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

News Archive for Sep 2015

30 Sep 2015

Life's a Beach. I went down to Eastney Beach again today and saw up to (7) Clouded Yellows patrolling up and down the beach from the Swimming Pool end to the end of the Royal Marine Barracks, also seen were several Red Admirals Small Whites and Large Whites. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Clouded Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Clouded Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Clover
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

29 Sep 2015

Clouded Yellow at Meon Shore.. At the Meon Shore were Clouded Yellow,Small White(12),Red Admiral(2) & Speckled Wood. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Clouded Yellow West of River Alver,Gosport.. While cutting grass West Of River Alver, Gosport, Jim Park disturbed a Clouded Yellow.From 16:35-16:05,I saw a male Southern Hawker and a female Common Darter. [Posted by David Tinling]

Red Admirals in Ann's Hill Cemetery.. In Ann's Hill Cemetery, Gosport,11:00-12:45, were 2 male Large Whites,16 Red Admirals taking ivy nectar,2 dark late-summer Commas imbibing blackberry juice,8 Speckled Woods & a Migrant Hawker. [Posted by David Tinling.]

Walters Copse and Mottistone Down Isle of Wight. Kevin and I have again been on another adventure over to the Island to chalk up another few miles on the milometer for the book ' Butterfly walks in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight'. We didn't see a great number of butterflies at this time of the year you don't really expect to, but we have made some good discoveries and we are planning to come again in the Spring next year. We visited Walters Copse on the northern part of the Island which is predominantly a small Oak wood, with a river estuary at its northern most boundary. We saw Comma's, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, and few Small Whites, for our trouble. It has Red Squirrels, but we weren't that lucky! This is the site where the Large Tortoiseshell was seen a few seasons ago, its not mentioned on the board of whats been seen, so its either moved on or its being kept a secret! We then moved south to Mottistone Down, where the large downland is flanked by some magnificent scenery, and here we saw Small Heaths, Clouded Yellow, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Comma, and more Red Admirals. I have chalked up well over 500 miles walking on Hampshire and the Isle of Wight this year, and have well over a thousand records, so its been a very prosperous year despite some of the weather we have had! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Comma in a bit of scrumpy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
What its all about ... the great out doors!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Walters Copse
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

28 Sep 2015

Clouded Yellow at Fort Gilkicker.. On a very windy day at Fort Gilkicker,Gosport, were a Clouded Yellow,large White & Small White. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Large White in my Gosport garden.. In my garden at Haslar(north-west),Gosport were a very fresh male Large White & a male Small White,both taking Buddleia nectar,and a basking female Dark Bush Cricket. [Posted by David Tinling..]

Courting Small Whites. After deciding to stay up and watch the lunar eclipse, I decided to have a lie in and the day off work! It paid off on the butterfly front in our Chandler's Ford garden (Grid ref.SU434199), as I managed to get a great shot of two Small Whites courting. I took several shots and thought I'd try videoing it too. It turned out really well. I filmed them for 56 seconds before the female got fed up and flew off. She was sitting on one of my Buddleia plant labels and the male fluttered around her for 2 minutes or more. I also got a Comma feeding on the Buddleia. It seemed to have had the bottom of both hind wings clipped but was still flying well. The only others seen were other Small Whites and two Large Whites also courting.

Sadly, we haven't seen any Humming-bird Hawk-moths since the 25th September. [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Courting Small Whites
Photo © Tracy Piper
Photo © Tracy PiperClipped Comma
Photo © Tracy Piper

Clouded Beach. Yesterday and today I visited my local beach known as Eastney Beach and here there were up to (8) Clouded Yellows patrolling up and down a small stretch of the coastal dunes and stony beach area. Also many Small Whites and Large Whites, plus today there were Painted Ladies and only one Clouded Yellow, although it was very breezy at times it was hard to get close to the Clouded Yellows as they were very active. This is the most Clouded Yellows I've ever seen at any one time. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Clouded Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Eastney Beach
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Painted Lady
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

27 Sep 2015

SMALL whites egg-laying at Gosport Golf Course.. At the Gosport & Stokes Bay Golf Course,11:15-12:00,were a Red Admiral taking ivy nectar,2 Commas imbibing blackberry juice,12 Small Whites basking on a sandy bank and taking charlock nectar,and a Speckled Wood. The female Small Whites were also laying eggs on charlock. [Posted by David Tinling]

26 Sep 2015

Chalton Down. After visiting Old Winchester Hill, I called at Chalton Down, Old Idsworth (SU736156), where a few butterflies were see. No sign of any Common Blues left. Brimstone 1F, Meadow Brown 2, Small Heath 1, Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Old Winchester Hill. Paid a visit to Old Winchester Hill today. No signs of any Adonis Blue, although I only walked to the hill fort area and back via the steps to the top path. A Dozen Meadow Browns were still flying, numbers of other species were all in single figures. A surprise was seeing a Clouded Yellow on the South facing slope of the hill fort which flew past me a few times, but never stopping.

Counts: Brimstone 1M 1F, Small White 4, Green Veined White 1, Clouded Yellow 1, Meadow Brown 12, Small Heath 1, Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

October newsletter. The October newsletter is now available in the members' area. Those who still request a paper copy will receive theirs shortly. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

Trip to OWH. Because of the lovely late sunshine, we decided on another trip to OWH. We stayed mostly on the car park slope and saw quite a few butterflies. We explored from top to bottom and were pleasantly surprised to see some blues still hanging on. Mostly females but a lone male Chalkhill Blue posed for a brief photo. We also saw a very blue female which I think was a common blue but it didn’t let me get close enough for a photo. I did manage to get photos of two female Adonis/Chalkhill Blues. I think they are Chalkhills but I’m really not sure about these two. I will let you decide from the pics!

Confusion not withstanding we saw, 12 Small Heaths, 20+ Meadow Browns, 2 Brimstones (1m, 1f) 1 Chalkhill Blue male, 1 Common Blue female? 2 Chalkhill Blue females? 1 Large White, 1 Small White, 2 Speckled Woods and… back up on the top of the slope on the brambles, 6 Commas feeding on the blackberries.

Back in our Chandlers Ford garden we still have 2 Humming-bird Hawkmoths Red admirals and yesterday a male Holly Blue put in an appearance! We have just put up a new butterfly box on the south facing wall above the buddleia and lavender plants. Lets hope it gets well used! [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Small Heath
Photo © Tracy Piper
Chalkhill Blue or Adonis female
Photo © Tracy Piper
Chalkhill Blue female?
Photo © Tracy Piper

Trip to OWH. some more photos [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Chalkhill Blue male
Photo © Tracy Piper
Slightly chewed Brimstone female
Photo © Tracy Piper
Comma feeding on blackberries
Photo © Tracy Piper

25 Sep 2015

Speckled Wood West of the River Alver.. Speckled Wood West of the River Alver(west). [Posted by Anne McCue]

Common Blue at Sandhill,Gosport.. At Sandhill(north-west),Gosport,were Small White(2 males),Common Blue(male),Meadow Brown(male & 2 females) & a Silver Y moth. [Posted by David Tinling]

Red Admiral(6) in my Gosport garden. Taking ncctar from Verbena bonariensis,red Buddleia Buzz & Bowles Mauve in my garden at Privett Place,Gosport,were Red Admiral(6),Painted Lady,Large White(male & female), Small White(male & female) and Common Darter. [Posted by Anne McCue]

Beacon Hill NNR. Just a look around to see what has finished and still on the wing and I was pleasantly surprised to see more species than I thought. Species observed were as follows:Comma (8) most nestled in the many Blackberry bushes on the sides of the site and were very hard to see at first. Red Admiral (4) Speckled Wood (5) Small White (2) Brimstone (3) Common Blue (1) Clouded Yellow (1) Meadow Brown (5) Small Copper (1) and Silver 'Y' moths. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Silver Y Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Beacon Hill and the Meon Valley
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
I spy a Comma
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

20 Sep 2015

Then there were two....... Although I had my suspicions that the regularity of our Humming-bird Hawk-moth visits were because there were two, I couldn't be sure...Until now. Dave has just seen two together on the Buddleia so it's official! :) One seems a little smaller than the other. This is the first time we have ever seen two together and we moved here in '96!

On the down side the Painted Lady seems to have disappeared though. C'est la vie.... [Posted by Tracy Piper]

19 Sep 2015

Painted Lady in my Gosport garden.. In my garden at Privett Place,Gosport,were a Painted Lady,Red Admiral(6),Large White(male & 2 females),Small White(2 males & 2 females),Comma,Humming-bird Hawk-moth(a frequent visitor which on this occasion escaped an attack by a Dunnock),Common Darter,Volucella zonaria(hornet hoverfly). [Posted by Anne McCue]

Long-tailed Blue at Browndown North,Gosport. At Browndown North,Gosport,16:00-16:50 were a worn male LONG-TAILED BLUE,identified from photographs of the upperside & underside of its wings,while it was taking nectar from heather(ling),and also 3 Common Darters. [Posted by David Tinling]

Chalton Down. After visiting Noar Hill, I visited Charlton Down (SU736156), where the butterfly season here looks to have finished very early with only the following to report; Common Blue 2M and Small Heath 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Noar Hill. Paid a visit to Noar Hill to see the Brown Hairstreak. Despite looking hard none were to be seen, although a female was reported to me that was flying earlier in the morning. Plenty of Brimstones and Speckled Woods were flying along with several Meadow Browns. Counts were: Brimstone 3M 4F, Common Blue 1M 1F, Meadow Brown 13, Speckled Wood 8 and Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Chandlers Ford garden cont....... .....and still more have turned up today. The same 2 Red Admirals, Painted Lady and Humming-bird Hawk have been joined by a very fresh looking Speckled Wood, 2 Brimstones, 1 male and 1 female and a fresh male Large White. Also 3 Smale Whites. The Humming-bird Hawk was wonderful today. It flew so close and in bright sunlight so i managed to get some really good shots today. I haven't had my new Tameron 90mm lens that long and it's a bit of an art to get it to focus exactly where I want it to but when it does it REALLY delivers! I even managed a short video of it. I never noticed before, the lovely licac sheen down the Humming_bird Hawks back.

We grow our own veg and at the moment, our Brussel Sprouts are disappearing under a wave of Large White caterpillars!! It's awkward loving butterflies because we haven't got the heart to get rid of them! :-) [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Speckled Wood
Photo © Tracy Piper
Humming-bird close up
Photo © Tracy Piper
That piercing stare...
Photo © Tracy Piper

18 Sep 2015

Migrants in our Chandlers Ford garden. In my new-ish south facing butterfly and bee garden, things are starting to look up! All this year it has been great for bees and hoverflies but the butterfly count has been a bit low. Yesterday, when I returned from work, Dave told me there had been 4 Red Admirals, a Painted Lady and a Humming-bird Hawk-moth. Also the usual Small and Large Whites and a brown butterfly he couldn’t identify. Better late than never! There was still a couple of Admirals as well as the Painted Lady and Humming-bird Hawk for me to see.

Today, I got out early and managed to get some pics. There was just 2 Red Admirals today, together with the Painted Lady, a pair of mating Small Whites, the Humming-bird Hawk, which is a regular visitor throughout the day, 2 other Small Whites and a Large White. Before I got home, Dave managed to get a rare shot of the Humming-bird Hawk at rest on our ivy covered bungalow! Well done Dave, I’ve never seen this before. I include this photo in the report. [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Painted Lady
Photo © Tracy Piper
Red Admiral underside
Photo © Tracy Piper
Red Admiral
Photo © Tracy Piper

Migrants in our Chandlers Ford garden. ....some more photos [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Humming-bird Hawk-moth feeding
Photo © Tracy Piper
Humming-bird Hawk-moth at rest
Photo © Tracy Piper
Small Whites mating
Photo © Tracy Piper

17 Sep 2015

Red Admiral at Queen's Parade,Gosport.. At Queen's Parade,Gosport,at 1445,were a Red Admiral and a male Small White. [Posted by David Tinling.]

Grayling at Browndown North.. At Browndown North,15:45-16;30,a very fresh male Green-veined White,taking cat's-ear nectar,a male Small White,2 Speckled Woods,a small male Grayling,probably my last Gralling of 2015, & 9 Common Darters(4 males and 5 females). [Posted by David Tinling]

Hermitage Garden,Gosport.. At the Hermitage Garden,Gosport,13:55-!4:20,were a Comma & a Speckled Wood. [Posted by David Tinling]

Ann's Hill Cemetery(west),Gosport.. At Ann's Hill(west),Gosport,13:30-14:30.were Small White(4 males & 1 female) [Posted by David Tinling]

Ann's Hill Cemetery,Gosport.. At Ann's Hill Cemetery(east),Gosport),11:45-13:30,were Large White(2 males),Small White(7,including a mating pair),Common Blue(mating pair),Holly Blue(4 males),male Brown Argus(taking cat's-ear nectar),Red Admiral(2),MeadowBrown(female),Speckled Wood6 Wood(6,one imbibing blackberry juice) & 4 Common Darters. [Posted by David Tinling]

Old Winchester Hill. Visited Old Winchester Hill today, walking to the hill fort and return via steps back to the top path, avoiding woods and car park slope. Numbers of all species are now low, Meadow Browns being the most common. I found a Meadow Brown which had an absence of the eye spot on the underside. I will transfer the photo I took to CD to post to my son to upload here in due course.

Totals: Brimstone 1M, Small White 5, Common Blue 1F, Meadow Brown 18, Small Tortoiseshell 5 and Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Victoria Park. Two Hummingbird Hawk Moths enjoying the sunshine in Victoria Park Portsmouth this lunchtime. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

Old Winchester Hill. A walk around this site on the south facing slope produced some good counts considering the bashing the site must have had over the past few days with all the gales and rain. It goes to show you how hardy Butterflies can be in adverse weather. The species were certainly making Hay whilst the sun shone, as its rain and gales again tomorrow. The following species were seen on the southern slope and the western part of the hill-fort:Adonis Blue (7) Chalkhill Blue (8) Meadow Brown (50) Green-Veined White (1) Small White (8) Common Blue (4) Small Heath (1) Silver-Spotted Skipper (7) Small Tortoiseshell (4) Brimstone (3) Speckled Wood (4)and Silver-y Moths. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The Fort on top of Old Winchester Hill
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brimstone
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

15 Sep 2015

Common Blue & Small White at Haslar(south-west),Gosport.. A male Common Blue & a male Small White were flying in afternoon sunshine at Haslar(south-west),Gosport. [Posted by David Tinling]

Small Whites in my Gosport garden.. Two Small Whites,male & female,were taking Buddleia nectar in my garden at Haslar(north-west),Gosport. [Posted by David Tinling]

Beautiful Plume Moth & Liht Brown Apple Moth in my Gosport house overnight.... Sheltering overnight from the rain in my house at Haslar(north-west),Gosport,were a Beautiful Plume Moth,Amblyptilia acanthadactyla(BF1497), and a male Light Brown Apple Moth,Epiphyas postvittana(BF998). [Posted by David Tinling]

13 Sep 2015

Clifden Nonpareil at Lovedean. On the night of 13th/14th of September, I recorded a Clifden Nonpareil(Catocala fraxini) in my garden MV light trap. A first site record of this impressive species.

It takes the site record total to 404 macro moth species, and follows White Satin, and Ni moth as new species this year. [Posted by Alan Jafkins]

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Catocala fraxini, Lovedean, Hants, MV 13/09/15, Alan Jafkins
Photo © Alan Jafkins

11 Sep 2015

Old Winchester Hill Photos. Here are the photos of the male Silver Spotted Skipper my father, Roy Symonds saw at Old Winchester Hill on 11th September. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

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Male Silver Spotted Skipper at Old Winchester Hill
Photo © Richard Symonds
Male Silver Spotted Skipper underside at Old Winchester Hill
Photo © Richard Symonds

Browndown North,Gosport.. At Browndown North,Gosport,13:15-14:30 were a female Meadow Brown,a Rush veneer,Nomophila noctuella(BF1398),the larva of a Fox Moth,Macrothylacia rubi(BF1638),basking on a path,and a female Southern Hawker. [Posted by David Tinling]

Carter's Copse,Gosport. At Carter's Copse,Gosport,11:45-13:10,were a male Large White,Small White(3 males & 1 female),Comma & Speckled Wood. [Posted by David Tinling]

Chalton Down. Returning from Old Winchester Hill, I decided to make a quick visit to Chalton Down (SU736156). Here there was still a strong breeze. This year's reduced Chalkhill Blues here look as they have all gone now and only a single male Common Blue was seen.

Totals: Common Blue 1M, Maedow Brown 5 and Small Heath 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Old Winchester Hill. Today I paid a visit to Old Winchester Hill to look for Adonis Blues and Silver Spotted Skippers. The weather was not ideal with hazy sunshine and a strong breeze, reducing the numbers flying. I walked around the hill fort area then descended the steps down the West end before returning via the main path to the car park (bypassing the car park slope and woods). No Adonis Blue were seen, although I did not walk the car park slope, but was fortunate to see a single Silver Spotted Skipper on the West side of the hill fort (at 12:20)which was sheltering from the wind and actually walked onto my hand, where I got some nice close photos.

Totals were: Brimstone 4M 3F, Large White 1, Small White 13, Common Blue 2M, Meadow Brown 29, Speckled Wood 1, Small Heath 1 and Silver Spotted Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Brook Down Isle of Wight. Myself, my wife and Kevin Freeborn had a day out today on the Isle of Wight on the far South-western side, to add a few more pages for the book' Butterfly walks of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight'. We had a good day although it was a bit breezy being so high up on the cliffs of Brook Down, we saw many butterflies which included, Chalkhill Blue (100+) too numerous to count, Common Blue (15) Meadow Brown (100+) Small Heath (40) Adonis Blue (25) Clouded Yellow (Helice) and a normal Clouded Yellow, patrolling up and down the slope, Small White, Speckled Wood, and Holly Blue. I've never seen so many Kesterals as I've seen at least (6) when we got up on top of the down all hovering in the up-drafts. Belted Galloway Cattle were keeping the sward down and the gorse in check as well. We walked along to Afton Down Down and saw more Chalkhill Blues, and several more Adonis Blues one which had just hatched out it still had crumpled wings, probably been out no more than an hour or more.Several Brown Arguses added to the tally, and in the Afternoon we tested out Tennyson Down, but there were no butterflies on the down as it was very overcast, very cool and breezy. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Crumpled wings but beautiful all the same.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Chasing the Adonis Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Afton and Compton Downs from Brook Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

10 Sep 2015

Brown Hairstreak Photos. Here are the photos of a female Brown Hairsteak, seen by my father Roy Symonds at Noar Hill on 10th September. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

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Female Brown Hairstreak at Noar Hill
Photo © Richard Symonds
Underside of female Brown Hairstreak at Noar Hill
Photo © Richard Symonds

Noar Hill. Today I made my first visit to Noar Hill since 8th August to look for the Brown Hairstreak. Shortly after arriving at 12:40, I met with a few other enthusiasts who were busy watching a female ovapositing in the open area close to The Triangle. After completing her task she returned to the trees. A further two females were also seen and I was able to get some good photos. The battered male Silver Washed Fritillary that Ashley Whitlock saw here was also spotted still soldiering on. I have noticed the drop in numbers this year of second brood Small Heaths; only two were seen here.

Totals: Brimstone 3M 2F, Large White 2, Small White 4, Brown Hairstreak 3, Common Blue 5M 1F, Meadow Brown 13, Speckled Wood 9, Small Heath 2 and Silver Washed Fritillary 1M. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Butser Hill and Old Winchester Hill. The sun is much lower on the horizon now, and boots are getting wetter wading through the grasses and the counts are getting lower, can only mean one thing Autumn is just around the corner, and the butterfly sites are almost closing down for the rest of the year. On Butser Hill I went up there specifically for any rogue Adonis Blue's as I saw one at this site in June but alas it wasn't to be, and there were no Silver-Spotted Skippers either, whether Id missed the season here or they are particularly scarce at this site. I personally have only seen a handful here over the last decade, so the scarcity of the species could the reason of not seeing any.There were still good numbers of Chalkhill Blues in very good condition as well, with several Clouded Yellows. I also saw many Small Heaths something that I hadn't noted too much so far on different sites this Autumn.I then moved onto Old Winchester Hill and only wandered around the car-park slope but noted good numbers of male Adonis Blues (20) but the Silver-Spotted Skipper is fading fast with just three females noted. Common Blues still fly the flag for the blues at both sites very common still, and the Meadow Brown is the most common butterfly still to be seen. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Ramsdean Down from Butser Hill
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Blue on Birds foot-trefoil
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

08 Sep 2015

A Beautiful Lady. I've just been to Noar Hill with Kevin Freeborn who up to today hadn't seen a Brown Hairstreak, and when I arrived at the site at 1000 it was cool and overcast which is pretty normal for this site. We went to the area where I had seen the six or so Brown Hairstreaks a couple of weeks ago on a field trip, but it was very cool and very overcast and we felt that we were wasting out time. We did persevere though and there were some little breaks in the clouds and the sun did shine once or twice before mid-day and it was then we saw several different species on the wing. One was a very battered old male Silver-Washed Fritillary, how it flew Ill never know as its left fore-wing was almost non-existent. We were looking at him, when something caught my eye flying around at ground level, and it was a lovely female Brown Hairstreak. She was straight out of the box, and was crawling all over the grasses, I think she was drinking moisture. She took off only to settle back down very close to Kevin and I. We were in a very good position to study her, I think she was very cold as she wasn't flying very far at all, and I think she was barely 24 hours old. She stayed with us for up to an hour, when the sun was shining quite nicely now, and she obviously had warmed up, and she finally made it into a wayfaring tree.What a treat, other species seen were:Silver-Washed Fritillary (1) Common Blue (40) Meadow Brown (35) Gatekeeper (2) Speckled Wood (3) Holly Blue (3) Small Heath (10) Brimstone (2) Brown Argus (1) Small Tortoiseshell (2) large White (1) Clouded Yellow (1) and a lovely Red Kite as we were leaving the site. [Posted by Ashley Robert Whitlock]

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That prison van shot
Photo © Ashley Robert Whitlock
In the grass licking up moisture
Photo © Ashley Robert Whitlock
Trying to warm up
Photo © Ashley Robert Whitlock

Browndown South closed for 2 weeks.. A whole regiment will arrive at the MOD training area at BROWNDOWN SOUTH today to camp and exercise for 2 weeks.Becaues of training exercises for the troops back from Germany,BROWNDOWN SOUTH has been cLosed for many days in Summer 2015,making Grayling counts very dificult. [Posted by David Tinling]

07 Sep 2015

Beacon Hill NNR. Today I visited another Silver-Spotted Skipper site Beacon Hill NNR , however the site is very suitable with very close cropped areas where in 2014 there were areas that were mown and cattle frequent the slopes, however there is still a small amount of Silver-Spotted Skippers still present on the slope after the spectacular crash a few years ago.I managed to find just one single specimen the same amount as 2014. Obviously its very hard to track the species on such a huge expanse of downland, so I was very fortunate to see this one. Its just strange that just over the road practically they are doing so well at Old Winchester Hill, and this is the site they colonized OWH from! More gravid female SSS should really be attracted to this site now and the fortunes of Beacon Hill can be reversed, as the slopes of this site are adorned by some spectacular wild flowers. The Chalkhill Blue and Brown Argus seem to have finished here as well but not at Old Winchester Hill, which just proves that two adjoining sites can be so very different, in their flora and fauna. Species noted were as follows:Small Heath (6) Meadow Brown (50+) Small Tortoiseshell (7) Speckled Wood (10) Brimstone (20) Small White (5) Common Blue (4) Comma (1) Red Admiral (1) Large White (5) Silver-Spotted Skipper (1) Painted Lady (1) Green-Veined White (1) Silver-'Y' Moths and Treble Bar Moth. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Tortoiseshell on Scabious
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Old Winchester Hill from Beacon Hill NNR
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The short cropped areas of wild flowers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

06 Sep 2015

Martin Down. We got there at 9am and it was already starting to warm up. We walked straight up to the ditch hoping to get some photos of the female Adonis Blue. Although it was quiet at first, it soon began to liven up. We saw several Adonis Blue males both fresh looking and some slightly battle worn specimens. Likewise with the male Common Blues. Some were warn and some were very fresh looking. We saw no Chalkhill Blue males and just one very warn female. This actually helped because when we started to find female Adonis Blues there were no Chalkhills to confuse them with! I also managed to photograph an aberrant female that had just the 2 large spots on its underwings. Also a beautifully fresh male Adonis that had two tiny extra spots, one on the hind wing and one on the front wing, on one side, but which was normal on the other side. We also found a poor Adonis Blue male which had not formed its wings properly. It was still alive but couldn’t fly so I put it on a flower so it could at least feed. All in all we saw 25-30 Adonis, 15-20 Common Blues, 3 Small Heath, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 5 Brimstones, 1 Brown Argus, 2 Large Whites, 1 Red Admiral 1 Speckled Wood and 40+ Meadow Browns and… Like the last time we were here… Another Fox Moth caterpillar! [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Adonis Blue female
Photo © Tracy Piper
Common Blue
Photo © Tracy Piper
Brown Argus
Photo © Tracy Piper

Martin Down...cont. some more photos [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Adonis Blues female aberrant
Photo © Tracy Piper
Adonis Blue male with extra spots
Photo © Tracy Piper
Speckled Wood female
Photo © Tracy Piper

Old Winchester Hill Field Trip. The last of the 2015 field trips and what a good way to end the butterfly field trip year, an excellent turn out, and perfect weather and seeing all the target species except one..... Today on Old Winchester it was just about perfection weather wise, with no wind and perfect blue skies and it wasn't too warm either. We found our first target species the Adonis Blue on the far-southern slopes where their habitat has been treated to the good Herdwick Sheep treatment. Very good short sward all over the slopes now, and another target species the Silver-Spotted Skipper was also engaged. The Adonis Blues were busy feeding on the many field Scabious about ,and the Silver-Spotted Skippers were feeding off the short stemless thistles.We saw lots of Chalkhill Blues still, many looking very tatty and forlorn, but there were still good females to be seen, almost in perfect condition.Species of note were as follows: Speckled Wood (5) Red Admiral (1) Chalkhill Blue (100+) Common Blue (13) Meadow Brown (100+) Small Heath (12) Brimstone (15) Silver-Spotted Skipper (10) Adonis Blue (26) Small Copper (1)_ Small Tortoiseshell (2) Peacock (1) Brown Argus (1) Yellow Underwing Moth and several 6 spotted Burnet moths. We failed to find a Clouded Yellow which was a bit disappointing but I feel every body went home feeling satisfied with the results of today, and everybody is looking forward to the 2016 season....bring it on! Id like to thank all those who came, and particularly the field trippers that have been with me throughout the year, through thick and thin. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Speckled Wood on Nettle
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Late mating Chalkhill Blues
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The last of the field trippers 2015
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

05 Sep 2015

Pamber Update. The 29 White Admiral ova and larvae that I've been following through are now down to a mere 10, although I expect such losses to be quite normal, since the larvae are now exclusively in their 3rd instar and are extremely lucky to have made it this far! It's fascinating watching each larva build its hibernaculum. The process starts with the larva "silking" the leaf onto the stem so that, when the leaf withers, it does not fall away from the branch; this seems to be the only consistency in the process! Some larvae seem to simply fold an entire leaf so that there is a compartment within which it can overwinter. The majority (based on my own observations and many authors) seem to cut the leaf into 2, so that only the basal half remains, and which is silked together to form a compact compartment. I'm not yet sure if the leaf is folded and then cut, or cut and then folded, or both! Watch this space! [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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White Admiral 3rd instar larva
Photo © Pete Eeles
Larva inside folded leaf
Photo © Pete Eeles
Larva inside folded and cut leaf
Photo © Pete Eeles

04 Sep 2015

Old Winchester Hill. Although the forcast said today would be dull, the morning looked as if it was brightening up, so off to OWH to see some Adonis Blues....hopfully. We headed for the car park slope and wandered down to the bottom. We first started seeing Chalkhill Blues about halfway down and came across a pair mating. The first Adonis Blues appeared nearer the bottom. A very obliging male posed for a few photos. At the bottom of the slope we saw several males and some females futtering around the marjorum together with Chalkhills and a few old Common Blues. Dave saw a single Silver-spotted skipper and there were many very fresh Meadow Browns flying around us. The weather started to get cloudy and looked like it may even rain. At the very bottom in a sheltered hollow 4-6 Adonis males were fluttering around us. It got too dak for them to fly and one decided to sit on my finger! A really enjoyable 3 hours spent with these beautiful Blues. We did look for Brown Hairstreaks amoust the Blackthorn but didn't see any. All in all we saw about 20 - 30 Adonis, although I do have trouble telling the females from the Chalkhills, I'm sure we saw a few. All my photos of upper sides seem to be of Chalkhill females though. [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Chalkhill Blues mating
Photo © Tracy Piper
Adonis Blue
Photo © Tracy Piper
Female Adonis Blue?
Photo © Tracy Piper

Old Winchester Hill ....... ....some more photos [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Chalkhill Blue female
Photo © Tracy Piper
Tatty Common Blue female
Photo © Tracy Piper
Adonis Blue tasting my finger!
Photo © Tracy Piper

Idsworth Down. Over the past couple of days I have been to the Idsworth Down area, particularly to look at the site for Silver-Spotted Skipper as I saw one there a couple of seasons ago, and the roadside hedges in the area for Blackthorn, as Dan Haore has given me some SU Co-ordinates for Brown Hairstreak, as he noted eggs in the area over the last couple of seasons. Unfortunately I've been defeated by the weather as by mid-day its been very cloudy and very cool, not good for any butterflies especially for Silver-Spotted Skipper and Brown Hairstreak.The good news is that Idsworth Down is very suitable for the Silver-Spotted Skipper as its is covered in many places with short turf, and there is good areas of rabbit scrapes, and there is plenty of Blackthorn in the hedges along the roadsides. I've also found lots of re-generating Elm suckers as well. Butterflies noted today on Idsworth down were very limited: Chalkhill Blue (1) Small Heath (4) Small White (4) Common Blue (5) Meadow Brown (15) Clouded Yellow (1) Large White (2) Brimstone (1) Brown Argus (2) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Heath
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Idsworth Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

03 Sep 2015

Noar Hill. I was due to go searching for purple emperor larvae in sussex with a friend today but a late change of plan saw me heading for Noar Hill.

The weather was a bit overcast but a few blue patches meant that there would be some sunny periods and indeed there was. I only encountered one Brown Hairstreak which was located in an area of extensive blackthorn suckers where I had found a good number of eggs during the winter. Reasonable numbers of butterflies were flying when the sun came out, with good numbers of speckled wood and common blue. I also found two of the late flowering orchids that Noar Hill is famous for - Violet Helleborine and Autumn Ladies Tresses.

Other butterflies included Painted Lady, three Silver Washed Fritillary, Brown Argus, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Holly Blue and Red Admiral [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Mark Tutton
Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Mark Tutton
Autumn Ladies Tresses
Photo © Mark Tutton

02 Sep 2015

Last Wednesday Wander at MHD. The last Wednesday wander at Magdelan Hill Down was well attended. The weather was dry but the sun only made a few appearances. We saw 11 species of butterfly the highlight being 2 Clouded Yellows, others seen were Holly Blue(1), Small Copper(2), Gatekeeper(1), Speckled Wood(1), Small Heath(12), Small White(5), Common Blue(18), Meadow Brown (25+), Chalkhill Blue(19) and Brown Argus(12). Also seen were Silver-Y, Angle Shades and Yellow Shell moths as well as 2 Hornet Robberflies. Thanks to Jayne, Jenny and Brian for leading the walks. [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Holly Blue
Photo © Sue Lambert
Female Brown Argus
Photo © Sue Lambert
Hornet Robberfly
Photo © Sue Lambert

Victoria Park surprises. Lunchtime stroll across Victoria Park in the centre of Portsmouth found 1 Hummingbird Hawkmoth, 2 Red Admiral, and a Small White all nectaring on Ceratostigma willmottianum. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

01 Sep 2015

Noar Hill and Oxenbourne Down. Had a very fortuitous day today! Work took me up near Hook, so at lunch time I was able to pop back to Noar Hill and then on the way back i stopped off at Oxenbourne Down. At Noar Hill I was rewarded with a Brown Hairstreak, and at Oxenbourne Down, several Silver Spotted Skipper. Both firsts for this year for me :-) [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

Migrant hunt. Given the brief spell of warm weather at lunchtime I took the opportunity to have a look around a number of patches of everlasting pea in the Eastney area just in case a Long Tailed Blue might be passing. No joy on that front but a pleasing count of butterflies included Clouded Yellow, holly blue, common blue, brown argus, green veined white, small white, large white, meadow brown and a lone Hummingbird Hawk Moth. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

Old Winchester Hill. With the ever present black rain clouds not too far away I ventured onto Old Winchester Hill and was pleasantly surprised by how many species were about especially when the sun went in and the temperature plummeted a few degrees. I was pleased to see the Adonis Blue out on two slopes, quite common on the car-park slope, but on the fort slope the Adonis Blues were mating and this is the first time ever I've seen them mating here. The Herdwick Sheep are doing a splendid job of keeping the sward down to the right height, which should enable the females to find the right areas for laying their eggs.The Silver-Spotted Skipper is now coming out in force and I saw up to a dozen or more on the fort slope. Other species of note were,Small Heath (4) Chalkhill Blue (100+) Common Blue (50+) Meadow Brown hundreds, Large White (7) Small White (25)Adonis Blue (16) Silver-Spotted Skipper (11) Brown Argus (9) Brimstone (2) Small Tortoiseshell (1) Gatekeeper (2). [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Adonis Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Pair of Adonis Blues
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Gilkicker. Loads of Small Whites around the fort, seemed to be drifting in off the sea. Counted at least 27. Also a lovely Brown Argus. [Posted by Chris Lycett]


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