Saturday, 18 June 2022

Oslo butterflying

I live off my birding experiences from the mountains for a long time and coming back to Oslo outside of the migration can feel like a bit of an anti-climax even though I have had a number of exciting encounters with breeding birds this last week. I will blog about that soon but in the meantime it is time for my first dedicated butterfly post of 2022.I have also been very under the weather and have not had the energy for very much at all so sitting in the sun and watching colourful insects in flower meadows has been good for the soul.

The early spring was very hot and dry and there were large numbers of the small number of early emerging species. We then had a cool and wet period when there was pretty much nothing to see but the last week has seen a return to warm dry weather and a new emergence of butterflies although dragonflies have not really emerged yet. I have therefore spent more time looking down than up but have been rewarded handsomely. Over the last two years I have discovered some good places in Maridalen for butterflies where there are lots of flowers, grass of varying heights and a closeness to the forest. I thought I knew this area quite well but was excited to discover a new species in the form of Northern Brown Argus (sankthansblåvinge) plus new sites for Green-underside Blue (kløverblåvinge) and Grizzled Skipper (bakkesmyger) which are locally scarce. In total I recorded 19 butterfly species in Maridalen this week but I was not entirely happy with this and felt the need to drive 20 minutes to an area in the south east of the city which seems to attract a number of species that seem to then have problems expanding further north west (maybe the urban sprawl forms a barrier). Here I discovered a long wished species, namely Northern Chequered Skipper (svartflekksmyger) which was a lifer plus my first Oslo sightings of Amanda’s Blue (sølvblåvinge) and Pearly Heath (perleringvinge). Along with other species recorded I ended up with 25 species of butterfly in Oslo this week and a new Oslo total of 49 species and a Norway total of 62 species which I am quite happy with but still gives me lots to look for.

male Northern Chequered Skipper (svartflekksmyger) -a species I have long wanted to see and which only required a 20 minute drive from home

Amanda's Blue (sølvblåvinge) - my first Oslo sighting. Now that I have discovered the importance of checking EVERY blue in an area (rather than assuming they are all the same species) I am discovering more and more species although will soon run out of new ones to find

Pearly Heath (perleringvinge) is really expanding north in Norway

Northern Brown Argus (sankthansblåvinge) - my first Oslo record where it seems to be genuinely rare

Note how the upperparts suddenly appear blue

Green-underside Blue (kløverblåvinge) has either being greatly overlooked in the past or is expanding quickly

the similar and far commoner Mazarine Blue (engblåvinge)

a Mazarine at the back with a larger and far commoner Common Blue (tiriltungeblåvinge)

female Common Blue

Grizzled Skipper (bakkesmyger) - first time I have photographed the underwing

Dingy Skipper (tiriltingesmyger) are not that dingy
Large Skipper (engsmyger)
not sure I can remember seeing the underwing of a Speckled Wood (skogringvinge) before

my first Large Wall Brown (klipperingvinge) of the year. I have yet to record the very similar although earlier flying Northern Wall Brown (bergringvinge) which must be the most misidentified butterfly in Norway

a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillart (brunflekket perlemorvinge)

and the similar Pearl-bordered Fritillary (rødflekket perlemorvinge) which appears slightly earlier

Heath Fritillary (marimjellerutevinge) is fairly common around Oslo but I have yet to see the rare False Heath Fritillary (mørk rutevinge)

and a crab spider (kameleonedderkopp) that likes to lie in wait and eat butterflies

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