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

News Archive for Aug 2015

31 Aug 2015

Pamber in the Rain. An enjoyable hour spent in the company of Andy Bolton, catching up on the White Admiral larvae I'm following. At least 50% seem to have created (and moved into) their hibernaculum in which they will overwinter, which are surprisingly varied - ranging from complete leaves through to, what would appear to be, the basal portion of a Honeysuckle leaf that has been folded (using silk) in which the larva rests. Whether the latter is actually a hibernaculum or not remains to be seen. As ever, the inclement weather made for some great photographic opportunities [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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White Admiral larva living life in a raindrop
Photo © Pete Eeles
Head down in a Honeysuckle leaf
Photo © Pete Eeles
A traditional hibernaculum, with backside of larva just visible!
Photo © Pete Eeles

30 Aug 2015

Old Winchester Hill. Went to Old Winchester Hill this afternoon, quite a dull afternoon but saw lots of Chalkhill Blue, also Common Blue, Peacock, various Whites, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown and a single Painted Lady. [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

Change of Event Date. The field trip planned for Sunday 30th August to Noar Hill has been brought forward to Friday 28th August because of weather forecast for the weekend. Meet at 10:30. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

29 Aug 2015

Old Winchester Hill trip. On this trip we hoped to see Adonis Blues in the South Meadow below the hillfort. We hadn't got far from the carpark when Dave saw a skipper in the grass. On closer inspection it turned out to be a Silver-spotted Skipper so out came the cameras! There were a few Chalkhills and Common Blues fluttering around. Most were worn specimens but there were a few quite fresh looking Chalkhill Blues. When we got to the meadow it was shimmering with Blues but no Adonis Blues were seen. We walked right down to the bottom and saw more Silver spotted skippers here. There were three mating pairs of Chalkhill Blues that we saw. A few Brimstones, About 4 Brown Argus, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, A lot of Chalkhills, A few Common Blues about 10 Silver Spotted Skippers, A couple of Small Tortoiseshells, a couple of Peacocks, a lot of Large Whites, a few Small Whites and on the way back to the car a large Green-veined White. We stayed from about 9am till about 12pm it was warm and sunny but started to get cloudy when we left. All in all a good trip out to see the skippers [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Silver-spotted Skipper
Photo © Tracy Piper
Chalkhill Blues mating
Photo © Tracy Piper
A large Green-veined White
Photo © Tracy Piper

28 Aug 2015

Chalton Down. On visiting Chalton Down (SU736156) in sometimes overcast condtions today, I was pleased to see a Clouded Yellow which was very active in flying along the lower slope. Totals were: Brimstone 1M 1F, Small White 6,Chalkhill Blue 14M, Commnon Blue 1, Brown Argus 1, Meadow Brown 28 and Small Heath 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Noar Hill Field Trip. My change of date on the website and on the face book page seems to be working as nine field trippers turned up today, and we were hoping for a good few hours. The first part was like being in the Arctic, we were walking around the site with hats, coats, and woollies it was that cold. The blue sky had disappeared by the time the field trip had started and we were just hoping there was going to be a break in the weather.This came at about mid-day, and it certainly warmed up, as we were in the right place at the right time. After about 30 minutes in the triangle, just off of this part of the site, there were several female Brown Hairstreaks observed, one was obviously laying eggs on short stubby Blackthorn whilst another female was cavorting in the trees, occasionally venturing down to head height.We all then saw another two in almost the same place and these were much more photo friendly, again one was laying eggs, and all in all we saw up to (5) all females. Other species observed were Common Blue (50+) Meadow Brown (50+) Painted Lady (3) Gatekeeper (5) Speckled Wood (10) Small White (3) Small Heath (5) Red Admiral (2) Silver-Washed Fritillary (2) Small Tortoiseshell (3) Peacock (2) Brown Argus (7) Clouded Yellow (Helice) (1) Green-Veined White (1) Small Skipper (1) Large White (1) Brimstone (1) Holly Blue (3) Silver-'Y' Moth and Treble Bar. We also saw a lot of Autumn Lady Tresses, Speckled Bush-crickets and a Dark Bush-cricket. A great day out, and thank you all who attended, making this very satisfying field trip. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Hairstreak Female
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Red Admiral
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Hairstreak Female
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

23 Aug 2015

Shawford Down to St Catherines Hill Down Field Trip. This was probably the best weather for a field trip today very warm, too warm at times but the walk from Shawford Down to St Catherines Hill Down was a delight. We started along the River Itchen and by passed Shawford Down, as were going to leave that to last, the route was very busy with children and parents obviously out for nice walk. We didn't see many butterflies just the odd Brimstone, Large White, or Green-Veined White, along the way. Even the Buddleias didnt have anything on them either. I was looking at the landscape more, with the Itchen lined with faboulous Weeping Willows, and as we approached the Winchester area, these turned into many good Sallow Stands. As we started to walk along the old railway line towards St Catherines Hill down we came across a downed Emerald Dragonfly (somatochlora metallica) I think he may have been hit by a cyclist as he climbed onto my fingers and wouldnt let go. Anyway he had gone when we retraced our steps, I just hope he had recovered. On the Down at Winchester there were many Chalkhill Blues, but alas no Silver-Spotted Skippers, but we did see several newly emerged Adonis Blues, which is a first for me at this site. At the top of the down we saw dozens of Swallows, and House Martins all flying around scooping up the insect soup caused by the updraft and the weather, getting ready for their long migration home, it was a treat to see this spectacle. Id like to thank all who came on the field trip and made it very enjoyable, especially the pint at the end, boy did we need it! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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The River Itchen
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
St Catherines Hill Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Shawford Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Event - change of date!. Due to Family commitments on Sunday 23rd August the walk at Shawford Down along the River Itchen to St Catherine Hill Down and back has moved dates to Saturday 22nd August 2015. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

22 Aug 2015

Old Winchester Hill Circuit. Today I visited Old Winchester Hill in company with my father (Roy Symonds), with whom I was staying, as I travelled up from my home in Cornwall a few days ago in the hope of spotting an Adonis Blue or Silver Spotted Skipper.

We completed a full circuit of the site following the path to the hill fort and around, then descended into the valley and wood, along the bottom slope then a slow walk up the car park slope. There were hundreds of Meadow Brown and Chalkhill Blues, with the females seemingly more common on the South facing slope of the hill fort. A total of 19 species were seen including single Marbled White, Silver Washed Fritillary (very battered male), Painted Lady, Dark Green Fritillary and Essex Skipper. Also seen around the hill fort was a male Clouded Yellow followed by a further 2 males and a female along the path joining the car park slope with the wood. Despite much searching we were unable to see our target species of Adonis Blue and Silver Spotted Skipper.

Full counts were: Brimstone 18M 21F, Large White 35, Small White 38, Clouded Yellow 3M 1F, Chalkhill Blue 414M 40F, Common Blue 25M 7F, Holly Blue 2, Meadow Brown 252, Gatekeeper 19, Marbled White 1, Speckled Wood 1, Peacock 7, Small Tortoiseshell 13, Painted Lady 1, Silver Washed Fritillary 1M, Dark Green Fritillary 1, Small Skipper 4, Essex Skipper 1. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Aberrant Small Tortoiseshell. Today I visited Beacon Hill near Warnford and was pleased to see a Silver-spotted Skipper (one more than I saw here last year) clinging on to a Field Scabius as it rocked in the wind. Most other butterflies were keeping low down apart from this aberrant Small Tortoiseshell which posed briefly. It appears to have lost some of the yellow pigment in its wings and the blue lunules around the trailing edges are larger and more elongated. [Posted by Dave Pearson]

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Small Tortoiseshell (ab. unknown)
Photo © Dave Pearson

Sandy Point, Hayling Island. A walk around Sandy Point nature reserve produced good numbers of gatekeeper and a few common blues, the surprise though was a Jersey tiger initially seen in flight then settled on gorse.A single clouded yellow topped off the list. [Posted by Pete Gammage]

Seafield Park, Hill Head. This was the third and last Solent-edge site visited today between 1300-1335. Last year this flower-rich reserve and the adjacent scrubland behind the promenade was very popular with Clouded Yellow. Today the wind was very strong and no butterflies were sighted along the coastal scrubland. However, within the confines of the protected reserve six butterfly types were recorded as follows: Small White (1); Gatekeeper (3); Brown Argus (2); Common Blue (M) (3); Holly Blue (4); Meadow Brown (1). Again, an absence of Clouded Yellow. Now, I have 'previous' in terms of confusing Argus with Common Blue female so if I have misidentified again my apologies and correction welcomed! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus (?)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue (Female)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue (Male)
Photo © Francis Plowman

Browndown (South). From 1055-1230 I recovered the ground from earlier in the week when I happened upon the Long-Tailed Blue. Today there was not a sign of her, sadly. Here the wind was quite strong, warm but gathering strength all the time and some butterflies were whipped away before identification. Unfortunately no Clouded Yellow here today. Nevertheless, a total of eight species were noted, specifically: Meadow Brown (8); Grayling (2); Small Copper (1); Gatekeeper (2); Small White (4); Common Blue (M)(5)(F)(1); Holly Blue (1); Large White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman

Clouded Yellow at Gosport. An early start at the Haslar Sea-Wall Car Park scrubland in search of Clouded Yellow was rewarded with one sighting and photographs. At last! In fact a total of nine butterflies were on the wing or feeding on the abundance of wild flowers including ragwort and buddleia, some vetches and clover. Totals were: Painted Lady (1); Red Admiral (1); Large White (1) - all feeding on buddleia; Common Blue (M)(12)(F)(2); Holly Blue (1); Small Copper (1); Meadow Brown (3); Gatekeeper (1) and, of course, Clouded Yellow (1). I believe the wing pattern indicates a female but I stand to be corrected. A great start to a day that took in three Solent-edge sites. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Clouded Yellow
Photo © Francis Plowman
Some wing detail
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Adonis Blue at Martin Down cont...... Some more photos... [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Small Copper
Photo © Tracy Piper
Small Tortoisehell
Photo © Tracy Piper
Fox Moth Caterpillar
Photo © Tracy Piper

Adonis Blue at Martin Down...my first!. After seeing beautiful Dark Green Fritillaries for the first time this year at OWH, I thought, What else have we not seen that I would really like to see... Adonis Blue immediately came to mind. So....Dave and I decided to make a concerted effort to find one this weekend. After a trip to Shawford Down yesterday only gave us Common Blues and Chalkhill Blues we thought we would try Martin Down as it's renouned for Adonis Blues. It did not dissapoint! We saw only one or two males but they were mint! Also Common Blues, some Chalkhill Blues, a few Brown Argus, A Small Copper, abundant Meadow Browns, a couple of Small Heaths, a lot of Brimstones, a few Small Tortoiseshells, a couple of Painted Ladies, a Red Admiral, a few Large Whites and a Clouded Yellow! We also saw an Adder so decided to stay on the shorter grass! What a wonderful place! On the way back to the car we also saw on the path, a large hairy caterpillar which turned out to be a Fox moth. Will definately be returning to this lovely place again. [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Adonis Blue
Photo © Tracy Piper
Brown Argus
Photo © Tracy Piper
Small Heath
Photo © Tracy Piper

21 Aug 2015

Mating pair of Clouded Yellows at Haslar(south-west),Gosport.. At Haslar(south-west)(car park between Haslar sea wall & Fort Road),Gosport,I photographed a mating pair of Clouded Yellows on creeping thistle at 20:20,just after sunset on 21st Aug and again after sunrise the next morning at 07:00 on 22nd Aug,when they were covered in dew. [Posted by David Tinling]

Old Winchester Hill. A perfect afternoon on the downs today , and Old Winchester Hill was full of Chalkhill Blues and other invertebrates. I only counted fourteen species today though which is well down on previous weeks. The Dark-Green Fritillary looks as if its now finished, and the Silver-Spotted Skipper is up to three weeks later at this site than Oxenbourne Down less than two miles as the crow flies from here. I did manage to see two on the car-park slope but nowhere else on this area of the down-land. Other species of note were :Brimstone (40) Meadow Brown (100) Gatekeeper (20) Common Blue (60) Chalkhill Blue hundreds! Brown Argus (6) Small Heath (2) Peacock (1) Small White (5) Clouded Yellow (2) Large White (5) Small Skipper (2) Silver-Spotted Skipper (2) Silver Y Moth (2). I also saw a picture of the Purple Emperor seen in the car-park several weeks ago taken by the chap who looks after the car-park (Dave) and have it on good authority its a common occurrence, and whether its a fisherman's tale or not (7) were seen one year! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Chalkhill Blue on Herdwick sheep droppings
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The car-park slope
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

20 Aug 2015

Pamber Forest. A quick trip back to Pamber Forest to monitor the White Admiral larvae I'm following. Unfortunately, several have disappeared, although I did find 3 more just 5 feet from another pair I'm following. It had been raining in the morning, and I found a larva whose latrine seems to have been flushed down its "pier" which must be great for repelling boarders! Many larvae are preparing to change skin, with a few 3rd instar larvae around - the instar in which they will overwinter in a hibernaculum made from a dried honeysuckle leaf. The larger larvae seemed to prefer resting at the base of the leaf, facing the leaf tip, rather than remaining on their pier. I managed to find one larva that seemed to be preparing its hibernaculum. It's at the bottom of the leaf in the 2nd shot below, and I've also included a closeup showing the silk strands that attach the leaf to the branch. [Posted by Peter Eeles]

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Photo © Peter EelesLarva creating hibernaculum
Photo © Peter Eeles
The leaf is secured to the stem with silk
Photo © Peter Eeles

19 Aug 2015

CloudedYellow(helice femsle) at Ann's Hill Cemetery,Gosport. At Ann's Hill Cemetery(east),Gosport,were a black & white helice female Clouded Yellow takiing Cat's-ear nectar,Small White(3 males),Small Copper(1),Holly Blue(3 males)Speckled Wood (5)(imbibing blackbery juice & ragwort nectar),Gatekeeper(35)(taking nectar from knapweed,bramble & ragwort),Meadow Brown(30)(taking nectar from knapweed & ragwort). [Posted by David Tinling]

Elm Report. New report now available from Andrew Brookes. Look for the Elm Report in the 'Conserving the White-letter Hairstreak' section on this page. [Posted by Peter Eeles]

18 Aug 2015

Long-tailed Blue at Browndown. In search of Clouded Yellow I made a 10 o'clock start at Browndown (South). Not only did I not see the sought after species but there was very little butterfly activity under pale sunlight, high cloud and light airs. No sign of Grayling or Purple Hairstreak so having only seen three species decided to call it a morning. Approaching the main path to the west of the 25 metre range I crossed a patch of low, tight grass with a few bunches of heather and bramble. What I thought initially to be a whitish moth arose in front of me then quickly returned to the heather. It was only under the camera's magnification that I recognised it as a Long-tailed Blue. The last one I had seen was in 2013 in Greece but I was much closer here. The butterfly, a female I think, was feeding hungrily on heather. It seems a rather fresh and complete example. It flew off and I lost it but determined to find it again I walked around the patch. Sure enough, there it was again on heather. It allowed me to take around 100 photos in all. It even rested on a stone probably finding it warmer than the plants. Eventually it flew away and I lost it. I only saw the one butterfly. Reading-up on my return I realise what a scarce opportunity this was and have really been over-compensated for not seeing the Clouded Yellow! Somewhat as an anti-climax, I also saw: Meadow Brown (6); Small White (1); Gatekeeper (7); Speckled Wood (1); Holly Blue (1); Common Blue (F) (1). And some you win!!! (These photographs have been cropped only - for fear of ruining its colour I have not enhanced or sharpened the illustrations shown). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Photo © Francis PlowmanPhoto © Francis PlowmanPhoto © Francis Plowman

17 Aug 2015

Noar Hill. Went for a quick wander at Noar Hill this afternoon, no Brown Hairstreak seen but did see a Brown Argus and Female Common Blue together which were interesting to see side by side smile emoticon [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

Shipton Bellinger. When I did my Field Trip at Oxenbourne Down on Sunday I arranged an impromptu Field Trip the following day at Shipton Bellinger with a couple of my regular Field Trip walkers and what a great day we had! Today we saw up to 12-15 Brown Hairstreaks several were seen quite close up on several small Ash Trees along the main ride from the Village Hall.These were flying around the outside of the trees and settling down, and then chasing each other when the sun came out.We then saw several imbibing on Bramble, on the Blackberries and gorging themselves on the ripe fruits. This made for some classic observations. Unfortunately they were only older male's not the beautiful females you often see down feeding, but it was a great tick in the box and the best count of Brown Hairstreaks I've ever had. Other sightings were as follows:Holly Blue (30) Speckled Wood (13) Small Heath (4) Common Blue (5) Comma (3) Gatekeeper (20) Meadow Brown (20) Large White (1) Small White (1) Green Veined White (2) Brown Argus (1) Red Admiral (1) Peacock (1) Silver-Washed Fritillary (1) and Small Tortoiseshell (2) The Silver-Washed Fritillary was feeding on the Buddleia right by the Village Hall. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Hairstreak on Bramble
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Holly Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Typical Blackthorn thicket at Shipton Bellinger
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

16 Aug 2015

Browndown Coastal Area & MOD Land. Mid-afternoon I visited the Browndown Coastal Area at the western end of Browndown, more Elmore really. This expansive and enclosed meadow includes wild Buddleia bushes as well as bramble borders with grassland between. It parallels the MOD-range area for about half of the latter's extent. I completed a circuit of the field and also briefly walked the western fringes of the MOD ranges on a warm and rather sultry afternoon. Meadow Brown (16); Gatekeeper (2); Small White (8); Green-veined White (2); Brimstone (F)(1); Holly Blue (3); Common Blue (M)(6)(F)(1); Painted Lady (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrubland. In search of Clouded Yellow I did a quick circuit of the scrub adjacent to the Immigration Removal Centre and golf course. The Common Blue colony is doing well but no Clouded Yellow this afternoon. A Humming Bird Moth feeding on buddleia was a pleasant surprise. Totals seen: Common Blue (M)(9); Large White (1); Gatekeeper (1); Meadow Brown (2); Painted Lady (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue (Male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman
Humming Bird Moth feeds on Buddleia
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down Field Trip. I have just led a very successful Field trip around upper and lower Oxenbourne Down with a very good count of the illusive Silver-Spotted Skipper, and we counted upwards of (50) easily my best count on this site for more than a decade. They were buzzing about in the middle section on the upper slopes where there is very little vegetation just lots of small bits of scrub, and lots of rabbit droppings. They were easy to see when the sun went in for long periods of time, and this is when the id of females came into play. Other species of note were as follows:Silver-Washed Fritillary (11) Dark-Green Fritillary (8) Holly Blue (1) Silver-Spotted Skipper (50) Chalkhill Blue (well over a hundred) Common Blue (20) Brimstone (22) Large White (10) Small White (6) Small Heath (6) Meadow Brown (10) Small Skipper (40) Gatekeeper (25) Peacock (12) Small Tortoiseshell (1) Red Admiral (5) Large Skipper (1) Brown Argus (1) Comma (3) Ringlet (1). Id like to thank all who came and made this another memorable field trip. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Now where did I see that Silver-Spotted Skipper?
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Small Skippers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

15 Aug 2015

Chalton Down. In warm but overcast conditions, I visited Chalton Down where I was able to view butterflies at rest, making sightings easy to make. Count was: Brimstone 1M, Large White 2, Small White 7, Chalkhill Blue 38M 1F, Common Blue 4, Brown Argus 3, Meadow Brown 33, Gatekeeper 35, Red Admiral 1 and Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Havant Thicket. Visited Havant Thicket today where I saw good numbers of butterflies, including a very worn White Admiral. Count was: Brimstone 5M 8F, Large White 1, Small White 5, Holly Blue 14, Brown Argus 1, Meadow Brown 15, Gatekeeper 36, Speckled Wood 1, Ringlet 1, Silver Washed Fritillary 7, White Admiral 1, Peacock 1 and Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Brown Hairstreak Erupts!. This morning I counted 76 Brown Hairstreaks in 2 hrs 15 mins at Shipton Bellinger, even though 30 of those minutes were too cloudy for the butterfly. I arrived, later than intended, at 8.50 and immediately counted 34 in 37 mins along the 1/4 mile straight track up from the village hall. I had to leave at 11.15, finishing with a posse of 7 - the most I've seen in a vista.

76 is by far the most I have ever seen on this butterfly, anywhere, and I have seen it annually since 1970. I do a morning count at Shipton most years, and have managed to get to about 50 on a couple of occasions.

Obviously, the males were unusually active this morning, after two days of rain and gloom, and there was probably an emergence of both sexes going on. Nonetheless, I am extremely pleased by this tally (though had I arrived as planned at 8.15 and been able to stay till noon, I might have got the hundred up... Dream on...).

Also pleased to see 15 Holly Blue there.

Later, a modest show of Silver-spotted Skipper at Broughton Down, though it was too cool and cloudy for this sun-loving insect. And good to see distinctive larval damage of Duke of Burgundy in its old breeding area near the tumulus. [Posted by Matthew Oates]

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Male Brown Hairstreak drinking
Photo © Matthew Oates

Browndown Ranges Gosport. Ive just spent the morning over at Browndown in the company of Anne McCue who led me around such a wonderful site, which after all these years in Butterfly Conservation I hadn't visited until today, despite it being only a few miles from home as the crow flies. I appreciated the time that Anne spent with me showing me all of the small pockets of Oak woodland and the Bell Heather Heath land, which sadly as it stands at the moment is a shadow of its former self. It has to combat Vandalism, with burning of the heathland, and where the areas that have burnt the area is overtaken by bracken stands, something which is not wanted on areas like this. However we did manage to see our quarry and we saw up to (17) Grayling, including a mating pair, Anne said ten years ago this Heath, where we are standing now we would have counted well over a hundred in an hour. Still at least they are hanging on, and other species of note were as follows: Gatekeeper (35) Small White (7) Large White (2) Purple Hairstreak (1) Painted Lady (1) Red Admiral (1) Holly Blue (1) Speckled Wood (3) Common Blue (3) Meadow Brown (3) Silver 'Y' Moth (3) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Browndown Ranges Gosport
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Grayling
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Holly Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

12 Aug 2015

Chalton Down Clouded Yellow. During a period of sunny spells I visited Chalton Down (SU736156) today, where a surprise was an appearance of a Clouded Yellow of which I managed a few photos. A total of 9 species were seen, with low activity during the hazy periods. The Marbled Whites now seem to have finished here with Chalkhill Blue numbers increasing slightly. Totals were: Large White 1, Small White 8, Clouded Yellow 1, Chalkhill Blue 59M, Common Blue 4M, Holly Blue 1, Meadow Brown 29, Gatekeeper 29, Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Shipton Bellinger highlights. Given the poor forecast for Thursday/Friday I decided to do the Shipton Bellinger transect this afternoon. It turned out to be a highly productive visit with 6 Brown Hairstreak, comprising 3 males flying high around an ash (attempted photo), and 2 females and 1 male low down, posing nicely, 2 on bramble flowers and one on a ripe blackberry. Also seen were 2 male Clouded Yellows, my first of the year. One of these was very fresh with a jet black border in flight, the other was rather worn and missing part of its right hind-wing. They were rather flighty and not easy to get close to with my compact camera. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brown Hairstreak (female)
Photo © Andy Barker
Brown Hairstreak in flight
Photo © Andy Barker
Clouded Yellow (male)
Photo © Andy Barker

11 Aug 2015

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrubland. Today with my granddad I saw: Gatekeeper (4); Common Blue (M)(3)(F)(1); Meadow Brown (2); Holly Blue (1) and Clouded Yellow (1) that flew away and over into the detention centre. It was a bit chilly and started to rain as we were leaving [Pete Eeles: Your first and third photos are actually of a Brown Argus!] [Posted by Kitt Wills]

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Common Blue female
Photo © Kitt Wills
Common Blue Male
Photo © Kitt Wills
Common Blue female
Photo © Kitt Wills

Bathroom Moths. I used a novel way of capturing a few moths as my moth trap is out of action at the moment, I just left the bathroom window open with the light on and captured several moths, a Common Emerald, and Brimstone Moth, I only had the light on for about an hour so the moths would go out again, but its certainly a novel way of seeing some moths not seen in the daytime. Daytime moths in the garden over the past few days has been a Yellow underwing, and the Mint Moth has exploded, as I counted well over (7) flying around the small sprigs of Mint flowers. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Mint Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Yellow Underwing
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Emerald
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

09 Aug 2015

Butterflies in Emsworth. The Cow field north of Brook Meadow is doing really well for Blues and related butterflies this year. There are still lots of Holy Blue along the hedgerow, and now common blues amongst the grass and flowers have been joined by Small Copper and Brown Argus, I didn't see any of these last year. Large, Small and Green Veined whites, Peacock, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood also around. [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

Ranvilles Lane & Oxleys Coppice, Fareham. As well as a few migrant birds on my patch this morning there were also some migrant butterflies with a Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady seen, plus a Silver Y Moth. There were also good numbers of Common Blue especially on the meadow by Oxleys Coppice.

Totals seen: Essex Skipper 2, Clouded Yellow 1, Large White 2, Small White 12, Common Blue 25, Holly Blue 5, Painted Lady 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Red Admiral 1, Peacock 4, Comma 2, Speckled Wood 4, Gatekeeper 15, Meadow Brown 12. [Posted by Mark Rolfe]

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Common Blue
Photo © Mark Rolfe
Common Blue
Photo © Mark Rolfe
Painted Lady
Photo © Mark Rolfe

08 Aug 2015

Noar Hill. Visited Noar Hill today in perfect weather conditions (sunshine and temperature 22.5 degrees)to search for the Brown Hairstreak. Sadly I did not see it but recorded 20 species of butterfly including a pair of battered Marbled Whites, Silver Washed and Dark Green Fritillary.

My total sightings were: Brimstone 10M 1F, Small White 15, Large White 2, Green Veined White 1, Common Blue 37M, Brown Argus 1, Gatekeeper 26, Meadow Brown 32, Ringlet 4, Marbled White 2, Small Heath 2, Peacock 9, Silver Washed Fritillary 7, Comma 3, Red Admiral 2, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Dark Green Fritillary 1, Small Skipper 10, Essex Skipper 1 and Large Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Aggregations of Butterflies. Seeing this aggregation of Chalkhill Blue (13) at Stockbridge Down yesterday and a similar number of Small White (up to 18) imbibing on one small bit of dung, at Avington Lake recently, made me wonder why only some species take up minerals in this way and why they do it so communally. For example, I have never seen any fritillary acting in the same way in this country and most butterflies seem quite antagonistic to each other when they are nectaring. [Posted by Dave Pearson]

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Chalkhill Blues
Photo © Dave Pearson
Small Whites
Photo © Dave Pearson

07 Aug 2015

Clouded Yellow at Haslar(south-west). At Haslar(south-west)(Car Park between the Haslar Sea Wall & Fort Road)(09:30 -09:40),were male Clouded Yellow(taking knapweed nectar),Red Admiral & Painted Lady (taking Buddleia nectar),Common Blue(9 males),Gatekeeper(2) & Meadow Brown(5). [Posted by David Tinling]

Portsdown Hill Sites. Today visited the East end of Portsdown Hill where a walk along paths directly above Queen Alexandra Hospital (SU657063) gave the following sightings: Brimstone 1M, Large White 2, Small White 11, Green Veined White 1, Common Blue 2M, Chalkhill Blue 3M, Brown Argus 1, Meadow Brown 15, Gatekeeper 3 and Peacock 2.

Directly opposite at Fort Widley (657066)there were a few more Chalkhill Blues but no Marbled Whites seen. Sightings were: Brimstone 3M, Small White 4, Chalkhill Blue 9M, Holly Blue 1, Meadow Brown 18, Gatekeeper, 6, Speckled Wood 2, Peacock 1, Comma 1 and Small Skipper 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Pamber again!. I think I've been to Pamber 3 days in a row now, and have now mapped out the White Admiral population that I'll be following through the winter and into next year. In total, there are 7 separate locations, hosting 22 larvae and 3 eggs as of this morning, giving a population of 25 in total, which seems a nice round-ish number. I know I could increase this (I found 5 more larvae today without even looking) but will leave it at those I've already found. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Location 2a - wins a prize for the most beautifully-decorated
Photo © Pete Eeles
Location 6 - the intricate pattern of feeding damage
Photo © Pete Eeles
Location 4a - final instar parasitised larva
Photo © Pete Eeles

Where have all the Chalkhill Blues gone. Not much more than half a dozen in perfect weather conditions today at Yew Hill, when there are normally hundreds at this time of year. Other species are doing OK (with the possible exception of Small Heath) - particularly Common Blue and also at least one Dark Green Fritillary (not frequently seen here).

Not sure why the Chalkhill Blue has fallen off so dramatically at this site - it would be a tragedy if it were lost from the branch's first reserve. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

Summer Wall On The Wing At Lymington-Keyhaven. A walk around the tracks of the Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve, including the Ancient Highway and the sea wall produced 6 Wall butterflies, including one female. All were quite fresh. Half of the sightings were along the sheltered pathway along the Pennington Lagoon, below the sea-wall. As usual they were very active in the warm sunshine, rarely settling for long, either on the track or to grab some nectar. At one point a male and female were facing each other from different flower heads, but oddly did not show any interest in each other. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Wall (Male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Wall (Male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Wall (Male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Brown Hairstreak - Shipton Bellinger. Not sure my original report got through ok so just in case here are a few photos of my first ever Brown Hairstreak at Shipton Bellinger today. A wonderful (and lucky!) day. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Brown Hairstreak - Shipton Bellinger
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Brown Hairstreak - Shipton Bellinger
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Brown Hairstreak - Shipton Bellinger
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Oxenbourn Down. Today I visited one of my favorite sites, and just to check up on the progress of the Silver-Spotted Skipper for the Field trip next weekend. There were hundreds upon hundreds of Chalkhill Blues and many females now, at one point I was surrounded by at least six-pairs of Chalkhill Blues all mating, this seems to be more prevalent when the sun has gone in, its very warm and there is very little wind which will disturb them... then I come along. I was very pleased to see at least a dozen Silver-Spotted Skippers today, and three were seen fighting on the main path, although there didn't seem to be any girls about. Other species of note were:Holly Blue (1) Silver-Spotted Skipper (12) Small Heath (2) Brown Argus (1) Common Blue (20) Marbled White (4) Meadow Brown (100+) Gatekeeper (50+) Small Skipper (50+) Green-Veined White (3)Essex Skipper (7) Large Skipper (1) Peacock (4) Ringlet (1) Small White (2) Brimstone (7) Large White (3) Dark Green Fritillary (1) Small Copper (1) Silver-Washed Fritillary (1) plenty of six-spotted Burnet Moths and Silver-'Y' Moths. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Karma Sutra Chalkhill Blues
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

06 Aug 2015

Humming-bird Hawk-moth in my Gosport garden.. In my garden at Privett Place,Gosport,on 6th & 9th August,were Humming-bird Hawk-moth,Pyrausta aurata & Migrant Hawker. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Chalton Down. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156) today in perfect conditions. Numbers of Chalkhill Blues have increased slightly, but with few rabbits and long grass this year, the population is only 10% of what is normally seen. Sightings were: Brimstone 1M, Large White 1, Small White 9, Chalkhill Blue 43M 1F, Common Blue 1, Gatekeeper 39, Meadow Brown 22, Ringlet 3, Comma 3 and Peacock 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Holt and Head Down (QECP). Hot on the heels of my success with West Harting Down last Thursday (1st August) a female Purple Emperor and Saturday on the field trip with a grounded male Purple Emperor (3rd August) at the site being the most Easterly Purple Emperor Record for Hampshire (1st) and the most Westerly Purple Emperor Record for Sussex (3rd) I decided over the last couple days to look at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Holt and Head Downs.These two sites have great potential for good Emperor sites, although the Sallow content is a bit sparse at both sites, but I've noticed that there is a lot just off of the A3 motorway, heading towards Buriton, so they may well utilize these kind of areas. I've also looked at both of these sites for future Field Trips, and will be probably putting one in the programme in 2016/2017. Other species noted on both days were as follows: Silver-Washed Fritillary (41) Peacock (16) Comma (4) Large White(12) Green-Veined White (5) Small Skipper (7) Large Skipper (4) Speckled Wood (4) Meadow Brown (150) Ringlet (30) Gatekeeper (40) Brimstone (10) Small White (3) Red Admiral (12) Marbled White (3) Holly Blue (1) Painted Lady (1) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Skippers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Peacock resting in Hazel
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Holt Down plenty of ride side flora
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

05 Aug 2015

Painted lady in my Gosport garden. In my garden at Privett Place,Gosport,on 5th & 7th August,were Painted Lady,Comma,Red Admiral,Small Tortoiseshell,Large White(2),Small White(2),Holly Blue,Speckled Wood,Gatekeep,Meadow Brown(2). [Posted by Anne McCue]

August Wedneday Wander MHD. The walk was well attended in spite of the fact it started to spit with rain soon after we gathered. The weather improved and by the end of the walk the butterlies were fairly abundant. We saw 17 species of butterfly although not everyone saw them all - Small Blue 24, Gatekeeper 22, Chalkhill Blue 12, Meadow Brown 9, Holly Blue 2, Green-veined White 6, Small White 5, Large White 6, Peacock 2, Common Blue 2, Painted Lady 1, Brimstone 3, Ringlet 1, Small Skipper 1, Essex Skipper 13, Red Admiral 1 and Brown Argus. Also seen Silver-Y moth, Yellow shell, Mint moth, many 6-spot Burnet moths, 7-spot ladybirds and the rare Tawny Longhorn Beetle. [Posted by Sue lambert]

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Common Blue
Photo © Sue lambert
Small Blues
Photo © Sue lambert
Tawny Longhorn
Photo © Sue lambert

Sandy Point, Hayling Island. Today I visited a very local site to me at Sandy Point, Hayling Island (SZ750982), where I walked the paths around the perimeter of the nature reserve which has restricted access. Sightings were: Large White 1, Small White 10, Gatekeeper 6 and Meadow Brown 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Holly Blue Study. During the early morning a Holly Blue descended into our small Gosport garden. I suspected the return of the male that had earlier been enjoying the Echinacia. But no, this was a lovely fresh young lady who remained in the garden for at least four hours. She tried the Echinacia but it was the call of the bush from which she takes her name that she returned for most of her visit. Great opportunity to get up close and observe and even get a glimpse of the upper wing surfaces. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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On the holly bush
Photo © Francis Plowman
A scarce glimpse of upper wing
Photo © Francis Plowman
Trying Echinacia
Photo © Francis Plowman

04 Aug 2015

Old Down Wood, Four Marks. With a stiff breeze and not too much sun about the walk this afternoon was more about getting fresh air, so a return of at least 25 Meadow Brown, 17 Gatekeeper, 4 large Whites, 5 Small Whites, 2 Speckled Wood, 2 Large Skippers, 1 Common Blue, 1 Peacock and a Green-veined White was remarkable in the wood, but the highlight was a single White Admiral, I had given up hope of finding them here this year so it was very welcome. http://fourmarksbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Speckled Wood
Photo © Chris Rose
Green-veined White
Photo © Chris Rose
Large Skipper
Photo © Chris Rose

Frater Field (Monks Walk), Elson. A late afternoon visit to check on the small clutch of Common Blue. I found at least five most roosting or preparing to in the swaying grasses at the western end of the field. Only one male was intact with various degrees of wing damage to the others. There appears only one female now. Total butterflies recorded: Gatekeeper (2); Comma (1); Small Skipper (1); Common Blue 4 (M) 1 (F). About 2lb of blackberries picked to boot! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Fresh male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Male with some damage
Photo © Francis Plowman

Havant Thicket. In just over 3 hours we managed to record some 16 butterfly species. From very warm sunshine to showers the strong wind remained constant. There was no evidence of Purple Emperor or Brown Hairstreak but I was pleasantly surprised to be able to photograph two White Admirals, one that was completely ragged and the other of slightly washed colours. There was no shortage of Silver-washed Fritillary either and often feeding like crazy they were easy to approach. There seems to be a noticeable lack of Small Tortoiseshell recently and neither was Red Admiral seen today. This was at times a lonely circuit but ultimately very rewarding. Butterflies counted: Gatekeeper (25+++); Large White (1); Holly Blue (2); Green-veined White (7); Silver-washed Fritillary (21); Meadow Brown (25+); Large Skipper (1); Small Skipper(8); Speckled Wood (9); Small Skipper (8); Brimstone (M)(12)(F)(3); Small White (4); Ringlet (3); White Admiral (2); Peacock (1); Comma (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brimstone male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
White Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

03 Aug 2015

Old Winchester Hill. On a day with a strong wind and some sunny spells, I visited Old Winchester Hill hoping to catch a glimpse of a Silver Spotted Skipper, but sadly none were seen. I met Francis Plowman shortly after I had arrived before walking over to the hill fort and back. A Painted Lady landed on the path around the back of the hill fort which I managed to photograph before it flew off. My sightings were: Large White 1, Small White 8, Chalkhill Blue 71M 1F, Holly Blue 1, Meadow Brown 12, Gatekeeper 15, Red Admiral 8, Peacock 4, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Painted Lady 1 and Small Skipper 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Noar Hill. Hoping for an improvement in the weather a mid-afternoon circuit of Noar Hill was ultimately very disappointing. The clouds darkened, the wind became as fresh as earlier in the day and eventually led to some light drizzle. In such conditions the butterflies were hard to find. There was no sign of Brown Hairstreak and not a blue of any description seen. So the final count of 11 species was a big surprise. The following were seen: Comma (3); Red Admiral (1); Gatekeeper (16); Large Skipper (1); Meadow Brown (20); Small Skipper (2); Painted Lady (1); Ringlet (2); Small White (1); Marbled White (1)(F); Green-veined White (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Old Winchester Hill. During a late morning visit under cloudy skies with one or two sunny bursts but again plagued by forceful winds we yet managed to identify 15 species. Giving the south-facing slope a miss it was windy enough along the top of the hill but with occasional windbreaks formed by shrubs and trees. Nothing truly remarkable to report until we came across a very fresh Chalkhill Blue that wasn't in the slightest concerned with the camera's intrusion. So our totals: Peacock (4); Gatekeeper (14); Green-veined White (5); Small White (1); Comma (2); Holly Blue (1); Red Admiral (8); Large White (3); Meadow Brown (9); Chalkhill Blue (M)(3); Small Skipper (9); Marbled White (4); Common Blue (1); Essex Skipper (2); Brimstone (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman

02 Aug 2015

Chalton Down. A visit to Chalton Down (SU736156) today where I saw the following, including my first Brown Argus this year: Brimstone 1M 1F, Large White 4, Small White 12, Chalkhill Blue 33M, Brown Argus 1, Gatekeeper 54, Meadow Brown 16, Comma 2, Peacock 1 and Small Skipper 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Good weekend for garden butterflies. Star species - and 20th recorded in our garden at Badger Farm, Winchester this year - was a fresh Brown Argus, who stayed with us, mostly nectaring on oregano, from Friday 31st July to Sunday 2nd August. Company included Holly and Common Blue (male and female), Large, Small and Green-veined White, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper (up to 6) and Meadow Brown. [Posted by Rupert & Sharron Broadway]

White-letter hairstreak. White-letter hairstreak on elm in car park of the Tyrrells Ford Country Inn, Avon, north of Sopley [Posted by Rob Hume]

01 Aug 2015

Humming-bird Hawk-moth in my Gosport garden... Taking Buddleia nectar in my garden at Haslar(north-west),Gosport, were Humming-bird Hawk-moth,Brimstone(male),Large White(male),Small White(2)(male & female),Red Admiral(2),Peacock,Comma(hutchinsoni)(3),Meadow Brown(2)(male & female),Holly Blue(1 male). [Posted by David Tinling]

Oxenbourne Down. I caught the number 37 bus from Havant at 0845 to Oxenbourne Down and arrived there at 0945.The weather was a bit chilly and overcast to start with but improved as the morning progressed.I recorded 17 species they were as follows:Small Skipper 20,Silver-spotted Skipper 4,Brimstone 2M,Large White 18,Small White 8,Small Copper 1,Common Blue 2,Chalkhill Blue 56,Red Admiral 1,Peacock 5,Comma 1,Dark Green Fritillary 6,a valezina Silver-washed Fritillary,Marbled White 22,Ringlet 3,plus numerous Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns.Also 11 Crossbills flew over going east towards Queen Elizabeth Country Park. [Posted by Barry Collins]

West Harting Down Field Trip. Today turned out to be the best field trip I've ever had the pleasure of leading in such fabulous surroundings and on such a glorious day. It was arduous to walk so far in such conditions, but everybody thought it was well worth the effort once we had got to the mid-way point at the summit of West Harting Down.The rides were fantastic with plenty of wildflowers and butterflies by the hundreds. Despite being mainly a conifer plantation and with many Beech trees thrown in the mix, there were 23 species to be seen, the best count I've had in 2015 by far. The best encounter we had was at 12:30 about quarter of a mile from the summit of West Harting Down when we had a landed Purple Emperor, he was a bit skittish at first and we were not sure whether he was a male or female because the Purple on his wings being a bit faded. He landed back on the ride after flying into the bracken and hazel at the side of the ride, and started imbibing. Its fairly unusual at this time of the season I thought and being 1st August, but here he was content as we watched him gorging on the ground for minerals. There must be a few more females about after I had seen one on Thursday last week. He kept taking off up the ride for a few yards and started again. And then back up the ride again he did this at least six times. He was with us for up to 12:50, when he finally took off near to the summit.....now wheres that Assembly Point? We finally ate our lunch at the summit and then wandered back down to the start again being on our feet for the best part of 5 hours, the final counts were:Purple Hairstreak (1)Peacock (100+) Small Tortoiseshell (2) Comma (20) Large White (30) Meadow Brown (100+) Ringlet (15) Gatekeeper (50+) Large Skipper (7) Red Admiral (23) Small White (10) Brimstone (18) Silver-Washed Fritillary (33) Small Skipper (20) Dark-Green Fritillary (3) White Admiral (5) Essex Skipper (1) Painted Lady (4) Green- Veined White (1)Brown Argus (1) Holly Blue (1) Common Blue (2) Speckled Wood (3). Id like to thank all who came and made this what it was the best yet! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Mating Silver-Washed Fritillaries
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
A faded Male Purple Emperor
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Lunch at the summit
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

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