Donegal Report april-may 2007
April and Early May 2007 Donegal Butterfly Summary »»»
Details of Visit of 1st-5th May 2007: Bob Aldwell »»»
April and Early May Donegal Butterfly Summary
The warm dry weather throughout most of this period resulted in many butterflies flying earlier than usual and in larger numbers than in average years. By 5 May, a total of seventeen butterfly species had been reported flying in Donegal. These are: DS, GH, GVW, HB, LW, OT, PL, P, RA, SB, SC, SH, SmT, SW, SpW, WB and WW.
From about April 20, GH, GVW, OT, P, SmT and SpW were widespread and even numerous in sheltered places.
Starting on April 12 at Glenveagh the Holly Blue, has been recorded on twelve 10km squares, which is the highest number of squares for this species in Donegal in the ten years of this survey. Between four and fifteen HBs were reported from Adderwal Glen, nr Doochary; Ardnamona, nr Lough Eske; Legnahoory, nr Kilmacrenan; nr Ramelton; at Ards Forest and the Knader, nr Ballyshannon. Particularly welcome was the new 10km square record for HB reported by Craig Ayres at Lettermore (G88) on the south side of the Bluestacks. Craig made single sightings of an HB in his garden on April 20, 21 and 30, the latter record being of a female. None were seen at suitable habitat in Inishowen or at Crolly, Glenties or near Inver.
Frank Smyth recorded the Small Blue, Small Copper (8) and Wall Brown in the last week of April and DS, SH and WW were recorded in the first week of May, all exceptionally early for these species in Donegal.
The Green Hairstreak is having an excellent year in Donegal with large numbers being reported from two newly discovered sites in Inishowen. Members of the Inishowen Wildlife Club (IWLC) reported hundreds of GH at Ballyrattan, nr Moville on April 29 and another 100+ at Cambry, nr Gleneely on May 05. Elsewhere in Donegal, GHs were reported widely although in more usual smaller numbers. So far this year, the GH has been recorded on nine new 10km squares in Donegal, bringing the total of squares on which GH has been recorded in the county during the ten years of survey to fifty-seven 10km squares. Thorough searching of suitable habitat in sheltered areas with gorse and bilberry stands a good chance of locating this butterfly in most parts of Donegal. However its distribution within its range usually is very local.
In the first week of May, Frank Smyth reported 30+ Dingy Skippers at its strong colony nr Ballintra and the Wood White as widespread in the Rossnowlagh Ballintra-Ballyshannon area. Frank Smyth reported a Wall Brown(WB) at St Johns Point on April 27 and Liz and Ralph Sheppard recorded single Wall Browns at Mevagh on the Rosguill peninsula and Moyle Hill, south of Milford on May 2. The Moyle Hill record is a new 10km square record for WB on square C12. Other early May records for WB were of a single seen by Joe Devlin and Clifford Sharpe at St Johns Point on May 05 and one by me at Dooey, Lettermacaward on the same day.
Frank Smyth saw a Small Blue at St Johns Point on April 27 and Joe Devlin and Clifford Sharpe also reported one in the same district on May 05.
Marsh Fritillary larvae were seen in tens of thousands at Cruit Island in March and Maurice Simms reported several hundred from Sheskinmore in early April. Another noteworthy sighting was of second instar (half grown) Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars on clumps of nettles in dunes at Dooey and Maghery, nr Dungloe on May 05, well ahead of their usual date.
Two observers recorded the Red Admiral on April 28 and 29 in the Lifford Raphoe area. This was followed on May 02 by Red Admiral sightings from three districts by six observers across a wide area of north Donegal. On Inishowen, George McDermott recorded one at Buncrana and on the other side of the peninsula at Culdaff, a Red Admiral was seen by Con ODonnell. In Northwest Donegal, Josephine ODonnell in the Gweedore area, recorded three RAs in a garden at Crolly and three more at Beltany, while I saw one between those two locations at Fawnaboy. Maurice Simms at Lifford reported four RAs on Croaghan Hill, and one in his garden, while Liz and Ralph Sheppard recorded a RA in their garden nr Raphoe.
The members of the IWLC made a further sighting of a RA nr Gleneely on May 05.
The IWLC reported three Painted Ladies at Inishowen Head on April 28. The sightings of these two species indicate a small to moderate migrant influx to North Donegal resulting from the sustained period of easterly winds originating from a warm southeasterly direction.
Details of Visit to Donegal by Bob Aldwell 1st-5th May, 2007
The weather was warm and sunny with temperatures rising to 18 to 23 degrees each
1 May: Mountcharles- Inver Glenties G87 and G89
Salthill G863 757 at seafront -One WW at the known colony strong see breeze
Salthill G865 759 along sheltered verge one P nectaring on dandelions
Inver Dunes G822 772 eroding dunes SC 2, SmT 1.
Derries - G8022 9278 in garden GVW 3, OT 1, P 1, SmT 1, SW 3, SpW 1 most nectaring on an apple tree. *New 10km sq record for SW on G89.
2 May: Cleengort Lane Derrynamansher Moneybeg Fawnboy - B82, B92 and G79
Cleengort Lane G7982 9950 Sheltered sunny lane with good variety of vegetation GVW 1, P 2 and SpW 1. No HBs or WWs seen.
Derrynamansher B8271 2061 sheltered minor road with many hollies in hedges and gardens GH 2, GVW 3, P 4, OT 3, SpW 2, LW 1. No HBs seen, despite careful checking of suitable holly trees.
Money Beg Truskmore- Cashelnagor B92 -checked several suitable areas with gorse for GH but none seen.
Fawnboy B916 268 RA 1 flying fast near stream.
Killult B91 31 Visited Sandy Alcorn at Gortahork and showed her a GH.
3 May: Letterbrick Lughveen (SE of Fintown) - Bracky Glencolumbkille C00, G99, G78, G58
Letterbrick C0111 0116 south-facing garden of Cynthia Cox on roadside hill-slope near Cloghan. This garden has a variety of flowers and vegetables and is backed by gorse. I checked the gorse for GH without success but later found one nectaring on forget-me-not GH 1, GVW 6, LW 1, OT 1, P 1, SmT 2 - new 10km square record for GH.
Luchveen G9526 9972 along roadside, beside abandoned old dwelling in remote area of damp meadows, a few gnarled trees and brambles but no gorse or bilberry seen - GH 1, GVW 10+, OT 10+ - new 10km square record for GH.
Bracky - G7277 8947 adjoining stream in garden and lands of Michael and Chris Lynch, nr Ardara GVW 2, SpW3. No signs of HB.
Glencolumbkille Machair G5253 8501 sheltered low dunes with good variety of dune vegetation P 3, SC 1, SH 1.
Malinbeg G503 799 GVW 1.
Port Rd, Glencolumbkille G5547 8521 sheltered roadside verge with plentiful gorse and brambles GH 12+, GVW 3, OT 1.
May: Altadush Tirargus Crockatee - Moneybeg Portnoo -
Stranalough C00, C01, C03, B92, G69, G89.
Altadush C0267 0897 area of gorse and brambles etc beside R250 suitable site for GH but weather last year was never quite right in this mountainous area GH 2, GVW 10+, OT 10+
Tirargus C0714 1739 quiet minor road with unspoilt hedges and verges and including holly HB 1, GVW 10+, OT 2, SpW 2.
Crockatee C0373 3012 - along minor road with gorse and brambles to southwest of Creeslough GVW 4, OT 2, SpW 2. No GH seen although site looks suitable.
Money Beg B9048 2018 gorse backed by trees in sheltered south-facing site adjoining blanket bog after checking several other sites in the area with gorse for GH, at last a GH appeared on gorse at this site GH 1 new 10km square record for GH on B92
Pound Lough, Portnoo G695 989 nr water treatment works visited this known DS site with Richard McCafferty DS 2, GH 2.
Stranalough G809 957 brought by Richard McCafferty along minor road near Glenties through largely blanket bog with gorse lining the track. At this site a small willow was in bloom and upwards of twenty GH were nectaring on this willow and adjoining gorse.
May: Dooey Maghery Cruit Island Lough Magee
Dooey B7548 0312 low dunes adjoining sandy meadows GVW 1, WB 1 and group of SmT second instar larvae on sheltered clump of nettles
Maghery B7167 0938 in low dunes SmT 1 with two groups of 2nd instar SmT larvae.
Cruit Island B738 200 in vicinity of and to east of Island cemetery hundreds of single MF larvae of various sizes. Because of the drought and the previous thousands of MF larvae there was little sign of devilsbit leaves remaining in what is a rather dry site.
Lough Magee, Annagary B7831 2010 beside road junction to airport is a site with gorse and green bushes suitable for GH. No GH were seen but weather was becoming cloudy and cool. GH has not been recorded yet on 10km square B72.