Scottish Borders Sightings May 2016

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Scottish Borders Sightings May 2016

Postby IAC » Sat 07 May 2016 10:37

Hi all,
Weather not really getting any better and Butterflies are still quite thin on the ground. A few local trips around Coldingham Bay, Whiteadder, Hutton Bridge and Pear Bank. Orange-tip are slow getting of the mark with very few good flying days. Green veined White are about the same, though yesterday with some sunshine a dozen or so appeared briefly and within a half hour had all paired up. Peacock are still very visible and are easily the most common species with much fewer Small Tortoiseshell. Comma have all but disappeared, not seen one in a fortnight...I am hoping I will see some more soon. Speckled Wood are infrequent yet I have seen them now at 3 known locations. Small White not seen since April. A weather window on the way for tomorrow might be interesting and the weather may hold on till Tuesday...so...we will see.

Iain.
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings May 2016

Postby briart » Sat 07 May 2016 16:49

Great photos..
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings May 2016

Postby IAC » Mon 09 May 2016 20:46

Thank you Brian.

Hi all,
A few long days Sunday at Ladykirk and today Monday at Galashiels. So yesterday I really wanted to unearth a further site confirmation for 2016 regarding the Speckled Wood. They can be numerous on the south facing river bank woodlands, so, would they be easy to find this spring on the Tweed banks below Ladykirk. The short answer is yes. Just the 4 but good to see them continue to occupy this site. Orange-tip were reasonably numerous along with Green-veined White, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and a first Large White for me in 2016. Now considering that I had utilised the bone shaker for my journey on Sunday, the day would not be complete without a foray across the Tweed into Englandshire, specifically Norham shop for Ice Cream...well...calamity...shop was closed... :roll: My brother who was with me on Sunday stayed around the Bridge along the road verge where there are a nice variety of flowering plants...as I approached him he mentioned that he had seen a Small Copper on the roadside verge :o So...I was pretty determined to make up for the lack of ice cream and began combing the roadside verge whilst cars hurtled by. And just as I had almost given up....that always seems to be the way. This Small Copper was an English specimen and did not look interested in hitching a lift across the Border...but good to see. I heard today that 3 Small Cops had been seen at St Abbs Head...so they are off and going.
Today I was up at Galashiels for Greens and after 6 hours of trudging managed to find just the 4 including a mating pair. One of the Greens had been out and about for a good while by the look of him.

Wall Brown before the weather breaks I reckon.

Iain.
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small copper

Postby lobster » Tue 10 May 2016 12:07

Yesterday morning. At Coastal path above partanhall 1 small copper.....this morning 1 orange tip at partanhall
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings May 2016

Postby RJDMcBeath » Wed 11 May 2016 09:14

Nice fresh Red Admiral in the garden at Lamberton on Tuesday 10th along with lots of Green-veined Whites.

Ron
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings May 2016

Postby IAC » Thu 12 May 2016 08:24

RJDMcBeath wrote:Nice fresh Red Admiral in the garden at Lamberton on Tuesday 10th along with lots of Green-veined Whites.


Ron, A few more Red Admiral on the coast at Burnmouth as well including a Silver Y moth. With these easterly winds it is possible that they are from the continent. The ones at Burnmouth were all minty.

Iain.
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings May 2016

Postby IAC » Thu 12 May 2016 08:46

Hi all,
On the coast at Lamberton on Tuesday looking for Small Blue, Wall Brown and my first Scottish Copper, having seen an English Copper only so far...well...I did not find any of those species. It was quite cool on the coast, apparently to cold for Butterflies. At Burnmouth I did see a few Orange-tip and Green-veined White as well as a Speckled Wood. A pretty grim walk then from Burnmouth to Eyemouth with very little on the wing until a Red Admral appeared...and chased it....and it got away. A little further on a slightly more sheltered spot had Green-veined White, and Small Tortoiseshell and a flyby Red Admiral. Apart from this lack of Butterflies I was very happy to see the flowering spikes of Early Purple Orchid, a few Ravens enjoying the onshore breeze and towards Eyemouth a sea bank that resembled an alpine meadow with Heath Dog Violet and Primrose peppering the slope.

Yesterday, again started cool at Chirnside, by lunchtime it had warmed up considerably...too warm. I took a walk down by the Whiteadder at Ninewell mains. My staple home turf for spring and only a mile from home. The Speckled Wood have only just moved in here and they have been patchy with much higher numbers in Autumn. Well yesterday I was very happy to find the one flitting around the woodland edge. A little later I found another two...so...just how many more could I find. I walked a little further down a shady wooded track and Speckled Wood were absolutely everywhere, flying in groups of 3 and 4. They all looked extremely fresh and were marking out territories. tussling, chasing females that could barely fly....it was chaos. I watched them for an hour or so...and after that hour...roughly...they all but disappeared again. Quite astonishing. So to sum up..from what I have seen so far this season..Speckled Wood are back with a bang after last years spring low numbers.

Iain.
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings May 2016

Postby IAC » Sun 15 May 2016 23:34

Hi all,
A few fruitful trips out and a few fruitless this past few days. One my main aims was to find a Scottish Copper after seeing an English one last week. I had to work pretty hard to find one eventually on my way home from Causewaybank Quarry where I thought I would find one guaranteed. At the Quarry I saw at least 3 Red Admiral and a couple of wayward sparring Speckled Wood cementing two facts that the Red Ads are absolutely migrants and that the Speckled Wood are having a phenomenal spring as opposed to last season.
On Saturday I spun of down to the Blue Stone Ford on the old Penny Farthing and quickly dumped it into a ditch and carried on, on foot, upriver in search of Wall. Along a field edge of Mustard I was greatly surprised to see so many Butterflies. Speckled Wood pairs sparring among the Hawthorn Banks, Orange-tips and Green-veined Whites flashing back and forth interrupted only a few times by some extremely lively Peacocks and the odd Small Tortoiseshell. A Small White along the Pear Bank was a first for a wee while now. Further upstream not much showing beyond the Orange-tips and Green-veins that were constant. On my main bank for Wall.....nothing...nothing...I hate walking long distances for nought...however I still had a half chance on the way back as the sun made a return. On a farm track banking I spotted a Small Tortoiseshell and somehow that Small Tortoiseshell was replaced in flight by a Wall....only the strange behavior made me investigate further..as the Butterfly sniffed along the grass overhang of the bank...a Wall at last. Well...I chased that Wall uphill, downhill...several times over before I could get anywhere near. In the nearby wood, Speckled Wood, Large White and Red Admiral as well as the now obligatory Orange-tip.

Iain.
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings May 2016

Postby IAC » Sun 15 May 2016 23:54

Hi all,
Today I reckoned having seen the forecast of increasing cloud and cool temperatures that to spend good money getting to the coast to look for the Small Blue a bit of a folly. So...at the last minute with a clear satellite window of clear sky along the coast decided to commit to just getting down there and to hell with forecasters predictions. Landing at Lamberton I made my way north along the coastal path in cool conditions but with full sun. I paused at all the usual hang outs for Small Blue and turned up nothing much at all. I passed a pair of sparring Coppers and flushed a Wall...but nothing of Small Blue. I descended the steep scree of Catcairn and by then things had warmed up...or rather I had warmed up. I checked a few sheltered nooks...and there it was spinning up in front of me and settling nicely...a Small Blue :shock: I am always surprised to find them every year, I just never get bored with it. I wrestled the camera out of the rucksack...and off it flew, typically...it settled...I moved in...it flew off..over the Bramble and Gorse and away :roll: ...Ah well...I convinced myself that I had been lucky to see one...but as ever I never give up at that. I hunted around every Gorse bush I could find..until...another flipped briefly into the air and crash landed a few feet away. How lucky to find a newly emerged one..unfortunately this one was quite clever and looped over my shoulder straight into the thick of the Gorse. I had no chance of getting into that Gorse...or...maybe I could ignore the pain and just go for it...So there I was...sitting in a Gorse bush, backside like a pincushion, so much pain I could barely make out the Small Blue as my eyes were watering so much...that and the fact that the glare of the Gorse flowers in the bright sunshine....Gorse blindness....I reckon that is probably what you call it. The Small Blue was probably getting a good laugh at all of this...but I am convinced that I got the last laugh as I got these first photos for 2016. Another search along the Burnmouth foreshore to Gull Rock only produced Small Coppers...only...ha...what utter smashers they are....no Small Blue yet. More searches this week on the cards..Small Heath will be up next.

Iain.
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Re: Scottish Borders Sightings May 2016

Postby NickMorgan » Mon 16 May 2016 13:31

Fantastic. It seems very early for Small Blues, but it is probably just that it has been so cold recently I have forgotten we were in May!
Great pictures of all of the butterflies you have seen. I have a few species to catch with you this year!
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