Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Hunting of the Pulborough Snark

Blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla
Yesterday afternoon I started at the Dover Lane woods hoping for an Orange-tip. I saw Brimstones, Peacocks and a Comma. I also believe I found a Nuthatch nest site 40 feet up. I then received a call from Mark advising that a Scarce Tortoiseshell (aka Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell, Nymphalis xanthomelas) had been found at Pulborough Brooks by Jan-Paul Charteris and Claire. I arrived on site 20 minutes after it was last seen. This butterfly has never been recorded in Sussex before. It is resident in central and eastern Europe with occasional sightings in Scandinavia and Germany.
In July 2014 specimens were reported from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex,Kent: Bugalert records 
This year it was been reported in Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambs: Bugalert records.  
Jan-Paul Charteris and Claire obtained good photos which prove its identity: Flickr photos 
The butterfly was in a small warm area at Pulborough Brooks from 12-3pm.
A squirrel at the top of a Pussy Willow reached up to bend a branch to reach the catkins which it then ate.

 Today I joined other enthusiasts on site at 10am. In spite of the warm weather there was no sign of the butterfly. I left about 3:30pm.
A Blackcap sang loudly in the area. Plenty of Brimstones, Peacocks and Commas were seen.
Dover Lane woods:
Bee Fly, Bombylius major
Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni
Brimstone nectaring on primroses
Comma, Polygonia c-album
fly on Wood Anemone
fungus - Stereum species
Nuthatch, Sitta europaea
this second Nuthatch came out of the hole
Peacock, Inachis io
White-footed Hoverfly, Platycheirus albimanus on Wood Anemone
White-footed Hoverfly
Wood Anemone, Anemone nemorosa
Pulborough Brooks:
Grey Squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis on Pussy Willow

eating the catkins

Blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla

Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni
Brimstone take-off
Comma, Polygonia c-album
Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae
a predator has taken a lump out of it.
Peacock, Inachis io
Pied Wagtail, Motacilla alba, one of a pair

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