DEAN GREEN TEAM

Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean

Gloucestershire

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17 June 2014

Butterfly Surveying - Linear Park

Grid Ref SO650126

 

A good day of sunshine with just a few clouds and the temperature reached 20 degrees.

We found:- Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown (bigger than Small Heath), Small Heath, Large Skipper, Small Tortoishell, Silver Y moth, Small Elephant Hawk-moth, Cinnabar, Adders Tongue Fern and a young toad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elephant Hawk-moth Deilephila elpenor

The Elephant Hawk-moth is a medium-sized hawk-moth, on the wing from May to July and active at dusk. It is commonly found in parks and gardens, as well as woodland edges, rough grassland and sand dunes. The caterpillars are seen from July to September and are very characteristic: greyish-green or brown with two enormous, black eyespots towards the head. When disturbed, they swell up to show these spots and scare-off predators. The caterpillars feed on willowherbs, fuchsia and bedstraw, and the adults feed on nectar. The caterpillars overwinter as chrysalides, hidden amongst low vegetation or in the soil.

 

 

 

 

 

 

10 June 2014

Butterfly Surveying - Serridge Green area

Grid Ref SO623148

 

The day was warm although the clouds came over. We split up into three groups so that we could cover a larger area.

 

 

We think this is the caterpillar for a Six-spot Burnet Moth Zygaena trifolii. The moth flies with a slow buzzing flight during sunshine and visits a range of flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria Butterfly and we saw a few of these on this day. The aptly named Speckled Wood flies in partially shaded woodland with dappled sunlight. The male usually perches in a small pool of sunlight, from where it rises rapidly to intercept any intruder.

Both sexes feed on honeydew in the tree tops and are rarely seen feeding on flowers, except early and late in the year when aphid activity is low. The range of this butterfly contracted during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but has spread back since the 1920s. It has continued to spread over the past two decades, re-colonizing many areas in eastern and northern England and Scotland.

 

3 June 2014

Butterfly Surveying - Mallards Pike area

Grid Ref SO637088

 

The day was slightly overcast but the sun appeared occasionally so it was not too bad for spotting butterflies. However, we spotted a lot more day flying moths than butterflies including the Drab Looper Moth Minoa murinata below. We split into three teams to cover a wider area and we were also checking for the marsh violets that had previously been planted. Our aim was to find the Small Pearl-bordered fritillary and one of our groups did succeed in finding a couple of them.

 

Drab Looper Minoa murinata

Wingspan 14-18 mm.

As the English name suggests, this is a dull, unpatterned species, but is one of the few day-flying moths, preferring sunny weather.
When fresh, the wings have a delicate silky sheen, but this soon fades.
The species occurs in the southern parts of England and Wales, occupying wooded habitats.
The larval foodplant is wood spurge (Euphorbia amygdaloides), and the flight period is May to June, with a partial second brood in August in the south.

 

 

27 May 2014

Butterfly Surveying - Linear Park

Grid Ref SO650126

 

This was the start of a series of Butterfly Surveys being done by the Dean Green Team and supervised by Nick Williams.It was a bit unfortunate that the weather was overcast but the sun did occasionally peep out! This meant that there was not an abundance of butterflies but we did manage to find some key species which we wanted to record on this day.

On the way up the Linear Park we saw a Silver-ground Carpet moth, a Common Blue, a Burnet Companion moth, several Brown Silver-line moths coming up out of the Bracken, a Green-veined White near the Oaks and a single Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary on the edge of the bracken lobe towards the Triangle.

On the Triangle (which was partly under water only two days before), we saw 2 Common Blues, the same Small Pearl, a Dingy Skipper, a Red Admiral and an Orange Tip close to the stream. There were also some small day-flying moths, probably Pyralids, which we cannot yet identify to species.

Earlier there had been several clusters of caterpillars of different sizes on nettle patches, mostly were Small Tortoiseshells, but one solitary larger black caterpillar with noticeable spines was almost certainly a Peacock. As we walked up towards the old slag tips at Foxes Bridge, we saw a Wood White by the smaller of the two settling ponds, and probably a couple of Green-veined Whites.

All the photos below were taken by our avid members!

 

 

This is the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary caught by Nick which was one of the species we were especially looking for.

 

 

Scientific name: Boloria selene

Medium-sized orange butterfly with black markings and silvery patches on the underside.

This Fritillary is similar in size and habitats to the Pearl-bordered Fritillary but is more widespread and occurs in damper, grassy habitats as well as woodland clearings and moorland.

The adults fly close to the ground, stopping frequently to take nectar from flowers such as Bramble and thistles. It can be idenfidied from the more numerous whitish whitish pearls on the underside hind wings, the outer ones bordered by black chevrons and from the larger black central dot.

The butterfly remains widespread and locally abundant in Scotland and Wales, but has undergone a severe decline in England.

 

 

We saw a few of the Common Blue and they were in varying shades of blue but this one was magnificent!

 

Scientific name: Polyommatus icarus

Male has blue wings with black-brown border and thin white fringe. Female brown, similar to Brown Argus, but with blue dusting near body.

The Common Blue is the most widespread blue butterfly in Britain and Ireland and is found in a variety of grassy habitats.

The brightly coloured males are conspicuous but females are more secretive. The colour of the upperwings of females varies from almost completely brown in southern England to predominantly blue in western Ireland and Scotland, but the colour is variable within local populations with some striking examples. Unlike Adonis and Chalkhill Blues, the dark veins do not extend into white fringes of wing margins.

It remains widespread but there have been local declines within its range. 

 

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