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Thursday, 12 May 2016

Fritillaries on my Butterfly Transect

What a fantastic butterfly survey today. (10th May).
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

The local weather forecast warned of a blanket of rain for the whole day over the southwest ruling out surveys of any kind. In the event, the day dawned clear with a heavy dew but fine, no wind and warm.

So we grasped the opportunity for a late morning survey expecting the weather to come in later and planned to have lunch in our local pub, the Bush Inn, which is conveniently situated at the start and finish of the transect.

Violet Oil Beetle
It was very muggy and close as we parked the car with a shade temperature of 19ยบC – I leave a thermometer under the car in the shade.

It was a good walk in sheltered woodland followed by a steep climb up the southwest coast path with a refreshing on-shore breeze.

The survey increased our survey count of butterflies as is expected as the year progresses, but the number of invertebrates was very good too. The butterfly highlight has to be the three Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries in the valley. But we also added Small Copper, Wall and Meadow Brown bringing our species list from 6 to 10.

Additional invertebrate species recorded included two Violet Oil Beetles, three 24-spot Ladybirds, and shieldbugs. I was looking for and found Dock Bugs as well as chancing on a Sloe Bug and a new one, a Boat bug (Enoplops scapha) and a mating pair of nice bugs, Dicranocephalus agilis or Spurge Bugs.

The highlight of these highlights was a Bee fly. I have seen everyone posting pictures of these on Facebook so was delighted to see one even if I didn't manage a photograph; this time … …
Spurge Bug

The Tidna Valley continues to be a delightful are to survey coming up with unusual and interesting species each time we visit.

Boat Bug
Lunch at the Bush Inn was a shared Garden Platter and a pint of cider to round off an excellent survey.

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