Posts Tagged ‘Common Blue Butterfly’

I have worked from home for nearly 6 years now and have discovered many new aspects to the wildlife of my garden and the surrounding area. Even after this time, there are still new things to discover as I found last week when I noticed a small dark butterfly. Investigating it turned out to be a female Common Blue, a species that until now I had not recorded in the garden or the surrounding area. I didn’t have the camera with me but this is a picture of the species.

Common Blue Butterfly (female). Photo by Alistair Morrell (https://www.flickr.com/photos/amorrell/)

By contrast here is a picture of the male

Common Blue Butterfly (male). Photo by Steve Chilton (https://www.flickr.com/photos/steve_chilton/)

 

RSPB Cliffe Pools

A bright sunny morning found Keith and me at the RSPB Cliffe Pools reserve in North Kent. August can be a quiet time for birds and so it seemed it would be on the way down to the reserve from West Court farm. Still, it is also a time when plenty of other things can be seen. Our first stop was the radar pools but apart from a large group of Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits, there was little to be seen, bird-wise. However the vegetation around the pools was alive with butterflies, mostly small whites and green veined whites, together with a single Painted Lady, a few Red Admirals and Holly Blues and a number of Migrant Hawker dragonflies; Common Blue damselfly and Common Darters.

Red Admiral

Painted Lady

Holly Blue

 

Migrant Hawker (f)

Common Blue damselfly

Common Darter

 

Perhaps our best find was at the small pond under the radar tower, where we found three emerald damselflies. There are four species of emerald damselflies found in North Kent and I didn’t immediately recognise this one. Later research, confirmed them to be the Willow Emerald. A recent colonist to south-east England, this damselfly was first recorded in East Anglia in 2007, it has now spread to Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and the north coast of Kent. This is my first record of this species.

Willow Emerald damselfly. Photo by Keith

Moving on there were no signs of Black-winged Stilts on the pools near the Black Barn. Black-winged Stilt is a rare visitor to the UK, but two pairs bred at Cliffe this year raising at least seven young. It seems that one family has apparently moved off across the Thames to Essex, but the other has remained at Cliffe. But they were not visible during our visit. Walking down to the sea wall, a flash of colour alerted us to a rather well camouflaged moth resting against the stone wall. This Red Underwing, mottled grey on top, was magnificently camouflaged until it flew revealing its brightly coloured underwing.

Red Underwing. Photo by Andy Rogers (https://www.flickr.com/photos/cobaltfish/)

Spot the Moth. Red Underwing blending into stone wall

As we left the estuary and turned back inland we were alerted to the calls of Greenshank and searching for these lead us to find a Eurasian Spoonbill and a number of other wading birds including Common Redshank and Whimbrel. We had just decided to move on from this pool when the clouds darkened and there was thunder and lightning followed by heavy rain. We sought shelter under the vegetation for 10 minutes but it did not seem like this was a passing shower and so we decided to make our way smartly back to the waiting car and a quick retreat.

A good day with my first record of willow emerald damselfly being the highlight.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Eurasian Spoonbill [sp] (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Common Kestrel [sp] (Falco tinnunculus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
European Golden Plover (Pluvialis apricaria)
Common Ringed Plover [sp] (Charadrius hiaticula)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Whimbrel [sp] (Numenius phaeopus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Sand Martin [sp] (Riparia riparia)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus)

Red Underwing Moth (Catocala Nupta)

Western Willow Emerald (Lestes viridis)
Blue-tailed Damselfly (Ischnura elegans)
Common Blue Damselfly (Enallagma cyathigerum)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Four-spotted Chaser (Libellula quadrimaculata)
Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)

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The weekly butterfly and dragonfly survey on my local patch. The weather is not ideal as there is a good breeze blowing but the weather forecast doesn’t look much better tomorrow.

On the walk down to the small pond there is not much activity but there are a few Large Red Damselflies on the pond and the vegetation surrounding it.

Large Red Damselfly

Large Red Damselfly

A pair of Blackbirds are gathering nesting material from the edge of the pond.

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Whilst photographing Large Red’s a  blue butterfly briefly alights on the bush and its brown underwing identifies it as my year’s first Common Blue butterfly for the site.

Common Blue

A female Brimstone passes by as I approach the lake. Contrary to what I wrote last week, a pair of Canada Geese have bred although it is surprising to see that they only have one gosling.

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Our mixed Canada/Greylag pair have also bred (4th year) and have a small family.

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The main Greylag nursery still numbers 8 and they are beginning to look like much more like their parents.

Greylag Geese

Greylag Geese

Butterfly-wise it is pretty quiet. I locate another Common Blue and 2 Speckled Woods

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

But there is quiet a lot of Bee activity and Red-tailed and White-tailed workers are busily collect nectar.

Red-tailed Bumblebee

Red-tailed Bumblebee

Returning to the small pond, I am photographing Large Red’s again when a blue damselfly puts in a brief appearance before disappearing round a bush. Location and date suggest Azure Damselfly but I cant rule out Common Blue Damselfly (ironically not the commonest blue damselfly on the site). I spent some time trying to re-locate it but without success. Hopefully this is the first of many and they will be more evident next week.

Large Red Damselfly

Large Red Damselfly

RSPB Radipole

RSPB Radipole

Our final morning in Dorset before heading back to London is spent at the RSPB Radipole reserve in the heart of Weymouth.

RSPB Radipole

RSPB Radipole

As we make our way around the reserve we are serenaded by the song of Reed Warblers and Cetti’s Warblers and are fortunate to get some views of these elusive birds in the the reed-beds. We hear the call of Beaded Tits on a couple of occasions but they remain out of sight. A single Long-tailed Tit is another addition to the species seen on this trip. The most unusual bird of the morning is a Hooded Merganser (an American species). This bird was first seen in June 2008 and has stayed at Radipole ever since apart from occasional trips to other spots along the south coast. It is officially regarded as an escape from a bird collection but there is never certainty. Regardless it is a very attractive bird.

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

Hooded Merganser

The joy of our morning walk is the host of Butterflies particularly Brimstones, but we also see Common Blue; Holly Blue; Small White; Green-veined White; Speckled Wood and Large White.

Speckled Wood

Speckled Wood

Common Blue

Common Blue

Its been an excellent few days with over 100 species of bird seen, but not just seen; but great views as well.

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Marsh Harrier [sp] (Circus aeruginosus)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Bearded Reedling [sp] (Panurus biarmicus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Common House Martin [sp] (Delichon urbicum)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Lesser Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia curruca)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

After a morning appointment I stopped off at Sutcliffe Park LNR to do today’s Butterfly count.

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The predominant butterfly species were Meadow Brown and Small White, although a couple of sightings of Common Blue was the highlight. Dragonflies were also evident with 5+ Emperor Dragonflies present and 3 Common Darters.

Meadow Brown

Meadow Brown

Male & Female Common Blue Butterflies
Common Blue Butterfly
Photo by Bart Busschots (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bbusschots/)

Common Darter

Common Darter

There were also some interesting birds with a Grey Wagtail on the edge of the Marsh area and an adult Little Grebe feeding one youngster on the Lake (up to 4 youngsters have been seen in the past week) so it seems that they have had a good breeding season here.

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus)
Small Tortoiseshell [sp] (Aglais urticae)
Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Emperor Dragonfly (Anax imperator)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)