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Wednesday, 13 July 2011


A great find by Will Scott. LARGE TORTOISESHELL at Rose Hill!!!

  Will Scott has been working as one of the wardens on the Farne Islands since March. He's just arrived on Scilly for a ten day stay with his family and on his third day here, he goes out and finds a mega in the shape of the fifth LARGE TORTOISESHELL for Scilly!!! At 11.50, I got a call from his dad, Mick, to say that Will had just found Large Tortoiseshell at Rose Hill! I didn't think I was going to see one of these for along time, but with in seconds I called both Martin and Ren and then moved like the devil before it flew off. I didn't need to move so fast as the butterfly showed very well in the sun on a bramble leaf and then feeding on sap from an Oak Tree. Now and then it would fly above into the Oak only to return to the sap. As it flew out, I directed to where it was going only for it to briefly land on my the finger I was pointing with! Except for Will Wagstaff, this was a new butterfly for everyone! I returned half an hour later and after a while of it playing hide and seek in the leaves of the oak, it came out and landed on Martin's shoulder and I just happened to be standing right next to him at the time.

This is how I first saw it

Here it's resting on Martin's shoulder... 

And this Comma rested on Paul Semmens back 

Up to 3 Coma's were feeding on the same oak tree as Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and the L Tortoiseshell

According to M.H.Bletcher "Butterflies of Scilly" 1978, 3 were recorded by F.W.Frohawk on Scilly in 1934 of which 1 of these was caught by A.A.Dorian Smith in early August 1934. One was also caught on The Garrison during 1973 but no other details are available (per H.P.K.Robinson noted in Butterflies of Cornwall and Isles of Scilly by R.D.Penhallurick (1996).
Thanks to Lee Slaughter (Cornwall Butterfly Group).
Just off the path is where the butterfly favored.   

'Will, did you say Large Tortoiseshell?' 'Yes higgo' 'Ah, I was told it was a Lark Oriental, but thought they got the words mixed up in the excitement. Never mind, I'll look at it anyways, I've never seen a Tortoise on Scilly before!' 'A? It's a butterfly Higgo' 'Yeh and I bet it's jumped a fence from someones garden. That's where Tortoises normally live. Folks gardens'   

  If that wasn't enough, Will was emptying the moth traps at Longstones in the garden and got a BLOXWORTH SNOUT, only the second Scilly record and a very rare moth in Britain!


This Cream-bordered Green Pea was in the moth trap two night ago at Longstones. Only a handful are trapped each year. 

  Later with Ren, we went and had a look at Porth Hellick. There were now 4 Common Sandpiper and 2 Greenshank and about a month earlier than usual, a very early Snipe! 6 Sand Martin were feeding with 60+Swallow and 8 Swift and still around were the Tufted Duck and 2 Teal. At 17.00 we were just leaving when we both shouted at the same time, 'BEE-EATER!' It sounded like it was on the otherside of the pool, but when we both looked out of the hide, could we see the bloody thing? Is this the same individual that we last saw at Maypole last week or could it be a new bird?

Large Tortoiseshell top and at Porth Hellick today, Small Tortoiseshell where there was also 2 Peacock's 

Martin Goodey footage of the LARGE TORTOISESHELL feeding on the sap from the Oak Tree

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