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

News Archive for Apr 2016

30 Apr 2016

Fire and Brimstones at Havant Thicket!. After my visit to Noar Hill, I paid a visit to Havant Thicket (SU7110), where the sun appeared much stronger south of Petersfield. After a while walking the main track, I noticed some smoke rising and was soon met with the sight of a Hampshire Fire and Rescue Land Rover. This was soon followed by a further 3 fire engines and an additional Land Rover tender. A medium fire and a few smaller ones were tackled.

More information about the fire can be found here: http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/our-region/havant/large-blaze-in-havant-woodlands-sparks-warning-from-fire-service-1-7359337

Following these dramatic scenes, appropriately there were many Brimstones in flight as well as some Orange Tips. Totals seen: Brimstone (15M), Orange Tip (8M), Small White (3). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Noar Hill. Visited Noar Hill today where the weather was cloudy with some sunny intervals. The temperature was still cold for the time of year being 11 degrees. Despite a total of three and a half hours searching the site, only 5 butterflies were seen. His Grace the Duke of Burgundy was seen briefly, having settled before an audience when I then saw him take flight. Pleased to also see my first Green Hairsteaks this year. Totals: Orange Tip (1M), Green Hairstreak (3), Duke of Burgundy (1). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

28 Apr 2016

Havant Thicket. Made a visit to Havant Thicket (SU7110) today walking only the main track. Temperature was 10 degrees with some sunny spells. Sightings were: Orange Tip (4M 1F), Small White (2), Peacock (1), Red Admiral (1).

Plans are to visit Noar Hill on Saturday to search for the Duke and Duchess of Burgundy! [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Butser Hill. Another week goes by with very cold temperatures, I decided to brave the elements and visit Butser Hill (again) second time in a week. The sun was quite warm when there wasn't a breeze but, once it got up and being funnelled down the hillsides at the base of Butser Hill it was distinctly cool. I was relieved to see some butterflies, the Grizzled Skipper was well out, although not very active, and I saw several Dingy Skippers. The cool weather did allow some interesting photographs as they weren't very active and I had a Dingy Skipper on my hand for warmth. I also saw one Speckled Wood amongst some scrub at the top of the hill, but it was still very poor. The Duke of Burgundy is now two weeks overdue here in good numbers, and at other sites I've visited as well. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Dingy Skipper on Dog Violet
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Butser Hill Basin
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

27 Apr 2016

Dingy, Grizzled, Green Hairstreak and snow!. Between the snow showers - yes I know!- Dingy Skipper (2), Grizzled Skipper (>20) and a single Green Hairstreak showed in Rakes Bottom, Belser Hill. Incredible shifts in temperature from probably <2 degrees to over 15 in the sheltered valley. Thanks to Mark Tutton for spotting the hairstreak. All found in the valley at the bottom of the slope from the car park, just as it turns into the tree lined part of the path and up on the pieces of exposed chalk. [Posted by Mark Jones]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Mark Jones
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Mark Jones
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Mark Jones

Orange Tip Four Marks. With a very cold wind, and only infrequent sunshine I didn't expect to see any butterflies today let alone my first Orange Tip of the year. http://fourmarksbirding.blogspot.com/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Orange Tip
Photo © Chris Rose

Extreme Butterflying. Todays trip to Butser involved sheltering from hail and sleet - probably the most adverse weather I have ever set out to see butterflies in!

In a couple of brief interludes that involved some sunshine I spotted a few Grizzled Skippers but then the hail really set in and I decided to trek up the hill for home - however whilst taking a breather half way up the hill I spied a large patch of blue approaching and decided on one last look around. After shaking white stuff off of my woolly hat I had a good hunt around a sheltered south facing slope which eventually turned up twenty or so Grizzled Skippers, two Dingy Skippers and my first Green Hairstreak of the year - worth the wait!!

Two male Cuckoos were also pursuing each other across the down. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Cuckoo
Photo © Mark Tutton
Green Hairstreak Hunkering Down
Photo © Mark Tutton
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Mark Tutton

24 Apr 2016

First Dingy. At the first sign of sunshine this morning I headed to Butser and I am glad I took my hat and coat - it was freezing.

After a fruitless search for Green Hairstreak along a sheltered hedge line I made my way to an area out of the wind where the sun could work its magic and sure enough the butterflies appreciated it - in all I counted about twenty or so Grizzled Skippers and my first Dingy Skipper but still no Orange Tip! [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Mark Tutton
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Mark Tutton
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Mark Tutton

21 Apr 2016

Orange tip. First orange tip(male) seen in Bordon Inclosure by Trenchard park entrance [Posted by jim smith]

Adanac Park Butterflies. Decided to take my camera to work today at Ordinance Survey, and I'm glad I did! I have seen lots of Orange Tips before but finally got my first picture of one! The males were constantly on the move chasing all the other butterflies that got too close. One female was very obliging and let me take several pics. The Peacock made me laugh! I love its smiley face markings!

During my hour long lunch on the rough ground to the North of the OS office, I saw Brimstones - 2 male 2 female, Small Whites - 5, Orange Tips 4 males 5 females, Peacock, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell. [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Orange Tip female
Photo © Tracy Piper
Orange Tip female
Photo © Tracy Piper
Smiley face Peacock!
Photo © Tracy Piper

20 Apr 2016

Grizzled and Duke. Grizzled Skipper at Rake Bottom (Butser Hill) yesterday. Gave me the run around - until Hazel turned up, then it rested. Then back to Noar Hill for a Duke and passing an Orange Tip on the way next to the road. Really nice to meet several folk who use this site too. [Posted by Mark Jones]

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Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Mark Jones
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Mark Jones
Orange Tip
Photo © Mark Jones

Meon Valley /Privett Railway line. I visited a Duke site in the Meon Valley today and there was still no sign of it. The wind, despite full sunshine, was very keen and very cold at times. There were very few butterflies on the wing as a consequence, and these were Brimstone (3) Peacock (3) and Small Tortoiseshell (3). I then went on to a part of the old Meon Valley Railway line which most folk are not familiar with around a village called Privett. Here most of the Railway embankments have been filled in by the owner of the land and the old Railway station is now a private residence. Now I know why lines like this closed down, the station is miles from the village and was only served by 4 trains a day. The old roadside verges though were abloom with Primroses, Violets, Bluebells, Dandelions, Buttercup, Ground Ivy, Forget-me-knot, Lesser Celandine, and Wood Anemone. These were some of the best road side verges and hedgerows I've seen for a while. Here there were Peacock(2) Brimstone (12) Orange Tip (2) Small White (1) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Peacock
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Primrose
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Orange Tip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

19 Apr 2016

The New And The Old On Portsdown Hill. As the cloud dispersed, a late afternoon walk on the lower slopes of Portsdown Hill produced 6 male Orange Tips, patrolling the green margins of the bridleway. One paused briefly to nectar on bluebell. Also seen were Peacock (5), Small White (7), Brimstone (9), Comma (2) and Speckled Wood (3). [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Orange Tip
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Peacock
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Milton Allotments and Foreshore. This afternoon in perfect weather conditions visited my local patch and the following were on the wing: Small White (10) Small Tortoiseshell (2) Peacock (1) and Speckled Wood (1). Butterflies at the moment are still very low in number especially the Small Tortoiseshell they must have had a very bad winter? early spring as this is the lowest number I've seen for some years. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Tortoiseshell sunbathing on the foreshore
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Milton Allotments and foreshore
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Speckled Wood on take-off!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Small Copper Gilkicker. First Small Copper of the year. On the side of the fort at Gilkicker. [Posted by Chris Lycett]

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Photo © Chris Lycett

17 Apr 2016

Butser Duchess. I paid a visit to Butser this morning in a very cold wind but was hopeful that I could find a few Grizzled Skippers in the more sheltered areas. As the ground warmed, in the wall to wall sunshine, half a dozen or so did indeed put in an appearance along with a common lizard which was decidedly sluggish before it warmed up. As I sat and ate my lunch I spied a Duke which, which on closer observation turned out to be a Duchess, and was a very pleasant surprise.

I think this is the first year I can remember seeing Duke of Burgundy before Orange Tip and Green Hairstreak. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Common Lizard
Photo © Mark Tutton
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Mark Tutton
Duchess
Photo © Mark Tutton

14 Apr 2016

Butterflies at Hollybank Woods. Went for another quick walk round Hollybank Woods, Emsworth after work and saw my first Speckled Wood of the year, also several Commas and Peacocks, some chasing each other. [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

Noar Hill. Visited Noar Hill today with perfect weather,an hour walking around produced just a few Peacocks, with the wildflowers now coming into flower the Cowslips and multitudes of Common-Dog Violets, and the Blackthorn is now coming into bud, and there has been a lot of scrub bashing in some of the pits.I was just going back after a fruitless search for the Duke of Burgundy, when I decided I wasn't going to give in as the grey clouds on the horizon and above were not so threatening and the sun was still shining. The Brimstone was now on the wing, which gave me great hope, so I returned and retraced my steps. I went to an old favourite chalk-pit and there was one male flying around now in the quite strong sunshine. I could only find one but thats kick-started my Duke season.

Final tally's were Peacock (4) Small Tortoiseshell (1) Speckled Wood (1) Brimstone (5) and Duke of Burgundy (1) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Close -up of the head and thorax of the Duke
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Bee-Fly at rest
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

13 Apr 2016

Dukes at Noar Hill. Duke of Burgundy at Noar Hill. Pair. Photos included. [Posted by Mark Jones]

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Pair of Dukes
Photo © Mark Jones
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Mark Jones
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Mark Jones

Havant Thicket. In perfect warm weather today at Havant Thicket the counts were as follows Peacock (16) Comma (2) Brimstone (23) Small White (2) and last but not least Orange Tip (3). The Orange tips were all together all battling it out down the main ride, and one male seemed to be very small in size. I noticed that some of the King Oaks in the main ride were blazen with leaves which I thought quite odd as most of the Oaks about the wood had little or no leaves on them at all. Its probably the topsy-turvy winter/spring weather that's lulled them into coming into leaf so early. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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King Oak in the main ride in full leaf
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Brimstone on Gorse
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Looking towards Bells Copse with more Oaks in leaf
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Victoria Park. A quick lunchtime stroll around Victoria park in central Portsmouth revealed my first holly blue and large white along with a couple of small whites - all in glorious spring sunshine - at last! [Posted by Mark Tutton]

lots of butterflies in the wildgrounds. Working in the Wildgrounds today, lots of butterflies about. 2 Peacock, 3 Brimstones, 2 Speckled Woods, 1 Comma, 1 Orange Tip - first of the year in there. [Posted by Chris Lycett]

Holly Blue?. This morning I saw a flash of a small, light blue butterfly in flight in Winchester (Bereweeke Road/Andover Road junction). I could not pursue it on my bicycle! [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

First sightings at MHD. The first walk of the season at Magdalen Hill Down today saw a good turnout of both visitors and butterflies,including a Grizzled Skipper on the Original downland and a female Orange-tip on the Extension.There was also a possible sighting of a Green Hairstreak by Pat Gardner on the diagonal path but it flew away before we were able to get a better look. Great start to the season, thanks to all who came along and made it a very enjoyable morning! [Posted by Jayne Chapman]

12 Apr 2016

Havant Thicket - Alive with Brimstones and first Orange Tip. Spent a hot and sunny morning walking the main tracks in Havant Thicket (SU7110), where the temperature was 14.5 degrees. Many male Brimstones were seen with just a few females. A nice surprise was the sighting of my first Orange Tip this year - a male which briefly landed on a Dandelion flower before taking flight. Totals were: Brimstone (21 Male 2 Female), Orange Tip (1 Male), Peacock (3). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Walk at Rownhams. The butterflies are starting to fly, a walk round my local patch yielded 14 from 6 species.

Brimstone 7, Small White 3, Comma 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Speckled Wood 1, Peacock 1 [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Brimstone on Bluebell
Photo © Sue Lambert
Comma
Photo © Sue Lambert
Speckled Wood
Photo © Sue Lambert

First Orange Tip. Lovely male orange tip in Farlington at lunchtime [Posted by Sarah Bone]

Hyden Wood and Catherington Down. Visited two sites today in the glorious morning weather. Hyden Wood is famous for its glorious shows of Bluebells although I have to say today I was a little disappointed, compared to when I visited several years ago. I think some of the Bluebells came out very early and there are still some to come out so the glorious riot of Purple/Blue Carpet of Bluebells hasn't quite materialized. In the Wood there were (10) Brimstones on the wing, along with several Peacocks, and a solitary Small Tortoiseshell. I then went onto Catherington Down close-by, where the first of the field trips takes place in a few weeks. It's very muddy in places understandably due the amount of rainfall we have had over the last few months. Here there was (12) Brimstones on the wing, one was a female, one Comma, and a Peacock, plus a Small White. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Tortoiseshell Hyden Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Sign for the SSSI at Catherington Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Catherington Down looking south
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

10 Apr 2016

More Brimstones in Emsworth. Saw more Brimstones, in better condition than the last, around Hollybank Woods in Emsworth. Reminded how well camouflaged they can be among leaves! [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

09 Apr 2016

Butterflies at Hollybank Woods. Went for a walk in Hollybank Woods Emsworth today in a brief sunny spell, and saw a small Comma and a rather battered Brimstone. [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

05 Apr 2016

First Green-veined White. I saw my first Green-veined White of the year in my garden in Chandler's Ford on Tuesday 5 April 2016. [Posted by Stephen Harvey]

Milton Lock and Allotments. A reasonable day, weather wise but the butterfly counts are woefully low. Today I visited two sites. At Milton Lock Nature Reserve I drew a complete blank. At the Allotments site there were (5) Small Whites and a Green-veined White and one solitary Small Tortoiseshell. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Milton Lock Hants and Isle of Wight Nature Reserve
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Nature Reserve Sign
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

02 Apr 2016

Brimstone Sightings. Today I spotted a few Brimstone sightings. First in Elizabeth Road, Waterlooville (SU687087)a male; New Lane, Havant (SU725075)a male; Barton Road, Havant (SU729079)a further male in flight. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Wood, Elson, Gosport. From 11am to 1pm a pleasant bimble around my 'local' haunt under sunny skies but with a keen south-easterly breeze off the harbour provided opportunities to census the early Spring residents. This time no Small White to be seen but previously recorded species appeared as follows: Peacock x 2; Brimstone x 1 (still a lonely male); Comma x 2; Small Tortoiseshell x 1. The latter was diminutive and somewhat more faded than the example posted on 31 March. Also, the two Peacocks seen today could easily be distinguished with one rather larger and brighter than a second which displayed comparatively browner reds; could these sizes and colours differentiate male and female I wonder? Both in very good condition. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Intelligent Comma reads the sports page!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large Peacock feeding on Ground Ivy
Photo © Francis Plowman
Smaller and duller Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman

Milton Allotments. A quick look around my local patch of Nettles and the count was today, Small Tortoiseshell (6) Comma (1) Peacock (1). Small Tortoiseshells are not as common this year as last year. There seems to be a lot of activity on the local allotments so I suspect a few of their hibernation sites have been disturbed, and Nettles are probably being cleared for this years veg crop. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Rather tatty looking Comma basking in the sunshine
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Milton Allotments and foreshore
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

01 Apr 2016

Alver Valley Country Park, Gosport. Under milky sunshine and cool breezes from across The Solent a 90 minutes' perambulation around the AVCP (West of the River Alver) proved dismal for butterflies. During this time just one male Brimstone was seen on the wing and possibly a high flying Peacock. Even in the protected glades there was nothing. There is clear evidence of very rigorous coppicing and scrub clearance and much of the area is extremely boggy. Blossom is fairly scarce too with Pussy Willow, for example, just breaking open in places. Under construction, a huge car park and playground area has cut a swathe into the field and doubtless this year many more people will visit bringing with them inevitable pluses and minuses for appreciating local nature. [Posted by Francis Plowman]


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