Millions of painted ladies expected in Britain


This video from Texas in the USA says about itself:

Transformation of a Painted Lady Butterfly – The Butterly Life Cycle

29 July 2013

Watch the amazing transformation of caterpillar larvae to butterfly, as captured and documented by Scot Brinkley in affiliation with the EmilyAnn Theatre & Garden’s Butterfly Day – 2013.

From Wildlife Extra:

Large number of Painted Lady expected in UK

The UK is braced for a once in a decade occasion as an influx of Painted Ladies are expected to arrive in the UK at any moment after unusually high numbers of the orange and black butterflies have been amassing in southern Europe.

The butterfly is a common immigrant that migrates in varying numbers from the continent to the UK each summer, where its caterpillars feed on thistles. But around once every 10 years the UK experiences a Painted Lady ‘summer’ when millions of the butterflies arrive en masse.

The last mass immigration took place in 2009 when around 11 million Painted Ladies descended widely across the UK with the butterflies spreading into the most northerly parts of Scotland. Since then the UK has experienced five years with below average numbers but scientists are hopeful that 2015 could be very different.

Painted Ladies are experiencing their best year on the continent since 2009. The offspring of these butterflies could be UK bound imminently. Butterfly Conservation reported that some butterflies arrived during mid-May, but a spell of poor weather temporarily halted the immigration.

Recent warm sunny conditions have seen Painted Lady numbers soar once again with reports of large numbers of the butterflies seen at south coast sites – suggesting a large scale immigration may once again be about to take place.

Butterfly Conservation is asking for the public to record sightings of the butterfly to help chart the progress of any potential immigration during the summer.

Richard Fox, Butterfly Conservation Head of Recording explained: “The Painted Lady migration is one of the real wonders of the natural world. Travelling up to 1km in the sky and at speeds of up to 30 miles-per-hour these small fragile-seeming creatures migrate hundreds of miles to reach our shores each year, even though none of the individual butterflies has ever made the trip before.”

The Painted Lady undertakes a phenomenal 9,000 mile round trip from tropical Africa to the Arctic Circle each year – almost double the length of the famous migrations of the Monarch butterfly in North America.

Research using citizen science sightings from the 2009 migration revealed that the whole journey is not undertaken by individual butterflies but in a series of steps by up to six successive generations.

Radar studies revealed that after successfully breeding in the UK in 2009 more than 26 million Painted Ladies returned south in the autumn, many flying high in the sky out of the sight of human observers.

Painted Lady sightings can be recorded via Butterfly Conservation’s Migrant Watch scheme.

This video from England is called Painted Lady butterflies filmed at Butterfly Conservation’s Head Office in Lulworth, Dorset.

English coastal birds news


This is a knot video from Sweden.

Another video says about itself:

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) (Scolopacidae: Snipe, Godwits, Curlews etc.)

In Australia the Whimbrel is found in coastal locations during the warmer months of the year. Birds which migrate to Australia generally originate from eastern Siberia. Here filmed on the Cairns seafront in North Queensland. Can be found in Australia with the larger Eastern Curlew.

From Debby Saunders in Dorset, England, on Twitter today:

Ferrybridge on the outgoing tide 3 Knot, 2 Whimbrel, 10 Sanderling, 5 Turnstone, Bar[-tailed God]wit, 80 Dunlin, 20 Ringed Plover.

Barrel jellyfish coming back to Dorset, England


This video says about itself:

Swimming with a giant Barrel Jellyfish

23 June 2014

This Barrel Jellyfish (Rhizostoma pullmo) was filmed in the Percuil Estuary, near St Mawes, Cornwall. Large numbers of these, the UK’s largest jellyfish species have been seen this year around our coast. They are totally harmless and feed on plankton. They do have stinging cells but they are not able to get through human skin. They can grow to 80cm wide and weigh up to 30 kilos!

From the Dorset Echo in England today:

Warmer weather sees return of the barrel jellyfish to Dorset shores

by Tara Cox, Reporter

APRIL has seen the return of the barrel jellyfish in Dorset due to warmer weather – and experts warn there could be more sightings to come.

Barrel jellyfish, which can grow up to one metre wide, have been spotted in Weymouth Bay and Lyme Bay in recent weeks.

And the Dorset Wildlife Trust claim that during the spring and summer, we could expect to see up to eight different species of jellyfish along the Dorset coast.

Last year, more and more sightings of the sea creatures were reported after members of the public spotted them both in the ocean and washed up on beaches in Weymouth, Portland and West Dorset.

Barrel jellyfish can grow up to one metre wide.

These particular jellyfish do not sting, but the trust is advising members of the public not to touch any jellyfish they find washed up and to report them to the trust to identify and record.

Emma Rance, DWT marine conservation officer, said: “These oceanic drifters can change in shape, colour and size when they are beached.

“We would encourage people to look but not touch and keep their animals away from the jellyfish, because many jellyfish can still sting when dead.

“It’s very likely that we’re going to get more reports of jellyfish due to warmer weather. Barrel jellyfish feed on zooplankton – tiny animals floating in the water – which have increased due to longer days with more sunlight.”

The trust also said that the leatherback turtle and oceanic sunfish feed on jellyfish, so there could also be a possibility of seeing both of these species in Dorset.

Steve Trewhella, a professional wildlife photographer and environmental campaigner, said he was surprised to hear of jellyfish sightings on Portland and Chesil Beach as early as this in the year.

Broadwindsor resident and freelance writer Sophia Moseley spotted a barrel jellyfish on Lyme Regis beach near the iconic Cobb last Friday.

She said: “I took my two children down to the beach for fish and chips and was quite surprised to see it so early in the year.

“The jellyfish was 20 inches in diameter. It’s a worry that they are populating our seashore but there isn’t much we can do about it.”

Sophia tweeted a picture of the jellyfish to the Dorset Wildlife Trust, and said she would encourage others to do the same.

People who see a jellyfish are encouraged to take a photo and report it to the DWT via their Facebook page at facebook.com/dorsetwildlife.

Alternatively, any sighting photos can be tweeted to @DorsetWildlife.

New science: Injured jellyfish seek to regain symmetry: here.

Smooth newt males ready for mating season


This video from England says about itself:

9 April 2013

I’ve finally set out herping. With all this cold weather we’ve been having I thought I would never see the day. But I turned out to have great success in Dorset. I found lots of newts, lots of lizards, and lots of snakes. This video shows you the two species of newt which I found on my trip: the smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris), and the palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus). Which turns out to be a new species for me. I also encountered some Italian crested newts along the way but was unable to get some footage. :( Maybe next time…

On 3 January 2014, Dutch RAVON herpetologists investigated amphibians in Aamsveen nature reserve in Overijssel province.

They found two male smooth newts, already in full spring mating season colours, waiting for females.

One should hope for them that the winter, relatively mild so far, will not become harsher.

Italian crested newts in the Netherlands: here.