fits and starts....this year they may redress the balance, but there seems to be a very large stagger in emergence developed....First male seen locally first few days in April....just have to wait and see. The Meadow Brown have begun to make a strong showing, around 20 today....I do expect hundreds soon. Also Ringlets, a little slow...maybe 5-6 today....again expecting hundreds in the quarry soon. Common Blue are still doing well at Pipers Knowe....lots of females and so the males now have something to do other than chase there own shadows...about 20 today. Female colours from brown to blue, very good variations. Small Copper still defending territories, but they are now just a wee bit threadbare.

Cheers IAC.
Attachments
IMG_0001_5.jpg
Orange Tips still at it in late June at Pipers Knowe.
IMG_0001_2.jpg
The next generation of Common Blues assured.
IMG_0001.jpg
A spectacular Common Blue female at Pipers Knowe.
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

Postby IAC » Fri 26 Jun 2009 10:29

Hi all,
On the 24th I visited Lamberton Moor and the coast at Lamberton down to Burnmouth. A fairly warm day so I was hoping to see a good number of Butterflies. It was a slow start only seeing 1 Painted Lady on my trek up to the moor, then a single Meadow Brown, and on the moor itself a single Small Heath....so I decided to have an early lunch and let it warm up a bit. I eventually found a dip in the moor with a few butterflies Common Blue, Painted Lady, Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Small Heath and Ringlet..my spirits lifted I carried on coast bound, over the A1 at Lamberton and along the Coastal Path North to Burnmouth.
On arriving at the coast I was immediatley confronted by Common Blue and Small Heath, and venturing further I found more and a few Meadow Brown...the Common Blue were very numerous the further up the coast I ventured, Small Heath just past there peak were also in good numbers. A number of Ringlet could be seen in the grasses not realy anywhere near there full potential. I sat for a while watching Common Blue chasing each other about, when suddenly a larger butterfly flew in from the railwayline and landed a few metres away...Grayling...superb !!..
On the scree slopes I looked for remnants of this years Small Blue, and yes they were still around...about 20+..very worn, could not find one intact specimen among them. Again Common Blue and Small Heath abound.
Finally headed for Burnmouth at Partanhall to see the Northern Brown Argus, they were very busy chasing Meadow Brown mob handed...then a Ringlet and a Painted Lady...finally chasing a Grayling from cover. In all maybe 30+ NBA some fresh looking others worn. A Large White and a few Green veined White and Small White were some of the last species I saw.

Cheers IAC.
Attachments
IMG_0001_1.jpg
Grayling on the Partanhall Scree slopes.
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Re: Berwickshire Sightings June 2009

Postby IAC » Fri 26 Jun 2009 12:33

Hi all,
A return to Greenlaw Dean on the 25th June looking for Dark Green Fritillary. I was very hopeful as I heard reports that they had been seen the day before locally.
Typically a slow start...seeing 1 Painted Lady as is now seemingly traditional....2 hours trekking towards the Fangrist through flower rich grassland rides....nothing !! A brisk easterly was cutting over the hill laying every flying creature to ground. Finally on approaching the Fangrist burn..I saw some Rockrose and thought surely there would be some NBA at least...and yes there was..1-2. After breaking the duck, Small Heath and Meadow Brown put in appearances, Ringlet and Green Veined White....then Common Blue and more Painted Lady. Finding a sheltered area in the Upper Blackadder there were good numbers of butterfly among them now a few Small Copper and 1 Large White.
But it was much later that the Dark Green Fritillary were eventually seen...downriver on the Blackadder gorge slopes which were beautifully adorned with Rockrose, Birds Foot Trefoil, Hawkweed,Tormentil and Red Clover..flying at pace stopping briefly to refuel on Red Clover and away....I climbed the steep gorge so that I could get an overview, as at ground level they were near impossible to see....What an incredible sight not only Dark Green Fritillary but many Common Blue and Small Heath interspersed with Northern Brown Argus and Ringlet..Meadow Brown dancing over the grass heads and Painted Lady on the Thyme....Swifts and House Martins skating over the high slopes scooping up the masses of insects on the bankings...and an Incredible Common Hawker Dragon quartering the upper reaches outmanouvering everything. The grasses were full of Marsh and Field Grasshoppers, Large Red, Azure and Common Damsels...and a rise of Chimney Sweeper moths as the light faded to a haze...A Small Tortoiseshell sunning itself on the upper slopes, Small White along the riverbank and masses of Yellow Shell and Latticed Heath, good numbers of Six Spot Burnet drifting too and fro along the grassy bank and a pair of Whinchats ...were other highlights of an incredible day...probably the best butterfly sight I have visited....I even managed to photograph the Dark Green Fritillary mating....about the only time they ever stop for more than a few seconds I would think.

Cheers IAC.
Attachments
IMG_0001_2.jpg
Tounge tied a Common Blue newly emerged on the Blackadder banks.
IMG_0001_1.jpg
Meadow Brown resting on the slopes.
IMG_0001.jpg
Dark Green Fritillary at Greenlaw Dean
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