Green Meanies and other Wiveton Beauties

A nice morning so re-visited Wiveton Downs for a couple of hours butterfly hunting.  The Downs is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI) and is an esker, in layman’s terms a glacial crevasse which was filled in and forms a winding ridge.  Situated a mile or so inland from the Nth Norfolk coast.  The top of the ridge is mostly Gorse and on the north side the lower slopes are clothed in Bluebells and well sheltered.

Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi). How innocent does this tiny butterfly look?

My target was seeing the Green Hairstreak.  Spurred on by Mike’s post yesterday https://alittlebitoutoffocus.com/2021/05/10/green-hairstreak-butterfly-val-dherens-switzerland/  I was hoping the locals would be out and about, I was not disappointed.  I have posted about this species before and have mentioned their rather nasty temper (yes B in Illinois, hard to believe but true).  These butterflies are the size of a thumbnail but that doesn’t stop them from beating the living daylights out of each other and attacking any thing else that flies past!

Seconds out, round two!
Spot the Ninja

All the butterflies were condensed into one area near a flowering Hawthorn and a bank of Bluebells.  There was more than Hairstreaks though, in all I saw ten different species.

The first of an influx? Reports of Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui) have come in from southern Britain. I spotted this one. Worn and faded but considering the migration journey it has just had that can be forgiven
A new season Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) risks the wrath of the Hairstreaks for a sip of Hawthorn nectar
Migrant or local? A slightly worn Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) enjoys a Bluebell

35 thoughts on “Green Meanies and other Wiveton Beauties

  1. great photos Brian! – I was out looking for Painted Ladies and Admirals today – may have spotted one (PL or otherwise very swift Toroiseshell) before the rains came down, but lost track of it before a positive ID. All very handsome species!

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    1. Thanks Pete. Had to do a double take on the PL (never saw one last year) as it was quite faded. Surprisingly it stuck around for ages, normally these migrants keep moving north.

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  2. Nice ones Brian! Looks like your season has taken off in earnest. I love those Small Coppers. And great that you found some Green Hairstreaks too! They certainly are feisty little things. (And many thanks for the mention). 😊

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    1. Cheers Mike. No the seasons still slow in Norfolk, just not getting any length of decent weather to really kick things off and now it’s mid May and I’ve only just seen my first damselfly.

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  3. Amazing how well that green hairstreak can blend in with the leaves. You read my mind on the call out ha! Wonderful series Mr. B. and as I mentioned before, the detail on the antennae is really cool. Based on your shots I always look for that when I am out in the field – visually of course, The Beast isn’t the right instrument to draw in that kind of macro detail.

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    1. Hi B. No you need to smuggle out L’s macro lens!
      These are difficult butters to find when they sit still and almost impossible to follow in flight (the upper wing is dark brown) but on the plus side you can get really close to them, until they see another rival.

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    1. Very kind Kim. It’s still very slow over here as well, the temps are way below what we should have. I’ve only just seen my first Damselfly, that’s a month later than usual!

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  4. Awesome as always! I think that one Hairstreak was doing a stare down at your camera.😳 We have had a wonderful display of butterflies here in the last few days as it warmed up again. I think you will have a covert if that guy in IL ever breaks out the micro lens and starts shooting butterflies instead of birds. 😂

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    1. Great you are getting the butterflies CJ, it’s now started turning chilly here again!
      I don’t think Linda will let B use her lens and he would have no chance photographing these Hairstreaks with ‘the beast’.

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    1. All a bit slow this year and no sign of imminent improvement. They are a lovely butterfly to photograph as they will allow a close approach (when they are not fighting!)
      Have a good time, thanks for the visit.

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      1. The Wiveton Downs has been on our list for a revisit for quite a while so will definitely venture out and look for this beauty soon.Your photos are stunning, Brian.

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  5. Nice pics, Brian. Good to see a few of our the old favourites appearing at last. That does seem pretty early for Painted Ladies though. I wonder if it has anything to do with the Southely-ish winds we’ve been getting lately, giving them a bit off a turbo charge on their way up here. Everything else seems to be starting so late.

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    1. Cheers David. Yes I think the southerlies brought them through but it’s now turned northerly up here again so that will slow the spread.
      Yes everything is late, I’ve only just seen my first Damselfly, three weeks later than the norm!

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  6. Really Great Brian! Not much happening around here though some large cabbage whites, plain tigers, plains cupid and a few common jays only. Though occasionaly things do pop up

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  7. The Hairstreak is lovely. Never seen a green butterfly.
    The Painted Ladies visit our spot almost on a daily basis, and in the afternoon there are always one or two flitting about the front garden. They seem to like to sunbathe, landing on the lawn open wings facing east.

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      1. Good question.
        My personal photo records show them in the garden from September through May, which would cover Spring right through to Autumn, leaving only winter proper.
        I may have shots from the missing months. It’ll take a bit to find out as I ”weed out” so many shots and it may be that I have just not bothered to photograph them.
        I’ll let you now.
        Meantime, I found this.,
        Found this …
        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/oct/19/painted-lady-butterflies#:~:text=Rather%20than%20hibernate%2C%20adult%20painted,and%20back%20again%20each%20year.

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