For the 2nd time in 3 years I saw the first Silver-spotted Skipper in the UK on my patch at the back of Seaford. This male was spotted probably just after it had emerged on the 13th July.
Male Silver-spotted Skipper.
At the same spot and within minutes of seeing the Skipper I was photographing a Six-belted Clearwing. I had always wanted to see a Clearwing in the UK and with Clare and Dave we purchased a selection of pheromones for them. Although we started late in the season we saw 3 different species as well as the Raspberry Clearwing that a friend had turning up in his garden.
Without a doubt my rarest find of the year was a Chalkhill Blue Bilateral gynandromorph whilst I was looking for Grayling on the Downs. This strange butterfly is split straight down the middle with one half being female and the other half male. This is an extremely rare event and there are normally only 2 or 3 records each year in the UK of this happening. I only heard of one other in 2019 and that was an Orange-tip. Unfortunately the butterfly was soon lost to view with so many other Chalkhill Blues flying in the area and I was the only person to have seen it.
Chalkhill Blue Bilateral gynandromorph.
At the beginning of Autumn I came across a larva of a Privet Hawk-moth. I have been looking for these for some time and the last one I saw was many years ago. As is often the case I found it when I was not searching for them, as I was actually gardening at the time.
Privet Hawk-moth Larva.
A few days later I was with Matt when he heard about a young Dotterel on the top of the Downs. A quick drive and climb got us in position to re-find the bird.
The expected Long-tailed Blue explosion unfortunately didn't happen due to the horrendous weather that hit us right when the emergence should have happened. With around 100 eggs known locally all I managed was a very short session with James and Clare. This was my 50th butterfly species seen in the UK this year. My thanks to James for the heads up on the location where he had found them.
My other really rare find was at the end of October when I was with Matt photographing a Snow Bunting. As we headed back to the car we had a large dragonfly fly up in front of us. When it settled in the long grass it was the rare Vagrant Emperor, a first for both of us .
Male Vagrant Emperor.
My favourite bird from the Autumn was the Shorelark at Dungeness. A very confiding bird and a species that I have only seen 3 times before and never photographed successfully.
I was also very pleased with the Firecrest that I photographed from my bedroom window.
My final photograph from 2019 was from a session with Clare and Pete of the Purple Sandpipers at Newhaven. As the pier is I believe going to be re-developed this may well be the last time I will be able to get close here so it was good to have several of the birds performing well.
All in all 2019 was pretty good for me with a few rare things seen and several reasonable photographs taken despite the year being very challenging on a personal note.
Hopefully 2020 will give me many more opportunities.
My thanks to all of you that take the time to check out what I am up to by looking at the blog.
A Happy 2020 to you all.