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

News Archive for Jul 2015

31 Jul 2015

Grayling at Browndown North.. At Browndown North,12:00-12:40 on 31st July, I recorded Grayling(17),White Admiral,Red Admiral,Gatekeeper(30),Common Blue,Holly Blue,Large White,Small White,Marbled White & Small Skipper. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Hayling Billy Cycle Trail. Today I walked the Hayling Island section of the Hayling Billy Cycle Trail, starting at the site of the old railway bridge (SU718041)to the end of the old line in West Town (SZ709999). The walk took me 2.5 hours and a distance of 2.75 miles, recording anything seen immediately on the sides of the path. The temperature was 20 degrees.

My totals were: Brimstone 1M, Large White 7, Small White 57, Green Veined White 1, Gatekeeper 53, Meadow Brown 8, Ringlet 1, Speckled Wood 1, Small Copper 1, Common Blue 1, Holly Blue 1, Comma 2, Red Admiral 2 and Peacock 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Brown Hairstreak. male Brown Hairstreak seen at usual site at Shipton Bellinger, on an Ash tree..... [Posted by Jonathan Mercer]

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Brown Hairstreak male
Photo © Jonathan Mercer

Browndown (North). During the very warm afternoon I wandered Browndown (North) and West of the River (Alver) Nature Reserve. The woodland area now appears devoid of the small group of White Admiral that a fortnight ago was on the wing. The change in habitat (from Browndown (South)) realised the following census during 90 minutes: Gatekeeper (20+); Meadow Brown (12); Speckled Wood (4); Holly Blue (2); Green-veined White (4); Comma (2); Peacock (2).

Returning home I found in our back garden Holly Blue (male) feeding off Echinacia Purpurea planted last year from seed in order to attract more butterflies into the garden! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue (Male) Gosport garden
Photo © Francis Plowman

Browndown (South). With the prospect of sunshine and less breeze I decided to check out the small colony of Purple Hairstreaks that a couple of weeks back was at least ten strong. Around one bough of a small oak I counted four and on an adjacent bough one more. Most were pretty ragged but at least one specimen looked fresh. Altogether this morning I counted: Meadow Brown (9); Peacock (2); Gatekeeper (16); Purple Hairstreak (5); Grayling (4); Painted Lady (2); Holly Blue (1); Common Blue (M)(1); Small White (2); Large White (1); Essex Skipper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Grayling feeding on heather
Photo © Francis Plowman
A 'bit' of Purple Hairstreak!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman

Pamber Forest - again!. I couldn't resist returning to Pamber for an hour late this afternoon and found another 7 White Admiral larvae, including a pair on the same sprig of Honeysuckle. I'm not sure if the eggs were laid on the same leaf originally (I could only see the remnants of one egg shell) but am trying to figure out what happens to the 2nd larva when the leaf tip is already occupied, since that's where they set up home. Perhaps moving to another leaf is the answer! The larvae are at different stages, so most likely the offspring of 2 separate females, since eggs are laid singly. The youngest larva not only built a platform out of silk and frass, but had also decorated itself in the stuff! It also builds a "latrine" on the leaf, presumably to deter any predators. This (and other phenomena) are beautifully explained in the paper "The larva of the White Admiral butterfly, Limenitis camilla (Linnaeus, 1764) - a master builder" (Entomologist's Gazette, Volume 56, Issue 4, page 225-236). I hope to do a precis over the winter using my photos (and those from other contributors) to exemplify the points being made in the paper. [Posted by Peter Eeles]

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Photo © Peter EelesPhoto © Peter EelesPhoto © Peter Eeles

Stockbridge Down. The Chalk Hill Blue are putting on an excellent show at the moment, with several aberrations seen, including a female with some blue scales (see below). Silver-spotted Skipper is also starting to emerge, with several males and 2 females seen. Several Dark Green Fritillary females were ovipositing - absolutely fascinating to watch as they meandered through the scrub to find a suitable site to lay, which was always near (unsurprisingly) some Violets. A few Marbled Whites are also hanging on. The Brimstones are just starting to emerge, and are making the most of the ample nectar sources in the strip next to the road. Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Copper, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Skipper and Essex Skipper were also seen, along with 4 Painted Lady. [Posted by Peter Eeles]

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Chalk Hill Blue female aberration
Photo © Peter Eeles
Silver-spotted Skipper female
Photo © Peter Eeles
Painted Lady
Photo © Peter Eeles

Oxenbourne Down. Despite very pleasing sunny periods when I arrived on site about 0945, by the time I had left about an hour later the site was covered in dull dark grey clouds. This did lend itself to look at some of the species at closer quarters, as most of the Chalkhill Blues started to roost and the many Small and Towie Skippers also had a quick nap whilst the blue sky disappeared. The count was quite impressive nonetheless. Chalkhill Blue (100+) Marbled White (9) Small Skipper (50+) Meadow Brown (50) Gatekeeper (100+) Common Blue (7) Large Skipper (3) Silver-Spotted Skipper (2) Small White (1) Essex Skipper (5) Large White (9) Ringlet (9) Red Admiral (1) Green-Veined White (1) Peacock (7) Brimstone (7) Six-Spotted Burnet Moth (5) Silver-Y Moth (1) Dark-green Fritillary (3) Comma (2) and several slow worms. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Oxenbourne Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Roosting Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Micheldever Woods. Among the peacock and silver-washed fritillaries, ringlets and meadow browns, I found my first painted lady of the season feeding on ragwort. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

30 Jul 2015

Martin Down. A late afternoon circulation of Martin Down (north) was adversely affected by cloud cover and a cool breeze. Nevertheless, we noted: Large Skipper (2); Essex Skipper (2); Meadow Brown (11); Gatekeeper (8); Peacock (6); Small Skipper (6); Marbled White (9); Small White (5); Green-veined White (1); Ringlet (2); Brimstone (F)(4)(M)(3); Silver-washed Fritillary (8); Common Blue (M)(1); White Admiral (1); Comma (2). A brief sortie to Martin Down (south) was remarkable only for coming across two mating pairs of Small Skippers. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dithering Peacock!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Fordingbridge. New Forest Margins. In a private garden accompanied by my granddaughter in one hour we counted 10 species of butterflies, 78 eggs of Large White (on Mummy's cabbages!) and a Small White caterpillar! Butterflies counted: Comma (1); Gatekeeper (6); Ringlet (2); Small White (3); Meadow Brown (5); Large White (1); Red Admiral (1); Holly Blue (1); Speckled Wood (1); Essex Skipper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Holly Blue - male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Havant Thicket. Today I cycled part of the main track through Havant Thicket. The temperature was 17 degrees with some sunny periods. My sightings were: Small White 3, Gatekeeper 68, Meadow Brown 2, Ringlet 2, Speckled Wood 1, Silver Washed Fritillary 1, Peacock 1, Large Skipper 1 and Small Skipper 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Butterflies at Bentley Wood and Magdalen Hill Down. Had a couple of brief stops on a cross country journey today at Bentley Wood and Magdalen Hill Down. At Bentley wood I saw Silver Washed Fritillary, Large, Small and Green Veined White, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Red Admiral, Large and Small Skipper, Brimstone, Purple Hairstreak and right at the end a single Purple Emperor, weaving along the oaks between the car park and the meadow. At Magdalen Hill down I also saw Chalkhill Blue and MarbledWhite, but the most interesting thing was a large group of Small Blue. [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

Back to Pamber. I finally managed to return to Pamber on Tuesday and, again, today, where the White Admiral larvae are ridiculously easy to find on suitable Honeysuckle leaves, with the characteristic feeding damage giving them away. Over the course of 30 minutes this evening, I found no less than 7 larvae, including one in its 2nd instar. Unfortunately, I failed to relocate the leaf that contained 2 eggs; it's either succumbed to the weather (or deer browsing), or I need a new pair of glasses. [Posted by Peter Eeles]

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1st instar White Admiral larva
Photo © Peter Eeles
1st instar White Admiral larva with remains of egg shell showing
Photo © Peter Eeles
2nd instar White Admiral larva
Photo © Peter Eeles

Brown Hairstreak On The Wing In Hampshire. A morning visit to Shipton Bellinger produced several sightings of Brown Hairstreak, with 3 males seen in Ash trees along the main track and a further one in the blackthorn along the county boundary hedge. He looked very fresh, and was perched a few feet above head height. I observed for around 10 minutes with no perceptible change in his stance, however he had disappeared when I returned to the spot half an hour later. 19 different species were seen during my visit, including Silver-washed Fritillary (3), a faded female Dark Green Fritillary, a Small Blue and perhaps most surprising, a Dingy Skipper in good condition (see photo). I suspect this to be a late first brood individual. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Wilverley Wood New Forest. A walk through the wood today gave several Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers, 2 Commas, a Speckled Wood, a Small White, a Small Copper and one rather faded White Admiral. [Posted by tony blakeley]

Charlton Down and West Harting Down. Today I walked the route I will be taking any takers for the field trip on Saturday, at West Harting Down. I first started at Charlton Down where there were a few Chalkhill Blues but certainly not in any great numbers at the moment, in fact the site was very disappointing. Butterflies seen were: Chalkhill Blue (10) Common Blue (5) Meadow Brown (25) Gatekeeper (50) Small Skipper (5) Peacock (2) Small Tortoiseshell (1) Large White (15) Small White (2). I then moved over to West Harting Down now this walk is at least 3-4 hours long, not for the feint hearted, but the views at the top of the down are breathtaking. Most the site is Conifer, with a large Yew plantation, also Beech is quite common on the site. I was surprised by how much Sallow there is on the site. I was just thinking to myself what a great day it would turn out to be if I saw a Purple Emperor and sure enough, as if by magic, at 10:55 a few minutes later there flying just above my hat...a lovely female flying around just above head height in a very narrow ride with Conifer and Sallow bushes, she was in view for a good 3-4 minutes flying in a circular pattern around and around, I just couldn't believe it! Another Emperor site to chalk up.She looked like a bit of tissue paper, just gliding around and around and then she just hopped over into a hazel thicket. She must have been egg-laying or was just about to. In the rides where there were good sunny glades there were plenty of wildflowers, and there were plenty of butterflies, which were as follows: Silver-Washed Fritillary (24) Comma (12) Meadow Brown (50+) Ringlet (100+) Small Skipper (12) Gatekeeper (50+) Large Skipper (2) Large White (17) Speckled Wood (1) Peacock (13) Small White (2) Red Admiral (15) Holly Blue (1) Dark-Green Fritillary (1) White Admiral (1) Brimstone (2) Humming-Hawk Moth (1). If Saturday is as good as today then everybody is in for a treat! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Large Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Large White
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Broughton Down. One of our most enigmatic butterflies, the Silver-Spotted Skipper, is now on the wing. At least ten were seen today favouring the sheltered and warm locations at the foot of the Down. Good numbers of other butterflies were seen including several Dark Green Fritillaries, a few Common Blues, a number of Chalkhill Blues and two fresh Brown Argus. [Posted by Dave Pearson]

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Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Dave Pearson

29 Jul 2015

Portsdown Hill. With some cloud I visited Portdsdown Hill were on the East side (South Slope) (SU657063)I saw the following: Large White 2, Small White 1, Gatekeeper 4, Meadow Brown 2 and Small Skipper 1.

On the North side at Fort Widley (SU657066)I saw Small White 1, Meadow Brown 11, Gatekeeper 5, Ringlet 2 and Marbled White 8. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Chalton Down. Visited Chalton Down where the temperature was 17 degrees. There was hazy sunshine with some overcast spells. Numbers of Chalkhill Blues have not increased in the past week or so. Sighted were: Small White 9, Chalkhill Blue 19M, Gatekeeper 79, Meadow Brown 13, Marbled White 3, Ringlet 2 and Peacock 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Portchester Common. Spotted this one Dark Green Fritillary this am while on transect, last time while on transect here was in 2013 - so this was a bonus [Posted by Chris Cobb]

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Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Chris Cobb

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. With the overcast skies and blustery draught from the west we traipsed optimistically around the meadows of Fort Widley in early afternoon. The fickle sunshine provided some warmth and a total of nine species went into our notebook. No sighting of Chalkhill Blue and, indeed, very few blues seen at all. The first meadow nearest the west car park is ablaze with pretty flowers but the vetch seems to be disappearing into some very long and unkempt grasses. We noted a Marbled White and Meadow Brown both well infected with the bright crimson parasite Trombidium Breei which markedly disrupts the butterflies natural colours. Again the Gatekeeper came out tops in our hour long audit as follows: Gatekeeper (15); Marbled White (3); Common Blue (F)(1)(M)(6); Meadow Brown (12); Peacock (1); Essex Skipper (1); Small White (2); Green-veined White (1); Ringlet (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue with Essex Skipper providing top cover!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White with parasitic infection
Photo © Francis Plowman

28 Jul 2015

Old Down Wood, Four Marks. With the sun coming out late afternoon there was a chnce to find some butterflies in Old Down. There has been no White Admiral this year, and time is running out. Unfortunately I couldn't find any today and fear that the recent forestry work last winter may be the reason. Plenty of Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Gatekeepers, all three white butterflies, a Peacock, Small and Essex Skipper, and a single marbled White. [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Meadow Brown
Photo © Chris Rose
Peacock
Photo © Chris Rose
Essex Skipper
Photo © Chris Rose

Purple emperor in bishops waltham. I'm a new member and joined because of my enjoyment of watching hummingbird hawk moths last year and not realising we had such a fascinating moth in the UK. I do enjoy watching butterflies and was sitting out in my small garden yesterday when a purple emperor landed on it! To be honest, if I hadn't seen the BBC article on them a few days ago. I wouldn't have known what it was. At the new forest show I popped into the stand and showed them at they suggested I post the photo I took on my phone to the news page. [Posted by Adrian Broadbent]

2014 Annual Butterfly and Moth Report. We apologise for the delay in publication of the 2014 Annual Butterfly and Moth Report this year. We appreciate that members look forward to this publication, which in previous years has been available in late spring. This was only possible through significant work being put in by the county butterfly and moth recorders, with assistance of others in bringing the report to production. As you may be aware, we lost both county recorders earlier this year, so 2015 is necessarily a year of transition while the new incumbents establish themselves in their roles, and we re-evaluate our priorities and production processes. At the time of writing the publication date is still to be confirmed, but I would hope it will be in early September. [Posted by Mike Wall]

Frater Field (Monks Walk), Elson. My 'home patch' still produced 11 species in just over an hour's circulation in early afternoon sunshine. The Common Blue is still in evidence but Gatekeeper is by far the most obvious resident. Comma (3); Peacock (1); Gatekeeper (7); Common Blue (M)(2) (F)(1); Small White (2); Essex Skipper (3); Small Skipper (1); Small Copper (1); Meadow Brown (2); Red Admiral (1); Large White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small White
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Chilling Coastal Area, Titchfield. After Whiteley I tried the woods and field edges of Chilling but nearer the coast the strong SW wind and overcast skies was not conducive to butterfly photography. Still, 7 species accounted for: Small White (9) - there's cabbages in the fields! Meadow Brown (1); Gatekeeper (5); Green-veined White (3); Comma (2); Holly Blue (2); Speckled Wood (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma and a Bee tussle for bramble
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman

Whiteley Meadow. Between 9 and 1130 this morning I scoured the Whiteley woods and meadow area in search of the Purple Emperor. Plenty of evidence of previous searchers for this butterfly with a veritable detritus of 'baits' and 'signals' abounding but of the quarry not a sight! After the awful weekend weather I was pleasantly surprised to record 12 species as follows: Gatekeeper (20++); Meadow Brown (14); Ringlet (9); Small Skipper (1); Essex Skipper (1); Small Copper (1); Silver-washed Fritillary (8); Green-veined White (1); Speckled Wood (2); Large Skipper (2); Comma (1); Red Admiral (1). So for me its back to the Mosel for the Emperor. At this time of the year the numerous swans and their faeces provide all the 'bait' necessary to attract them and photo opportunities are plentiful. You win some, you lose some! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Abbotstone Down nature reserve. On a breezy morning stroll around the reserve, highlights were silver-washed fritillaries feeding on ragwort. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

25 Jul 2015

Humming-bird Hawk-moth in my Gosport garden.. In my garden at Privett Place,Gosport were a Humming-bird Hawk-moth,Painted Lady,Peacock(2),Red Admiral,female Large White,female Small White,Common Blue(2 males),Gatekeeper,Meadow Brown(4),Volucella zonaria,Heliophilus pendulus,Red- & Buff-tailed Bumblebees,Carder and Early Bumblebees,numerous other bees & hoverflies. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Oxney Moss, Bordon 25 July. Alton History Society explored the Oxney Moss area to the south-west of Broxhead Common, near Bordon (SU7936 and SU7937). Highlights included White Admirals, Silver Washed Fritillary and Holly Blues (2).

On the old Bordon Barracks parade ground were 6-Spot Burnet Moths (10+) and Essex Skippers, including a mating pair.

Near the A325 at Broxhead Common, large amounts of Coral-Necklace were in flower. [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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White Admiral
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Essex Skipper
Photo © Steve Mansfield

Straits Inclosure Sat 25 July. A morning walk in Straits Inclosure saw many of the usual suspects on the wing - with many Silver Washed Fritillary on the wing, several White Admiral and Holly Blue.

Forestry operations beyond the second tower on the main gravel ride has opened things up. I watched and photographed 8 or more Silver Washed Fritillary on the same patch of Marsh Thistle for ten minutes or more before I realised that climbing up the thistles were several Narrow-leaved everlasting pea, all in flower. This is a Hampshire rarity known from the general area - I found some in Binsted last year. The Straits plants may be found by following the main ride beyond the second tower till you reach the end T-junction.

1 Southern Hawker and 5 Brown Hawker were patrolling the rides. [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Narrow-leaved everlasting pea
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Silver washed fritillary with hoverfly
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Red Admiral
Photo © Steve Mansfield

Browndown Graylings. A visit to Browndown produced a wonderful experience with a pair of Graylings. We were able to photograph, and video a pair of Grayling in courtship, and as a result get some lovely views of the upper wings in the process. More photographs and the video are available on my blog http://awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.co.uk/ In addition we found two Purple Hairstreaks in the oak. There was also one Small Copper, both Small and Large Skippers and several Silver Y moths, and of course literally hundreds of Gatekeepers. [Posted by Chris Rose & Ian Smith]

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Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Chris Rose & Ian Smith
Grayling
Photo © Chris Rose & Ian Smith
Grayling
Photo © Chris Rose & Ian Smith

Butterflies in Emsworth. Went for a wander in Brook Meadow and Hollybank Wood in Emsworth. Saw Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral, Large White, Green Veined White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Large and Small Skipper, Holly Blue and Common Blue. In Hollybank Wood I also saw a Hummingbird Hawk Moth. In the cow field between Brook Meadow and Westbourne I saw a large number of Holly Blue along the hedgerow, more than the number I saw earlier in the year. [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

Wilverley Inclosure. Visited Wilverley Inclosure early this afternoon. In addition to 3 Silver-washed Fritillary, I was pleased to observe a particularly dark Valezina female near Post 223. [Posted by Philip Hack]

Bartley Heath and Butterwood Field Trip. Today it was nice to take a back seat and let somebody else take the walk, and what a good walk it was with 20 species seen at two sites, Bartley Heath and Butterwood. Bartley Heath is very overgrown in places, but where the car-parking is at the Derby Inn it would seem to be a good area for the Purple Emperor as I was talking to the owner of the Pottery shop there and he had seen a female Purple Emperor on the ground close by a few days ago.There is a good way-leaves in the Bartley Heath section and here close to Butterwood looks excellent for espying the Emperor, with good amounts of Sallow and medium sized Oak trees.In Butterwood it was very familiar territory for me as it was here I 'cut the mustard ' so to speak with the Purple Emperor in the 1980's and 1990's. Always going out on my Mothers Birthday on July 3rd and always coming back with tales of seeing an Emperor or two, and having them grounded as well. It was good news it hadn't changed either and I still remember some of the Purple Hairstreak trees and the Vistas I used to to see the Purple Emperor. And we were all looking up at a Vista I had pointed out and at 1135 a male Emperor was seen briefly flying around the crown of a tall Oak tree heading towards the M3 Motorway, great stuff! We saw the following species Small Copper (1) Many Gatekeepers, Purple Hairstreak (17) the best count for many years, Silver-Washed Fritillary (37), Green-Veined White (1) Red Admiral (4) Large Skipper (4) many Meadow Browns Large White (13) Ringlet (10) Small White (1) White Admiral (2) Peacock (5) Brown Argus (3) Comma (1) Small Skipper (10) Small Tortoiseshell(1) Brimstone (1)

and a lovely Engrialed moth on a beech tree trunk very camouflaged.I like to thank Dave Walton for an excellent walk and thank everybody who came on the walk which made it that more interesting. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Argus's
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Engrailed Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Gatekeepers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Hummingbird Hawk Moth. Our first sighting of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth this year. It made a fleeting appearence this morning, and returned this afternoon. It spent around 10 minutes feeding on Buddleja in our front garden in bright sunshine, between 17:00 and 17:10. Very obligingly allowed us to take a lot of photos! [Posted by Dave Grubb]

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Photo © Dave Grubb

23 Jul 2015

Chalton Down. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156) today to see if the numbers of Chalkhill Blues are increasing. The weather was sunny but with some overcast periods. A total of 5 Chalkhill Blues were seen, all male. My full count was: Large White 3, Small White 4, Chalkhill Blue 5, Small Copper 1, Gatekeeper 49, Meadow Brown 20, Ringlet 25, Marbled White 4,Peacock 1 and Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Andover SW. Doing one of my mad, bus out (to Kentsboro) and walk back trips (to Andover), basically to complete my plant survey, I found myself mostly doing butterflies (the birds have gone into chill-out mode for the Summer season). Despite this being a mostly agricultural area with not much of interest, across some 7 1ks I found a surprising outbreak of Essex Skipper (50+) and Green-veined Whites, mostly in the Monxton area. [Posted by Mike Wildish]

Hanger Way. I spent the part of the morning along part of the hanger way looking for more potential Purple Emperor sites and I pleased to say there are many along this route. One particular area I shall be looking at very closely in 2016 I have seen there is enormous potential for good Emperor counts, with masses of Sallow and excellent Oak stands. The counts today are as follows: Silver-Washed Fritillary (32) Large White (22) Gatekeeper (100+) Meadow Brown (100+) Small Skipper (8) Purple Hairstreak (8) Green -Veined White (1) Comma (6) Marbled White (4) Ringlet (25) Peacock (1) Brimstone (1) and last but not least a Purple Emperor at 1130 flying across a ride flying east to west into a sallow and then disappearing. I f I had come to this spot a fortnight ago I think I would have had the Purple Emperor into double figures. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Part of the Hanger Way
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Comma
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

22 Jul 2015

Red-belted Clearwing at Gosport.. Red-belted Clearwing photographed at Grange Farm,Gosport,by Dave Stevenson. [Posted by David Tinling]

White Admiral ova. On 18th July I spent an hour looking for (the rather spectacular) White Admiral eggs in Pamber Forest and managed to find 7 in total - far exceeding all previous attempts by quite some margin! The White Admiral seems to be having an extremely good year here and the management of the site is just superb (and I was pleased to be able to tell the warden, Graham Dennis, when I saw him a couple of weeks back). As well as finding an egg on a partially-eaten leaf (which I thought was interesting in itself), I also found a leaf containing 2 eggs. I was wondering if these had been laid by the same female at the same time. However, I returned today, and one of the eggs had hatched (with the larva feeding at the tip of the leaf, with its characteristic feeding damage), but the other was still unhatched - leading me to believe that the 2 eggs were from separate females. As often occurs in the butterfly world, a small subset of available plants are often used for ovipositing - as is the case here, it would seem. [Posted by Peter Eeles]

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White Admiral ovum
Photo © Peter Eeles
White Admiral ovum on partially-eaten leaf
Photo © Peter Eeles
2 White Admiral ova on the same leaf
Photo © Peter Eeles

Frater Field, Elson, Gosport. A site sheltered from prevailing breezes was needed and this site at the end of Frater Lane provided the ideal location. Nine species provided close-up opportunity to observe and to photograph. Notwithstanding a recent and savage cut of a large swathe of grass, the Common Blue was evident. The previously noted bundle of Peacock caterpillars have produced at least three stunning specimens so far and Comma is common too. The following numbers counted in an hour's leisurely circulation of the small field: Gatekeeper (27); Small White (1); Peacock (3); Comma (4); Red Admiral (1); Meadow Brown (5); Common Blue (M) (2); (F)(2); Small Skipper (2); and one solitary Marbled White. With such an abundance of butterflies the bushes are patrolled by large dragonflies a number laying ambushes for the unwary. Wild buddleia thrives here and is well visited by the larger butterflies. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Female Common Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Alverstoke. Two sites in and around Alverstoke visited this afternoon in search of fresh Common Blue. Firstly, to the Haslar Sea-Wall car park (scrub area)where the following were noted: Common Blue (M)(5); (F)(1); Small Skipper (6); Meadow Brown (5); Small White (1); Gatekeeper (9); Essex Skipper (1); Comma (2) the latter on Budleia. It was extremely blustery and opportunities for photography very limited. But the blues are back here! Then onwards to the Haslar Naval Cemetery where the localised colony of Common Blue seen earlier in the season has not, yet, brought forth a second brood. The following were noted: Meadow Brown (5); Small Skipper (1); Essex Skipper (2); Gatekeeper (3) and Holly Blue (2). Similarly the strong SW wind caused havoc with the butterflies and photography was impossible. But no 'blues' as yet. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

21 Jul 2015

Small Coppers In Ann's Hill Cemetery(east).. In Ann's Hill Cemetery(east),1245-1330,on a windy day with sunny spells,were Small Copper(3),Common Blue(2 males),Holly Blue(3),Brown Argus(1)Red Admira1(1),Small Skipper(6),Speckled Wood(2),Large White(4),Marbled White(32),Meadow Brown(30),Gatekeeper(45). [Posted by Anne McCue]

Chalton Down Photos. Some photos from my visit to Chalton Down on 21st July, including Chalkhill Blue. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Northington Down. I was having a look at our buddleia, watching red admiral and peacock butterfiles, when a hummingbird hawkmoth buzzed in. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

Botley Wood. Entering from Tapnage tunnel gate, we spent over 3 hours quartering this wood for 5.5 miles enjoying its varied habitats, sunny glades, at times 'sticky' paths, streams and hedge rows etc. Getting hopelessly lost more than once we still managed to account for thirteen species of butterfly. We got also up close and personal to a male deer replete with young antlers; he allowed photographs before leaping away suddenly. Tremendous nature. Anyway, the sought after Purple Emperor was not sighted. We did see: Meadow Brown (20++); Ringlet (9); Comma (2); Gatekeeper (20++); Green-veined White (1); Silver-washed Fritillary (20); Speckled Wood (4); Peacock (7); Small Skipper (2); Large Skipper (5); Brimstone (F) (7) (M) (2); Holly Blue (2); Painted Lady (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman

Havant Thicket. After visiting Chalton Down, I paid a short visit to Havant Thicket (SU721105) walking a short length of one of the tracks. My count was: Brimstone 2M, Large White 2, Small White 4, Holly Blue 1, Gatekeeper 21, Meadow Brown 7, Ringlet 3, Comma 2, Large Skipper 6 and Small Skipper 3. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Chalton Down. On the last day in Hampshire before returning home to Cornwall, the last butterfly species I needed to see was the Chalkhill Blue, so my wife, father and I paid a visit to Chalton Down (SU736156). With the long grass hundreds of Meadow Brown and Gatekeepers were flying. Several Small Skippers were seen along with a dozen Marbled Whites. A total of 10 Chalkhill Blues were seen, all males in fresh condition. Numbers should start increasing here of the latter species, but with the grass so long on the slopes where they are usually found in the hundreds, it will be interesting to see how many are present this year.

My full count for the site, where I covered all areas was: Brimstone 3M, Large White 9, Small White 8, Chalkhill Blue 10, Holly Blue 3, Gatekeeper 190, Meadow Brown 103, Ringlet 22, Marbled White 12, Speckled Wood 2, Comma 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Small Skipper 25 and Essex Skipper 1. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Abbotts Wood Inclosure. Today was probably my last venture into Alice Holt Forest for this season, and today was a pretty good day all in all. The males are certainly not flying with much conviction now that the Females have all been mated and there is no need really for searching through out the wood for that elusive female. However there were a few exceptions today at 1035 a Male was seen oak edging and flying from the southern end of the wood at Abbotts Inclosure towards the north over the large 'King' Oak in the small triangle near to the small car-park.Another male was seen at the 'pottery' triangle going north at 1200 high over the oaks obviously making its way up towards one of the Assembly Point's. Another male was seen at 1206 Oak edging at the main triangle heading East. At the Assembly Points Alice Holt (1) two males were really going for it battling like the clappers they were round and round and up and over the highest trees at 1320, and this went on for a good 20 minutes for what I could see of it, as I have to use a step ladder now to see anything. At the Abbotts Wood Assembly Point it was relatively calm compared with over the road, but there were two on station and they did meet several times and give chase. At Goose Green there were at least three on station, and in the warmth there were some good chases and at one time three were chasing at the same time. I left there at 1440, happy to have seen at least (10) Purple Emperors. I just like to share with the readers just what a life a female Purple Emperor leads, looking all magnificent and regal as some do now but once they have finished laying their eggs, and swooping in and out of Sallow is no mean feat, with birds like Jays ,Tits and other birds ready to strike them when there unaware. I don't know if I've ever shared this photo with Hampshire Butterfly conservation, but it is a sorry tale of a female caught by a bird strike, and she has only the left wing, the other has obviously been hen pecked by a bird whilst she was egg laying and she was found on the forest floor. She was brought to me by Andrew Brookes many years ago in a box, and we fed her sugar solution on cotton wool, for about 15 days, before she finally died. That's the nature of this very hardy butterfly, the beauty we see on the forest floor wings spread open with Purple/Blue sheen shining in the sun, but lets stick up for the regal girl without her battles in the sallow there would be no Emperor for the following year. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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The small triangle Oaks and sallow in Abbotts Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The large Triangle Oak and Conifer in Abbotts Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The battered Female Purple Emperor
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

20 Jul 2015

Alverstoke,Gosport.. About 10 White-letter Hairstreaks were seen flying around several elms at Little Anglesey Road,Alverstoke,Gosport by Dave Stevenson. [Posted by David Tinling]

19 Jul 2015

Peacocks in my Gosport garden.. In my garden at Privett Place, Gosport were Peacock(2), Red Admiral(2), Painted Lady(1), Comma(1), Small Tortoiseshell(1), Small Skipper(1), Essex Skipper(1), Small White(2), Large White(2), Common Blue(2 males), Meadow Brown(8), Gatekeeper(3). [Posted by Anne McCue]

Havant Thicket & Bell's Copse. We were cycling back home from Thorney Island late afternoon,when we decided to take the long route home and go through Havant Thicket etc.As Margaret had not seen any Emperors this year and she was not disappointed.We had our first one flying around some sallow on the main track and another 2 at Bell's Copse one of which flew strongly SW over the copse at 1600 and was probably going to an assembly point. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

Female Purple Emperor. After telling everyone that the field trip was cancelled for Sunday due to rain, nothing could have been further from the truth, good old reliable weather forecast as usual! So Jackie and I decided not to waste any of the sun drenched day and ventured to my local Purple Wood, Havant Thicket. It would seem most the males are very reluctant to fly now most of the females are now laying eggs and have done their duty, this was the third wood in as many days where I hadn't seen any males.We got to the large bank of sallow at 1155 which runs the full length of the entrance of Bells Copse and in the bright sunlight we saw a magnificent female Emperor, and boy was she impressive, just gliding in and out of the sallow leaves, when the sun shone you could see all the patterns on her upper wings. She settled on a sprig about a two metres above my head. She then moved again weaving in and out of the sallow bushes. She settled down for the best part of a minute, where I could easily see her face and her hind wing patterns but she then flew again and we lost track of her in the bright sunlight.It was one of two highlight's of my Emperor year which on the face of it has been pretty dismal to say the least. We walked back towards the main car-park and another female dived into a sallow, not far from the T-Junction towards the car-park, she was more shy and we didn't see where she went. There were plenty of other species in the rides but White Admirals are now becoming very scarce, and some Silver-Washed are looking ragged. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Muted Vanessid appearance.. Vanessids were disappointingly few and far between at the Longstock buddleja collection, just 12 Peacocks, 4 Red Admirals, 4 Painted Ladies, and a solitary, well-worn Small Tortoiseshell. Large Whites were far more numerous. 'Royal Red' and 'Southcombe Splendour' were the most popular cultivars. Note no Commas again, the species evidently having a very poor summer, though three were seen gliding over the nettles and hops along the Wallington river at Boarhunt earlier in the day. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Oxleys Coppice, Fareham. I was delighted to add White Admiral to my local patch list this morning. I've often thought that there was a good chance of finding this species here so I spent some time watching an area of brambles by the edge of copse. After a few minutes I spotted one flying around before settling to feed. This area also produced only my second record here of Silver-washed Fritillary, with a female, also on the brambles. Totals for the morning:

20 Essex Skipper; 16 Small White; 1 Large White; 1 Marbled White; 4 Holly Blue; 1 White Admiral; 1 Painted Lady; 1 Small Tortoiseshell; 3 Red Admiral; 3 Peacock; 1 Comma; 1 Silver-washed Fritillary; 3 Speckled Wood; 24 Gatekeeper; 50 Meadow Brown; 4 Ringlet. Also 1 Common Blue Damselfly; 1 Banded Demoiselle; 1 Southern Hawker and 1 Emperor Dragonfly. [Posted by Mark Rolfe]

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Photo © Mark RolfePhoto © Mark Rolfe

Event cancelled. Please note that the field trip on Sunday 19th July to Hawkhill Inclosure is cancelled due to a very wet day forecast for the south of England. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

18 Jul 2015

Grayling at Browndown North.. On a 5 minute visit to Browndown North,1550-1555,when it was cloudy and windy,I saw Grayling(5) & Gatekeeper(7). [Posted by Anne McCue]

Dark Green Fritillaries at Old Winchester Hill.. At Old Winchester Hill(SU640200),1130-1330,on avery windy day with sunny spells,wereDark Green Fritillary(15),Marbled White(240),Comma(7),Chalkhill Blue(18),Painted Lady(7),GateKeeper(80),Ringlet(53,including a mating pair),Small White(21),Large White(10),Green-veined White(4),Brimstone(4 males & 5 females),Small Copper(1),Small Heath(4),Peacock(4),Red Admiral(4),Small Tortoiseshell(11),Meadow Brown(62),Small Skipper(154). [Posted by Anne McCue]

Straits Inclosure. A morning visit produced 20 species of butterfly and 3 dragonflies, the highlight being two Purple Emperors from around 10.45. The supporting cast though was not bad with good views of three Purple Hairstreak, White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillaries the latter very numerous. The White Admirals were looking a little worn, and I counted about five individuals. There were several skippers in the grass and on the thistles mostly Small and Large, but at least one Essex. On the way back to the car there was a very pristine Holly Blue. For more pictures here http://awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.co.uk/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Chris Rose
Purple Emperor
Photo © Chris Rose
Silver Washed Fritillary
Photo © Chris Rose

Botley Wood. After seeing 2 Purple Emperors at Botley Wood last Saturday, I could not resist having another try today in sunnier if slightly less warm conditions. Again 2 Purple Emperors appeared at exactly the same tree, but his time activity started at 7.30am! I was able to get photos in several different positions but all are very poor long range ones, this was the best one (highly cropped)! By 9.30 they had both dispersed in different directions. Plenty of Silver Washed Fritillary males and females as well as a few ragged White Admirals. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul Harfield

Emperor Hat trick. I managed to see Purple Emperor at three sites where there are not so common today. First was a visit to West Walk at Hundred Acres near Wickham. I have visited this site three years running and whilst it looks good I have failed to see an emperor - until today! I watched a male oak edging near a recently cleared section where there is vast amounts of good looking sallow just starting to mature - this could be one to watch for the future. Then on to Whitely Pastures where I managed to see just one male, in the oaks by the entrance just as I was leaving. Then on to Havant Thicket where I spotted just one female before it clouded over. This wood is just alive with gatekeepers - I managed to count 42 in about four square meters of bramble , at times you had to be careful not to breath them in they were so numerous, other highlights were four fresh Holly Blues, a couple of new brimstones and peacocks and good numbers of silver washed fritillary. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

Browndown is Purple!. After purple-less Whiteley it was to more well-walked local regions that we returned to. Using the Browndown (West or Elmore approach) we saw nine species of butterflies in a two hours stony circular. It was tough on the ankles but extremely rewarding. The heather was magnificent, well populated with Grayling and on the stumpy oaks in mid-Browndown the Purple Hairstreaks did not disappoint. We counted altogether: Small White (8); Gatekeeper (8); Marbled White (3); Meadow Brown (5); Small Skipper (3); Essex Skipper (1); Grayling (11); Small Copper (1); Purple Hairstreak (9). We watched for fifteen minutes as two of the latter fought each other; they were at completely the wrong end for mating (even I know that!) and it was like watching stags locked by the horns. One would fly off and then quickly return and it was an amazing face-off. At another small oak one character was attracted to my wife's forearm and quite happily settled for a minute allowing for a nice picture! Great place to see Purple Hairstreaks and Graylings. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Hairstreak aggro!
Photo © Francis Plowman
'armless variety!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Male Hairstreak, I think!
Photo © Francis Plowman

Whiteley Walks. A couple of hours late morning circular in sunny periods and warm breeze realised sighting of fifteen species of butterflies that, sadly, did not include Purple Emperor! We did see: Ringlet (25++); Meadow Brown (30++); Comma (1); Brimstone (F)(7); Brimstone (M)(3); Gatekeeper (30++); Large Skipper (5); Small Skipper (9); Essex Skipper (3); White Admiral (1); Silver-washed Fritillary (28); Green-veined White (5); Peacock (10); Painted Lady (1); Marbled White (2); Small White (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Skippers
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
There's going to be a crash!
Photo © Francis Plowman

Whiteley Pastures and Botley Wood. A pleasant walk around Whiteley Pastures and Botley Wood this morning produced plenty of butterflies with an impressive 21 different species seen. The undoubted highlight was a female Purple Emperor which was seen at around 09:45 in the grass by the main Whiteley track, just past the bridge and close to a buddleia bush. After a short while spent drinking dew, it flew along the track before landing in the top of a small oak. It then gave a good display as it glided around the treetops before disappearing. Totals for the morning were as follows:

3 Essex Skipper; 15 Small Skipper; 30 Skipper sp. (Small/Essex); 15 Large Skipper; 9 Brimstone; 1 Large White; 5 Small White; 1 Green-veined White; 3 Purple Hairstreak; 1 Common Blue; 2 White Admiral; 1 Purple Emperor; 1 Painted Lady; 1 Red Admiral; 8 Peacock; 5 Comma; 30 Silver-washed Fritillary; 5 Speckled Wood; 35 Gatekeeper; 6 Marbled White; 25 Meadow Brown; c150 Ringlet. Also 12 Beautiful Demoiselle; 3 Ruddy Darter; 1 Common Darter; 6 Emperor Dragonfly.

Mark Rolfe & Ian Williamson [Posted by Mark Rolfe]

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Purple Emperor
Photo © Mark Rolfe
Small Skipper
Photo © Mark Rolfe
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Mark Rolfe

butterfly. just found silver washed fritillary in garden ..SO21 1LN [Posted by g. tull]

Alice Holt revisited. I visited Alice Holt forest this morning - my second trip there. I couldn't repeat the red letter day of last week but still managed 5 purple emperors. Two males were jousting high up in the oaks in Straits inclosure then after 10.00am I crossed over to Abbots Wood where there were two more - much lower and gliding along the track so easy to see their colouring, but sadly not settling. The highlight of the day though was a female emperor. It was weaving in and out of the sallows at about head height then settled in the longish grass at the side of the track very briefly (the grass that's been mown but is now slowly recovering, so perhaps 4-6 inches high). As dog walkers were bearing down on it (the joys of visiting on a Saturday I guess) I had only brief views - but it was without doubt the largest butterfly I've ever seen in the UK - probably the breadth of my hand. No pictures on this occasion - not that sort of day. Still lots of fritillaries around and white admirals, some of the latter looking a bit worn now. Also for any dragonfly enthusiasts - two brown hawkers in Abbots Wood. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

Empress Down In The Whiteley Rough. A return visit to Whiteley Pastures this morning, in sunny conditions, produced a single female Purple Emperor. She was down ‘in the rough’ when I arrived at 9.30am, taking moisture from the dew laden vegetation close to the track, and already with an audience of two other observers. The location was just north of the bridge in an area where there is plentiful sallow, I did not manage to get very close before she took off and flew back down the ride, landing once again amongst low foliage. She was seen again flying low soon after we reached the area, but then pulled the throttle back to soar high into the trees with a few flaps of her large wings. We watched her take off again shortly after, only to glide effortlessly over the trees into the Whiteley hinterland and out of sight.

Sliver-washed Fritillaries are doing well here again this year after a dip last year, with common species such as Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Skipper also plentiful. Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral and Brimstone are also starting to emerge, as the summer butterfly season reaches its peak. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Purple Emperor (Female)
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Creech Wood. Today in almost perfect weather I visited another of my Purple Emperor haunts and again two days on the run I've encountered nothing resembling his majesty such is the nature of the beast! Despite patrolling up and down the wayleaves for a couple of hours and then doing a 'round robin' along the main rides not a glimpse. I only encountered it in the wood last year on very few occasions, so maybe its having a bad time in the wood,despite the Sallow growing in the wayleaves and in other parts of the wood to enormous proportions. But its one of those species if your in the right place at the right time, or looking up at the right time. I suspect it flew over my head as I was changing lenses, or noting how many Silver-Washed Fritillaries I had seen!The count on other species was quite impressive though, Painted Lady (3) Red Admiral (2) Peacock (8) Marbled White (13) Large White (6) Gatekeeper (15) Meadow Brown (100+) Ringlet (50+) Small Skipper (10) White Admiral (2) Silver-Washed Fritillary (18) Small Tortoiseshell (1) Brimstone (5) Comma (3) Speckled Wood (3) Small White (3) Large Skipper (1) Purple Hairstreak (1). Eighteen species is the most Ive seen in a wood in 2015 so far. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Painted Lady
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Comma on Bramble
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Creech Wood Wayleaves
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

17 Jul 2015

Havant Thicket and Bell's Copse. I did a 5 hour walk around Havant Thicket showing Malcolm and Joyce Hill some of the best places to see Purple Emperors.The highlights included 4 Purple Emperor,24 Silver-washed Fritillary including 4 pairs copulating,12 White Admiral,10 Marbled White,3 Brimstone,5 Peacock,2 Large White,1 Speckled Wood,6 Red Admiral,1 Purple Hairstreak,4 Comma,and a very light pale Meadow Brown called a cinerea,still lots of Ringlets and Skippers on the wing. [Posted by Barry Collins]

Whiteley Pastures Field Trip. It seems very odd to start a field trip in a Marks and Spencers Car-Park, and after reading Richard Symond's report from Straits Inclosure and Alice Holt Forest I'm afraid I've got nothing anywhere near as exciting to offer I'm afraid. Today was one of those windy days which just spoilt the overall pleasure of being in an Emperor Wood, frustrating to say the least. One of my field trippers did see one in the main ride near to the bridge flying over the ride and into a sallow, but he was a long way ahead and I never saw it nor did anybody else so we cannot really claim it. We did see Silver-Washed Fritillaries including a 'Valesina' one or two White Admirals, Red Admirals, a Painted Lady plenty of Browns in the rides along with buzzing Skippers, and Brimstones and Large Whites, and newly hatched Holly Blue took sweat from one of the field trippers hands which was a treat.But alas the quarry was holding on tightly to the branches of the trees and wasn't likely to fly anywhere today.Id like to thank everybody who came and there were a lot today who went home disappointed but it was good to see you all. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Peacock
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Whiteley Pastures
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

A fist for our garden!. After living in our current home in Chandler's Ford for nearly 20 years, have finally seen a Silver Washed Fritillary in the garden! It's a bit tatty, but it counts! Managed to get a photo before it flew off. [Posted by Dave Grubb]

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Tatty Siver Washed Fritillary
Photo © Dave Grubb

16 Jul 2015

Photos from Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. As promised here are a few photos I took while visiting Straits Inclosure on 16th July, including the male Purple Emperor on the ground. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Thick in Havant Thicket!. Thick with butterflies or thick with dog poo this venue seems aptly named! It was our first visit to this recently much-reported site and we spent 3 hours here from 1 - 4pm. A number of butterfly enthusiasts were met along the paths. The previously mentioned reference to copious amounts of dog faeces on the pathways being the only disappointment of the day. However, for at least one Red Admiral the dog-mess was a bonus! Nineteen butterfly species were noted - by far the most we have ever seen in one outing. Most obliged the camera. The Gatekeeper was by far the most prominent insect in virtually invasive numbers in one particular area. Our count was as follows: Meadow Brown (30++); Gatekeeper (30+++); Essex Skipper (12); Comma (3); Speckled Wood (5); Large Skipper (25++); Small White (3); Small Skipper (25++); Ringlet (30++); Brimstone (F)(7); Brimstone (M)(4); Green-veined White (7); Large White (1); Marbled White (7); Painted Lady (1); Red Admiral (1); Silver-washed Fritillary (19); White Admiral (5); Peacock (4); Small Heath (2). We never saw sight of the Purple Emperor or Purple Hairstreak and with the abundance of oak this was a surprise. A tremendous location and a visit recommended. But don't step in the poo! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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A vibrant Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper mating
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman

Abbotts Wood Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. After the excitement of seeing 6 Purple Emperors, including one taking breakfast, myself, my wife and father drove the short distance to Abbotts Wood Inclosure (SW814398). Despite visiting Straits and Goose Green every year for the past nine years, we had only visited one or two other sites in Alice Holt before, so Abbotts Wood was new to us. We parked at the entrance gate by Kite's Hill (SW314396) at completely the opposite end to the main car park. We had only been walking a little way still in sight of the gate, when we saw an Oak with a Sallow alongside. Unbelievably at 14.00 a Purple Emperor suddenly took off, maybe because of our approach and circled the top of the Oak a few times before settling. Once landed we could not see it and walked further on until a crossroads where a large area of woodland had been felled with long grass and thistles growing. Here we saw a single Marbled White flying but could see many Browns flying. Along the track Browns were the most common, but several fresh Commas were seen including 3 on separate ferns side by side. On walking back from the crossroads we approach the same Oak we had seen the Emperor on earlier and as before it took off again at 14.45, circling the tree, just one this time before settling once more. A great day for Purple Emperors which my wife Becky said must have been due to a new pair of Silver butterfly earrings I had bought her the day, before which actually had purple stones in them which she was wearing!

My full count was: Large White 9, Meadow Brown 45, Ringlet 22, Gatekeeper 17, Marbled White 1, Purple Emperor 1, Silver Washed Fritillary 4M, Comma 5, Red Admiral 3, Small Skipper 6. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Purple Day at Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. This morning myself, my wife and father visited Straits Inclosure (SW801400) Alice Holt Forest, where we arranged to met up with our old friend Colin Baker, as my wife and I now live in Cornwall. On arrival at 11:00 the temperature was 17 degrees but with no sun and high humidity. We began to walk the main track, noting the trackside strimming, observing Browns and the odd Skipper or Silver Washed Fritillary. At 11:35 at at point where the track opens out on the right hand side to a small clearing, we saw a Purple Emperor fly from an Oak and fly down the track we had just walked. It stopped briefly on the path before finding a nice animal faeces on the strimmed area where it sat quite happily for the next 30 minutes feeding. We all got great photos (I will upload some when I get home). A little further down the track another was seen around an Oak at 11.56. Some other enthusiasts we had seen were still taking photos of the grounded Emperor at this time. Next at the first deer tower another Purple Emperor was seen flying around a sallow at 12.25. The sun came out very hot then reaching 23 degrees. During lunch at the deer tower at the end of the main track a Dark Green Frtillary was seen flying and then landing on the underside of the tower sitting alongside a male Silver Washed Fritillary for comparison. On walking back along the main track another Emperor was seen at 13.27 and then a further two flying in the air together at 13.35 on the opposite side of the track. In conclusion, a wonderful day with the added luck of a cool start to the day delaying the Purple Emperors usual habit of breakfast at 08.30 to 11.30.

Full counts: Large White 4, Small White 5, Green Veined White 1, Meadow Brown 75, Ringlet 93, Gatekeeper 62, Marbled White 5, Silver Washed Fritillary 5M 3F, Dark Green Fritillary 1, Purple Emperor 6, White Admiral 5, Red Admiral 1, Comma 2, Holly Blue 2, Purple Hairstreak 2, Large Skipper 3, Small Skipper 16 and Essex Skipper 5. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Havant Thicket. A 6.35 mile cycle ride around Havant Thicket this afternoon from 1350 to 1540.My target

species was the Purple Emperor and found 3 along the main track.

I also had my moth trap on overnight in my garden at Leigh Park and caught 50 species

some of the highlights included:Privet Hawk,Pine Hawk,Poplar Hawk,Elephant Hawk,3 Buff Arches,Large Emerald,4 Festoon,Double Lobed,Dusky Sallow,L-album Wainscot,Garden Tiger,

Evergestis limbata,Hypsopygia and 2 Perinephela lancealis etc.(Barry Collins) [Posted by Barry Collins]

More Purple in Havant Thicket. Over the last three weeks I feel I've really got to know this site, I first time that I visited it was a few decades ago. Today again was typical summer weather with dark leaden skies right up to about 12:30 and then the sun tries to break through and the temperature certainly goes up. I arrived about 1310, and almost immediately I saw and Emperor near to the main car-park in the ride, it flew in a 's' formation typical of an Emperor on patrol, the sun was out and it was really warm now. I also saw one patrolling the tops of a Conifer plantation at 1325 this was from the Rowlands Castle end.I went down a ride I hadn't been down before and I saw a Emperor Sallow searching near to a pond in a curved ride at 1340.I then went into Bells Copse, and then saw a male fly over a ride from north-to-south At 1442 another flew across the ride by a major Conifer plantation. Nothing was seen at Horsefoot Hill, this site may well have been deserted as it does get the winds when they are blowing from the south-west. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Typical ride where the Male Emperors like to patrol
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Bells Copse Vista Assembly Point
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Typical Sallow Thicket in the Thicket!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

15 Jul 2015

Essex Skippers in my Gosport garden.. In my garden at Privett Place,Gosport were Essex Skipper(2),Small Skipper(1),Comma,Large White,Small White(2),Red Admiral,Small Tortoiseshell(3),Painted Lady,eadow Brown(8),Red-tailed Bumblebee(many),Six-spot Burnet(3). [Posted by Anne McCue]

Broughton down. 3 silver spotted skippers,one looked as though been out a few days, 25+ dark green Frits, only 3 chalk hill blues [Posted by Mark swann]

Straits enclosure, Alice Holt. We visited Straits enclosure on July 1st and were delighted with range of plants in flower and the 12 species of butterflies feeding on them. This included Silver washed fritillaries and White admirals. The following Wednesday the 8th we went again to show some friends , only to find the whole lot mown off. thus all nectar sources were lost,

any larvae or eggs minced up.

When a Forestry worker came driving through we stopped her to complain . She was from the Butterfly Conservation research team based in the Alice Holt Research Team.

She Told us that the estates management division, based in the South Downs, were responsible for this and were under instructions from the research division not to mow these verges until October!. We noticed the same had happened in Abbots Wood.

It is ironic that part of the taxpayer funded Forestry Commission is trying to conserve the butterflies (including Purple Emperor}, while the other part is a principle destroyer of so many butterflies at all phases of the life cycle.

We feel that just us writing to the Forestry Commission will be ineffective, they will ignore it. Can you alert all Hampshire butterfly watchers especially any well known names and stir things up a bit? I have been watching your sightings pages, and it would seem no one has visited these parts in the search for Purple Emperors.

from Ray & Jill Fry Thursley [Posted by Ray & Jill Fry, Thursley]

Grey Skies and Purple Emperors. Today I've spent the best part of 6 hours on tour around the rides and vistas of Abbotts Wood Inclosure and many of the Assembly Points.I didn't hold out much hope of seeing much as the sky was the colour of dishwater, with very few glimpses of sunshine. It as quite warm and humid, and for the fact that the 'Empress' is around now was really the fact that I saw up to (25) Purple Emperors throughout the day.I arrived at the small car-park triangle at 11:00 and almost immediately saw an Emperor heading North Sallow searching and this is what I saw all the way up to the main car-park , they were either Sallow searching in the big sallows at the edge of the rides or higher up Oak edging. One male was seen edging along some Pine trees, and in a smaller ride a Male came right down close to me and almost sat on my hat, but he didn't stay long enough, as he was more interested in the sallows nearby. I also saw two chasing each other down one of the main rides, one went one way when they split and another went over to another part of the ride. I also saw one Oak edging whilst having my lunch at the small car-park, so in all they were very widespread. A one of the Assembly Points there were three Emperors chasing at 1325, and one male was almost constantly on patrol, around his vista.I sat at this vista which is the one I took everybody to during the field trip a few weeks ago, and I watched for up to 30 odd minutes. At Alice Holt One there was just one Emperor circling his territory, but this site is now almost redundant because I have to stand on a Step-Ladder in order to see anything! Down at the other end of Abbotts Wood in a Assembly Point called Buckshot Hole there was nothing, this site has not been Emperored now for several years, which is a shame as its got great viewing. My first visit to Goose Green was slow when I arrived at 1425, but I saw one male on 'George's tree,named after an Emperor by MRO years ago. There was some blue sky now and the warmth got them started and there were two chasing soon over a Sweet Chestnut Tree, I think there may have been two sets of two, so in all there was up to five on site. There were many chases , over the main road and back, and this is how I've calculated 25 Purple Emperors today. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Purple Emperor Goose Green Assembly Point July 2015
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
White Admiral
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Silver-Washed Fritillaries
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

14 Jul 2015

Alver Valley Country Park. Between 4-5pm a circuit of the large field realised nine species notwithstanding the strong breeze and diminishing warmth. Marbled White (2) - obviously an early night!; Meadow Brown (10); Gatekeeper (21); Large Skipper (4); Small Skipper (3); Essex Skipper (1); Comma (2); Red Admiral (1); Speckled Wood (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Gatekeeper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large Skipper & Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman

Seafield Park, Hill Head. Strong SW winds made for difficult conditions this afternoon at this seaside venue. Previous years have seen many a Clouded Yellow here but not today. Meadow Brown (16); Marbled White (23); Small Skipper (6); Gatekeeper (23); Holly Blue (1); Small White (2); Peacock (2); Ringlet (4); Purple Hairstreak - flitting around oaks, just the one! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Butterflies at Havant Thicket. There was a brief spell of sunshine late this afternoon and I popped to Havant Thicket, lots of butterflies seen. Large and Small Skippers, Meadow Brown and gatekeeper everywhere, Ringlet, Marbled White, Brimstone, Large White, Green Veined White, Comma, Red Admiral and Peacock. Several Dozen Silver Washed Fritillaries seen between Havant Thicket and Bells Copse and several White Admiral, plus one Purple Emperor. [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

Milton Lock Foreshore. Today it was too late to go out Emperoring as the sun never came out until 14:30, although those of us of the 'Purple Pursuation its never too late I guess'.However I decided to look at my 'local' patch which I cannot emphasise enough how important these little bits of Habitat are. My local patch is Milton Lock Nature Reserve right next to a rather large Allotment, so I get rather a good and varied list of invertebrates, birds and mammals.Today I saw Small White (10) Marbled White (7) Large White (3) Comma (3) Red Admiral (1) Small Tortoiseshell (1) Gatekeeper (4) Meadow Brown (11) Speckled Wood (1) Small Skipper (6) Essex Skipper (1) Large Skipper (1) and several Silver 'Y' Moths. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Comma
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Marbled Whites
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Skipper on Thistle
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

11 Jul 2015

Purple Emperors at Havant Thicket.. At Havant Thicket(SU722103) were Purple Emperor(9),Silver-washed Fritillary(12 & Valezina),Ringlet(100),Gatekeeper(100),Meadow Brown(20),Large Skipper(7),Small Skipper(50),Essex Skipper(5), Red Admiral(3),White Admiral(11),Comma(2),Marbled White(14)Small Tortoiseshell(1),Large White(10,including a mating pair),Brimstone(1 female),Small White(4),Speckled Wood(1).) [Posted by Anne McCue]

Botley Wood. I made an early visit to Botley Wood today for Silver Washed Fritillary and White Admiral. The first Silver Washed Fritillary glided down from the treetops just after 7am closely followed by 4 or 5 more, all males. At 8.30 a larger butterfly appeared gliding in and out of the upper branches of an Oak Tree. To my delight it was a Purple Emperor, in fact there were two of them the first I have ever seen at Botley Wood. They did not venture below the treetops but eventually one perched in view and I was able to get a couple of long range photos. Other species seen were Red Admiral, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Large Skipper, Small Skipper and my first summer Peacock of the year. All before 9am! No White Admirals though. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul Harfield

Havant Thicket and Bells Copse Field Trip. As usual today started off very cloudy and breezy and there didn't seem to be any hope of engaging with out target species the Purple Emperor. We walked along the main ride from about 1030 and were generally looking at the rides where there were many Small Skippers, Large Skippers, Meadow Browns, Ringlets,and Marbled Whites. It gave everyone an opportunity to see the various species with wings open and shut just waiting for the sun to come out. We had got about two thirds of the way down the main ride where the Oak stands were now predominant, and the Sallow was getting very tall and very common on both sides of the rides, and here on a very large Oak I espied my first Emperor Oak edging,at about 1115 the sun had come out, and it was zipping in and out the tall oak sprigs going south along the ride.We got to Bells Copse and I Explained about Assembly points and the Sallow stands along the Oak rides, and again at 1155 another male was seen going from east-to west. We were walking through Bells Copse counting the White Admirals, and Silver-Washed Fritillaries, when we saw the Valezina species, which was probably the same one I had seen earlier in the week. What a treat to get so close to such a shy species!At 1215 another male was seen oak edging in the main ride, the weather by this time had cleared up and was very warm and sunny,and the males were now flying with much enthusiasm. Another was seen at 1230, and he was quite close to the ground and went up again into a sallow bush. We had reached the area of the car-park and were all getting ready to eat our lunch when we all stopped in a small ride very close to the car-park,at 1300 when above our heads we saw three males two engaging in a chase in and out of the sprigs of oak, on an oak tree that was very small they were about 15 feet above us what a spectacle, in-out the chase went, then one went one way and the other went the other way, and then another male was seen on the opposite side on another oak, then they would come together again and the chase was on again, it wasn't Assembly Point 'fisty-cuffs'I think they were just frolicking in the sunshine. This behaviour went on for a good twenty minutes, and it was a joy to watch. Every body munched into their sarnies very happy. In the afternoon another two were seen, Oak edging, but at the Assembly point none were seen due I think to the windy conditions. Everybody was more than happy and the 'Purple Emperor Experience' lived up to its name, many thanks to everybody who enjoyed the spectacle with me, a great field trip. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Valezina Silver-Washed Fritillary Havant Thicket
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Purple Class of 2015
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Gatekeeper Havant Thicket
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Whitely Pastures. The weather didn't look to good first thing but by lunch time the sun was peeking through so I took the dog to Whitely Pastures.The rides were alive with ringlet, meadow brown and huge numbers of large and small skippers. Saw my first 2015 brood Brimstone along with fresh Peacock and Small tortoiseshell. A few marbled White and couple of White Admirals were spotted and reasonable numbers of Silver Washed Fritillary including a couple of egg laying females.

Best of all was six or seven Purple Emperors - my best ever count at this site - all males patrolling the oaks and especially the Sallows for females. I did witness one dogfight between two males which lasted about 30 seconds or so. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

Event reschedule. I have changed the day and date of the field trip at Havant Thicket to Saturday 11th July meet at 10:30 instead of Sunday 12th July due to wet weather forecast. [Posted by Pete Eeles (on behalf of Ashley Whitlock)]

10 Jul 2015

Painted Lady in my Gosport garden.. In my garden at Privett Place,Gosport,were Red Admiral,Painted Lady,Peacock,Small Tortoiseshell(2),Small White,Common Blue,Meadow Brown(4,including a mating pair),Gatekeeper. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Wight White-letters. Newport's Towngate LUTECE elms still hosting White-letter Hairstreaks, 3 on the largest elm near the traffic lights, while another smaller tree nearer the pond revealed one more when shaken. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Briddlesford Copse, IoW. A private woodland owned by the People's Trust for Endangered Species, it yielded the following in brilliant sunshine: Large White 2, Silver-washed Fritillary 45, White Admiral 11, Comma 1, Speckled Wood 1, Meadow Brown 45, Marbled White 9, Ringlet 55. 8 species in total. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Clouded Yellows at Havant Thicket. On a very hot day I visited Havant Thicket (SU7110), where all butterflies were very active and not settling for long, making photography difficult. I met a number of fellow butterfly enthusiasts and although I did not see a Purple Emperor, I was rewarded with something different. Along one path I saw two individual Clouded Yellows which flew past, one of which was also observed by another person. A single worn Green Hairstreak was also seen.

My full sightings were: Brimstone 6M 3F, Large White 4, Small White 4, Clouded Yellow 2, Green Hairstreak 1, Meadow Brown 85, Marbled White 21, Gatekeeper 7, Ringlet 50, Silver Washed Fritillary 15, White Admiral 9, Small Skipper 26 and Large Skipper 19. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Browndown Butterflies. From 9.30-12.30 on this warm but blustery morning twelve species were identified in the southern (MOD-owned) area of Browndown. Gatekeeper (18); Painted Lady (1); Meadow Brown (10); Small Skipper (10); Essex Skipper (2); Common Grayling (5); Small Heath (1); Small Copper (3); Purple Hairstreak (10); Small White (4); Marbled White (4); Ringlet (1). Also seen was a Buff Tip moth. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Purple Hairstreak (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman

Crab Wood West Wood and Pitt Down. Today I spent the best part of the day in two woods very close to each other but they are very different in appearance. Crab Wood is full of Mature Oaks and Good Sallow content and West Wood has mature Beech as the predominant tree with Fir Trees and very little Sallow content. But the Purple Emperor can be seen in both woods and today they were not very engaging, mainly because this year there is a lot of Blue Tits and Long-Tailed Tits in the trees, and the males are tending to wait until flying until the flocks of birds have passed or moved to other trees.There was also a lot of dog walkers in West Wood today and that tends to stop them alighting to the ground floor, also the ground is rock hard and has very little moisture. But despite all this there were a few to be seen as follows: Crab Wood 0903 one male flew over my head in a very small ride, One male was seen Sallow searching at 1145 quite close to the entrance of West Wood, I was moving from Crab Wood to West Wood and back that's why the times are a bit jumbled up. In West Wood the first sighting came at 1020 when at the main triangle in the main ride one male was beaten up by another butterfly probably a Silver-Washed Fritillary, and beat a hasty retreat over to Crab Wood. Another male was seen at 1120 Oak edging in the main ride, again disappearing over the ride towards Crab Wood. One male in my ride as I call it did a complete 360 degree circuit around the ride and ended up in a small oak stand at 1225, again another at 1245, Oak edging and Ash tree edging, and then the grand finale a female was seen leading a male over to Crab Wood in a 'follow me flight' at 1247. Other highlights today were several summer Peacocks were on the wing, and I saw many Silver-Washed Fritillaries doing their mating flights down the main rides of both woods. On Pitt Down I saw up to (15) Dark Green Fritillaries which is lower than most years I've visited this site. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Peacock Crab Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Dark-Green Fritillary West Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Typical Vista Crab Wood July 2015
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Beginners Luck - Purple Emperor. I've never seen a Purple Emperor so today (after studying the 2014 reports for July) I set off for Straits Inclosure as that seemed my best bet. Unfortunately when I arrived the few parking spaces outside the entrance were taken so not knowing the geography too well I pointed the car in the direction of Abbots Wood and parked there. That was a huge piece of luck! Within 5 minutes of walking the main track I was being circled at knee height by my very first male emperor. I willed it to land - but he ignored me and set off for the heights. I needn't have worried - to cut a long story short I encountered 6 more during the morning, 3 of which settled (all too briefly) on the track. I did manage a few pictures - not the best - but its still view first and picture second for me so absolutely no complaints. Also seen were 10 white admirals as the day warmed up and many silver washed fritillaries. The most wonderful (and lucky!) day. I can see what all the fuss is about now, the emperors are stupendous, esp in sunlight [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Purple Emperor Abbots Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Purple Emperor Abbots Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
White Admiral Abbots Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Small Coppers and Grayling Browndown North. Lunchtime walk today revealed two small coppers on the edge of the heath as well as two grayling, one on the central firebreak and the other on the edge of the woodland on the path. [Posted by Chris Lycett]

09 Jul 2015

Portsdown Hill. Visited the Eastern end of Portsdown Hill, where opposite Fort Widley (SU657063)I saw the following: Large White 1, Small White 2, Meadow Brown 18, Marbled White 8, Ringlet 2, Gatekeeper 4 and Small Tortoiseshell 1.

At Fort Widley (SU657066)further Marbled Whites were seen. Meadow Brown 26, Marbled White 15 and Gatekeeper 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

St Catherine's Hill, Winchester. Our last call was to the foot of St Catherine's Hill, Winchester. By 4pm the breeze had abated and the sun still very warm. The climb up the hill was quite disappointing (and knackering if I'm honest!) but on returning almost to the bottom gate, a field tall with grass and flowers was alive with butterflies - including the Chalk Hill Blue! We saw three (3) very fresh specimens on the wing and feeding. Sadly one obvious casualty to spider. Other types seen: Comma (1); Red Admiral (2); Meadow Brown (8); Small White (1); Small Skipper (2); Marbled White (1); Brimstone (M)(1).

This was a most rewarding day in around the beautiful Winchester countryside. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Chalk Hill Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Photo © Francis PlowmanPhoto © Francis Plowman

Magdalen Hill, Winchester. In the early afternoon this magnificent reserve was truly a riot of colour. Breeze-washed swathes of wild flowers speckled with at least ten species of butterflies; it was difficult to know where to look first! We wanted to see the Chalk Hill Blue but sadly this insect was not one of the ten that we counted - as follows: Ringlet (11); Meadow Brown (25++); Small White (15); Gatekeeper (7); Comma (1); Marbled White (25++) - but probably the most prolific of all and well into the high hundreds we suspect. Small Tortoiseshell (16); Small Skipper (13); Peacock (1); Green-veined White (2). So, again a chalk hill without any hint of a blue! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Marbled White - F & M
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman

Crab Wood, Winchester. Our first visit to this area produced nine butterfly species including that which we came in search of, Silver-washed Fritillary (5). Others seen were: Meadow Brown (25++); Marbled White (17); Green-veined White (2); Large Skipper (2); Ringlet (6); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Brimstone (male)(1); Gatekeeper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Sleepy Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
Male Brimstone
Photo © Francis Plowman

Silver Studded Blues Still Showing Well.. A visit to the Beaulieu Rd area from 0845-1045 produced plenty of Silver Studded Blues (60+) varying from very fresh to rather battered! Also seen was just a single but unusually brightly coloured Grayling, Small Heath (12), Meadow Brown (8), Large Skipper (6). [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Colourful Grayling
Photo © Mark Pike
Silver Studded Blue (Female)
Photo © Mark Pike
Silver Studded Blue (Male)
Photo © Mark Pike

Havant Thicket. I arrived at 0815 to have a good look at this site and spend the best part of the day looking at the rides which have huge amounts of Sallow and large mature Oak stands, to find the best areas for the Purple Emperor. I saw an Emperor on the ground just taking off as I must have disturbed it at 0830 and he flew off into a large oak stand. Another one was seen at 0907 half-way down the main undulating ride over a Beech and a tall Oak, another was seen oak edging at 0911 at a stand of large oaks at the end of the main ride. 0947 a male was seen sallow searching at the entrance of Bells Copse, and then over an hour later another male was seen oak edging at Bells Copse at 1110 flying from south to north. 1210 another was seen in the main ride sallow searching near to the main car-park, and again searching sallow at 1213 near to the main road. It was strange as at the assembly points there was no activity at all, only a male seen flying across the vista into a tall beech at 1350. Whether they have moved because of the very windy conditions over the last few days I'm not sure, but it was very disappointing not to see them doing battle.I was on my way back to the main car-park when at 1422 a male flew around me and quite close to the ground checked me out, but he did a quick circuit and disappeared over a tall Beech tree and Sweet Chestnut Tree. Maybe I didn't smell very nice after being in a ride for the best part of 6 hours or so!Other species of note was a 'Valezina' Silver-Washed Fritillary in Bells Copse something I haven't seen for a good few years now. All the rides were full of Skippers and Ringlets, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, and Marbled Whites, and the Silver-Washed Fritillary I counted about (30) and the White Admiral was (16) and several Purple Hairstreaks were seen as well. All in all there were (9) Purple Emperors seen today, not a bad tally. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Gatekeeper Havant Thicket
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Skipper Havant Thicket
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Typical ride with good Sallow in Havant Thicket
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Grayling Browndown North. 2 individuals seen across the central fire brake. [Posted by Chris Lycett]

07 Jul 2015

Alver Valley/Browndown North. A two hours gentle afternoon stroll around the woods and fields of the Alver Valley and Browndown (North) witnessed some 13 species of butterfly. Still just 3 White Admiral noted around the previously associated oak tree and bramble bush; comparison with photographs posted earlier, the butterfly shown here is definitely the third of the three that we have identified. Others noted: Marbled White (14); Meadow Brown (25); Ringlet (4); Small Skipper (20); Speckled Wood (1); Green-veined White (1); Large Skipper (6); Comma (10); Red Admiral (4); Essex Skipper (2); Small Copper (2); Gatekeeper (10). All the above seen on a warm but extremely blustery afternoon of great entertainment and interest. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
White Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Micheldever Woods. On a breezy showery morning I noted the following butterflies: Ringlet, Meadow Brown, White Admiral, Red Admiral and a Silver-washed Fritillary. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

06 Jul 2015

White-letter Hairstreak at Alverstoke,Gospor. White-letter Hairstreak seen by Dave Stevenson at Little Anglesey Road/Stokesmead Field,Gosport. [Posted by David Tinling]

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156) where the temperature was 20 degrees. Plenty of Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites were flying, along with a few Skippers. A mating pair of Marbled Whites were also seen. Totals were: Brimstone 1F, Large White 1, Small White 1, Meadow Brown 32, Marbled White 37, Small Heath 6, Large Skipper 1 and Small Skipper 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Martin Down - North & South. A visit of two halves; late morning to the north of the reserve in overcast skies, strong SW breeze and light rain at times. Marbled White (25++); Meadow Brown (25++); Ringlet (25++); Gatekeeper (1); Small Skipper (12); Large Skipper (2); Small Tortoiseshell (1). We also enjoyed an extended and close view of a young Roe deer that stood on our woodland path.

After lunch and in much sunnier and warmer climate - though still with a stiff SW breeze - an interesting walk around the southern sector of the reserve. Marbled White (25++); Small Skipper (25++); Meadow Brown (25++); Ringlet (25++); Dark Green Fritillary (24); Large Skipper (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Small Heath (1). We espied not one blue of any description. It was good to be able to see both male and female Dark Green Fritillary my first ever sighting. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dark Green Fritillary (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Competition!
Photo © Francis Plowman

Southampton Common Cemetery. Marbled White 30+, Ringlet 40, Small Skipper [Posted by Ian watts]

Havant Thicket. Visited today in very windy conditions, the site of my walk on Sunday Havant Thicket and Bells Copse. The wind just about put paid to any Emperor watching in the morning despite good amounts of sunshine, there were good counts of most other species though, with very intact borders along the rides, here there were literally hundreds of Ringlets, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, Small and Essex Skippers and Large Skippers.The larger species like White Admiral were fairly Common with counts well into double figures at both sites and Silver-Washed Fritillary as well. Other species of note were Comma, Large White, Brimstone, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Painted Lady,Speckled Wood. I went into Bells Copse where the woodland is more dense, and has a fairly large tract running through it called a 'wayleaves' where there is Electricity generating pylons. The ride is fairly wide and you can see good vistas in the Oak canopy, and it was here I encountered my first Purple Emperor at 11:45, when it was really sunny and the wind had dropped a little. He was very shy and dropped into a Sallow and I lost sight of him, but I made my way back to the car-park for a bite to eat, and after this I went around Havant Thicket looking at most of the Oak canopy and Sallow stands,here at 13:25 I encountered my first male Oak edging, and he sat in the tree looking down at me for a good few minutes, he then started Oak edging again, and went over the ride at 1335.In a ride full of Sallow I encountered another two males Sallow searching between here and the Assembly Point at Horsefoot Hill. At Horse foot Hill I tracked several males fighting and chasing each other at 1400, and stayed at the vista for 30 minutes, where there were some more chases, but mainly just one male flying around his territory, until I left at 1430 when the wind had got up again and the sun had all but disappeared. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Horsefoot Hill
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Bells Copse
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Bells Copse Wayleaves
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

05 Jul 2015

Grayling And Purple Hairstreak Flying At Browndown. A mid-afternoon visit to Browndown South produced 6 male Grayling, displaying their usual preference to remain camouflaged except when disturbed. Access to the site has been available this weekend following significant recent closures for military training.

A walk along the seaward side of the site among the stunted oak trees produced several sightings of Purple Hairstreak, but all stayed well above head height. Thinking I had nothing to lose by investigating some of the ground cover oak in the same area, imagine my surprise on finding a female Purple Hairstreak flitting around one such ‘tree’, barely a foot off the ground! It stayed for a few minutes trying to find a perch out of the blustery wind, before briefly landing on the surrounding pebbles and then being whisked off by a strong gust. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Grayling
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Dark Green Fritillary in Yateley. A real surprise today - a fresh-looking Dark Green Fritillary in my garden, something I'd never seen previously anywhere around this area in over 30 years of butterfly watching. It remained for a couple of minutes nectaring on lavender, giving excellent views of both upper and underside markings. [Posted by Robert Guest]

Abbotts Wood Inclosure Field Trip. Today started off very dull and overcast and when in the Abbotts Wood Inclosure 18 field-trippers had turned up I thought there is going to be a lot of disappointment in the ranks. I started off describing the flight period, how the Purple Emperor behaves, and the Assembly points dotted around the wood, and the butterfly count after an hour was pretty much....nil. We stopped at one of the triangles in the wood and there still wasn't much sign of any sunshine, but the butterflies had started to rally with Meadow Brown and the odd Ringlet. We wandered up to the next triangle, and here we waited for nearly two hours, but it was worth it, because the weather changed the temperature went up and at 1225 the first male Emperor appeared, over the large Oak stand seen Oak edging, flying through a gap in the oaks from North to South. A few minutes later another Emperor appeared and he flew over us all, and over the clear felled area. Binoculars were trained on the main Oak as we then espied Two males on the same Oak less than a few feet apart. These were seen chasing each other over the ride, when probably got too close to the other. Every time the sun appeared one of the males took off and then settled back down on the oak again. Soon we had seen three two in the Oak and another flying around the northern face of this oak. By now it was lunch time and we quickly went to an Assembly Point but nothing was seen, and then went back to the car-park. Over the next hour three more males were seen in the Assembly Point of the main car-park at 1443, 1445, and 1450, when it was starting to get rather breezy. So (6) Purple Emperors were seen today along with Silver-Washed Fritillary (10) Small White (1) Meadow Brown plenty, Comma (1) Red Admiral (1) White Admiral (1) Essex Skipper (2) Large Skipper (3) Small Skipper (5) Ringlet (20) Purple Hairstreak (1). Id like to thank all who came and enjoyed this Purple bonanza with me. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
There's one up there somewhere!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The only way is Essex
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Oxleys Coppice and Ranvilles Lane , Fareham. A walk around my local patch produced the following sightings:

15 Essex Skipper, 5 Large Skipper, c50 Meadow Brown, 5 Gatekeeper, 4 Ringlet, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 1 Marbled White, 10 Large White, 6 Small White.

It was good to see that an area of scrub and meadow by Oxleys Coppice, which was destroyed a couple of years ago when it was dug up to repair a collapsed sewage pipe, has now recovered. The meadow is now covered in birds-foot trefoil and a good number of butterflies were present here. [Posted by Mark Rolfe]

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Essex Skipper
Photo © Mark Rolfe
Large Skipper
Photo © Mark Rolfe
Ringlet
Photo © Mark Rolfe

04 Jul 2015

Frater Field, Elson, Gosport. The pleasure of this little piece of scrubland is that it is so compact the butterflies come to you! Surrounded by tall, mature deciduous trees with trunks festooned with brambles and nettles, the strong wind was hardly noticed by the nine species that presented themselves in the hot field. Marbled White (20++); Meadow Brown (10): Small Skipper (7); Comma (1); Essex Skipper (1); Small White (3); Red Admiral (1): Gatekeeper (3): Large Skipper (1). The mass of Peacock caterpillars seen earlier this week continues to thrive on nettles bringing the prospect of these colourful butterflies in a few weeks. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Gatekeeper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White (female) [Webmaster: Looks like a Green-veined White to me!]
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

03 Jul 2015

Alver Valley/Browndown North. The draw of a repeat visit to see the attractive White Admiral was too great and between 4-5pm we saw a total of 3; two in the previously noted location and another flying high some distance to the east of the oak copse. Other butterflies noted: Meadow Brown (13); Essex Skipper (1); Large White (1); Small Skipper (25++); Speckled Wood (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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With damage to right forewing
Photo © Francis Plowman
In somewhat better condition
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Botley & Manor Farm Country Park. A long walk from Botley quay through Manor Farm Country Park, fields, woodlands and riverside habitats. Swelteringly hot and beautiful views across the River Hamble. Following noted: Small Skipper (1); Large Skipper (8); Meadow Brown 25++; Gatekeeper (9); Small Tortoiseshell (3); Small White (3); Marbled White (8); Speckled Wood (4); Ringlet (4). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Gatekeeper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

Alice Holt kicks off...just. Spent the best part of the day in Straits Inclosure and Abbotts Wood Inclosure and finally at two Assembly Points at mid-day and early afternoon. There were no Purple Emperors on the wing at either Straits or at Abbotts Wood but I finally espied one flying from East to west and then west to east at Alice Holt Forest (1) at 12:45 and again at 12:55, these views were all too brief over the tallest of the Beech trees and Oak stands at the site, but I've got my stamp now, so things can only get better.In Straits Inclosure the species seen were as follows:Red Admiral (1), Meadow Brown (30+) Brimstone (2) Small Skipper (16) Large White (2) White Admiral (11) Speckled Wood (2) Ringlet (9) Silver-Washed Fritillary (20) Marbled White (3) Large Skipper (14) Comma (1) Purple Hairstreak (1) and a lovely Red Kite was going up and down the main ride as well. In Abbotts Wood Inclosure the White Admiral and Silver-Washed Fritillaries are all in double figures now building up to good numbers. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Straits Inclosure July 2015
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Large Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating pair of Meadow Browns
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

01 Jul 2015

White Admirals at Browndown North,Gosport. Many sightings of at least 5 male White Admirals at Browndown Nprth,Gosport. [Posted by Geoff Jones & David Tinling.]

White Admirals at Browndown North.. Many sightings of at least 5 male White Admirals at Browndown North,Gosport. [Posted by Geoff Jones & David Tinling.]

Havant Thicket. In the super hot temperature of 27 degrees, I visited Havant Thicket (SU7110), walking most of the main paths. I was pleased to see four new species for the first time this year - White Admiral, Silver Washed Fritillary, Gatekeeper and Small Skipper. Meadow Browns were very common, at least a hundred were flying. The White Admirals were both sat on the path at different locations and I was not prepared in time with my camera to get a photo. Just the one Gatekeeper was seen which was resting briefly.

Totals were: Brimstone 7M 1F, Small White 2, Large White 1, Meadow Brown >100, Marbled White 32, Gatekeeper 1, Small Heath 2, Holly Blue 1, White Admiral 3, Silver Washed Fritillary 2, Red Admiral 1 and Small Skipper 10. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Alver Valley/Browndown North, Gosport. Following our fruitless search for White Admiral in the pay-to-view nature reserve off Grange Lane during the morning, we ventured further south to the free-to-all Alver Valley and the MOD-owned Browndown (north) for the afternoon. Here we quickly confirmed Mark Wagstaff's recently reported sighting of the White Admiral and eventually were able to secure a (poor) photograph. We saw two of the species darting between oaks, brambles but they were particularly hard to acquire. The necessary Honeysuckle was adjacent. These were the only two examples seen today and fantastic to observe them. A total of 11 other species were also recorded. Marble White (20); Meadow Brown (24); Small Skipper (7); Comma (8); Brimstone (F)(1); Large Skipper (3); Speckled Wood (1); Ringlet (2); Essex Skipper (3); Painted Lady (1). The latter was in extremely pristine condition and may have been a release? Lots to see around the Alver Valley! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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White Admiral in Gosport
Photo © Francis Plowman
Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman

Gosport Wild Grounds. No, I am not referring to the High Street at 1.30am at weekends, rather the Nature Reserve off Grange Road: open Wednesday - Sundays from 10am (in season). For a nominal fee we ranged its variable habitat for over two hours hoping to encounter the White Admiral. A total of 11 species were recorded although the aforementioned was not among them, sadly. Meadow Brown (23) including an obliging mating pair; Small White (2); Marbled White (17); Small Skipper (14); Essex Skipper (4); Large Skipper (1); Speckled Wood (2); Red Admiral (2); Comma (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Brimstone (F)(1). I'm hoping that the two Skipper photographs help to demonstrate the very slight difference between the Essex and Small species; the coloration of the antenna is the main means of identification between them. (I hope!) [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Essex Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman

Havant Thicket. Had a walk in a still hot Havant Thicket this evening. Meadow Brown's everywhere, saw a Silver Washed Fritillary and quite a few White Admiral but too active to get a photo. Lots of Skippers and a few Marbled White's around too. [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

Abbotts Wood Inclosure. Despite the heat I managed to stay in the shade most of the day in Alice Holt today, but the Emperor was not espied, despite being seen in Straits Inclosure on the 30th June by Steve Easter. However the Silver-Washed Fritillary is now on the wing in reasonable numbers and I saw several White Admirals today as well. I visited Alice Holt (1) Assembly Point for an hour along with one in Abbotts Wood Inclosure...nothing and also Goose Green, if there were any Emperors about I suspect they were having a siesta! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Abbotts Wood Inclosure car-park Assembly Point
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Goose Green Assembly Point
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

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