Monday, May 25, 2009

Oxenhope 25-05-2009 Painted Lady Day!!!!

"Swift Action" a montage BIG weather move (c) 2009

Painted Ladies a MASSIVE wave this morning (c) 2009

Painted Lady underwing (c) 2009

Large White (male) some moving with the Painted Ladies (c) 2009

Large White (female) some moving with Painted Ladies (c) 2009

0745 - 1230hr
S F1/2 rising S F4 by 1200hr, 15degC, 65km max haze, 0/8 increasing 8/8 stratocumulus, QNH 1019 falling.

One of those mornings with masses on the move in the sky high up first thing and everything worth a double look! A spectacular day in all respects, first off with Swifts, possibly the sub adults? powering through SW and then SE at high altitude... possibly the first real weather move of the season maybe to be due to the advancing storms moving up from the south.... or substantial depression in the NE Atlantic?... or a pincer combination of both with flat falling pressure over the area. Many were so high they were just at binocular range and scoping added a whole new dimension to the movement visible up here in the hills! the Swift action slowed by o915 but continued to a lesser extent all morning, owing to height many birds remained uncounted. At 0835hr a Buzzard sp passed N at moderate height... it flew through my scope whilst sussing out the O/S team obviously re-mapping the area, thought to be common but too distant to rule out Honey, so it will go down as Buzzard sp as I lost it whilst trying to get the camera onto it. At 1105 the action at "ground level" really started (nothing before this time) with Painted Ladies starting to come, first one, then followed by more on a broad front all powering fast north west very low to the ground along the embankment... when I looked round over the water they were coming over there as well, off the north end of the reservoir and off and away. It didn’t seem as if they were striking out over the Worth basin at constant altitude but dropping into it to follow the lie of the land. Many of those counted were following the leading line of the embankment NW but this morning additional migration counters would have logged more as one person cant look everywhere at once! At c 1200hr the sky closed in suddenly with stratocumulus moving up from the south and it was noted that the wind had picked up to S F4.... and become very humid, the cloud seemed to ground several of the Painted Ladies, not all to feeding plants (dandelion flowers) but to rest on patches of sparse vegetation but the ones that stopped were still very active never staying still for long. Moving along with the Painted Ladies were much smaller numbers of Large Whites. the count stopped at c1230hr... i.e. a total of 1hr 25mins. Whilst 56 might sound like a lot of butterflies in reallity they came through in well spaced ones and sometimes twos / threes with long spaces between. The area of observation was large from this migration watchpoint with the binoculars bringing into range many, if not three quaters of what would be seen by unaided vision. This was NOT just a casual count. Never seen butterfly migration like this before!! Moving along with the Painted Ladies were much smaller numbers of Large Whites and a couple of much much smaller brown butterflies and a small grey one thought to be a skipper which I couldent identify. Numbers of Green Veined Whites were about on the embankment but whilst some were moving, most were blogging......

PS just heard from Brian Sumner mid pm that c 50 Painted Ladies on Soil Hill seeming to be grounded.... now stratus overcast and little wind..... SEE for more information:

Moving birds and butterflies:

Swift 607 > SW and SE absolute mininum as could not count the elevated broad front in total by myself.
House Martin 1 > SE
LBBGull 56 > S and SW.... 306 > NW and N
Herring Gull 1 > NW
buzzard sp 1 > NE
Lapwing 3 > W
Starling c500 in the in-byes.... first big numbers seen
Black headed Gull 1 > N
Painted Lady 56 > NW
Large White 11 > NW
butterfly sp 3 > NW

You've been Mapped.... O/S survey team constantly "on the move" throughout the morning!! (c) 2009

"Birdman" flitting about! (c) 2009

(c) 2009

Sorry about yesterdays "enhanced" Swallow (mainly to show the nest material).... hope this one with a clean bill is better!!! (c) 2009

(Revised version to give more detail of the butterflies)