Members Reports and Photos
SATURDAY 10 AUGUST 2013
LEADERS: DAVID NASH, BOB ALDWELL & FRANK SMYTH
to Niamh Lennon’s photograph of a skipper in the area in 2011 and confirmation
of the presence of the Small Skipper by Frank Smyth and Bob Aldwell in 2012, the
field revisited the site again. Despite the vicissitudes of our climate – when
the outing was planned it appeared that 2013 would be have a late season – the
butterfly was still flying. It was warm day with a modicum of sunshine which was
ideal in that the insects were active but not too active and hence easy to view.
More than half the insects were captured by net and closely scrutinised before
releasing. All proved to be, without doubt, Small Skippers. Most of the search
was concentrated about a kilometre north of the road, with a brief sortie
butterflies observed included Peacock, Brimstone, Large White, Small White,
Small Copper, Common Blue, Speckled Wood and a small number of Meadow Brown and
Ringlet. Judging by the large number of Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars, at
various instars, seen on Nettles (estimated by Bob Aldwell to exceed 10,000)
there is unlikely to be any local decline in this species.
Dragonflies were present in substantial numbers and one member succeeded in netting a Brown Hawker Aeshna grandis for closer inspection. Lepidopteran caterpillars of the Buff-tip Phalera bucephala on Willow and the Knot Grass Acronicta rumicis on Bramble species were identified. The (?) sonorous tones of the Common Grasshopper Omocestus viridulus were widespread and one nymph of a Groundhopper was swept on the cutaway bog. The Hairy Shieldbug and the Tortoise Bug were also noted.
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