tisdag 31 mars 2020

Scarce Tortoiseshell pop-up!

This weekend I saw a Scarce Tortoiseshell (Videfuks in swedish) at the birding site Asköviken near Västerås - a - still scarce - butterfly that is one of my favorites and that I feel I have a special relationship with. When I started seriously with butterflies 2006/2007 the Scarce Tortoiseshell or Yellow-legged Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis xanthomelas) - was a rare species in Sweden, only known from few sites. In my efforts to see all Swedish butterflies I did several long excursions to the southeast trying to see it in Blekinge and Öland (with Pav Johnsson fort instance), but all in vain. In July 2012 a major influx hit Sweden from the east and I went out to the island Runmarö in the Stockholm archipelago, with my wife Anne and a friend (Clas Tegerstrand)  and got to see my first ever specimen, with kind help from Anders Haglund (they where in fact in his garden - on a sapping tree). Read the blogpost if you like:

The following spring I stumbled upon 2 more videfuks in Färna ekopark, when bird guiding with Mikael Rhönnstad and they stayed to be twitched by Markus Rehnberg and Niclas Lignell from Västerås. They where the first (twitchable) in the region. Hopes that they would establish a steady population (no lack of host plants - willow and sallow) came to shame with a really wet and cold summer following the invasion. Since then they have been seen irregularly and in low numbers. After a couple of poor years we saw a spark of hope again 2019 with some specimen seen in the area in late summer. I had already spoke to some people about it this year and as I headed out this weekend I had it in mind, since a previous record on the same spot a couple of years ago. Also on this occasion I had just met Niclas (Lignell) on his way home (who told me he´d been thinking the same…and been looking for it), so on the discovery I called him and he rushed back to see this attractive butterfly. It struck me as so bright brick orange, and soaring around it looked big and powerful, I knew instantly what it was. It kept in the same spot for a good hour or so, chasing away Smal Tortoiseshell and Peacocks who came to close, clearly establishing a territory here. A female Adder and a lot of Blue Wood Anemonies added to this first really spring-like day this year. (T-shirt for a while even) :)

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