8 Aug 2014

8 Aug 14 - Putting Names To The Map Collection

This morning, I had a call from Brian Arnold, to say they are watching the Map & it's being quite obliging in front of the camera. I get there & it is still there when I arrived about 15 minutes later. I was about to take some photos, when I see there are clearly two broken orange bands on the rear edges of the wings. This makes it a female and so we have a second individual. After getting some shots, I quickly bring out my mobile as they are photos from yesterday's blog on it and show Brian & Derek that the previous day's Map was a male (with only a single broken orange band). I had the advantage of getting better upper wing shots yesterday & having more time to look at those photos. So now we are looking at two Maps here. That rules out the chance of both arriving together, given their extreme potential vagrancy to the UK.  But that still didn't help with the vagrancy verses release theory, except it now means that the vagrancy would have had to have been a previous generation into a Spring generation which is less migratory.
Map: Individual B Female. The double orange band indicates it is a female
Map: Individual A Male. This is the male from the previous day. The single orange band indicates it is a male
Map: Individual A Male. Another photo of the same individual from today. Individual A has 2 strong, 1 weak & then 2 strong orange bars on the hindwing counting from the body
The female flew, but happy settled on a low white Umbellifer flower & started to nectar. Next thing is we see a second individual flying. We leave the female settled on the ground & nectaring & go off in chase of that individual which clearly is going to be yesterday's male (or so we thought). But we put up 2 more which start flying as well & but couldn't get any photos (as too flighty). But I was happy I had just seen 3. Several minutes later, we go back to look for the female & she is still there happily nectaring where we left her. So that has to be 4 individuals. Excitement is kicking in now at what we have just seen. I've never taken drugs, but reckon I should be talking about a new drug called MAP, with a near instant hit for all serious fans of Butterflies. Time to put a few updates & calls out as I knew several friends who were waiting on news.
Map: Individual B Female. She was still sitting on the Umbellifer & happy to show off her underwings
I spent the rest of the day at the site, getting photos as Maps were found. As the sun disappeared or they felt uneasy, they seemed to retreat to the surrounding bushes & trees. As the sun reappeared, then we were seeing them. The female seemed to be more of a natural model & easier to photograph. The males were more flighty & easier to disturb. As the day progressed, I started to look at differences in wing patterns, focusing on the fine detail of the orange band & the dark markings in the white band & seeing more males as I was getting more photos. Then I picked out a second female. So a multiple number of individuals present & as I write this I don't have a clear idea of how many I saw, but think it is 9 (with 7 males & 2 females). Hopefully, I will be able to prove this at the end of the post, but I'm sure that will be added to over coming days & when I see other photos. But for anybody who read my Swallowtail Mugshot post, you can figure where the rest of this post will be going. Time to get into the analysis & to prove the individuals. My Butterfly & Birding mate, Nick Urch, went into teacher mode (Nick you are on holiday) & suggested they should all have names Albert, Bettie, Colin etc, but I will settle for simple letters.
Map: Individual C female. Single band so looks like a male. But abdomen shape confirms it's a female. Considered most likely to be a female. But not Individual A as the hindwing has 5 strong orange bars (Individual A has 2 strong, 1 weak & then 2 strong orange bars counting from the body). Also the black marks in each of the white bands nears to the body are a different shape
Map: Individual C female. A better angle confirming the body shape as a female. Many thanks to Nick Urch for allowing me to publish this image. Copyright remains with Nick
Map: Individual D Male. Single band so a male. But the hindwings (counting out from the body) has 1 strong, 2 missing & 2 final orange bars. Also the black mark in the white band nears to the body are pretty small marks 
Map: Individual E Male. Single band so a male. Looks like A as the hindwings (counting out from the body) are 2 strong, 1 missing & 2 strong orange bars on the left hindwing. On the right hindwing, orange bars 4 & 5 are different shapes in Individual A. Also the orange on the right forewing stops after 2 marks. Individual A is more worn, but has orange continuing onto the right forewing 
Map: Individual F Male. Single band so a male. No problems picking out this one given the extreme wear. All the others have been pretty fresh, although Individual A has some wear to the upperside
Individual F is interesting as it looks like it has been flying for a week or more, so hatched earlier? Does this help with the release/locally bred considerations.
Map: Individual G Male. Single band so a male. Looks superficially like A & E as the hindwings (counting out from the body) are 2 strong, 1 missing & 2 strong orange bars on the left hindwing. On the right hindwing, orange bars 4 & 5 are different shapes in Individuals A & E. Also the 2 white patches in the band on the right forewing stops are a very distinctive shape.
Map: Individual H Female. Two bands so a female. Right this is easier to pick out as I only have to worry about Individual B as they others so far are males. Individual B has a broader outer orange band, whereas Individual H has the broader inner orange band 
Map: Individual I Female. Single band so looks like a male, but abdomen shape actually indicates it's a female. Looks superficially like C as the hindwings (counting out from the body) are 5 strong. But distinctive small white spot next to 2 white squares on right forewing (no white spot on Individual C)
Map: Individual J Male. Single band so a male. Looks superficially like A, E & G as the hindwings (counting out from the body) are 2 strong, 1 missing & 2 strong orange bars on the left hindwing). But the shape of these orange marks eliminate each of these individuals. Note, the 3 parallel white lines on each forewing along with an extra offset white line on the right forewing
So we are no further forward in being able to say where these have come from a vagrant from a less migratory Spring brood or a release. I suppose there is always the option C of a local breeder having an escape which started everything off. Guess we will never know. Just hoping the next thing I find will be a nice obvious bird with no doubts to its credentials.