Scottish Borders Sightings April 2015

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Scottish Borders Sightings April 2015

Postby IAC » Wed 20 Apr 2016 21:12

Hi all, A very busy few days with this weather window opening up. I was quietly confident I could find a few White Butterflies. As it has turned out I have been right royally trumped with Orange Tip and Speckled Wood being found in the Lothians...grrrrrrr....ah well....I did find a Small White yesterday morning along with 20+ Peacock, 5 Comma and just 3 Small Tortoiseshell from Hutton Bridge to Chirnside on the Whiteadder. Ian Campbell kept me up to date of a Green-veined White flying at Partanhall yesterday morning....and I matched that in the afternoon with just the one very fresh little male GVW fluttering along a field edge of Mustard. So, initially I was over the moon....until I learned later that I had not been looking hard enough. :(

On Monday at Partanhall Burnmouth there were 11 Peacock and few Small Tortoiseshell.

So. today, could I match the triumphant discoveries of the Lothians....nope. :roll: Not for the want of trying I might add. I kicked off about 9.30am and headed for the Border at Starch House near Foulden and traveled on foot from there south along the Border line and then west towards Edrington Castle Mill on the Whiteadder banks. Not a lot stirring perhaps a half dozen Peacock only, so I pushed on through Speckled Wood country on the Paxton side....mmmmm nothing. So a change of venue shooting through Paxton and down to the Tweed at Paxton House. This site has a little towpath that follows the Tweed towards the border and can be reliable for early Orange Tip....nope....A few Small White, a Green Veined White, plenty of Peacock a few Small Tortoiseshell and a few Comma...but no target species seen. With time now running short I decided to back track to Paxton and then Edrington Mill again. No luck all round....however, I did find this deep and wide south facing ditch chock full of Ramsons, and defending this ditch was a Comma....so 2 hours passed as I watched several Peacock, a rival Comma, the odd Tortoiseshell intruder and 3 Green Veined White....running the gauntlet. I ended up fairly happy with my lot......tomorrow it is for Orange Tip and Speckles.....mmmmmm :?


Iain.
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings April 2015

Postby NickMorgan » Wed 20 Apr 2016 23:51

Iain,
A pretty good haul of butterflies there, though.
What you need is an army of helpers like we have here in EL. I haven't seen any whites yet. It is frustrating being stuck in the office when the sun is shining outside. I should be out working with volunteers tomorrow, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings April 2015

Postby IAC » Fri 22 Apr 2016 21:33

NickMorgan wrote:A pretty good haul of butterflies there, though.
Yes, I know Nick, I am privileged enough to have the free time at this time of year and I still moan :D

Hi all.
A good day yesterday on my local patch with a ton of Peacock and much higher numbers of Small T Shell. Comma were fleeting and most turned out to be near pristine females. The males are fairly well beaten up now. Still no Orange-tip though Green Veins were about in low numbers.

A much cooler day today, but in shelter from the breeze it was just as warm when the sun was out. I traveled down to Hutton Bridge and along to Newton Braes by the Whiteadder. I was on the look out for Speckled Wood on the steep conifer woodland track where the sun at just the right time of day illuminates a T junction in the track and the Speckled Wood just love this spot. Last season I had no luck at all here. The Speckled Wood seemed to have retreated from some reliable sites...so would the same pattern emerge in 2016. Happily.. no... I almost immediately flushed a pair of Speckled Wood and after another sweep found another having just emerged. This was very encouraging to see...I am hoping that they recover all the lost ground from last year. Once again I found not a single Orange-tip...they are just not out down here yet. Peacocks were everywhere...a great season for them so far. Small T Shells were few by the river bank and GVW were just 3 strong. Comma males were grouped along Bramble patches. some very tired looking tussles, battle weary, ripped and torn...its been a long week for them and as the weather cools some of them may never make it into May. The females however have preserved themselves very well and will be looking to better conditions in May for egg laying proper.

Iain.
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings April 2015

Postby IAC » Wed 27 Apr 2016 23:52

Hi all,
Could this be the worst spring...ever!! Snow hail, frost and biting winds, just the weather for Butterflies...I dont think. Just before winter returned on the 24th I was still Orange-tip free and fully consigned to not seeing one this side of May. A rather desperate lunge down the river Whiteadder on the Sunday past did not prove to be a duck breaking day for the Orange-tip, however, in shelter I managed to find a good number of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock and a solitary Green-veined White. Abandoning the Orange-tip vigil I ventured to find some Speckled Wood on the Hyndhaugh Braes. The Speckled Wood turn up here in fair numbers in Autumn..yet..I never see any in springtime. The banks of Hyndhaugh Brae are wooded and steep..but they are negotiable with care...so....I needed a strategy...a master class of cunning..I opted for the tried and trusted slipping, sliding, swearing, and snapping branches with a heavy uncoordinated flushing technique...thing is....it worked :D It always does.. 3 Speckled Wood lifted from the cover of the wooded bank like Woodcock. They flew either up or down and I followed and they circled me and went back either up or downhill...I was close to collapse when I finally spotted one just out in the sunshine long enough for me to get a photo. What a carry on... I turned back at least 2 dog walkers who seemed alarmed by my shenanigans. Nothing unusual there I suppose. :roll:

Iain.
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings April 2015

Postby IAC » Thu 28 Apr 2016 00:07

Hi all,
What a day today....Snow capped Cheviot hills and temps of barely 7oC. :shock: Its beyond the joke. Some hope tempted me from my hiding hole as the sun cleared the cloud and in shelter I thought anything is possible..I made my way to Hutton Bridge, still bright sunshine...I took up position on the river bank...when,,,,cloud blanketed the sky and the temperature dropped like a stone. No worse feeling. Dejected I just gave up and started trudging back up the road for the bus....sadly...the bus...I missed..as I could see it a half mile away trundling towards Chirnside. :cry: I decided...I had no choice...to return to the riverbank and make the most of the few hours to the next bus. Well, even the big man in the sky must have had some sympathy for my sorry soul as the clouds parted and the sun shone. I scoured the riverbank, only a few Peacock could be found. I started to take some general snaps of the river...when FLASH.....ORANGETIP!! :shock: BANG!!! I was off in pursuit. The Butterfly, wind assisted, meant I was losing badly in this race...I would have been losing wind assisted or not...however...My eyes were sharpened for cloud cover to even up the race. Just as the cloud hid the sun I lost the Orange -tip....NOOOOOOO....A panicked search of just a few seconds and I saw among a large patch of Few Flowered Leek the wings of that very Orange-tip slowly closing. What a result. I checked the sun and cloud situation and saw that I had at least five minutes before he would be off again. So I gave him a few minutes to cool down and I got some close views of this rare beast for 2016. More than chuffed and glad I missed that bus. ;)
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings April 2015

Postby RJDMcBeath » Fri 29 Apr 2016 16:19

Hi Folks,
Looking for White Butterflies is getting beyond a joke - this is my garden at Lamberton on 28th April 2016 :o no I do not live up in the hills, this is close to the sea.
Ron
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings April 2015

Postby IAC » Sat 30 Apr 2016 21:03

Hi all,
Looks like the snow and ice has sharpened things up with 5 Orange-tip found today along the Whiteadder banks at Ninewell Mains. I did not really expect to find much as it was still cold despite the sunshine. The river was fairly swollen and much of the banks that had Butterflies last week was underwater. Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells were still about in very good condition considering all the weather. Nothing much else seen this morning but those Orange-tip were a sign that perhaps things are not so bad.

We did not get as much snow as you Ron..just a dusting...several dustings. Now confined to the Lammermuirs and Cheviots.


Iain.
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