Thursday, 29 April 2010

Duke of Burgundy and Pearl Bordered Fritillary

Yesterday I joined Neil, Tom, Bob and Jack (from Cambridge). on a field trip. We first visited a private area of woodland where we saw several Duke of Burgundy, the first recorded in Sussex this year
Colin and Neil in 'action' with a Duke, Bob and Tom checking out a pic. (photo courtesy of Jack Harrison).

Then we visited a wood near Arundel to see Pearl Bordered Fritillaries. 

Other firsts for me this year were Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and female Orange Tips.
male Brimstone & Holly Blue

female & male OrangeTips

Speckled Wood

Bluebells should be at their peak soon

We agreed that this had been an excellent outing, one that will be hard to beat. Three of us finished the day enjoying the magnificent view across the wetlands from the Sportsman Inn, Amberley.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Roman, Grizzlies and Dingies

A club dig near Worthing this morning gave me a Roman coin, 2.14 gm, 19mm diameter. The reverse has an altar identical to a Constantine II (337-340 C.E.), page 77, Coins of England (Spinks 2009), 737A. Description: BEATA TRANQVILLITAS. Altar, inscribed VOT/IS/XX., surmounted by globe and three stars, PLON in ex. R.I.C. 236
However, some Constantine I coins have the same altar. 
On my coin, the altar with globe above is clear, also the word PLON below the altar. This is the mint mark for Londinium (287 - 325 C.E. and 383 - 388 C.E.). In  view of the dates for the London mint, I think my coin may be Constantine I (306-312).

 Grizzled Skipper

Dingy Skipper 

This afternoon I had Mill Hill to myself from 1:30 to 3pm, amazing on a sunny Sunday afternoon. There was an abundance of Grizzled and Dingy Skippers and I witnessed fights among two and three individuals, and across species. I estimate 10 of each species plus Peacocks 4 and an Orange tip
 While looking for Green Hairstreaks in the bushes I found this little snail.

Green Hairstreak at Butterfly Photography Workshop

Yesterday a ninety minute drive took me to Longstock, Hampshire where UK Butterflies held their third annual Photography Workshop. It was an excellent day, with some different topics from last year. It included a field trip to nearby Danebury Hill where Neil Hulme found a Green Hairstreak, my first sighting of this beautiful butterfly. 
 I took away many good tips and notes. The event was organized by organized by Pete Eeles, Gary Richardson & Lisa Baker-Richardson. The speakers were Roger Buchanan (Basic concepts), Roger Harding (Equipment), Technique (John Bogle), Digital Photogrpahy (Pete Eeles & Gary Richardson), Danebury Hill (Mervyn Grist).
Pete Eeles

Waxing lyrical about the wonders of nature was guest speaker Matthew Oates. Matthew’s entertaining and thought provoking talk included the following which I would like to share:

Van Gogh’s painting The Prison Courtyard includes two butterflies (upper left of middle wall)
"Beauty is truth, truth beauty," – that is all
 Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
  Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats, 1819
“If a man could pass through Paradise in a dream, and have a flower presented to him as a pledge that his soul had really been there, and if he found that flower in his hand when he awake - Aye, what then?” 
 Samuel Taylor Coleridge
“The Wife. Look at the butterflies!
Like floating flowers
Came butterflies, the souls of summer hours,
Fluttering about the van; Red Admirals rich,
Scarlet and pale on breathing speeds of pitch,
Brimstones, like yellow poppy petals blown,
Brown ox-eyed Peacocks in their purpled roan,
Blue, silvered things that haunt the grassy chalk,
Green Hairstreaks bright as green shoots on a stalk,
And that dark prince, the oakwood haunting thing
Dyed with blue burnish like the mallard's wing.”
 John Masefield, 1921

The day ended with a lovely meal at Jackies accompanied by Marlborough Montana Sauvignon blanc. This happens to be the only vineyard we have ever visited, which is in a favourite area of New Zealand, the north east coast of South Island.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Anemones, orange-tips and beasts

We headed for the Angmering Estate bluebell woods this afternoon. It turned into an interesting flower and butterfly walk.

The highlight was the carpet of wood anemones with the odd bluebell intermingling. Another week or so and the carpet should be bright blue. 

We met some shaggy long-horned beasts on the way.  
Then some commas, orange-tips and small whites fluttering around, occasionally fighting.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

A stroll along the west beach dunes

 I saw two peacock butterflies during this 90 minute walk along the Arun west bank and dunes.

Paul and St Sarkis

Yesterday we headed off early to London to attend the funeral of Jo’s husband, Paul had Alzheimer’s for some years and had been in a home, so it was a merciful release. Jo was Sue’s mother’s school friend, and they attended our wedding in 1973. We bumped into them on our honeymoon in the Lake District where we had tea with them. We kept in touch over the years, visiting them in their flat in Kilburn during our leaves from Saudi. Paul was known for his wonderful curries, and we learned during the service that these originated from his childhood in India. Paul was Armenian in origin and the service was held at St Sarkis Church, Kensington, where a wonderful singer treated us to hymns in that language.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Elizabeth I, William III and a Crotal Bell

This was my best detecting day with just a handful of club members turning out on another glorious day in mid West Sussex
It started well with my first ever hammered coin, a well worn Elizabeth I sixpence dated 1581 (2.40gm, 26mm)
This was followed by 18 muskets balls (15 small, 2 medium, 1 large), six 18/19thC halfpennies (including an 1861) and 3 farthings with hardly any surface markings  and a George III penny dated 1799.
a crotal bell which is another first, a thimble,
and 3 harness mounts, one with scrolled initials HCD worked into a fancy design.
Also a plated 20thcentury George Rex broach minus pin and sparklies. The crotal bell has its dinger inside and makes an excellent noise. 
Other finds were a 20thc general service military button with Birmingham on the reverse.

Ray found his first ever hammered, this Elizabeth I 1567 sixpence, (above) and Kevin  found one also, so smiles all round.

Finally when everyone else had disappeared my second great coin came out, a perfect William III  sixpence dated 1696 (above) 2.94gm, 21 mm. It is an early milled coin. This was the start of the Great Recoinage as the decision was made to remove all the old hammered coins from circulation. The head side has the Y (York) mint mark at the bottom.
The words on the coin are:
Obverse: GULIELMUS III DEI GRA (William III by the Grace of God)
Reverse: MAG BR FRA ET HIB REX (King of Great Britain, France and Ireland)

this shows a clod shot as it came out of the ground and both sides 

An Orange Tip flew by at the end of the day. They were probably there before, but I was focused on the ground most of the time... With yesterday's adder and Skippers, this has been an exceptional weekend.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Devils Dyke, a Harlequin, Dingies and an adder

This morning I headed for Devils Dyke for the first time. The weather continues to be fabulous.
I found my first ladybirds for the year, 7-spot ladybirds and a Harlequin ladybird with 18 spots. 
Also some interesting beetles including this beautiful specimen.

I called in at Mill Hill on the way back and found my first Dingy Skippers of the year, 
plus some more Grizzled Skippers. Also a female (white) Brimstone, and the usual Peacocks, and Pyrausta moths, including this P. purpuralis.
A lizard crossed my path and then I found the prize of the day, a juvenile adder about 22 cms long.