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

News Archive for May 2015

31 May 2015

binsted hants butterflies. hello I'm Jacqueline yesterday 30-5-15 my husband and I saw a beautiful small pink coloured butterfly in our garden , it was very warm and sunny and it was quite a short time but it definatly had a lot of solid pink (bright) clolour , wondered if you had any clues ? many thanks Jacqueline

[This could be the Mint moth (very small), Pyrasta aurata, the Cinnabar moth, Rosy Footman, Elephant Hawk-moth - Pete Eeles] [Posted by jacqueline skilton]

30 May 2015

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156) today in perfect sunshine. Common Blues are now appearing along with Small Heath. The number of Grizzled Skippers still are poor for the year. I saw Brimstone 2M 2F, Small White 1, Common Blue 14M 1F, Small Heath 1 and Grizzled Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Bentley Wood/Eastern Clearing. Eleven of us today walked around Bentley Woods, in the Eastern Clearing, and here I was really surprised by the fact the area now is very overgrown in places with very mature Silver Birch and other small trees like Hazel growing everywhere. There are good areas of coppice, adjacent to the Eastern Clearing but these seem to be lacking in certain plants that would attract the main butterflies like Small-Pearl Bordered Fritillaries and Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries. There is very little Scabious of note now in the grassy areas. However despite this the butterflies and moths seen were as follows:Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary (10) Pearl-Bordered Fritillary (5), Speckled Wood (2) Painted Lady (1) Holly Blue (1) Common Blue (3) Small White (1) Brimstone (5) Grizzled Skipper (1) Orange Tip (1) Moths included Common Carpets, Yellow Shell, Speckled Yellows, a lovely Buff -Tip many Cinnabar Moths. We visited another site and saw several other butterflies which ticked the box of the target species. Thankyou all who came and made this a most enjoyable few hours. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Cinnabar Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Buff-Tip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small - Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

3 Butterfly Firsts!. The move of the Butterfly Conservation Bentley Wood walk led by Ashley Whitlock from tomorrow to today meant we could combine the first part of that walk with our original plan for today of meeting friends to go to Oaken Wood to look for Wood Whites. This resulted in sightings of 3 butterflies for the first time for me. Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary and Wood White. Had some good advice on where to find the Wood Whites from people both at Bentley Wood and Oaken Wood. All in all, a great day! :-) [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Slightly faded Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Francis Kinsella
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Francis Kinsella
Wood White
Photo © Francis Kinsella

Adonis Blue On Old Winchester Hill. A mid-morning visit to the bottom of the car park slope on Old Winchester Hill produced a single (male) Adonis Blue. In temperatures of just 13 degrees, the only other butterflies seen were 2 Common Blues and a Small Heath. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Adonis Blue
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Adonis Blue
Photo © Alan Thornbury

28 May 2015

Bentley Small Pearls (and Pearls). A visit to Bentley Wood (Eastern Clearing) this afternoon, in cool conditions with some sunshine, produced 4 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and 6 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (generally fading). Most of the Small Pearls were located in the damp areas just to the north of the main clearing. They were feeding vigourously on bugle during sunshine but quickly rested up on grass stems as clouds passed.

A check in the visitors book indicated a peak count for Pearl-bordered Fritillaries of 30, which was recorded several days ago, however many counts (including mine today) were in single figures. This is perhaps an indication of the rather cool May and a staggered emergence period. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Meon Valley Sites. I've been braving the blustery weather today and in-between bouts of warmish sunshine I visited several Duke sites which, are at the end of their flight season the sites where the Duke emerged in the mid to the end of April these are now beginning to diminish. There were (10) at one site and only (1) at another site, most of these being females. Other species recorded were Common Blue (30) Brimstone (4) Grizzled Skipper (1) Green Hairstreak (1) Brown Argus (1) Dingy Skipper (6) Holly Blue (1) Small Heath (8) Small Blue (32) Peacock (1) There were plenty of Burnet Companions and Mother Shipton Moths, and Common Carpets. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Burnet Companion
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Holly Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

27 May 2015

Small Copper at Gilkicker,Gosport.. At Gilkicker,Gosport were a Small Copper,2 male Common Blues,a Small White,a Painted Lady,a female Orange-tip,a male & female Large White,& a Peacock. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Portsdown Hill. Walked around Fort Widley and along the path running along the top of Portsdown Hill parallel with Queen Alexandra Hospital. Around the fort were a few Holly Blues with half a dozen Common Blues. A few Brimstones with Large and Small Whites were also seen. Not a great deal flying despite the weather. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Field Trip Change. Please note that the field trip scheduled for Sunday 31st May, at Bentley Wood and Frenchmoor Copse, has been moved to Saturday 30th May due to anticipated inclement weather on the Sunday. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Wheelers Bay and Brading Down. From Bonchurch Down we moved on round to Ventnor and then on to the coast where the Glanville Fritillary is found and at Wheelers Bay we found it out in very good numbers and in tip-top condition as well. Up to (55) were seen right down on the shore line, where the cliff face has many wild flowers and its food plant Ribwart Plantain. We saw a lovely mating pair, and when we moved from Wheelers Bay to Horseshoe Bay Kevin said he was disappointed because he hadn't seen one for at least 30 seconds!Other species seen were Small White (3) Red Admiral (1) Brimstone (2) Brown Argus (2) Orange Tip (2) Humming Bird Hawkmoth (1) Common Blue (3) Holly Blue (3) Clouded Yellow (2) Speckled Wood (2) Green-Veined White (1) Peacock (2) Dingy Skipper(4). On the way back to the ferry we called in at Brading Down and here we saw a Wall Brown which was very exciting as I hadn't seen one in the UK for many years now, along with Small Heath the odd Adonis Blues, many Common Blues and Speckled Woods. A great day all and I thank Kevin for great company around this jewel in the butterfly world. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Mating Glanville Fritillaries
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Wheelers Bay
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Cliff face Horseshoe Bay Isle of Wight
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Bonchurch Down Isle of Wight. Today was my yearly pilgrimage over to the Isle of Wight and what a wonderful day it turned out to be. I was in good company with Kevin Freeborn who is writing the book of Butterfly Walks of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, and we had a good wander of several of the walks which will be included in the publication. On Bonchurch Down, we encountered many Butterflies which were as follows:Red Admiral (2)Common Blue (82) Speckled Wood (1) Small Copper (1)Brown Argus (15) Green Hairstreak (1) Small Heath (3) Adonis Blue (55) Orange Tip (1) Large Skipper (1) Dingy Skipper (7). The down was covered in masses of Horseshoe Vetch, and the Goats seem to be doing a good job at nibbling away at the sward to keep it at the right height. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Large Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating pair of Common Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Horseshoe Vetch on Bonchurch Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

26 May 2015

Brimstone in my Gosport garden.. In my garden at Privett Place,Gosport were a male Brimstone,a Red Admiral,a Holly Blue,a male Common Blue,and a Small White. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Painted Lady at Manor Farm. It is still only May, but during a brief walk at Manor Farm Country Park I spotted my second Painted Lady of the year. Surely this is a good sign. I managed a couple of quick pics with my phone whilst it soaked up the last of the days sunshine. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul Harfield

25 May 2015

Butser Hill. I paid two visits to Butser over the weekend in reasonable weather conditions.

On the first I walked as much of the periphery as I could in 5hrs before the sun went in and counted a 197 Duke of Burgundy in total, covering most of the western fringes, Rake Bottom, Ramsdean Down, Little Butser and Pillow Mound. There were good numbers of very fresh dukes as well as some which were well past their prime including a mating pair with a notable age disparity - the male was obviously several days old and the female had only just emerged one of her wings being not fully inflated! Other butterflies encountered included Small Tortoiseshell, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers and particularly good numbers of Green Hairstreak which I returned to count today. In all along one 300m stretch of hedge line I counted 70 Green Hairstreak with some pristine examples and battles involving up to six at a time - clearly they have done well here this year. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Green Hairstreak
Photo © Mark Tutton
Old and young
Photo © Mark Tutton

24 May 2015

Forester Moths at Odiham Common. Visited the area near Whitehall, between 9 and 10am, c6 Forester Moths seen, together with two male Common Blue butterflies, c4 Burnet Companion and a Mother Shipton moth. [Posted by Peter Vaughan]

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Photo © Peter VaughanPhoto © Peter VaughanPhoto © Peter Vaughan

New Forest Pearls. Despite a generally cloudy day 4 pearl bordered fritillaries in one inclosure and 3 in another, late morning. [Posted by Chris Corrigan]

Martin Down. A few of us braved the cloudy weather with just the sun playing peek-a-boo on the odd occasion today, but despite this it was quite a successful field trip with all the target species ticked in the relevant boxes. We saw many wild flowers including Burnt Orchids, Pasque Flowers, and many Skylarks and Yellow-hammers in the meadows and a Cuckoo calling in the distance for about an hour. The butterfly and Moth count were as follows: Common Blue (15) Brimstone (11) Dingy Skipper (13) Green Hairstreak (1) Small Heath (12) Brown Argus (6) Small White (1) Small Blue (30) Grizzled Skipper (4) Adonis Blue (12) Orange Tip (2) Moths were equally interesting, Female Muslin Moth, Treble Bar Moth, Cinnabar Moths, Many Burnet Companions, Mother Shipton, Silver Y, and Speckled Yellows. Id like to thank the few that came and made it an enjoyable morning and afternoon on Martin Down [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Muslin Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Burnt Orchid
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Treble Bar Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

23 May 2015

Martin Down. A HOS walk to Martin Down yielded 13 butterfly species including many Small Blues, the most viewed were the Brimstones, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers, Red Admiral(1), a few Common Blues, very fresh Adonis Blues, Common Blues, Green-veined and Large Whites, Orange Tip(2) and Brown Argus(2). [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Small Blue
Photo © Sue Lambert
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Sue Lambert
Adonis Blue
Photo © Sue Lambert

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. On a day when the temperature was hot and reached 18 degrees I visited Chalton Down (SU736156). Here 7 species were seen flying along with 3 fresh Common Blues. Observed were, Brimstone 4M, Small White 2, Orange Tip 1F, Common Blue 3, Holly Blue 1, Peacock 1 and Dingy Skipper 3.

Across the road lies a green road to Compton called Huckswood Lane (SU7415). Here I walked as far as the old quarry where I saw a male Brimstone and a Large White. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Bentley Wood Frits.. A visit to Bentley Wood (Eastern Clearing) from 0945-1515 initially in unbroken sunshine, but a good amount of cloud by lunchtime produced 3 Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries and around 15 or so Pearl Bordered Fritillaries that were mostly quite worn except for the very fresh one seen in the photograph. Other sightings were 4 Duke of Burgundy, 20 Brimstone, I Small Copper, I Grizzled Skipper, 1 Peacock, 3 Green Veined White, 2 Large White, 3 Speckled Wood, 8 Argent & Sable moths and approx 30 Speckled Yellow moths. [Posted by Mark V Pike]

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Photo © Mark V PikePhoto © Mark V PikePhoto © Mark V Pike

West Butser Hill, Little Butser, Pillow Mound. This week is the peak time for most sites for the Duke of Burgundy and on Butser Hill there are many 'leks' and separate Colonies thriving in the late spring sunshine. Many males and females are in very good condition, this year has been a staggered brood of enormous proportions, and the Duke is destined to fly well into June at some sites I would suggest. On West Butser Hill there was a gang of at least (32) individuals this is where Dan Hoare and I looked for the caterpillar last year and were quite successful in finding it. So I looked in this area and was very pleasantly surprised by how common it was here. At Little Butser Hill they are normally late in flying here as the sun takes a while to come up over the ridge of the hill and warm up the downland. Here there were (9) individuals flying but there must have been many more as I only looked at a very small fragment of this site. It was quite common along the top of the area where there are footpaths as well. On Pillow Mound there has been a lot of scrub bashing and here the Duke is doing rather well, and here I found up to (35), with several females egg-laying. One female I noticed she had very reduced fore-legs, and this must have made her a little heavy on her other 'four' legs as she must have been topped up with eggs. I watched her settle on a Cowslip leaf, and she only layed an individual egg, when the sun came out. The Duke needs a certain temperature to lay, does the leaf need to be a certain temperature for her to lay?. One interesting point I've only seen individual eggs on Cowslip leaves, but on Primroses I have found them in rows of between 5-10.Other species noted today were Green Hairstreak (26) Dingy Skipper (33) Common Blue (5) Small Heath (12) Grizzled Skipper (8) Peacock (2) Brimstone (15) Holly Blue (1) Cinnabar Moths, Silver 'Y' Moths, Mother Shipton and Common Carpets. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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West Butser Hill
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Duke of Burgundy with reduced forelegs
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Duke of Burgundy Egg on Cowslip leaf
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

21 May 2015

Halls Hill, Buriton. Looking for somewhere different, today I walked Halls Hill, Buriton (SU7319) which continues well into War Down and the Queen Elizabeth County Park complex. On this occasion I walked down the main track for about half a mile only. I observed Brimstone 4M 2F, Small White 1 and Holly Blue 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156)today. Saw 4 male Common blues and only 1 Dingy Skipper. The numbers of Grizzled and Dingy Skippers I have seen this year are well down on other years, possibly due to the lower than average temperatures seen during May. My count was, Brimstone 3M 2F, Small White 1, Common Blue 4M and Dingy Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Glanville Fritillaries - Bonchurch. Made a long round trip to the island today to hopefully see my first Glanville Fritillaries. Very happy to have found 8 on the undercliff between Wheelers and Horseshoe Bay at Bonchurch, including a mating pair. Also there were 4 common blues, 2 clouded yellows and what I think is a Brown Argus that looked very out of place (picture attached - please don't hesitate to correct if ID is incorrect!)A wonderful day out [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Glanville Fritillary - Bonchurch
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Glanville Fritillary Pair - Bonchurch
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Brown Argus? - Bonchurch
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Stockbridge Down. I spent the best of the day today in the Stockbridge Down area, and here I'm happy to say the Duke of Burgundy is still in evidence, with large tracts of Woodland clearings with ample areas of Primroses. On Stockbridge Down there good wild flowers of all kinds with Rock-rose being the most evident, despite this I never saw a Brown Argus. There were plenty of Brimstone and Orange Tip. Other species seen were, Duke of Burgundy (18) Pearl-Bordered Fritillary (12) Brimstone (90) Orange Tip (9) Green Veined White (2) Common Blue (12) Speckled Wood (1) Dingy Skipper (5) Grizzled Skipper (3) Peacock (3) Red Admiral (2)Small Heath (1) Holly Blue (1) Silver 'Y'Moth, Mother Shipton, Cinnabar and Common Carpet. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Test Valley from Stockbridge Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Orange Tip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Stockbridge Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

20 May 2015

Portcreek, Hilsea. Today I walked along the lakes at Portcreek, Hilsea (SU6604)in sunshine the temperature was 15 degrees. Several Whites were seen, including a female Orange Tip and a Holly Blue. Totals were Small White 4, Green Veined White 1, Large White 1, Orange Tip 1F and Holly Blue 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

18 May 2015

Beacon Hill,Warnford.. From 1440 while cloud was increasing,were Duke of Burgundy(1),Grizzled Skippr(3),Dingy Skipper(2),Common Blue(6),Peacock(2),Small Tortoiseshell(very worn).Small Heath(7),Orange-tip(4 males & a female),Small White(2),Brimstone(14 males & 3 females).The hill was very overgrazed,almost devoid of flowers,with just a smattering of cowslips instead of the usual carpets,with the loss of the colonies of Grizzled and Dingy Skippers and early Common Blues. [Posted by Anne McCue]

17 May 2015

Weston Common. At Weston Common (near Lasham) on 17 May, one somewhat battered Painted Lady [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Painted Lady, Weston Common
Photo © Steve Mansfield

Portsdown Hill. Walked around Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill (SU657066)on a day when temperatures were those expected in March and saw just a single Holly Blue and a Small White.

On the other side on the path running parallel with Queen Alexandra Hospital, I saw single Holly Blue, Large White and Peacock and a pair of male Common Blues. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Porton Down. Today I had the great privilege to visit a very remote part of Hampshire, at Porton Down along with invited recorders, we had a wonderful day despite the weather being quite sunny to start with it soon become cloudy with bright sunny intervals at times. We went to an area called the Isle of Wight Woods, which is a fantastic place with so much Primrose as ground flora, its almost impossible to comprehend. In the Beech Woodland and Conifer there were small areas of Grass and Scrub with plenty of ant-hills and of course the Duke of Burgundy. It became apparent that the Duke of Burgundy does really well in these undisturbed, but the scrub is kept in check in some of the areas, especially the areas where Dogwood is rife and here its cropped on a rotational basis and it is found the Primrose likes the damper areas where the Dogwood are found. The overall count of the Duke of Burgundy was about (85), other Butterflies seen were Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, which was very scarce, and is having hard time over much of the county at present. Dingy Skippers, Grizzled Skippers, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Brown Argus, Small Heath, Green Hairstreak, Brimstone, Small White, made up the species of Butterflies. Moths were not great but the highlight was seeing two Narrow Bordered Bee Hawk Moths, which seen resting and also feeding these are exceptionally rare, and were a real treat to see. Others seen were Mother Shipton, Cinabbar Moth, Burnet Companion. Birds we heard the Cuckoo several times and on the chalk downland we saw a Peregrine Falcon hunting over the tall grasses. Id like to thank everybody again for coming for making this a wonderful day, and especially Stuart Corbett of DSTL for the lone of his secret parts of Hampshire. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Argus Porton Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Pearl-Bordered Fritillary Porton Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Typical Duke Habitat
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Glanville fritillaries. Two GFs seen at Bonchurch today with one common blue and one small copper. [Posted by Ian Pratt]

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Photo © Ian PrattPhoto © Ian PrattPhoto © Ian Pratt

16 May 2015

Alice Holt 16 May 2015. An Alton Natural History Society walk in Alice Holt Lodge Inclosure found Holly Blue (3), Speckled Wood, Orange Tip and Brimstone. Also Silver Ground Carpet and Speckled Yellow, and a Sexton Beetle not identified to species. On the tarmac ascent from the Butterfly Meadow there is a honey-bee nest in old woodpecker holes which provides good viewing.

Later in Abbotts Wood Inclosure: Comma (3), Peacock (3) and Common Wave. Also caterpiller of Lackey moth. [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Lackey Caterpiller
Photo © Steve Mansfield

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156)where I recorded the temperature as 18 degrees, however with a strong breeze across the downs the number of sightings seen were low. Brimstone 6M, Small White 2, Holly Blue 1, Peacock 1 and Dingy Skipper 7.

Later at home, Rest a Wyle Avenue, Hayling Island (SU723004)outside my window flying around the Yew bush were 2 Holly Blues. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Wall Browns, Small Coppers and a single Common Blue. Heyhaven/Pennington Marshes - male Orange Tip in the car parking area near the camping site then a Wall Brown in the lane down to the harbour - not seen them there before, more Wall Browns and a number of Small Coppers along the sea wall. Common Blue and a Holly Blue, plus Peacocks, Brimstones, Holly Blue and Large Whites [Posted by Cheryl Turkington]

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Photo © Cheryl TurkingtonPhoto © Cheryl TurkingtonPhoto © Cheryl Turkington

Westbury Park. A look around one of my favourite sites although the Duke of Burgundy is very hard to find at this site, last week I counted two males, today I counted four males, and these have only just appeared, so this site is very late, with no females to be seen. Other species observed were Dingy Skipper (11) Grizzled Skipper (1) Holly Blue (2) Common Blue (1) Brimstone (10) Small White (2) Peacock (2) Green Hairstreak (2) Orange Tip (3) Green Veined White (1) Speckled Wood (1) Several Mother Shipton Moths and Burnet Companion Moths were also observed. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Green Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Duke of Burgundy on Cowslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mother Shipton Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Holly Blue in Emsworth. Just saw at least a dozen Holly Blue along the hedgerow in the Cow Field in Emsworth, this is way more than I have ever seen there before. [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

15 May 2015

Oxenbourne Down. After reaching Oxenbourne Down today at about 1000 the sun had almost disappeared and I was left feeling I shouldn't have bothered, but I persevered and the following were seen on the wing or just roosting waiting for something to happen (which it didn't!) Duke of Burgundy (8) the best count so far for 2015 at this site, Small Heath (5) Grizzled Skipper (2) Dingy Skipper (1) Mint Moth (5) Speckled Yellow (5) Small Copper (1) Peacock (1). [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Smalll Heath
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Speckled Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156) today and saw three new butterflies for me this year - a male Common Blue, Large White and Small Heath. Recorded were: Brimstone 3M1F, Large White 1, Small White 1, Orange Tip 3M2F,Common Blue 1M, Small Heath 1 and Dingy Skipper 6. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

13 May 2015

Noar Hill.. At Noar Hill(SU743318),1100-1400, on a mainly sunny day with light winds were Duke of Burgundy(33),Dingy Skipper(28)Grizzled Skipper(1),Common Blue(10),Small Heath(8),Peacock(4),Orange-tip(7 males & 2 females),Brimstone(4 males & 3 females)<Green Hairstreak(2),Holly Blue(1),Large White(2),Green-veined White(2), [Posted by Anne McCue]

Havant Thicket. After Chalton Down I visited Havant Thicket (SU7110)where over 20 Brimstones were seen. My count was Brimstone 18M 5F, Orange Tip 1M 1F, Small White 3, Speckled Wood 1 and Peacock 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Portcreek, Hilsea. Walked along Portcreek lakes (SU6604) from the car park to the railway bridge over the creek, the temperature was 16 degrees. My count was Brimstone 2M, Green Veined White 1, Small White 3, Orange Tip 1M and Holly Blue 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Magdelen Down. Lots of Brown Argus at Magdelen Down today - difficult to count but I stopped after 50. Also Common Blues (circa 15,) many Brimstone and 1 small copper. 5 orange tips and a mating pair at the top of the cemetery on the way back to the car! Couldn't find a small blue - but didn't detract from a lovely afternoon [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Brown Argus Magdelen Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Common Blue Magdelen Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Orange Tip (pair) Magdelen Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Stephens Castle Down. On a perfect butter-flying day I spent the afternoon in company of the best counts of butterflies of 2015. The count of several species were phenomenal again like Butser the Brimstone hit the hundred mark, literally everywhere I went hedgerows, downs, in peoples gardens etc. The Dingy Skipper was also very common, and I was please to see the Duke of Burgundy in good numbers as well, this year the majority were concentrated in one core area, but I wandered around a bit and I was please to see the odd male holding territory well away from the main colony. I'm still undecided whether this site is a natural colonisation from Beacon Hill or its been introduced, but the Cowslip content and the Eastern facing slope with good scrub cover is ideal habitat. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Stephens Castle Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Duke of Burgundy and Forget-me-knot
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Carpet Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

12 May 2015

Browndown North,Gosport.. Painted Lady,Orange-tip(7 males & 2 females),Green-veined White,Small White(5),Large White(2),Peacock(4),Speckled Wood(4). [Posted by Anne McCue]

Browndown North(south-west corner). Green Hairstreak(2),Holly Blue(4),Orange-tip(2 males & 1 female),Brimstone(male). [Posted by Anne McCue]

Carter's Copse,Gosport. Orange-tip(3),Holly Blue(2),Small White(3),Large White,Speckled Wood. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Adonis Blue. Walking around the old chalk pit on Brook Down Isle of Wight I saw 2 Adonis Blue today as well as 20+ Grizzled Skipper and 20+ Dingy Skipper. [Posted by Colin Haygarth]

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Adonis Blue
Photo © Colin Haygarth

24 hour butterflying. Due to work commitments yesterday and today, I stayed over at the Holiday Inn next to Magdalen Hill Down. Of course, I made the most of visiting the down as butterflies were going to roost - especially the Brown Argus; a species that MHD is famous for. Following an evening meal, and after the sun had gone down, I headed over to Stockbridge Down, arriving at 9:30pm. I hadn't searched for nocturnal larvae for many a year (the last time was (successfully) looking for Chalk Hill Blue larvae with Tim Norriss in 2004 - 11 years ago!). This time I was looking for Satyrid larvae and was not disappointed since, over the course of the next hour, I found in excess of 60 larvae, almost all Marbled White, with a few Meadow Brown thrown in. The Marbled White larva comes in 2 forms - brown and green, and it is the green form that is very difficult to separate from Meadow Brown. However, the colour of the head capsule (brown in Marbled White, green in Meadow Brown) and hair length (short in Marbled White, long in Meadow Brown) are diagnostic. Of course, being alone at a remote site in the middle of the night is not to be recommended, for obvious reasons. But since I know the site well, and had a good amount of portable light (I have several LED strips which are just amazing!), I felt safe. Apart, that is, from the one instance when a deer decided to show its head from around the side of a bush (probably wondering what was going on) which scared the bejeezus out of me! Of course, this now means that butterflying is no longer confined to daylight hours, adding yet another dimension to an already-enthalling hobby :) [Posted by Peter Eeles]

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Marbled White (brown form)
Photo © Peter Eeles
Marbled White (green form)
Photo © Peter Eeles
Meadow Brown
Photo © Peter Eeles

Butser Hill and Ramsdean Down. Today I and Kevin Freeborn walked a route which will be in the new book 'Butterfly Walks of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight'. A circular route being rather arduous, in fact the route I would have taken for the failed Field trip a fortnight ago. I was looking mainly for the Duke of Burgundy, and it didn't fail me today. I counted (95) on both Ramsdean Down and Butser Hill combined. The weather was sunny with very strong winds at times which spoilt the overall effect. I gave up on the Dingy Skipper I stopped counting after (50+) there must have been well in access of a hundred plus. Other species seen were Green Hairstreak(12) Small Heath (6) Grizzled Skipper (17) Common Blue (4) Brimstone (25) Peacock (4) Small White (1) Painted Lady (1) Small Copper (1) Green Veined White (1) We heard the Cuckoo several times and saw it in flight as well, in fact there were two and they were Cuck and ooing together. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Ramsdean Down from Butser Hill
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Cowslip on Ramsdean Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Duke of Burgundy in the Butser Hill car-park
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

11 May 2015

Painted Lady in Gosport. Painted Lady & Small White were in my garden at Privett Place,Gosport on 11th & 12th May. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Despite the temperature of 16 degrees, there was some overcasts periods but several Dingy Skippers were seen. Brimstone (5M), Orange Tip (1F) and Dingy Skipper (8). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Sightings at Magdalen Hill today 11th May. A bit on the windy side but 4 Brimstones, 2 Orange-tips (male), 1 Holly Blue, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Peacock, 2 Large Whites and 2 Small Blues [Posted by Cheryl Turkington]

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Small Blue
Photo © Cheryl Turkington

Westbury Park. Today I visited one of the Dukes 'marginal' seats and with the weather being very cloudy with interim bouts of warm sunshine it wasn't ideal especially when I arrived, as there didn't seem to much about at all, wandering around for several hours I had given up with just one Brimstone and a Dingy Skipper to my name. I started wandering back to the car which was over a mile away, when the sun came out again for a long period and the warmth of the sun certainly brought out more species, and I steered a course back to whence I had come from, and I was glad I did for there sitting on a Bramble Bush were two male Duke of Burgundies.This is a lesson in Duke surveying, what looks like a lost cause can certainly turn into a triumph when you pursue it on a second pass!Other species observed were,Brimstone (3) Green-Veined White (1) Dingy Skipper (5) Peacock (4) Small White (5) Orange Tip (2) Common Carpet, Mother Shipton, Silver Y Moths. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Tightrope walker
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Scrub and Beech woodland Westbury Park
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Great Day. I had arranged to meet a friend from Surrey at Butser over the weekend to show him around some of the Duke areas and arrived about 10.30 on Saturday to be greeted by a cold gusty westerly winds 100% cloud cover and intermittent rain - not ideal conditions!

Before he arrived I took a walk along a sheltered hedge line and found it was surprisingly warm out of the wind - quickly discarding my waterproof and fleece which I then had to carry around for the rest of the day. As I moved along the hedge a I quickly located half a dozen roosting Green Hairstreaks and one Duke all waiting for the sun to emerge, which it did as I reached the valley floor.

Good numbers of Dukes and a few Duchesses put in appearances and Dingy Skippers are now the commonest butterfly with Grizzled starting to wane being replaced by Small heath. The sun was sporadic but on the couple of occasions I was able to use this to advantage as the cloud stopped an orange tip in its tracks allowing me to take a few photographs of it roosting. Phil joined me and we spent a very enjoyable day walking up and down the valley as the sun brought out the butterflies in increasing numbers. I managed to photograph two Dukes nectaring on flowers that I haven’t seen them use before, Field Forget-me-not and Crosswort. Up to four Cuckoos were present and we watched two males frequently pursuing each other up and down the hillside in territorial disputes - a Red Kite also put in an appearance.

On Sunday I again explored another more northerly aspect site on Butser and the Dukes have still to emerge here so it could be an extended season this year. Did manage to take an awful photograph of a battle scarred Painted Lady though, as it made a brief stop on top of the hill on its relentless journey North. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Sheltering Orange Tip
Photo © Mark Tutton
Duke nectaring on Crosswort
Photo © Mark Tutton
Duke on Field Forget me not
Photo © Mark Tutton

10 May 2015

North Downs and Alice Holt. On a cycle ride Alton - Shalden - Golden Pot - Bentley - Alice Holt, day flying moths were the stars. Orange Footman on the roadside east of Golden Pot SU719434. Brimstone Moth at Yarnhams SU7344. In Lodge Inclosure SU7942 one and probably two Broad-bordered Bee Hawk Moths. Plenty of bugle in flower - but this/these were feeding on Dandelions.

Minotaur Beetle on the track nearby. [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Orange Footman
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Brimstone Moth
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Broad-bordered Bee Hawk Moth
Photo © Steve Mansfield

Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne). To whom it may concern,

I have attached an image of a Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne) photographed yesterday in the New Forest. There were approximately two dozen or so butterflies of this species flying and I did phootgraph a mating pair being hassled by another male. [Posted by Andrew Cooper]

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Pearl-bordered Fritillary (B. euphrosyne) Underside
Photo © Andrew Cooper

New Forest Pearls. A walk around the New Forest today my field trip was quite successful in flushing out some 'new' Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries when the sun shone at good lengths the Pearls were dotted around our route from the Standing Hat Car-Park to the Frowhawk Ride and back. Many had just emerged and were a little groggy in flight, but we counted about (25) in all. Other highlights were Peacock, Brimstone, Small Heath,and Speckled Yellow Moth also Cuckoo, we heard it several times and saw it fly across one of the rides. Also many Common Lizards, and in some of the pools in the middle of the rides were many Palmate Newts, and Tadpoles. Other birds seen were Thrushes, Spotted Flycatchers, Tree-Creepers, Bullfinch, to name a few. Thankyou to all who joined me for the walk. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Pearl-Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Old Blue eyes is back!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
New Forest Class of May 2015
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

08 May 2015

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Went today to Chalton Down (SU736156) to look for Skippers with the temperature 16 degrees. It was sunny and I walked most of the site until it started to spit with rain. Several Dingy Skippers were seen, but no Grizzled Skippers on this occasion. My count was: Brimstone (2M 1F), Small White (1), Orange Tip (1F), Holly Blue (1) and Dingy Skipper (7). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Unidentified Caterpillar. I found the caterpillar in the attached image happily feeding on Geranium nodosum in my garden in Overton the other evening. It was about 4cm long. I assume it is a moth larva as it does not resmbly and Butterfly larvae I am familiar with. If anyone can tell me what species it is I will be most grateful. (The head is a bit out of focus).

[From Pete Eeles: This is a Scarlet Tiger moth larva.] [Posted by Michael Scoggins]

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Unknown Caterpillar
Photo © Michael Scoggins

Small Copper. Not being a very good butterflying day I thought I had just gone out at mid-day to do some shopping on returning I was just opening the front door when something flying around my flowers in the front garden caught my eye. I looked closely and did a double take to see a Small Copper imbibing on some of my perennials.I quickly went up stairs to get my camera, but alas when I had set everything up it was no where to be seen, on the plants that is, it was resting on the stones, between the borders. It turns out it was also a blue-spot variety (caeruleopunctata) to boot! a specimen I haven't seen in a few years. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Copper (Caeruleopunctata)
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Copper in front garden
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

07 May 2015

Large White in my Gosport garden.. In my garden at Privett Place,Gosport were a Large White and a Holly Blue. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Holly Blues. Today I saw several Holly Blues. First at Elizabeth Road, Waterlooville (SU687087)A Holly Blue as well as a male and female Brimstone were flying in my sister's garden, while outside my flat in Rest A Wyle Avenue, Hayling Island (SU723004)I watched 2 Holly Blues and later saw one roost for the night on branch of a Yew bush. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Dukes out in force at Noar Hill. My first visit of the year to Noar Hill in largely-overcast conditions, but with plenty of butterfly activity nonetheless, with over 20 Dukes (and Duchesses) seen, including a mating pair that I saw couple after zero courtship! As well as a few Dingy Skipper I was pleasantly surprised to see my first (male) Common Blue of the year. [Posted by Peter Eeles]

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Mating Dukes
Photo © Peter Eeles
Duchess
Photo © Peter Eeles
Duchess
Photo © Peter Eeles

Oxenbourne Down. After a slow start at Oxenbourne Down it would seem that when the sun eventually shines the Duke is about all be it in very small numbers, it took me nearly two hours to find up to (5). Gorse is the major problem up here and also the ground flora is almost impenetrable in some areas.One part of the site where I used to see the Duke has no chance now, where only two or three seasons ago I would see up to half-a-dozen. On the flip side I did see a male well away from the main colony at least a quarter of a mile away, and here I have seen several over the past few years, so maybe they are moving around, as the Cowslip population grows where scrub has been cleared. Other species seen were Dingy Skipper (5) Grizzled Skipper (2) Speckled Wood (2) Brimstone (at least 70) Green Hairstreak (2) Green-Veined White(3) Orange Tip (2) Peacock (6) Small Tortoiseshell (1) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Green Hairstreak on Cowslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

04 May 2015

Butser News. In the first spell of reasonably warm weather that we had over the weekend I took a walk up hill and down dale over and around Butser yesterday, I had forgotten just how steep these slopes are over the winter, my calves are now seriously aching!

Duke of Burgundy numbers are building in the more sheltered southerly aspect areas and I encountered about 30 including three females.

Some of these were found in shrubby areas towards the tops of the slopes that I had not explored previously so it was good to find some new areas of Duke habitat which is a credit to HCC management plan. Very good numbers of Grizzled Skippers, Dingy Skippers and Green Hairstreaks were all battling for the prime lookouts. A solitary Small Copper was a welcome addition to my list being freshly emerged and still glowing with that metallic bronze sheen that fresh specimens display.

However Dukes, and the other spring butterflies Grizzled, Dingy GH etc. have not even started emerging yet on the northern slopes so they will be a couple of weeks behind their southern cousins. It is surprising that although some of the areas are very sheltered and feel warm in the sunshine the fact that they do not receive the ground warming influence of a southerly aspect slope seems to delay emergence by ten days or so.

A cuckoo put in an appearance and even stayed visible long enough for me to take a long distance photo - a pleasing morning given the dreary weather over the weekend. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Cuckoo in flight
Photo © Mark Tutton
Duchess
Photo © Mark Tutton

Bentley Wood Showing Well.. A visit to Bentley Wood (Eastern Clearing) from 0930-1300 in pleasantly warm & breezy conditions with broken cloud produced a good amount of Pearl Bordered Fritillaries 10+, also Grizzled Skipper 2, Orange Tip 4, Peacock 4, Brimstone 15, Green Veined White 1, and also 3 Argent & Sable moths unfortunately not posing for the camera though! [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Photo © Mark PikePhoto © Mark PikePhoto © Mark Pike

Season Firsts Of Common Blue, Small Heath And Brown Argus. A morning visit to Stephen’s Castle Down and then Magdalen Hill Down produced three season firsts for me today. At Stephen’s Castle Down, singletons of Common Blue and Small Heath were providing company for the already resident downland cast (Duke of Burgundy (1), Grizzled Skipper (2) and Dingy Skipper (3)). Not to be outdone, at Magdalen Hill Down, 5 fresh Brown Argus were seen on the lower slopes – a Common Blue was seen here too. 2 photos of Brown Argus shown below, including one still in process of expanding its wings after emergence. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Brown Argus
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Meon Valley Sites. Visited several Meon Valley sites today in perfect Duke weather (why couldn't it be like for the Field Trip on Sunday?)The following were seen Duke of Burgundy (62) several females were seen in amongst Cowslips foraging for good areas to 0vi-posit their eggs. Brimstone (36) Peacock (7) Green-Veined White (1) Dingy Skipper (5) Grizzled Skipper (2) Small White (1) Orange Tip (7) Small Heath (4) Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Westbury Park
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Duke of Burgundy foraging for egg-laying
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Birds Foot Trefoil
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Bentley Wood. Wonderful morning in Bentley Wood (Eastern Clearing) with Pearl Bordered fritillaries present from 0930 onwards. Difficult to be precise (because of risk of duplicating counts) but at least 10 present in the top half of the clearing (nearest to the car park). All in pristine condition. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Pearl Bordered Fritillary - Eastern Clearing
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Pearl Bordered Fritillary - Eastern Clearing
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

02 May 2015

Buster Hill Field Trip Cancelled!. It is with great regret that the Butser Hill Field trip on Sunday May 3rd has been cancelled due to heavy rain moving across the country today (2nd May) right through to the morning of Sunday 3rd May. It is a Health and Safety issue: walking up and down slippery slopes is very dangerous, even with the best of walking boots!

[Posted by Ashley Whitlock]


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