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EXCURSION NOTES 2020  (including many photos) - Scroll down

 
For a complete list of species seen and identified by me this year, click on:Year List 2020
For previous Excursion Notes (with photos), please click on year:2019201820172016201520142013
For previous Year Lists, please click on year:2019201820172016201520142013
 
 Excursion Notes 2020
January
Fairly cold weather for most of the month with some warmer days towards the end of the month. However, no butterflies seen on my few opportunities to go walking.
February
7th: Here we are. The first butterflies of the year spotted today, just 200 metres from where I live, on a sheltered, sunny piece of ground next to a small vineyard (photo of the spot). However, I didn't expect  to see a Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) - a spring butterfly, certainly, but I have never seen one so early! Here is a photo. A few seconds later two Green-veined Whites (Pieris napi) appeared nearby and were soon joined by a third. (Photo of one of them). I set off up the hill hoping to find a lot more, eventually coming across a Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)(photo) and a little bit further on a second one. Here is a photo of the track that I was on. Despite walking for another two hours, that was it - there was nothing else to be found and even though I returned to the vineyard mid-afternoon where I had started the walk,  the butterflies seen earlier had disappeared.
8th: In the mood for finding butteflies, I walked along the road to the same spot as yesterday to see fs anything new was around. Today, there were two Small Coppers. Here are two photos, but I think it is the same butterfly as yesterday (photo, photo). I had another slight surprise when a few minutes later an Eastern Bath White (Pontia Edusa) appeared - not usually in my list of very early species for any year. The only photo opportunity was when it stopped to rest on a steep grassy bank. Here is a poor photo to record it.
28th: A short afternoon trip to a local castle (photo) and a nice sunny (but windy) afternoon. Having found the castle still closed, we discovered a sheltered path just at the back going up through the woods and up the mountain. A few metres was enough to find several butterflies flying around: my first Red Admiral of the year (usually it's the first I come across), then a Comma, followed by several Orange Tips. (Here is one poor photo, the over-exposure giving the impression that one wing-tip is yellow and the other orange). There were also a few whites, mostly Green-veined but some Small Whites too, and -  just as we were leaving -  a Green Hairstreak. Sorry about the lack of photos, but the butterflies would not stay still long enough for me to get close enough. Here is a view of the back of the castle (photo) and here a shot from the castle down into the main valley (photo).
March
1st - 14th: With the Corona-virus "stay at home" restrictions  now imposed on all of us here in Italy, it is only possible to do short walks in and around my village. However, following the very mild weather in February and the first half of March (so far), I have so far seen no fewer than  17 species of butterfly on the wing within a few hundred metres from my house. As well as Holly Blues (photo), Commas (photo), Green-veined Whites (photo), Peacocks (photo), Orange Tips, Brimstones and Large Tortoiseshells are now out and about. Here is one (photo) and here is another (photo) sunning itself on the trunk of a tree. Most recently I have crossed paths with  a single Scarce Swallowtail and this Mallow Skipper (photo) darting about and occasionally settling at the base of this stone terrace-wall (photo).



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