Lesser Florican - August 2023

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Tuesday 24 July 2018

Seaford Head 24/7/18

A delayed start to the autumn campaign this year, but still it was good to get back to the usual circuit on Seaford Head, and surprisingly there were a few migrants about, the most notable species being Reed Warbler with a double-figured count today. An early Garden Warbler and two flyover Yellow Wagtails were also noteworthy.

In the Cuckmere after, a good count of 32 Little Egrets, whilst only singles of Whimbrel and Common Sandpiper were noted. Late last week an adult Common Gull and a juv Mediterranean Gull were on the scrape alongside many Black-headed Gulls.

Totals for Seaford Head:

Reed Warbler - 11
Whitethroat - 20
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - 6
Chiffchaff - 3
Willow Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 3
Garden Warbler - 1
Sedge Warbler - 1
Nightingale - 1
Yellow Wagtail - 2

Grasshopper Warbler in Hope Bottom
Reed Warblers on Seaford Head
Hope Bottom looking good this autumn

Monday 23 July 2018

Aeshna affinis in Sussex 23/7/18

Simon Linington kindly phoned me yesterday as he had found a male Southern Migrant Hawker on Rodmell Brooks. Despite having seen plenty last year in Essex, I made no hesitation in quickly fixing my back tyre and cycling down there. Unfortunately in the strong wind I only had a brief flight view. 
This morning I went back to the site (this time driving) after an early 15-mile run, and in calmer conditions I had lovely views of this rare Dragonfly, that currently is part of a national influx. A stunning Aeshna.

I'm unsure of the current record status of this species in Sussex. I personally know of three previous records (Piddinghoe, Pagham & West Rise Marsh), though no doubt there's the odd one elsewhere.

male Southern Migrant Hawker
at Rodmell

Saturday 21 July 2018

Butterflies in Bulgaria: Skippers, Heaths & Hairstreaks - July 2018

The last posting from our trip to Bulgaria displaying some of the Skippers, Heaths and Hairstreak species that we encountered, although some of the Skippers are extremely difficult to tell apart from one species to the next, although I think we've sorted them. Also the bizarre Nettle Tree Butterfly can be found below.

Two of the seven species of Dragonflies photographed can also be found below. 

Daily accounts of the trip can be found on my Dad's blog - bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com 

Tufted Marbled Skipper

presumed Orbed Red Underwing Skipper -
the single white spots on the underwing and
the distinctive flight action noted point towards
this species.
presumed Olive Skipper -
these Skippers are all so similar,however
the distinct but faded markings on the
upper and lower hindwing lean towards
this species.
presumed Olive Skipper
Pearly Heath
Eastern Large Heath
Small Heath
Sloe Hairstreak
Nettle Tree Butterfly

male Small Pincertail

female Small Pincertail
Balkan Golden-ringed Dragonfly

Monday 16 July 2018

Butterflies in Bulgaria: Various species - July 2018

A next series of photos displaying a decent range and variety that one can see in Bulgaria. Again most of these were found at mid-elevations in either meadows or along tracks surrounded by mixed woodlands. Proof of a late emergence year in Bulgaria was emphasised by Arran Browns only just starting their emergence towards the end of the trip, a species that should've been frequent throughout.

There are still some Grayling and Skipper species that are causing issues with identification, and will no doubt stay that way for some time.

Better photos can also be found on my Dad's blog: bobsbutterflies.blogspot.com

Lattice Brown -
only one found, this on our last afternoon. 
Large Wall Brown -
frequently encountered in various meadows.
Great Banded Grayling -
many thanks to Alex Perry for correcting my
initial i.d. Rather frustrating as I had seen this
commonly in France back in 2009.
Bright-eyed Ringlet - 
a small colony found at roughly 2300m.
Scarce Swallowtail -
surprisingly scarce unfortunately.
Southern White Admiral -
only a couple found in deciduous woodlands
low down
Purple Emperor -
found just down the track from the Admiral.
Black-veined White -
very impressive in flight.
Arran Brown -
emergence had started towards the end
of the trip, hence only a few seen.

Sunday 15 July 2018

Newhaven Harbour 15/7/18

A couple of visits in the past few days to no avail, so pleased to finally get two juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls at Newhaven Harbour this evening. Horrid phone-scoped pictures attached.

juv Yellow-legged Gulls at Newhaven Harbour

Saturday 14 July 2018

Cuckmere Haven & Newhaven Harbour 13/7/18

A midday walk in the Cuckmere was typically quiet, although a second-summer Mediterranean Gull on the scrape, a Common Sandpiper along the river and two Sand Martins moving south were just about notable. It was great to also see a couple of Small Red-eyed Damselflies on the meanders.

In the evening at Newhaven Harbour, a first-summer Yellow-legged Gull was among the small Gull roost, but still no juveniles. Six Mediterranean Gulls including a lovely fresh juv were also present.

Sand Martin at Cuckmere Haven
juv. Black-headed Gull at
Cuckmere Haven
Small Red-eyed Damselfly at
Cuckmere Haven
first-summer Yellow-legged Gull at
Newhaven Harbour

Friday 13 July 2018

Butterflies in Bulgaria: Blues & Coppers - July 2018

The next instalment are the very similar looking Blues, that by the end of the trip we were starting to dismiss as the effort to confidently identify any were extremely long-winded. Still, we saw some very attractive Blues of which 10 species were found. The rarest one for us was the Lang's Short-tailed Blue that was found down near Melnik, though sadly it evaded the cameras.

On the other hand, the Coppers were the most attractive family we encountered, and were very common in each meadow we visited. By far the most striking were the male Scarce Coppers. Five species of Copper were found.

Silver-studded Blue - 
the commonest Blue we saw. Very
similar to Idas Blue, but the spine on the 
fore leg is obvious on a close up version.

Large Blue
Amanda's Blue
Mazarine Blue

Balkan Copper
male Scarce Copper
female Scarce Copper
Purple Shot Copper

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Butterflies in Bulgaria: Fritillaries - July 2018

The first of few Butterfly posts to my recent trip in Bulgaria with my Dad, and this post displays my favourite family, the Fritillaries. In total, 13 species were seen, and due to high altitude weather towards the end of the trip, a visit to the highest part of the Rila Mountains had to be abandoned meaning Cynthia's Fritillary would have to wait for another time.

Mostly all the species below were photographed in isolated, but sheltered meadows in the foothills of the northern part of the Pirin Mountains NP. Most were also very obliging, even in the hottest part of the day, though thankfully a majority were found going to roost allowing more time for photography. 

Interestingly, further visits to the meadows, sometimes a day later, produced a different range of species, or greater or fewer numbers, presuming that the Fritillaries are ranging over a wider area along the foothill range, very much unlike species encountered in the UK that tend to settle in one spot, although this is no doubt down to the lack of habitat, something that isn't an issue in Bulgaria.

Cardinal - 
only one identified, this one being
very loyal to a patch of thistle.
High Brown Fritillary - 
a common Fritillary, most often
along roadside thistles.
Niobe Fritillary - 
only two confidently identified as these
medium-sized Fritillaries rarely stop flying.

Marbled Fritillary
Marbled Fritillary - 
only one seen and briefly.
Queen of Spain Fritillary
Queen of Spain Fritillary - 
the commonest Fritillary.
Pearl Bordered Fritillary - 
only one seen, presumably down
to time of year.
Nickerl's Fritillary
Nickerl's Fritillary -
a local but common Fritillary.
Spotted Fritillary
Spotted Fritillary - 
frequently encountered.
Lesser Spotted Fritillary
Lesser Spotted Fritillary - 
only one of three seen throughout.
Weaver's Fritillary -
only a single seen during
the trip in a large isolated meadow.