Saturday, 27 June 2020

Holiday butterflies

The summer holidays have started and with it nice, hot, sunny weather more suited for butterflies than birds. We are spending the first week of the holiday as we usually do by the coast south of Oslo. In my post from this time last year I commented on how there were fewer butterflies than the previous year and that trend has continued. Butterfly biomass is quite low (especially compared to last year when there was a Painted Lady invasion) but variety is better this year.
One species is doing well though and that is Pearly Heath (perleringvinge) - I only recorded this species for the first time in 2018 and it is now one of the commonest species in the area.
I have recorded 22 species so far compared to 20 in 2019 and 25 in 2018 of which Amanda’s Blue (sølvblåvinge) is a lifer, Cranberry Fritillary (myrperlemorvinge) is new for me here plus Wall Brown which I did not see here in 2018/19 but have recorded here earlier.

Here is my butterfly list from the last three years for the area around the cabin with species not seen this year crossed out:
  1.  Large Skipper /engsmyger
  2. Large White / stor kålsommerfugl
  3. Green-veined White/rapssommerfugl
  4. Brimstone / sitronsommerfugl
  5. Silver-studded Blue/argusblåvinge - assumed this species and not Idas
  6. Scarce Copper/oransjegullvinge
  7. Purple hairstreak / eikestjertvinge
  8. Silver washed fritillary / keiserkåpe
  9. Dark Green Fritillary /aglajperlemorvinge
  10. High Brown Fritillary /adippeperlemorvinge
  11. Queen of Spain Fritillary / sølvkåpe
  12. Lesser Marbled Fritillary/engperlemorvinge
  13. Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary /brunflekket perlemorvinge
  14. Red Admiral / admiral
  15. Small Tortoiseshell / neslesommerfugl
  16. Poplar Admiral/ospesommerfugl
  17. Pearly Heath /perleringvinge
  18. Ringlet /gullrinvinge
  19. Grayling / kystringvinge
  20. Holly Blue / vårblåvinge
  21. Small White / liten kålsommerfugl - a flyby white assumed to be this species
  22. Common Blue / tiriltungeblåvinge
  23. Small Copper / ildgullvinge
  24. Heath Fritillary /marimjellerutevinge
  25. Swallowtail/svalestjert

New in 2019
  1. Cranberry Blue / Myrblåvinge
  2. Pearl-bordered Fritillary / rødflekket perlemorvinge
  3.  Grizzled Skipper / bakkesmyger
  4. Dingy Skipper / tiriltungesmyger
  5. Moorland Clouded Yellow / myrgulvinge
  6. Painted Lady / tistelsommerfugl

New in 2020
  1. Amanda’s Blue (sølvblåvinge)
  2. Cranberry Fritillary (myrperlemorvinge)
  3. Wall Brown (sørringvinge) but seen here in 2014 & 15

I’ve checked out a couple of ponds for odenata and had my first ever Variable Damselfy (fagerblåvannymfe). With damselflies, blue butterflies and fritillaries I keep having to remind myself how important it is to look at every individual in an area as it is extremely foolish to assume that they are all the same species as the first one you identified.

Birding wise I have had a pair of Wrynecks collecting food after seeing none last year although had birds at two localities in 2018. Red-backed Shrike at 3 sites is 1 better than last year but way down on 7-9 in 2018. One species doing well here though is Lesser Spotted Woodpecker which I have not recorded before but this year I found a nesting pair with noisy young about to fledge and another pair who seemed to be collecting food for young.

I have spent a bit more time than usual looking over the sea and was rewarded with a rare mid summer Arctic Skua chasing gulls. Large numbers of large gulls breed on the islands here so it wouldn’t be impossible for skuas to also breed.

I haven’t found the motivation for a nocturnal trip.

The new damselfy:

Variabel Damselfly (fargeblåvannymfe)
And the birds:

Female Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (dvergspett)

Wryneck (vendehals) with young to be fed

Male Redstart (rødstjert) who already had fledged young to feed

Female Red-backed Shrike (tornskate)

And male

Pair of Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers

And the butterflies:

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (brunflekket perlemorvinge)

Moorland Clouded Yellow (myrgulvinge)

Queen of Spain Fritillary (sølvkåpe)

The same Moorland Clouded Yellow

Cranberry Fritillary (myrperlemorvinge)

The Moorland Clouded Yellow in flight

Amanda’s Blue (sølvblåvinge)

Silver washed Fritillary (keiserkåpe)

It is getting late for Pearl-bordered Fritillary (rødflekket perlemorvinge) and the couple I saw were vert worn

It is not easy getting a picture of the open wings of the Moorland Clouded Yellow

Dingy Skipper (tiriltungesmyger) lives up to its name

High Brown Fritillary (adippe perlemorvinge)

Lesser Marbled Fritillary (engperlemorvinge)

Heath Fritillary (marimjellerutevinge)

And another pic of the MCY as I liked it so much
And finally a Dark Green Fritillary (aglajaperlemorvinge)
Pearly Heaths (perleringvinge) - a species expanding north

Saturday, 20 June 2020

Dragon action - green-eyed hook-tailed dragonfly

Since Tuesday’s avian excitement I have been more interested in dragons and butter.

The exceptionally hot temperatures continue with nighttime minimum around 20C and is getting up close to 30C in the day. Butterflies which I still think there are generally few of have been in constant movement which is I assume a sign that energy levels are high and that all that is important now is to find a mate. This makes identifying them difficult especially blues where more than one species can fly together.

Dragonflies have been far more cooperative though. The male Broad-bodied Chaser (blåbredlibelle) is still by his puddle but I have seen no female there. Common Blue Damseflies (innsjøvanymfe) are now on the wing and there good numbers of Golden-ringed Dragonflies (kongelibelle). On Thursday I wanted to find tangelvelibelle (Onychogomphus forcipatus, the small pincertail or green-eyed hook-tailed dragonfly). This species is know from only one site in Oslo which is in Maridalen. I have seen the species once before in the mouth of a Yellowhammer but have really wanted to see it properly as it is quite a special species. I had the Beast with me on Thursday and we sat at various points along the river hoping to see one but failed in that quest although there were lots of other dragons and damsels to see. I asked for advice on how to see it and was told that it was still early in the season and that my best bet might be to search for emerging individuals. Yesterday I went with my canine friend and sat myself down once again in a likely spot. I noticed a Fieldfare on the bank on the other side with a mouth full of food and saw that it had a newly emerged dragon in its beak which looked very much to be my target. Going round to the other side I almost immediately chanced upon a dragonfly emerging from its larve form on a stone. The separated eyes told me it was my target and I then sat down to enjoy the spectacle. When I found it it was still in the process of emerging but this went quickly. I then watched it drying out and getting bigger before over the course of an hour its colours developed and it then flew off (after having made an initial hop up from the stone to a neighbouring bush). In the same area I found two adult males but I only found the when they flew up in front of me and they were not patrolling like the other species I encountered.

At the Three-toed Pecker nest the young are now coming up to the hole to be fed but are not yet sticking their heads out.

First a series of pictures all taken with my mobile showing the developement of the young males tangelvlibelle

10:30 - still emerging

10:34 - it popped out very quickly. Here the wings are still crumpled

10:39 . the wings are drying out and are longer than the body

10:51 - now the body is growing and is longer than the wings. It is also getting more colour
10:53 . it then flew about a meter and stayed here for around 40 minutes
11:19 - colours developing even more as is the shape of the (male) sexual organ. The black wing cells are also more obvious
11:30 - even stronger colours although still not tose of an "adult". It disappeared shortly after this

after spending 3-5 years as a nymph it must be quite a bummer to end up in the mouth of Firldfare before even having your first flight..

a fully developed male. Look at the characteristic sexual organ!

the eyes not meeting is characteristic of the family it belongs to 

can be identified by its shadow 
Beautiful Damselfly (blåpraktvannymfe)

Grey Wagtail (vintererle)

mating Common Blue Damselflys (innsjøvannymfe)

Golden-ringed Dragonfly (kongelibelle) 

Cranberry Blue (myrblåvinge)

Grey Wagtail and a young White Wagtail (linerle)

a cool moth - a Clouded Buff (rødfrynset bjørnespinner)

the male Three-toed Pecker delivering food

a youngter is just about visible in the hole
the male Broad-bodied Chaser (blåbredlibelle) still going strong

and what I believe is a Large Wall Brown (klipperingvinge) although probably not possible to distinguish from Northern Wall Brown (bergringvinge) from this picture