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

News Archive for May 2016

30 May 2016

Martin Down. Not really the ideal weather for butterflies this Bank Holiday Monday, but we did brave Martin Down in hope. In the sheltered spots along Bokerly Ditch though we managed 8 Adonis Blue, and singles of Small Heath and Small Blue. http://awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.co.uk/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Adonis Blue
Photo © Chris Rose
Adonis Blue
Photo © Chris Rose
Small Heath
Photo © Chris Rose

Bentley Wood.. A total contrast to yesterday's report from the same location. A very cool and overcast day in the Eastern Clearing produced just Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary 1, Pearl Bordered Fritillary 2, Speckled Wood 2, Brimstone 1, Speckled Yellow 6, Clouded Silver 1, Common Wave 1. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Mark Pike
Clouded Silver
Photo © Mark Pike
Common Wave
Photo © Mark Pike

29 May 2016

Glanvilles mating. I was lucky enough to come across a pair of Glanville Fritillarys mating on the bank at Compton Farm this morning plus many more flying along the path.

Also so many small blues, common blues, a green hairstreak and a few dingy skippers [Posted by Angela Sharp]

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A pair of Glanville Fritillarys
Photo © Angela Sharp
A pair of Glanville Fritillarys
Photo © Angela Sharp
A pair of Glanville Fritillarys
Photo © Angela Sharp

Bentley Wood Reserve Field Trip. From a great field trip yesterday to today which turned out to be a bit disappointing, although everybody who turned up said they saw what they were aiming to see. Eastern Clearing is very muddy and the wildflowers are getting rather trampled on, there is very little Devils-Bit Scabious to be seen. The butterflies seen were as follows:Pearl-Bordered Fritillary (16) Grizzled Skipper (3) Large White (1) Speckled Wood (5) Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary (5) Brimstone (4) Duke of Burgundy (1) Green-Veined White (1) Small Heath (1) Small White (1) Speckled Yellow (6) Lattice Heath (1) Mother Shipton (3) Burnet Companion (2) Silver-Line (1) Wood Carpet (1) and Argent and Sable. I like to thank the good number who turned up and went home satisfied. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mother Shipton Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
A walk in the woods
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

28 May 2016

Martin Down Field Trip. This was one of the best field trips I've ever had the privilege to lead around Martin Down in many a year. It wasn't hot or cool it was just the right temperature and there was no shortage of butterflies and moths all over the down. Its not the right place to be caught out in the open if there was a downpour I did have this in the back of my mind but we were lucky the weather stayed as fine as it did. The flora was glorious as well with Burnt tip Orchids, Early Purple Orchids, Common Spotted Orchids, Bee Orchids, and Fragrant Orchids along with Birds Foot Trefoil, Horseshoe Vetch and Kidney Vetch all over the downland and to be seen along most of the downland walkways.The butterfly and moth count was equally impressive, with (17 Butterfly and 5 identifiable Moth species) Small Heath (50+) Small Blue (100+) this was easily the most common species, absolutely everywhere, if we saw 100 then we must have seen easily treble that. Dingy Skipper (30) Grizzled Skipper (25) Brown Argus (17) Red Admiral (1) Small Copper (2) Common Blue (50+) Brimstone (25) Adonis Blue (28) Green Hairstreak (5) Small White (1) Orange Tip (3) Speckled Wood (2) Peacock (1) Holly Blue (3) Mother Shipton Moths, Yellow Shell, Common Carpets, Speckled Yellows, Burnet Companion. Id like to thank all who came and especially to Roy, who came in his mobile scooter and saw all the species as well plus the Green Hairstreak, he particularly he wanted to see. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Adonis Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Small Blues
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Enjoying the great landscape
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

27 May 2016

Glanville fritillaries at Bonchurch. Over 30 Glanville fritillaries seen at Wheelers Bay yesterday with a good number of common blues, one dingy skipper and one brown argus. [Posted by Ian Pratt]

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Glanville fritillary on ox-eye daisy
Photo © Ian Pratt
Underside of GLanville fritillary
Photo © Ian Pratt
Close-upp of wall lizard (podarcis muralis)
Photo © Ian Pratt

Magdalen Hill Down. Today was Small Blue day. I and my other half Dave, not only want to see all the butterflies in Hampshire but I want to photograph them all! Males, females and undersides if I can. We arrived nice and early at 9.15am and stayed until about 11.45. The Small Blues were very obliging despite a fairly stiff breeze. We first saw a couple on our way to the chalk pit and when there we saw 20 -30 as we wandered around it a couple of times. They were fairly worn looking with only a handful of fresh looking ones. One individual took a shine to David and wouldn’t leave him alone! It first landed on his hand and then had a good look at his camera and then decided to inspect his watch! It also landed on his head a couple of times before heading off. The Skylarks were quite prevalent here and we saw 3 coming together in the air!

We then decided to see what was down the bottom of the extension slope and found another group of Small Blues, about 10 were seen along the bottom quarter in the chalk dips. These were in much better condition and must have emerged a little later. We also found a mating pair here. Two Common Blues seen were sparring and one actually pinned the other to the ground!

Today's count 30+ Small Blues. 4 Common Blue males. 3 Brimstones, 1 male 2 female. 4 Orange Tip males. 2 Speckled Woods. 2 Small Heath. 1 Brown Argus. Large Whites. A Common Carpet moth and a Cinnabar moth. [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Small Blue male
Photo © Tracy Piper
Small Blue female
Photo © Tracy Piper
Mating pair of Small Blues
Photo © Tracy Piper

Magdalen Hill Down........more pics. Dave's new friend! A very inquisitive Small blue...(Yes, the date on the watch is wrong!) [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Tom Thumb?!
Photo © Tracy Piper
Which setting do I use for a selfie?
Photo © Tracy Piper
Wrist watch?! Bit big for me...
Photo © Tracy Piper

Beacon Hill NNR. Today after several years, I've managed to break my just a count of one of the Duke of Burgundy at this site with a reasonable count of (7). Its probably due to the fact the species is out much later than normal, but it was good to see them here again. Many are now looking rather worn but there was one or two looking remarkably fresh. The count from this site was as follows:Dingy Skipper (7) Small Heath (10) Common Blue (25) Grizzled Skipper (2) Duke of Burgundy (7) Red Admiral (2) Brimstone (20) Green Hairstreak (4) Green Veined White (2) Orange Tip (2) Peacock (1) Lots of Common Carpets and Mother Shipton (2) one Red Kite, now being seen almost every time I visit a site. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Beacon Hill NNR
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Duke looking less than pristine
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Blue male
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

26 May 2016

We three Fritillaries of Orient are.... Eastern clearing of Bentley Wood had plenty of rather tired Pearl bordered Fritillary. Also, 4-5 Marsh Frits - yes, I know - and 1 rather fast, fresh and tricky Small pearl bordered Frit. Photos in the next few days, but thought you'd like to know. [Posted by Mark Jones]

Grizzled Skippers on Mottistone Common. Had another wonderful day here on the Isle of Wight. Saw many species including Small Heath, Common Blues, Small White, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Green Hairstreak, Glanville Fritillary, Dingy Skippers and my first sighting of Grizzled Skippers. [Posted by Angela Sharp]

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Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Angela Sharp
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Angela Sharp
Small Copper
Photo © Angela Sharp

25 May 2016

North Hayling Billy Trail Cycle Path. Walked the Northern section of the Hayling Billy Cycle Path from the car park opposite Victoria Road to the old railway bridge. Many Whites were seen with the odd Orange Tip and Nymphalid. Totals: Large White (3), Small White (18), Orange Tip (2M), Holly Blue (1), Peacock (1), Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

24 May 2016

A Tale of Two Summers. Great to walk the Noar Hill transect for Week 8 as the recorder, Tony James, was away (I occasionally return to cover the Noar Hill transect as substitute for the ever-diligent Tony).

Tony has recorded high numbers of Duke of Burgundies there this year, with a peak transect count of 60 on May 13th (the all-time record is 96 in early May 1990). I was surprised to find that both males and females were still emerging, though recent wet weather meant that I counted only 48 on transect.

Extrapolating from my old diaries, I reckon that had I counted butterflies along the transect route on the equivalent day back in the great butterfly summer of 1976, 40 years ago, I might have recorded the following (figures from today's transect count appear in brackets): 100-120 Dingy Skipper (15), 70-80 Duke of Burgundy Fritillary (48), 50-60 Small Heath (11), 15-20 Common Blue (3), 8-12 Holly Blue (1), 10-12 Green-veined White (5), 10-12 Orange Tip (4), 10-15 Brimstone (1), 6-10 Green Hairstreak (3), 10-12 Wall Brown (0, long extinct there, but quite common in 1976), 10-12 Speckled Wood (4), 8-10 Peacock (0), 6-8 Small Tortoiseshell (0), 2-5 Large White (0), 1-2 Red Admiral (0), 1-2 Grizzled Skipper (0, extinct there), 1-2 Small Copper (0).

Such was 1976, and such isn't 2016... The key point is that spring butterflies suffered no poor weather events in 1976, unlike their counterparts in modern springs. [Posted by Matthew Oates]

Another great day at Compton Farm. A beautiful sunny morning walking up past the campsite at Compton Farm. In a very small quarry just past the first gate we saw numerous Small Blue and the Adonis Blue.

Also numerous Small Heath and a Small Copper. Glanville Fritillaries followed us up the path where we also saw Orange Tip and some Dingy skippers also a Green Hairstreak.

Sadly no Grizzled skippers! [Posted by Angela Sharp]

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Adonis Blue
Photo © Angela Sharp
Small Blue
Photo © Angela Sharp
Glanville Fritillary
Photo © Angela Sharp

23 May 2016

More Butser. I must have skilfully avoided Ashley at Butser today as I spent the afternoon in the areas he has mentioned but in addition I visited areas on East Butser where I have seen Dukes in the last couple of years and indeed this area turned up a dozen. In addition I counted 36 on West Butser along with all the usual species as well as my first Common Blues of the year [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Mark Tutton
Top view
Photo © Mark Tutton
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Mark Tutton

Little Butser Hill, Pillow Mound, and West Butser Hill. Today the Duke of Burgundy has probably reached its peak, although at Pillow Mound there were several newly hatched males even this late.There were good counts of several species most notably Small Heath and Dingy Skipper. The wind was a problem at times and I had to find good sheltered spots. The Duke has successfully utilized the area between Little Butser Hill and Pillow Mound and this area is scrubbing up nicely and here there were at least half a dozen dukes seen. Totals are as follows: Small Heath (36) Dingy Skipper (44) Duke of Burgundy (79) Grizzled Skipper (12) Green Hairstreak (5) Brown Argus (1) Peacock (1) Red Admiral (5) Small Copper (2) Cinnabar Moth (2) Common Carpet (7),and Speckled Yellow (3). I also saw a Red Kite on the thermals and I also saw a Duke in the area opposite to West Butser Hill on the West Parsonage Farm slopes. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Heath
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Duke of Burgundy tight rope walking!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
West Butser Hill
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

22 May 2016

Small Blue at Ports Down, Portsmouth.. Great to see so many Small Blues on Sunday at the chalk hill area through the gate on Woofferton Road, Portsmouth. Small blues even just through the gate, but most up the path on the left - up the hill and then into a large ditch area adjacent to the cliff. PS got the Cryptic Wood White in NI yesterday - lovely and so different in behaviour/habitat to ours. If anyone wants details, let me know (markjonesbrack@me.com) [Posted by Mark Jones]

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Small Blue
Photo © Mark Jones
Small Blue
Photo © Mark Jones

Glanville Fritillary. We came to the Isle of wight specifically to see the Glanville Fritillary. On our first outing to Compton Bay, we were delighted to find this lovely butterfly which kindly sat still while it was photographed. [Posted by Angela Sharp]

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Glanville Fritillary
Photo © Angela Sharp
Glanville Fritillary
Photo © Angela Sharp
Glanville Fritillary
Photo © Angela Sharp

20 May 2016

Yew Hill. Today Dave and I paid our first visit to Yew Hill. Being just 6 miles from where we live, we should have done it sooner! What a lovely place! Beautiful views and a great selection of butterflies. We hoped to target the Dingy Skipper in particular and were not disappointed! We spent 3 hours between 12.30 and 15.30 here and saw 10 different butterflies.

Final tally was Brimstone 6 male 2 female. Orange Tip 4 male 2 female. Small Heath 6. Peacock 1. Common Blue 3 males. Dingy Skipper 10+. Green Hairstreak 3. Grizzled Skipper 2. Brown Argus 1. Large White 2. One of the Green Hairstreaks was doing the soft wing shuffle! So we got a glimpse of the top side. The last Common Blue we saw, on the way back to the road, had yellow spots on the underside instead of orange.

A very enjoyable 3 hours and we got to see out first Dingy Skippers. [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Tracy Piper
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Tracy Piper
Brown Argus
Photo © Tracy Piper

Yew Hill...more photos.. Green Hairstreak, Common Blue (abberant?) and a Small Heath [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Showing signs of wear
Photo © Tracy Piper
Common Blue with yellow spots instead of orange
Photo © Tracy Piper
Fresh Small Heath
Photo © Tracy Piper

CANCELLED FIELD TRIP TO MARTIN DOWN. URGENT MESSAGE Re Martin Down field trip on Saturday 21 May. This field trip has been CANCELLED because of forecast wet and windy weather. The field trip has been rescheduled a week later to Saturday 28 May. Meet at 10.30 am. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

19 May 2016

Havant Thicket. Walked Havant Thicket today where the temperature was 17.5 degrees and plenty of Brimstones were seen. Totals: Brimstone (18M 5F), Small White (4), Orange Tip (1M), Speckled Wood (1), Peacock (1). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Old Winchester Hill. A small respite from the oncoming low pressure systems today turned out to be a lot better from what I was expecting. I was at Old Winchester Hill for well over an hour before I kicked up a Dingy Skipper, and then I was surprised to see my quarry the Duke of Burgundy, in an area where the scrub has been eradicated and there is very little Cowslip at all. When the sun came out then I saw up to (5) Dukes in this area alone, which made me think I'll visit another area where I've seen it in the past and here again the scrub has been really cut back and 'scallops' have been cut in the scrub making nice little 'lek' areas similar to the one on Oxenbourne Down a few years ago, and I thought if I was Duke I would probably be very happy here, and no sooner had I thought this I looked down and there was a lovely fresh male. Other species seen after the sun had come out and it was pleasantly warm were: Brimstone (4) Dingy Skipper (15) Grizzled Skipper (4) two mating which is only the second time Ive seen this in 30 odd years! Small Heath (11) Common Blue (6) Small Copper (1) Red Admiral (1) Burnet Companion (1) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Mating Grizzled Skippers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Small Heaths
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Burnet Companion at rest
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

17 May 2016

Magdalen Hill Down. A better day at Magdalen Down. Still relatively quiet but not helped by cloud cover that persisted most of the late morning (and only lifted with impeccable timing as I got in the car to drive home!).Two small blues (and thank you to the enthusiast who found them both), 5 Brown Argus at the bottom of the old slope (in the far corner just before the stile), a single grizzled skipper and my first small heath of the year. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Small Blue Magdalen Hill Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Brown Argus Magdalen Hill Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Brown Argus Magdalen Hill Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

16 May 2016

New forest p.b.f. 168 p.b.f seen in some of the less visited parts of the forest. The pearls have finally colonised Frame Heath Inclosure and were seen in good numbers there. Plenty of egg laying and dispersal going on including 2 flying along the railway track heading to Brockenhurst! [Posted by Mark Swann]

Havant Thicket. With temperatures almost reaching 18 degrees, I visited Havant Thicket this morning, where the main species seen were Brimstones. Totals: Brimstone (19M 2F), Small White (4), Orange Tip (3m), Speckled Wood (1). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Small Blues Recovering On Portsdown Hill. A lunchtime walk along the lower slopes of Portsdown Hill, below the Paulsgrove quarry face, produced 10 Small Blue - mostly fresh males. This represents a significant improvement over the spring brood last year in this area. Also seen were several male Common Blue - my first of the season. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Small Blue
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Small Blue
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Small blues. A quick stop at the chalk pit car park on Afton downs I.W.revealed 2 small blues,1 Green Hairstreak , 1 small copper, 2 Commen blues, 3 Dingy skippers. And 1 Commen lizard. [Posted by Mick sivell]

Oxenbourne Down. We caught the bus from Havant this morning at 1000 and arrived at Oxenbourne Down just after 1100 and then had a good look around till 1500,and recorded the following species.Grizzled Skipper 6,Green Hairstreak 19,Common Blue 4,Red Admiral 1,Peacock 1,Speckled Wood 1,Duke of Burgundy 9,Small Heath 24,Dingy Skipper 22,Brimstone 14.

(Barry and Margaret Collins) [Posted by Barry Collins]

Butser Hill / Ramsdean Down. On an almost perfect day, was very chilly to start with and then the cloud came along but by 11:00 there were good spells of warm sunshine. I took a walk over West Butser Hill then down into the Butser Hill Basin and then around to Ramsdean Down. The purpose was obviously to count the Duke of Burgundy, which still remains in smaller numbers than I'm used to at this site. However I think things are now picking up. I walked through West Butser Hill at 09:30 and saw just (5) Dukes of Burgundies, however 3 hours later I walked back and retraced my steps and counted (14). At the basin the Duke wasn't in very good numbers at all, here I struggled and managed just (16). Around to Ramsdean Down I counted (57) at the base of the scrub line. I know for a fact this species utilizes most of the down so the count could easily have been double this. I was sitting down just enjoying the view when a female Duke settled down on a Hawthorn bush close-by, hotly pursued by a male, there was no standing on ceremony, they got straight down to it, but I'm not sure what part of the Karma-Sutra almanac the position was when they first started but it looked rather painful, with Hawthorn spikes everywhere! At the top of Butser I managed to see two Cuckoos, one male and one female and they were obviously courting, and making the Cuckoo noise on the wing with a loud clicking sound, he was getting quite excited I guess, I have never seen two together before, what a treat! The final counts were as follows Grizzled Skipper(63) Dingy Skipper (100+) Duke of Burgundy (89) including two in the car-park! Green Hairstreak (11) Small Tortoiseshell (1) Small White (1) Brimstone (9) Peacock (1) Small Heath (50+) Orange Tip (3) Common Blue (8) Small Copper (1) Green-veined White (1) Red Admiral (1) Specked Yellow (2) Cinnabar Moth (1) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Green Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Karma-Sutra Duke and Duchess
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Copper and Wild Strawberry
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Dennis Bohea dies.. Dennis Bohea passed away peacefully on 1st May,aged 93,after many years watching,photographing and recording butterfles at Gosport Wildgrounds and along the Gosport coast,where Christine will be enjoying her happy memories and butterflies for many glorious summers.Dennis will be cremated at Portchester Crematorium on 16th May at 11.15. [Posted by David Tinling]

Old Down Wood, Four Marks. An afternoon walk around Old Down Wood in the sunshine produced many Orange Tip at least 6 Green-veined Whites, 3 Red Admiral; 4 Brimstone; 1 Peacock and a single Holly Blue. [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Orange Tip
Photo © Chris Rose
Green-veined White
Photo © Chris Rose
Red Admiral
Photo © Chris Rose

15 May 2016

Pearl-bordered fritillary. four sightings and 3 photographs) in New Copse Inclosure, cycle track No.308. The following day 'many' seen flying here by George Peterken [Posted by Brian Davis]

Stephens Castle Down. Took an extended look at this site on Sunday and walked the whole length to the northern boundary. Although I have been here several times before this was the first time that I have given it an extensive survey. There were good numbers of Green Hairstreak, Grizzled and Dingy Skippers and more than 20 female Brimstones laying on the extensive Buckthorn. I also located two Dukes which bodes well for the next couple of weeks. good to see the active scrub clearance which will be beneficial for those downland species especially the Dukes. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Grizzled Skippers
Photo © Mark Tutton
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Mark Tutton
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Mark Tutton

Magdalen Hill Down. An afternoon stroll around the southern part of the reserve yielded 10 species of butterfly and two day-flying moths. Grizzled Skippers were the most numerous (11), followed by Common Blue (3, including one blue female), Brown Argus (2), Orange-tip, Brimstone, Peacock, Holly Blue, Small Blue (2), Small White and Small Heath (2). A number of Burnet Companion moths and a Silver-Y were also seen. [Posted by Dave Pearson]

New Forest Field Trip. Today was another excellent day to be out and about and this field trip again found the target species, with most of the individuals of the Pearl-Bordered Fritillary being in the peak of condition, most coming in the last few days. It wasn't just the butterflies of interest today though we had allsorts thrown into the mix, with Roe Deer, a Brimstone Moth, a Raft Spider, Great Spotted Woodpeckers,a Dead Adder and Frog, in a pond in one of the rides there were Newts and Tadpoles, in a ride a Mother Shipton Moth, a Hornet was interested in us having our lunch and was observed feeding and sipping water from one of the ditches, we heard the Cuckoo several times. The Raft Spider was a treat with many of the rides filled with stagnant water, and with exceptionally wet winters of late this has been good for this species and has probably spread throughout the Forest.The Pearl-Bordered Fritillary was mainly found on the western end of the ride known as the 'Frohawk ' Ride and here we saw a good couple of dozen when we were eating our lunch and moving off back to the main ride. Butterflies seen was not exceptional, with Green-Veined White (2) Holly Blue (1), several Brimstones, and the count of Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries was (40).In all it was a cracking day again thank you all for making it very enjoyable, especially those who did the field trip yesterday and today quite tiring! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Pearl-Bordered Fritillary at rest excellent camouflage on a dead fernleaf!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brimstone Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
New Forest Class of 2016!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

14 May 2016

Portsdown Hill. Visited the Eastern end of Portsdown Hill were the following were seen: Brimstone (2M), Large White (1), Small White (6), Orange Tip (1M).

Around Fort Widley, Brimstone (1M), Large White (1), Small White (2), Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Chalton Down. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156) today where the numbers of Dingy Skippers are increasing. Also saw my first Small Heath of 2016. Totals: Brimstone (1M), Large White (1), Small White (1), Small Heath (2), Dingy Skipper (10), Grizzled Skipper (2). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Magdalen Hill. After a visit to Bentley Wood where almost everybody seemed to be today, we dropped into Magdalen Hill from 15.00 to 17:00. In the Chalk Pit were two small Blues, and then after some concern over how quiet it was at the bottom of the hill we found 2 Grizzled Skippers, and a single Brown Argus. Total count was Grizzled Skipper 2; Small Blue 2; Green-veined White 2; Orange Tip many; Brimstone many; Holly Blue 1, and a single Speckled Wood [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Small Blue
Photo © Chris Rose
Brown Argus
Photo © Chris Rose
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Chris Rose

Bentley Wood East Clearing. Today, we decided to visit Bentley Wood for the first time, using the new Butterfly Walks book as our guide. We really wanted to see Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (not seen them before) so we headed for the east clearing and spent a very pleasant 4 hours hunting for the Pearls. There were loads of yellow moths flying around which turned out to be Speckled Yellows. Took ages to find one to photograph. Although breezy, it was very bright and sunny and nothing was settling much, so we had to go for zoom lenses instead of the Tamrons! We did find a rare beetle on one of the paths which I thought was a Devil’s Coach Horse at first but turned out to be a Black Oil Beetle, another first.

It was rather busy because there was an aberrant reported on facebook and everybody was chasing it around! We avoided the crowds and later wandered into a clearing where a couple were having a break. They said about the aberrant and that it was in the area and then it flew by! Didn’t want to chase it but it came to us and we got some pictures! All in all another great trip seeing our first Pearls and an aberrant.

All together we saw: Numerous Speckled Yellow moths. A Speckled Wood, 4 Brimstone males, 1 Brimstone female, 12 Pearl Bordered Fritillaries, 1 Orange Tip male, 2 Large Whites and a Black Oil Beetle. [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Tracy Piper
Pearl-bordered Fritillary aberrant
Photo © Tracy Piper
Pearl-bordered Fritillary...slightly darker markings
Photo © Tracy Piper

Bentley Wood East Clearing....more photos. Pearl plus moth and beetle... [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Pearl bordered frit. underside
Photo © Tracy Piper
Speckled Yellow moth
Photo © Tracy Piper
Black Oil beetle... I think
Photo © Tracy Piper

Havant Thicket. We had a walk around Havant Thicket this afternoon and recorded the following species.

Brimstone 29m 1f,Holly Blue 3,Large White 4,Green-veined White 4,Small White 4,Orange Tip 7m 1f and a Grizzled Skipper.(Barry and Margaret Collins) [Posted by Barry Collins]

Stockbridge Down. Today was another perfect day for a field trip, and the target species were met and some! (16) Species were noted on the downland and in the sheltered meadows and coppiced woodland. On the Down there was plenty of Dingy Skippers and many Green Hairstreaks in the bushes especially in the sheltered areas. There was even a Pearl Bordered Fritillary flying around the car-park. In the coppiced woodland there were Duke of Burgundies male and females in combat with Dingy Skippers and Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries. At one point a rather randy Small Tortoiseshell thought he may get his wicked way with a Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, he was pursuing the Fritillary, which sex I'm not sure about, but he was relentless, and the pursuit went on for all the time we were in the area.The final counts came out something like this:Duke of Burgundy (6) Orange Tip (12) Grizzled Skipper (10) Dingy Skipper (25) Small Heath (5) Brimstone (20) Green Hairstreak (7) Small Copper (2) Green-Veined White (3) Holly Blue (2) Red Admiral (2) Pearl-Bordered Fritillary (5) Large White (1) Peacock (1) Small Tortoiseshell (1) Common Blue (1) and a Burnet Companion. I'd like to thank all who came and even more those who bought the book! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Pearl-Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating pair of Green-Veined Whites
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Duke of Burgundy Woodland variant
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

13 May 2016

Catherington Down. Visited Catherington Down (SU692144) today where, despite the warm temperature, there was a strong wind resulting in low numbers of butterflies. My totals were: Brimstone (2M 2F), Small White (1), Orange Tip (2M), Peacock (1). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Small Blue in Dever valley. Sitting on the (very well-kept) lawn of a friend this afternoon and a pristine male Small Blue wandered past! Dever Valley may well have several colonies. 5 spp. in all in his back garden [Posted by David Murdoch]

Mating Pearls In The New Forest. A walk in a New Forest Inclosure produced 12 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries this afternoon, in almost perfect conditions - bright, warm with hardly any wind. Most of the Pearls were in the verges alonside the gravel track, with a few in a small clearing nearby. They were seeking out the flowers of bugle for nectar or searching for a mate. One lucky couple had succeeded and were in a state of bliss, except for being occasionally ‘bothered’ at very close quarters by passing males! [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Mating Pair)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Westbury Park and Oxenbourne Down. Two of my favourite Duke of Burgundy sites were visited today and it didn't seem to be Friday the 13th at all. The Dukes are now coming out 'en masse' and these two sites are not noted for exceptional counts of this species. But today I had no trouble finding the little fella at both sites. At Westbury Park is a site caught between a woodland and a meadow, not a scrubby downland site more a Beech tree woodland site really although based on Cowslip not Primrose.The wind was a problem at times but the strength of the sun more than made up for that, and the counts were as follows: Red Admiral (5) Green-Veined White (1) Duke of Burgundy (4) Holly Blue (1) Orange Tip (1) Dingy Skipper (1) Brimstone (2) Burnet Companion (2) and Silver 'Y' moth. At Oxenbourne Down the wind had abated somewhat and the Duke was out in good numbers, here there were (16) the best count since 14th May 2014 when I counted (12)! A pair were mating the first time I'd seen this at this site as I've been visiting this site for 30 years!Other butterflies and moths seen were Green Hairstreak (5) Orange Tip (2) Dingy Skipper (22) Small Heath (5) Brimstone (30) Grizzled Skipper (6) Large White (2) Peacock (6) Cinnabar Moth and Silver 'Y's [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Dukes in cop
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Westbury Park
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Magdalen Down. Visited Magdalen Down this morning in the hope of seeing Brown Argus but I suspect my enthusiasm is running ahead of me and its still a little too early for this year - I had no luck in a brief 1.5 hour stay. There were orange tip though (4) and grizzled skipper (6) and just a solitary small blue in the chalk pit area that was too quick for the camera - a gust of (cold north!) wind caught it and I couldn't then re-locate it. Three were posted on the notice board yesterday though so they are about. Although disappointed not to find an early Brown Argus the down is in wonderful condition - a credit to the local branch and anyone working on it - and for the ornithologists the corn buntings were out in force and I also managed a peregrine falcon and an unexpected red kite. All in all - a lovely morning. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Grizzled Skipper Magdalen Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Bentley Wood East Clearing 12/05/2106. While looking and finding a few Pearl bordered Fritillary,I found what I think is a PBF abberation, a few photos attached. [Posted by Michael Duffy]

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Photo © Michael DuffyPhoto © Michael DuffyPhoto © Michael Duffy

12 May 2016

Martin Down Livening Up.. A visit to Martin Down this afternoon (1330-1530) produced approx 20 Dingy Skipper, 15 Grizzled Skipper, 5 Orange Tip, 4 Small Blue, 2 Small Heath, 5 Green Hairstreak, 2 Peacock, 5 Brimstone. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Photo © Mark PikePhoto © Mark PikePhoto © Mark Pike

PBF Abberration Bentley Wood!. A three hour visit (0930-1230) to Bentley wood this morning produced 12 Pearl Bordered Fritillary (including one abb, see images), 5 Orange Tip, 2 Peacock, 2 Speckled Wood, 6 Brimstone, 1 Green Veined White. Also a lovely Red Belted Clearwing moth. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Photo © Mark PikePhoto © Mark PikePhoto © Mark Pike

Bentley Wood. A much better day at Bentley Wood with 10 PBF in the Eastern Clearing - a big improvement on the low number seen a few days previously. My main reason for reporting though is for anyone who might be contemplating looking for marsh fritillaries in nearby Barnridge Copse (which I appreciate is strictly speaking out of Hampshire - but I know some enthusiasts like to combine the Eastern Clearing and this copse). I could find no Marsh Frits today - it probably is too early in this latest of seasons. There were some PBF's though and an unexpected grizzled skipper which looked completely out of place compared to the ones I am used to seeing on the dry downs! If anyone does visit this lovely copse in the next few days then please be warned - marsh is aptly named and wellies are not out of place! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Pearl Bordered Fritillary Bentley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Grizzled Skipper Bentley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

08 May 2016

Alresford Watercress Trail. 2 Green Hairstreaks along with lots of Orange Tips and Brimstones plus a few Green-veined Whites along the Alresford Watercress Trail walk today. [Posted by Tom Carley]

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Green Hairstreak
Photo © Tom Carley

Butser. I met a friend from Ringwood at Butser this morning hoping to show him some of the downland species and succeeded with Grizzled and Dingy Skippers, Green Hairstreak and Dukes. Also saw my first Small Heaths and Red Admiral. With the latter there seemed to be a migration underway as I saw half a dozen, most of which were determinedly flying North.

Managed to watch a two Dukes pair, which was completely lacking in any courtship ritual. I had located a pristine female which had only just emerged and was very unsteady on her wings when a breeze caught her and she was whisked uphill. She had only travelled a few metres when she was intercepted by a male who wrestled her onto the ground and they were paired within 60 seconds. In all I saw seven Duke of Burgundy so their emergence here is well underway now and I would expect them to be at peak numbers next weekend if the good weather continues [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Duchess on Cowslip
Photo © Mark Tutton
Duke and Duchess
Photo © Mark Tutton

Bentley Wood. Eastern Clearing: Decided to try for Pearl Bordered Frits today as I was relatively close to Bentley Wood (fishing in the Test Valley). After a fruitless 40 minutes I was starting to think the worst - but then managed to find two right at the bottom of the clearing at about midday (nearest the road in). Also an unexpected Duke of Burgundy here - too quick for my camera but caught by another enthusiast so no doubt as to id. Saw a third fritillary in the middle of the site on the way out - but that was my total after nearly 2 hours searching. So, I'm not sure if its a late start here (the book in the car park didn't indicate any PBF's before today) or just a poor season. Hopefully its the former. With grateful thanks to the two other enthusiasts I met - as always polite and really helpful. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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

07 May 2016

Chalton Down. After Old Winchester Hill I stopped at Chalton Down (SU736156), where further Brimstones were seen as well as an increasing number of Dingy Skippers. Totals: Brimstone (3M 1F), Small White (2), Orange Tip (1M), Dingy Skipper (9).

Opposite the down after crossing the railway is a green road leading to Compton called Huckswood Lane. Here I walked as far as the end of the old quarry where I saw Brimstone (4M 1F), Small White (1) and Orange Tip (1M). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Old Winchester Hill. Walked Old Winchester Hill today in Summer temperatures (22 degrees). I headed to the Fort area and returned down the stepped path back to the main track avoiding the woods and car park slope due to the heat. Many Brimstones were flying but little else. Totals: Brimstone (11M 5F), Small White (2), Orange Tip (2M), Peacock (1). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Noar Hill. More from Noar Hill [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Orange Tip
Photo © Chris Rose
Duke
Photo © Chris Rose
Brimstone
Photo © Chris Rose

Noar Hill. Good afternoon around Noar Hill, found 4 Duke of Burgundy, but more were reported, at least 3 Green Hairstreak, and several Dingy Skippers although difficult to count. As well plenty of Orange Tip, Brimstone, and a single Holly Blue. [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Chris Rose
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Chris Rose
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Chris Rose

COPPERS AND ORCHIDS. I took advantage of the weather to visit the Green Winged Orchid colony at Gunner Point this morning and it was well worth it - there is an absolute carpet of these uncommon orchids probably several thousand spikes in full flower. This area also has a good colony of seaside dwelling Small Coppers too and it was also good to see them in good numbers amongst the sand dunes. In all I saw probably 20+ including several of the aberration ab. caeruleopunctata with the blue spots on the hind wings. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Green Winged Orchids
Photo © Mark Tutton
Small Copper
Photo © Mark Tutton
Courting Couple
Photo © Mark Tutton

Little Butser Hill Field Trip. Today was probably a perfect Butterfly Day had the target species been out in good numbers, however the target species the Duke of Burgundy was quite hard to find initially as we were at the top the down to start with, and began the long decent down to a more sheltered area, where in the winter the grassy area is often flooded. Here the Cowslips grow in very clumpy and rich profusion, looking splendid indeed. We saw a Red Kite at first patrolling up and over the crown of the downland, and the Duke was seen in and around the very grassy ride next to large areas of Bramble. In fact the butterfly count really counted here as it was very sheltered. The counts were as follows: Red Admiral (2) Brimstone (10) Speckled Wood (2) Green Hairstreak (1) Peacock (2) Dingy Skipper (20+) Duke of Burgundy (5) Orange Tip (3) Grizzled Skipper (5) Small Heath (1) Green Veined White (1) and a Mother Shipton Moth. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Duke of Burgundy on Cowslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dingy Skippers pairing up?
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Extreme Butterflying... hunting the Duke
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

My first Red Admiral. I spotted my first Red Admiral of the year while walking a transect on Winnall Moors this morning. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

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Rad Admiral, Winnall Moors
Photo © Bob Whitmarsh

06 May 2016

Chalton Down. On a hot day where the temperature was 20 degrees, I visited Chalton Down (SU736156). Several Brimstones were flying as well as Dingy Skippers. I was pleased to record my first Grizzled Skipper this year, which once disturbed flew off so fast I could not spot where it went. Totals: Brimstone (5M), Small White (2), Orange Tip (3M), Dingy Skipper (4), Grizzled Skipper (1). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Magdalen Hill Down. Decided to pay a trip to Magdalen Hill Down today because Dave and I really wanted to see and photograph Green Hairstreaks, Grizzled and Dingy Skippers for the first time. As the saying goes….Two out of three ain’t bad! We got to see beautiful Green Hairstreaks and a Grizzled Skipper! We spent three hours trying to find the Hairstreaks after a kind lady told us the best places to find them. We found a Grizzled Skipper first spotted by Dave, on a very steep slope in the old part of the Down. Dave saw a Peacock and we found and photographed a lovely male Orange Tip, but so far no Greens. We made our way back along the top of the extension where I caught a Brimstone laying eggs. We then headed back down the path and into the part which goes down behind Moody’s stone yard and success!! We found and photographed 3 Green Hairstreaks! So to summarise… Brimstones aprox 6-8 females 6 males, 2 Orange Tips 1 male 1 female, a Peacock, a Grizzled Skipper and 3 Green Hairstreaks. Brilliant day and maybe we’ll see a Dingy Skipper next time! [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Tracy Piper
Orange Tip
Photo © Tracy Piper
Brimstone laying eggs
Photo © Tracy Piper

Magdalen Hill Down....cont. Some more pictures [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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2 Brimstone eggs
Photo © Tracy Piper
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Tracy Piper
2nd Green Hairstreak we saw
Photo © Tracy Piper

05 May 2016

Havant Thicket. After visiting Catherington Down, I called at Havant Thicket (SU7110) in hot May sunshine. Brimstones were everywhere with equal numbers of both male and females. Totals: Brimstone (14M 13F), Large White (1), Small White (3), Orange Tip (7M), Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Catherington Down. Made my first visit to Catherington Down (SU692144), walking the main footpath from the car park. The weather was sunny with temperatures reaching 18 degrees, with plenty of Brimstones and Orange Tips. Totals: Small White (2), Brimstone (9M 4F), Orange Tip (7M). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Magdalen Hill Down. Brief stop off at MHD today, saw several Green Hairstreaks, 3 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Holly Blue, a couple of Peacocks and quite a few Brimstones. Got home to Emsworth to find some Orange Tips along a nearby path. Loving the better weather! [Posted by Francis Kinsella]

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Photo © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis KinsellaPhoto © Francis Kinsella

Noar Hill. Visited Noar Hill today for the first time - easy to see why it's so popular. Lovely day to visit - warm and sunny. Saw Dingy skippers almost immediately through the gate then Duke of Burgundy spread nicely throughout the site - probably 20+ in a 2 hour stay. Also orange tip (3), green hairstreak (4), brimstone, peacock and tortoiseshell. Nice to find an alternative site to Butser Hill for Duke of B - my knees need a gentler slope! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Orange Tip Noar Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Dingy Skipper Noar Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Duke of Burgundy Noar Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Butser Hill, Ramsdean Down. I took another risk today to see if the Duke had come out in any number and the answer was no, it was very hard to find, Ramsdean Down at the moment is pretty much Butterfly less, being a slope facing North-West, this site will be very late this year. Butser Hill Basin, the area at the bottom of the slope is where is all the action is at the moment.There were on these slopes the following, Grizzled Skipper (18) Dingy Skipper (34) Brimstone (12) Small Tortoiseshell (3) Orange Tip (2) Peacock (1) Duke of Burgundy (2) Green Hairstreak (1). [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Butser Hill
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Early Purple Orchid
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

04 May 2016

Chalton Down. After a successful visit to Noar Hill, I called in Chalton Down (SU736156) on the way home, where the first Dingy Skippers of the year at this site were see. Totals: Brimstone (3M), Comma (1), Dingy Skipper (3). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Noar Hill. Visted Noar Hill today in wonderful sunshine, the temperature being 15 degrees, I was expecting to see several Duke of Burgundy. After searching many areas of the site - even some I have never walked before, managed to see 8 individuals. Also saw my first Dingy Skipper and Holly Blue. Totals: Brimstone (6M 1F), Orange Tip (8M), Holly Blue (1), Green Hairstreak (2), Duke of Burgundy (8), Peacock (1), Dingy Skipper (2). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Oxenbourne Down. Today I visited Oxenbourne Down in perfect weather, but alas the Duke of Burgundy was not about, this site is normally a few weeks behind but other species of note were as follows: Grizzled Skipper (1) Dingy Skipper (4) Brimstone (45) Peacock (15) Orange Tip (1) Green-Veined White (1). [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Oxenbourne Down looking North
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brimstone at rest
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

03 May 2016

Pamber Forest. I am now down to a single White Admiral larva. Given that I was monitoring 28 larvae at peak, this is quite shocking. The remaining markers have either been removed or eaten; I hope that deer can digest short pieces of string! On a more positive note, Brimstone were ovipositing whenever I saw a female - typically laying on unfurled leaves of Alder Buckthorn and it amazes me that females are able to "sniff out" the buds, especially since there are no leaves present. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Post-Hibernation White Admiral Larva
Photo © Pete Eeles
Brimstone egg
Photo © Pete Eeles

Burridge, near Botley sighting. 9am Painted Lady sunbathing on a Burridge patio, finally managed a very poor shot with my phone camera as it settled on the lawn. [Posted by Phillip Lowe]

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Painted Lady
Photo © Phillip Lowe

Martin Down Skippers.. A quick visit (1230-1430) resulted in very little activity, just 4 Brimstones, 2 Peacock, 4 Grizzled Skippers and 2 Dingy Skippers, not an Orange Tip in sight! [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Mark Pike
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Mark Pike

Butser Hill. My first real butterfly trip of the year today to a favourite site that never seems to disappoint. Still cold high up but in Rakes Bottom it was thankfully warming up at last. Lots of Grizzled skippers about. Less so Dingy skippers - but into double figures in a 2 hour stay. My first orange tips of the season (2). Also green hairstreak (4) and a few brimstone. And to make my day - and a few other enthusiasts - a Duke of Burgundy at the head of the valley at lunch time! I suspect there could be more there as the day wore on and it got warmer - the wind was making this area quite cold earlier in the morning. A lovely way to start the year - if a little late! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Grizzled Skipper Butser Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Dingy Skipper Butser Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Duke of Burgundy Butser Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

02 May 2016

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Butterfly Walks Book. Yesterday saw the launch of the 'Hampshire and Isle of Wight Butterfly Walks Book' which can be bought through the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Website price £6 plus postage and packing. It can also be purchased at the Wednesday wander with Jayne Chapman at Magdalen Hill Down, and the Field trip programme through out the season priced £6. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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A thoroughly good read.......................
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Get yours now!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

01 May 2016

Havant Thicket. After visiting Charlton Down, the temperature had increased to 13 degrees, so called in Havant Thicket (SU7110), where I could see fire damage to some tree trunks following the recent bracken fire. Good numbers of Brimstones were seen. Totals: Brimstone (14M 3F), Small White(1), Orange Tip (4M), Peacock (2). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Chalton Down. Paid a visit to Chalton Down (SU736156) in the late morning (11.5 degrees), where I actually saw my first butterflies there after several visits so far this year. A few Brimstones, Small Whites and a male Orange Tip, with no sign of any Skippers yet.

Totals: Brimstone (3M), Small White (2), Orange Tip (1M). [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Noar hill. The first real spring weather saw me head to Noar Hill for a few hours and it didn't disappoint - half a dozen Dukes

five Green Hairstreaks a Dingy Skipper and three Brimstones welcomed the first nice warm day of spring - at last. [Posted by Mark tutton]

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Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Mark tutton
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Mark tutton
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Mark tutton

Book Launch and Catherington Down. Today was the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Butterfly Walks Book Launch and Kevin Freeborn and I officially launched it at Catherington Down. The first field trip also got underway under warm blue skies (what a treat!)and with a short walk saw our first butterfly an Orange Tip. There wasn't a lot of butterflies around but we did manage to make well into double figures and several of us ventured over the road onto a footpath and looked along some hedgerows where we also saw several Brimstone's and Small Whites. The full counts were as follows:Orange Tip (3) Peacock (3) Comma (3) Small White (4) Brimstone (10) Speckled Wood (1) Green-Veined White (1) and last but not least Small Tortoiseshell (1). Id like to thank all who came on the book launch and hope to see some of you on further field trips! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Kevin and I book launching.....
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
More book launchers!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Catherington Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Noar Hill. In warm sunshine we saw 2 green hairstreaks posing on juniper bushes and tracked down 2 duke of burgundy - one on cowslips, the other on the verge outside the reserve. Other butterflies passing through included brimstones, an orange tip and a peacock. [Posted by Robert Bryant]


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