Forest ringlet, Kaimais

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David Riddell
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Forest ringlet, Kaimais

Postby David Riddell » Mon Jan 04, 2016 7:32 pm

Just had a really nice day up in the Kaimais. Went up the Wairere Falls track, then carried on beyond there towards the north for a couple of kilometres. Saw a good range of forest birds, including robins and two riflemen (no whiteheads, although I've seen them there before). Also saw a moderate-sized longfin eel (bit under a metre) - fairly amazing as it would have had to climb the falls to get there, and they're 153 metres high! In two stages, but still very impressive.

But the highlight of the day was seeing two forest ringlet butterflies. I saw a few on Great Barrier and one in the Waitakeres back in the early 1980s, but these are the first I've seen since then. Apparently they're now probably extinct in the Waitakeres, and are generally in steep decline, probably because of wasp predation. The few that are left are mainly above 500 metres, where the wasps don't reach. These ones were a little above 400 metres, and there was a wasp hassling us at lunchtime, so not sure how secure this population is. One was on the edge of a large clearing (obviously much used by hunters as a campsite), the other was a bit north of there, on the edge of the stream. Very buoyant, fluttery flight, not direct like an admiral or painted lady. Beautiful, ethereal little creatures, fantastic to see them again.
Forest ringlet 4 January 2016 Wairere Falls.jpg
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Forest ringlet, Kaimais

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:09 pm

Nice one David. And a photo too! I'd love to see one one day. Worth putting on Naturewatch if you haven't already. Maybe a case for some widespread Vespex in the area.
Davidthomas
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Re: Forest ringlet, Kaimais

Postby Davidthomas » Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:21 pm

I cant say i've ever seen one outside of photos, definitely agree with Neil that i would love to see one one day!

I sometimes wonder how our butterflies are doing as with the size of NZ its unlikely that there are really enough people going out looking for them or monitoring how they're doing really. Quite concerning as they dont have the press nor the funding/support that birds get.
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David Riddell
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Re: Forest ringlet, Kaimais

Postby David Riddell » Wed Jan 06, 2016 10:59 am

Neil Fitzgerald wrote:Worth putting on Naturewatch if you haven't already. Maybe a case for some widespread Vespex in the area.


Have put it on Naturewatch, also contacted nzButterfly through their Facebook page. According to them there are no recent reports from the Kaimais. Very much agree about the Vespex, but not sure how much of a priority butterflies are.

For the record, here's the other individual we saw - looked a bit tatty, must have been flying around for a few weeks.
Forest ringlet 2.jpg
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Forest ringlet, Kaimais

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Thu Dec 12, 2019 10:08 pm

David Riddell wrote:Very buoyant, fluttery flight, not direct like an admiral or painted lady. Beautiful, ethereal little creatures, fantastic to see them again.

I think I may have seen my first forest ringlet, last Monday, on Pirongia. It was low to the ground in a patch of forest with clear understory. It immediately struck me as unusual, smaller than a red admiral, not a yellow admiral, with a very buoyant light flight. The flight reminded me straight away of David's description. I dumped my pack to follow it but lost it before I could see it land. There is an observation of one on Pirongia on iNaturalist from a few years ago.
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David Riddell
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Re: Forest ringlet, Kaimais

Postby David Riddell » Fri Dec 13, 2019 8:09 am

That's great news Neil, definitely sounds like a forest ringlet, and it's the right time of year for them. How high up the mountain was it?

I saw the other day that they've been seen on Maungatautari recently.
https://www.sanctuarymountain.co.nz/winter-wanderings
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Neil Fitzgerald
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Re: Forest ringlet, Kaimais

Postby Neil Fitzgerald » Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:15 am

It was at about 600m. Great that they are also confirmed on M'tari.

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