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Butterflies still around

PostPosted: Fri Aug 19, 2011 5:12 pm
by AlistairMurdoch

temperature dropping but when sun appears can still be warm. At Gailes Marsh today Peacocks, Meadow Browns, Small Heaths, GV Whites and a Small Copper,


Re: Butterflies still around

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 1:28 pm
by scottshanks01
I was out looking for butterflies yesterday (Saturday 20th August). Started by doing the transect at Garscube Colliery near Summerston in Glasgow. Huge numbers of hoverflies about at the moment, but unfortunately not many butterflies there. 1 Green-Veined White and 2 Small Coppers seen in 20 mins. The site was designatd a SINC due to the presence of Common blues, but unfortunately haven't seen any there yet this year!

After that I drove to Bowling on the North shore of the Clyde and walked balk to The Saltings local nature reserve under the Erskine bridge (NS4672). Green Veined whites, Small Whites, and a single Small heath. There was a large White and green veined whites along the canal path, and a meadow brown and a small copper in an overgrown carpark near the docks at Bowling (NS4473).

I then walked along the cycle path towards Milton. The path is pretty shaded, so only a few GVWs and peacocks until I reached Milton (NS4274), where there was a nice patch of buddleia covered in PEacocks and Red Admirals. It looks like the small tortoiseshells have gone off to hibernate already! :(

I was hoping to check out the oaks in the Crags above Milton and in Auchentorlie woods for Purple Hairstreak, but couldn't find a way up. I should have taken my map with me! Doh!

On the way back to Glasgow I decided to drop past Garscadden Woods to see if the Purple Hairstreak were still flying there. It was probably about 6.30pm when I arrived there, but didn't see any movement until abot 6.45pm when I had walked to the far end and started heading back. At first it was just single butterflies flying between trees then I passed a tree with 5 butterflies swirling around some of the lower branches. 2 settled on a sunny leaf and within afew mins had paired up with each other! Pretty cool to see!
I was kicking myself for not taking my DSLR and I couldn't get my the camera phone to focus through my binoculars! The female seemed to do lots of wing opening and closing, while the male with closed wings manuvered round next to her and curled his abdomen round as he moved. It looked like they might have joined together while side by side, but tricky to see a the female was still opening and closing her wings. Then they turned to face in opposite directions and both closed their wings as they sat there creating the next years colony! I left them to it. :)
Managed to see 8 PH in total. definitely lower numbers than a few weeks ago, but perhaps If I'd stayed later there would have been more activity! Still worth getting out to look on sunny evenings in any wood that has oak. Particularly if there are old trees.
There were old PH records from around Monkton in the 1860s, and loads of sites from the south of Ayrshire and D&G that haven't had any recent records. If the oaks are still there, the butterflies could be too!:) The same goes for the Argyll. Only a few scattered records despite some fantastic oak woods. There;s bound to many more colonies of this butterfly out there waiting to be discovered.


Re: Butterflies still around

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 4:43 pm
by andrewmasterman
I saw one Purple Hairstreak at Bull Wood, Hurlethill, Glasgow yesterday 20/8/2011 at NS513622. I was possibly too early at 5-5.30pm.

Not sure when the last record at Bulll Wood was.

Re: Butterflies still around

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:13 pm
by scottshanks01
Brilliant! Thanks Andrew!
The last PH sighting at Bull wood was of a single butterfly in early September 2006. Fantastic to get a more recent record for the next 5 year distribution atlas! Interestingly there are only 2 other records from the site: A single butterfly seen in July 2006 and another seen in 1998! Visiting later in the evening can make a huge difference on the number seen!

Will attach a current Purple Hairstreak 5km distribution map (showing your Bull wood update) and a 1km zoom into the central belt.
Purple Hairstreak 5km distribution.jpg
Purple Hairstreak 5km distribution

Purple Hairstreak in central belt.jpg
Purple Hairstreak 1km zoom into central belt

Blue dots = >2010
Red dots = 2005-2009
Yellow dots = 1995 -2004
Green dots = Pre-1995.


Re: Butterflies still around

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:41 am
by jimblack
Hi guys
Great to see PH still flying so late in August. I must admit I'd given up looking for them by now. Maybe one problem is observers going out singly to look for them. On one visit to Bernwood, I came across people throwing small cardboard discs covered in silver paper up into the oak canopy. The PHs would come down to investigate the " intruder ". Neal Rankin had a technique of getting people to throw sticks into the canopy to disturb sedentary PHs. The most elegant method was demonstrated by Keith Futter on a cold drizzly day in Glen Luss. He whacked the lower trunk of a likely oak with a fallen branch, and those of us standing further back were treated to views of PHs as the vibration transmitted up the tree made them rise and fly.
Jim Black

Re: Butterflies still around

PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2011 6:59 pm
by scottshanks01
Thanks Jim, Great advice!
I'll be sure to take a pocket-full of silver cardboard disks and a big branch for whacking trees then next time I'm out PH hunting!:)