Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Migrant Butterflies

With a few days off work but not much going on bird wise, I've spent the last few days generally pottering about. But without trying I have stumbled across a few nice discoveries.

On Friday I went with Dad to his allotment on the edge of town, while feeding the ducks on the 'pond' that is nearby I flushed 3 Green Sandpiper and found a Spotted Flycatcher. This is just within the patch so the latter was also a patch tick. Crossing the road from here to collect some Blackberries the meadow was alive with butterflies, including Small Skipper, Gatekeeper, Peacock, Large White and Small White. But butterfly of the day (well butterflies as there was 2) was Clouded Yellow a species (although a relatively frequent migrant) I have never seen in Norfolk, only on the south coast.

Sunday Laura and I went for a drive, and on our return stopped at garden center near Roughton. In one of their poly-tunnels I was first drawn to a Banded Demoiselle, but that was short lived as I spotted a large butterfly bouncing along inside the roof. The light was poor and the butterfly was mostly silhouetted but something told me to persist. As the butterfly moved along the poly-tunnel I caught a glimpse of the distinctive white edges to the wings, and for a briefest of moments it settled so I could ID it as a Camberwell Beauty, a new butterfly for Britain and my second migrant butterfly in three days. We went onto Pigny's Wood to look for Purple Hairstreak without any luck, but quite a few Darters have emerged and a few Hawker Dragonfly joined them in the air. Lots of Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Whites where the only butterflies we saw.

Late Monday afternoon as I opened the gates to leave home a Tortoiseshell butterfly flew past and caught my attention as appearing to be slightly large. I briefly followed it around the garden before if flew over the hedge. It looked quite fresh and I'm really not sure if it was 'big' or I was just getting carried away with migrant butterflies, anyway today I'll be checking the garden and buddlia behind the house just in case it was a Scarce Tortoiseshell!

Today (5th) I again spent some time at the allotment, this time armed with my camera and binoculars! I managed an impressive butterfly species count of 15 including 5 Clouded Yellow, a Painted Lady and lots of common species. I spent an age chasing the Clouded yellow around but failed to get a single in focus shot, all the butterflies seemed extra energetic in the baking sun. Down by the 'pond' I found 4 species of dragonfly and 4 species of damselfly including Small Red-eyed Damselfly. The Green Sandpiper was again present, along with a family of Blackcap and Willow Warbler.

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