Butterfly Conservation
Saving butterflies, moths and our environment
Hampshire and
Isle of Wight Branch

News Archive for Apr 2014

30 Apr 2014

Glanville Fritillary out at Wheelers Bay. A visit to Wheelers Bay, Bonchurch, IOW (SZ568775) produced Dingy Skipper (1), Glanville Fritillary (1), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Small White (3), Wall (1 "female"), Peacock (2). 2 Glanville Fritillaries seen today at this location (also 1 Glanville seen by A.Butler yesterday the 29.04). [Posted by Peter Hunt]

Mating Dukes at Noar Hill. A visit to Noar Hill (SU741320) produced Duke of Burgundy (9), Dingy Skipper (2), Green Hairstreak (2), Orange-tip (12), Peacock (2). A quick lunchtime visit, totals are conservative due to time constraints. A very pleasant hour in the warm sunshine. [Posted by Andy Stocker]

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Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Andy Stocker

29 Apr 2014

A day of firsts on IOW. A visit to Bonchurch Down, Ventnor, IOW (SZ568780) produced Brown Argus (1), Dingy Skipper (1), Green Hairstreak (1), Orange-tip (3), Small Copper (4), Small Heath (1), Wall (1). A very warm and sunny afternoon that produced the first Brown Argus and Small Heath of the year. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

27 Apr 2014

Pearl-bordered Fritillary out in the New Forest. A visit to the New Forest produced the first Pearl-bordered Fritillary of the year. [Posted by Ken Woodford]

26 Apr 2014

Wall out at Chilton Chine. A visit to Chilton Chine (SZ405824) produced a very docile Wall during an overcast afternoon! [Posted by Stuart Read]

24 Apr 2014

Small Blue on the wing on IOW. Today I visited Afton Chalk Pit (SZ364854) and saw Green Hairstreak (10), Grizzled Skipper (1), Small Blue (1). First grizzled skipper and small blue of the year for me. [Posted by Ian Pratt]

23 Apr 2014

Hyden Wood in full bloom. A visit to Hyden Wood (SU696187) produced Small Tortoiseshell (2), Red Admiral (1), Speckled Wood (1), Peacock (1). A walk around one of the sites to be visited on my field trips in a few weeks time, with the weather not particularly good for butterflies it certainly was for the carpets of Bluebells to be seen, a sight to behold. Areas of the wood have been coppiced in places and here the Primroses are starting to re-generate, but it may be a long time before the Duke of Burgundy ever finds its way back into this wood. The set-aside areas by the farmers fields were not flora and fauna friendly, with only Dandelions, and Daisies to be seen amongst the rank grasses. The way-leaves area where the large Electricity pylons sit, the flora would be helped by a good cut back on the Hazel stools creeping ever upwards. Some of this wood is Private, so I would'nt like to guess what these parts of the wood will look like in generation s to come. Despite all this the Hedgerows leading up to wood should have been littered with the odd Brimstone Orange Tip, etc. had the weather been a lot kinder. Its easy to get lost in the wood, and I'm glad I had my trusty compass at hand to lead me out of the wood, all be it several miles further down the road from where my trusty steed was parked. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Hyden Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Speckled Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

21 Apr 2014

Dukes yet to emerge at Oxenbourne Down. A visit to Oxenbourne Down (SU710189) produced Green-veined White (1), Grizzled Skipper (3), Peacock (5), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Orange-tip (2), Brimstone (6), Small White (3), Small Copper (1). A pleasant walk around Oxenbourne Down again to find any signs of the Duke of Burgundy, but alas it wasn't to be. Even though the weather was fine and warm with very little wind, its very hard to find them here, especially so early on in the season. The problem on the site is there are very few areas where the butterfly can breed, hopefully where the Gorse has been cut down,there should be Cowslip seeds springing up, amongst the scrubby areas, which should encourage, any passing female to lay. The area where the Pine trees were cut down about a decade ago, looks to me as if its going to be left to naturally re-generate as a chalk-downland, and I've noticed this year good clumps of Cowslips now growing in small areas, so this area could naturally become a Duke site, only time will tell. However there were a few butterflies on the wing,and the Small Copper was a nice surprise, but I've still not bagged a Holly Blue as yet! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Brimstones but no Dukes at Stephens Castle Down. Today I visited Stephens Castle Down (SU5620) and saw Brimstone (23 "11 females (most were actively egg laying & 12 males"), Brimstone (6 Egg), Orange-tip (3 "2 male & 1 female"), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Peacock (4), Dingy Skipper (4), Grizzled Skipper (7). After seeing a solitary Duke of Burgundy at this site last year I went in search of them again but did not find any today also no Green Hairstreaks. Brimstone were very numerous and my count is very conservative. All seen between 10am and midday in very warm sunshine with a little cloud and no wind at all. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

19 Apr 2014

Green-veined White and Orange-tips at Whiteley Pastures. Today I visited Whiteley Pastures/Botley Woods (SU539096) and saw Orange-tip (8 "Cold easterly breeze causing them to settle.") and Green-veined White (4 "West of Electricity Sub-station"). [Posted by Phil Lowe]

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Green-veined White
Photo © Phil Lowe
Green-veined White
Photo © Phil Lowe
Orange-tip
Photo © Phil Lowe

18 Apr 2014

Car breakin while visiting Rake Bottom. Today I visited Rake bottom (SU713207) and saw Dingy Skipper (7), Duke of Burgundy (4), Green Hairstreak (9), Green-veined White (5), Grizzled Skipper (14), Orange-tip (6), Peacock (5), Small Tortoiseshell (4). A nice morning spoilt by having my car broken into whilst parked in Ramsdean Lane - fairly sure it was by two motorcyclists who roared off when I was about 300m up the track - beware if you park anywhere along this lane. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

Small Copper on the wing!. Today I visited Stockbridge Down - the strip next to the road (SU380346) where the following observations were made: Small Copper (1 "one wing had not fully opened"), Grizzled Skipper (1), Orange-tip (4 "1 female"), Brimstone (3), Peacock (2), Comma (1). [Posted by Graeme Davis]

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Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Graeme Davis
Small Copper
Photo © Graeme Davis

17 Apr 2014

Brimstone explosion at Oxenbourne Down. A visit to Oxenbourne Down (SU710189) resulted in Brimstone (90), Grizzled Skipper (1), Small White (3), Peacock (12), Orange-tip (3), Green-veined White (1), Small Tortoiseshell (2). A look at Oxenbourne Down again for the second time in a week, and the Brimstone was everywhere, probably the most I've seen up there for many years, the scrub bashing on top of the down is still in progress and there isn't much Gorse left! Oxenbourne Down is one of those sites where the Duke of Burgundy is never very obvious, unless you sit for 10 minutes on an ant hill and just survey the scene. I suspect it will be out at the end of April as its normally about a week behind most sites, even though most of the site faces South-east. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Dukes in the Meon Valley. A quick visit to another site in the Meon Valley and this produced (8) Dukes all in pristine condition, they were now flying in other territories where a few days ago there were none, so it doesn't take them long to set up a territory. There was still a cool wind blowing across the down, which despite the warmth of the sun can still be detrimental to a specie like this. A lovely Green Hairstreak flew out of a Hazel Thicket and disappeared with its brilliant Green Camouflage. I also crept up on a Hare at the side of a farmers field and he bolted as soon as he spotted me, and a stoat jumped up in front of me and ran into a Oil seed Rape plantation. This retirement now is really kicking in long may the weather last....! In summary, this visit (SU712206) resulted in Duke of Burgundy (8), Small White (3), Orange-tip (2), Peacock (6), Green Hairstreak (1), Brimstone (12), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Dingy Skipper (1). [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

16 Apr 2014

Noar Hill Dukes and more. A visit to Noar Hill (SU746320) produced Duke of Burgundy (10), Grizzled Skipper (1), Green Hairstreak (1), Holly Blue (1), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Peacock (3), Brimstone (4 "2M,2FM"), Orange-tip (6 "M"). Although the sun was shining, a keen wind restricted sightings of butterflies until about 11am when the first Duke of Burgundy made an appearance, quickly followed by another three accompanied by the surprise of the day, my first sighting of a Grizzled skipper at Noar Hill. Further pleasures in the shape of Green Hairstreak whose colour played tricks in the brilliant sunshine and a Holly Blue doing what they always do, along with good company made it a special few hours. The large Bee-fly were everywhere with their fearsome sword like appendage which they use to feed voraciously on the beautiful Cowslips. [Posted by Colin Baker]

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Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Colin Baker
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Colin Baker
Bee-fly
Photo © Colin Baker

Orange-tips in profusion on IOW. A visit to Walters Copse, Yarmouth, IOW (SZ356889) turned up Brimstone (3), Comma (7), Green-veined White (1 "confirmed, many other "small" whites"), Orange-tip (50 "plus, counted mainly male & few female"), Peacock (50 "plus counted, very worn specimens"), Small Tortoiseshell (5), Small White (1 "confirmed, many other "small" whites"). A bright sunny afternoon, cool F3-4 SE wind. Never seen so many Orange-tips on the wing. [Posted by Sue Davies]

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Male Orange-tip
Photo © Sue Davies
Male Orange-tip
Photo © Sue Davies

Grizzled Skipper and Green Hairstreak in good numbers at Butser Hill. Today I visited Butser Hill (Rake Bottom) (SU709206) and saw Grizzled Skipper (18), Green Hairstreak (7), Peacock (9), Small Tortoiseshell (4), Orange-tip (3), Brimstone (8). Grizzled Skippers are "in full swing" along the lower slopes and valley bottom. The Green Hairstreaks were the highlight, with one particular hotspot amongst the scrub having several present, with frequent airborne duels. Unconfirmed sighting of a Dingy Skipper also on the lower slopes (disturbed and flew off before ID confirmed). No Dukes seen. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Green Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Alan Thornbury

15 Apr 2014

Dukes in Good Numbers at Noar Hill. A visit to Noar Hill gave Peacock (14), Duke of Burgundy (12), Orange-tip (5), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Small White (1). A Fabulous day as Mistle Thrushes and little Wrens greeted me as I walked into the site at 10:00 today, with the area seemingly covered in Cowslips, there has been a lot of scrub clearance in some areas. The Duke was very hard to find initially as there was a very cool breeze blowing into the site, but after an hour they seemed to be more active. (12) is a conservative estimate, all males were seen. There were some species very absent from the list, as the Brimstone was absent although in my experience its not a very early riser. I seem to remember when I first visited this site in 1984 the Cowslips were more prolific in many areas, but there has been rabbit problems over the few years, but hopefully the Duke will keep going at this site, as its one of the key sites in the country for t he specie. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Noar Hill
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Dingy Skippers flying. Today we visited Noar Hill (SU741318) and saw Brimstone (5 "3m, 2f"), Comma (2), Dingy Skipper (1), Holly Blue (1), Orange-tip (11 "10m, 1f"), Peacock (7), Small Tortoiseshell (2). The Dingy Skipper was seen in the pit opposite the triangle,basking in the sun, on the seed head of a dried grass. In addition to the butterflies we also saw some early purple orchids and a red kite which flew low overhead. [Posted by Alec and Hazel Pratt]

First Dingy Skippers of the Year. Today I visited the Meon Valley (SU710189) and saw Orange-tip (3), Small Tortoiseshell (4), Brimstone (14), Peacock (6), Dingy Skipper (1), Grizzled Skipper (1), Duke of Burgundy (6). A walk around some of the minor sites where the Duke of Burgundy can be found and here the Dingy Skipper and the Grizzled Skipper were on the wing, marking out their territories with the Dukes. The warmth had obviously now awoken the Brimstones as there were several pairs flying in formation, along with many Peacocks. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Orange-tip Mating Pair. Today I visited Magdalen Hill Down (SU504291) and saw Brimstone (16), Peacock (6), Green-veined White (2), Grizzled Skipper (1), Orange-tip (6), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Holly Blue (1), Speckled Wood (1). This included a mating pair of Orange-tip. [Posted by Roger Pendell]

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Orange-tip pair
Photo © Roger Pendell

14 Apr 2014

Swallowtail at Magdalen Hill Down. Today I visited Magdalen Hill Down (SU506293) and saw a single Swallowtail patrolling up and down along the path. On arriving at Magdalen Hill Down two visitors who were leaving told me they had seen a Swallowtail and showed me some photos of it they had just taken. I went in the reserve and soon found the Swallowtail patrolling up and down the path by the hedge, occasionally stopping to land on fence posts, the hedge itself or dropping down on the ground. I had to pinch myself to believe what I was seeing! [Posted by Mike Gibbons]

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Swallowtail
Photo © Mike Gibbons

13 Apr 2014

Grizzled Skipper at Butser Hill. Today I visited Butser Hill (Rake Bottom) (SU709206) where the following observations were made: Grizzled Skipper (5), Comma (4), Peacock (6), Brimstone (3), Orange-tip (1 "Male along track approaching from the north"). [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Good numbers of Peacock. Today I visited Micheldever Wood (SU5336) and saw Peacock (15), Speckled Wood (1). I walked from the car park up the east side and into Dodsley Wood and back. Masses of Peacock butterflies. Do not have a full count only an estimate. [Posted by Roger Forster]

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Peacock
Photo © Roger Forster

12 Apr 2014

First Green Hairstreak from the Isle of Wight. Today I visited Whiteways Chalk Pit, Freshwater, IOW (SZ361856) and saw a single Green Hairstreak. The butterfly was not too active in the overcast conditions. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

Duke at Noar Hill. Today I visited Noar Hill (SU744318) where the following observations were I saw Duke of Burgundy (1), Peacock (7), Comma (3), Red Admiral (1), Small Tortoiseshell (2) and Orange-tip (1). [Posted by Nick Lawrence]

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Female Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Nick Lawrence

Good numbers of Small Tortoiseshell. Today I visited Long meadow,Anton Lakes (SU361475) where the following observations were made: Small Tortoiseshell (24), Peacock (3), Speckled Wood (2). Long meadow surveyed after doing a transect on the rest of the nature reserve. This area is off of the transect done for Test Valley Borough Council, but harboured much better results today. [Posted by Graeme Davis]

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Peacock
Photo © Graeme Davis
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Graeme Davis

11 Apr 2014

Oxenbourne Down visit. Today I visited Oxenbourne Down (SU710189) where the following observations were made: Comma (1), Small White (1), Peacock (6), Red Admiral (2), Small Tortoiseshell (2). Despite a cooler day, I was pleasantly surprised by what I saw today, although I did get on site a little earlier than normal the sun was trying to make headway, but the blanket of cloud was always going to be the winner. Hence some species were absent from the list. One problem on the down is the continual growth of Gorse, especially on the Duke breeding area, and here scrub has been cut back and the gorse is being tackled, as there are large areas of the chalk-downland left, which should scrub over and allow more growth for the Cowslips. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Humming-bird hawk moth sighted. Today I saw a single Humming-bird hawk moth on the flowers in the grounds of the Beaulieu Motor museum (SZ385026). [Posted by J. Gilbert]

10 Apr 2014

Orange-tips out in force. Today I visited Portsdown Hill (SU620067) where I recorded Peacock (4), Small Tortoiseshell (12), Comma (1), Orange-tip (5), Small White (2), Brimstone (4) and Speckled Wood (4). Another warm day and saw the first real flight of the Orange Tip with (5) males patrolling up and down the hedgerows, looking for a unsuspecting female. The Small Tortoiseshell were in good numbers, several feeding on the many Dandelion plants scattered across the down. Since the area has had intense grazing by Heavy Horses, I've noticed a remarkable increase in Cowslip plants dotted around the transect route, which can only be the good of the area. Still no Holly Blue, but I suspect this weather will bring forth many in the next week, and I suspect the Duke may well be out long before the end of April....". [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

First Twenty-Plume Moth in the garden. I ran my MV125 Skinner Trap in my garden in Derwent Road Basingstoke (SU603503) and caught a single Twenty-Plume Moth, the first I have recorded in the garden together with Common Quaker (5), Early Grey (2), Hebrew Character (2), Double Striped Pug (1), Purple Thorn (1, in poor condition"). Most of the moths came early evening before temperature started to drop. [Posted by Dave Levy]

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Twenty-Plume Moth
Photo © Dave Levy

09 Apr 2014

Duke of Burgundy out at Noar Hill. Today I visited Noar Hill (SU743318) where I saw Brimstone (8 "M"), Duke of Burgundy (1), Orange-tip (4 "M"), Peacock (14) and Small White (1). This was my first visit (12.30-1.45) this year. The sun was shining in a blue sky with a buzzard circling overhead. Birds were singing in the bushes and cowslips and violets were blooming on the slopes. I was by the triangle when I inadvertently disturbed a small brown butterfly by the edge of the path. It settled again a little further back and I was able to get close enough to see it clearly and identify it as a D of B but before I could photograph it, it took off again and I lost track of it. [Posted by Hazel Pratt]

08 Apr 2014

Orange-tips out in good numbers. Today I visited Portsdown Hill (SU642065) where I saw Orange-tip (5 "4M, 1F"), Comma (3) and Peacock (2). This was a late afternoon visit of just half an hour. Chill wind and temperatures barely into double figures but with some sun. Patrolling male Orange Tips were the most conspicuous species. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Male Orange-tip
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Orange-tip
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Female Orange-tip
Photo © Alan Thornbury

First Painted Lady. A report of a single Painted Lady from Magdalen Hill Down (SU496291) today, the first for the year in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. [Posted by Colin Beyer]

03 Apr 2014

Speckled Wood starting to emerge. I visited Milton Allotments (SZ672995) where I saw Small Tortoiseshell (8), Peacock (1), Speckled Wood (2) and Small White (5). It was nice to see a few more Speckled Woods today, keeping the Small Tortoiseshells away from their territories. The patches of Nettles are coming on quite nicely, hopefully soon there should be some evidence of egg laying by the females, which are still quite active,and the males are seen at rest with their wings wide open displaying to any passing female coming into their territory. The Small White is evident now, however still no Holly Blue or Orange-tip in this area as yet. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Plumley Wood, Ringwood Forest. This area seemed to be 'alive' with Brimstones 12+ seen along with Peacock (3), Small Tortoiseshell (1) and Speckled Wood (1). Much of Ringwood Forest is conifer and offers little butterfly interest. But progress from the A31 towards Alderholt and the forest becomes more open with beech/oak/birch and other deciduous trees. There are many tracks to explore to the left of this road - don't be 'put-off' if a track ends up at someone's house, they are walkable. The large 'estate' to the right is private. If last year is anything to go by, they will all be joined by many Orange-tips very soon. [Posted by Roger Frampton]

02 Apr 2014

Green-veined White now on the wing. The first Green-veined White of the season has been reported from St. Catherines Hill (SU483274) where several Brimstone were also flying. [Posted by Chris Piatkiewicz]

01 Apr 2014

Small Tortoiseshell Bonanza. A beautiful day and the Small Tortoiseshells at the Allotment were still in evidence,and their mating ritual was witnessed for the first time, where the female would have her wings folded for a few seconds at time and the male behind her would flash his cloak of Orange, at her, and she then would do the same for a few seconds, followed again by the male. They then would rest, and the female would prompt the male into 'flashing' again with a quick burst of colour, and he duly followed suit. This over a period of time looked rather like Morse code, and I witnessed this for well over a 15 minute period. They had been together probably a long time before I saw them, and they were still flashing when I left. Marvellous stuff. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Tortoiseshells
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Tortoiseshells
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Tortoiseshells
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

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