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

News Archive for Sep 2016

25 Sep 2016

Woodmancott Down SU5643. On a Sunday morning ramble around Woodmancott Down we were pleasantly surprised to find large numbers of Red Admiral butterflies(50+) feeding on ivy flowers. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

Admirals Ahoy. I took the dog for a lunchtime walk to the recreation ground behind Solent infants school on Portsdown Hill and was keeping my eyes open for Red Admirals which from various reports are making their exodus across the Channel at the moment. It was very breezy, but on one of the hedgerows that was sheltered from the wind, there was indeed and abundance of Admirals. In a short stretch of flowering ivy about 5m long there was in excess of 35 - probably more than I have ever seen in such a concentrated location - there are at least nine in the photo below. Large numbers of hover flies were also taking advantage of the late nectar source, including the impressive Hornet mimic Volucella zonaria, which is quite scary unless you know it is completely harmless!

On returning home I was pleasantly surprised to find a Hummingbird Hawk moth nectaring on my buddleia [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Photo © Mark TuttonAt least nine here!
Photo © Mark Tutton

23 Sep 2016

Bonchurch Esplande. 2 Clouded Yellows, 1 Small Copper, 2 Large Whites, 1 Common Blue and 1 Red Admiral. [Posted by Ian Pratt]

Chalton Down. In the early afternoon, I visited Chalton Down, where the butterfly season here seems to be almost at an end. The Common Blues have gone and just a few Meadow Browns remain.

Totals: Large White 2, Small White 2, Meadow Brown 3, Speckled Wood 1, Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Sinah Common. After returning from visiting my son and his wife in Cornwall, I made a local visit to Sinah Common, Hayling Island (SZ6999). On a sunny morning the temperature was 17.5 degrees. Several Red Admirals were flying and also a Comma. I only observed a single Small Copper.

Totals: Large White 1, Small White 3, Small Copper 1, Comma 1, Red Admiral 6. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Brown Hairstreak. A female seen briefly feeding on blackberries in old hedgerow at Naturetrek offices in Chawton GU34 3HJ [Posted by Dave Shute]

16 Sep 2016

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A last circulation of Monks Walk and the woods and fields surrounding it realised a count of six species in varying stages of health. Between 1120-1350 under full sun and low twenties' temperature it was a pleasure to note the continuation of the butterfly's season in this relatively weather-protected, scrubby and natural habitat. Red Admiral's were out in force on a large Budleia tree tucked away at the end of the lane. There always seems something new to discover here. As to the count: Red Admiral (13); Speckled Wood (7); Comma (1); Common Blue (F)(2)(M)(2); Small Copper (1); Small White (1). One shabby female Common Blue sips nectar bravely in the face of a spider which reaches out towards its intended victim. (I never noticed the attack whilst taking the photograph!). However, there is a happy ending as the butterfly flew away. A cheery note to conclude my UK season. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Look out old Common Blue lady!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Young Common Blue lady
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue mister
Photo © Francis Plowman

15 Sep 2016

Old Winchester Hill. I then went to Old Winchester Hill and saw (5) Adonis Blues, (2) Silver-Spotted Skippers Small Heath (10) Meadow Brown (50) Small White (10) Brown Argus (2) Common Blue (10) Chalkhill Blue (1) Red Admiral (1) but no Small Coppers. The Silver-Spotted Skippers were still very active for very tatty specimens. Also the Adonis Blue count was quite disappointing. I never saw any Small Copper on this site despite years ago at the bottom of the car-park slope there used to be reasonable numbers in the past. They may well come out here later as this site seems to have later broods than other sites. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Last of the Chalkhill Blues
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Last of the Silver-Spotted Skippers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The car-park slope
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

A splattering of Lycaena phlaeas. Hot on the heels of Mark's excellent report of the Small Copper on Hayling Island the other day, I decided to venture up to one of my favourite sites for this species. I normally go at the end of September beginning of October but with the reason I have no records for this species in the summer I assume that the species is having a late summer brood, or very early third brood? However the species seems to be out in reasonable numbers, in the scrubby areas, and I counted about three fresh specimens three not so fresh and one really tatty one. Several were of the aberrant form 'caeruleopuntata'. I did not see any females of which I assume will be our shortly although the weather looks rather cooler after today. Several were keeping territories, and were easily found on a return walk over an hour later. I also witnessed two chasing Clouded Yellows, thinking they may be heading into a mating but they must have been two males as they soon gave up the chase. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Copper and Autumnal leaves
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Close up of the aberrant form
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Keeping territory
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

13 Sep 2016

Old Winchester Hill. I covered the southern slope and bottom meadow at OWH today between 1155 - 1330. It was at times bright, sunny and very warm then later cloud-covered and washed with an easterly breeze. The butterflies preferred the lower meadow and that mainly to the south of the descending path. Butterflies seen as follows: Small Heath (15); Meadow Brown (25+); Common Blue (M)(2)(F)(2); Brimstone (M)(1); Small White (2); Adonis Blue (M)(5)(F)(2); Clouded Yellow (1); Speckled Wood (1); Painted Lady (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1). So ten butterflies very active. These were my first Adonis of the year so although they were all rather worn and thin-of-fringe it was their amazing iridescence that caught my eye in each case.

After lunch I walked the top meadow to the hill fort and lower circuitous route back to the car park. The clouds were gaining prominence and the breeze stronger. The count from 1350 - 1450 was relatively meagre. Small White (2); Speckled Wood (3); Meadow Brown (7) and, surprisingly, a solitary Peacock warming itself on the path. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Adonis Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Adonis Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Noar Hill. This today was my last visit to Noar Hill, to look for any last remaining Brown Hairstreak and it looks to me as if they have just about finished as they were not seen flying in any of the Ash trees I've noted them in over the past fortnight. Today would have been a good day to see them but it wasn't to be.However there were still a few butterflies on the wing, being Small Tortoiseshell (1) Clouded Yellow (1) Comma (1) Red Admiral (2) Meadow Brown (5) Common Blue (5) Small White (10) Brimstone (1) Green-Veined White (1) Large White (1).

Footnote: I shall be arranging in the winter after Christmas, probably mid-January another Brown Hairstreak Egg Hunt which in early 2016 was very successful. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Common Blues still in good condition
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Hemp Agrimony now fading fast
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

12 Sep 2016

Pamber Forest. Since I promised to report back, given my earlier observations on White Admiral hibernacula, I can confirm that the "Half a Job" type of hibernaculum (housing a 3rd instar larva) is quite prevalent this year and does, indeed, represent another type of hibernaculum! In terms of other species, aside from the good numbers of Red Admiral and occasional Green-veined White, I came across several Speckled Wood, the females of which were laying profusely! [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Speckled Wood ovum
Photo © Pete Eeles

Coppers by The Sea. In what was probably my last deliberate butterfly trip of the year I decided to revisit the colony of Small Coppers at Gunner Point. I had visited this area in late April to search for the first brood adults and the Coppers were defying the national trend in being quite numerous so I was interested to see how they had fared over the summer into what would now be their third brood and I wasn't disappointed. In all I counted at least twenty four in various condition from quite fresh to pretty tatty, a courting pair were testing my eyesight zooming around the dunes and I watched a female laying eggs on minute seedlings of Sorrel. Other butterflies were reasonable numbers of common blue and small heath and a single Red Admiral heading straight out to sea. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Fairly fresh female
Photo © Mark Tutton
Spot the egg at the base of the seedling
Photo © Mark Tutton
Courting Couple
Photo © Mark Tutton

11 Sep 2016

Monks Walk, fields & woods, Gosport. With plenty of sunshine and 19 degrees on the clock it was too good an opportunity not to investigate my local butterfly haunt. Nine species were present to welcome me and many obliged the camera as they fed in the late afternoon sunshine. From 1450 - 1616 I was privileged to see: Red Admiral (2); Speckled Wood (1); Comma (2); Common Blue (M)(3)(F)(1); Small Copper (4); Large White (1); Green-veined White (1); Holly Blue (1); Small White (1) - oh yes, and one slinky fox! There was a mix of worn and stunning new butterflies so with the prospect of more sunshine this week the future looks bright! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Female Common Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral on wild budleia
Photo © Francis Plowman
Male Common Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman

Small Copper. We saw 9 or 10 on Petersfield Heath this morning at SU 7522. They were mainly on the Heather to the East of the car park off Sussex Road but 2 were further North again to the East of the Pond but on grassland. These were the first we had seen this year. [Posted by Penny Raynor]

08 Sep 2016

Old Winchester Hill. A possible last visit of the summer to OWH to look for Adonis and Clouded Yellows was rewarded eventually. As I arrived late morning, the clouds rolled in and a strong breeze blew in, so the walk down the car park slope revealed only 5 very small Small Heaths. For the next half hour there was little activity but as the breeze died, 2 Clouded Yellows appeared in the very bottom meadow and then as the temperature increased and the sun shone, the butterflies appeared as if by magic along the bottom slopes. There were literally clouds of Meadow Browns, mating Small Heaths, Adonis, Common, Small and Chalkhill Blues as well as a number of Clouded Yellows ( as usual though, only one brief photo opportunity in nearly 2 hours!). The total count was 5-6 Clouded Yellows, 9 Adonis Blues (including 1 aberrant), 3 Small Blues, 5 faded Chalkhill Blues, 2 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Red Admirals, 1 Brown Argus, 10+ Small Whites, 3 Speckled Woods and 100+ Meadow Browns. [Posted by Phil Hooper]

Heritage Day - Matterley Bowl /Cheesefoot Head. I've just returned form a very tiring day doing guided tours over Matterley Bowl part of the Cheesfoot Head complex on the National Heritage Day,which took part nationwide, and I was part of of several groups which looked at the Flora and Fauna of this site.We also were privileged to see the making of fencing from traditional Hazel coppice and Hedgelaying. The butterflies seen on the downland wasn't spectacular but it was another site to add to the list. I went up on the down three times in the space of 5 hours twice on the Eastern slope and once on the Western Slope. The Eastern Slope seemed to have all the Common Blues and Brown Argus and a Clouded Yellow with a splattering of Meadow Brown and lots of Whites. On the Western Slope several species not noted in the morning were added to the list, Small Heath, where they seemed to like the western side and not the Eastern Side, and a lovely Comma butterfly. There were several Silver-'Y' Moths and Common Carpets. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Matterley Bowl
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus over a dozen seen on the Eastern side
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Heath quite common on the western slope
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

07 Sep 2016

Noar Hill. Made a fourth and final visit since the Brown Hairstreak was first seen this year to Noar Hill. Sadly another unsuccessful visit, but still the day was brightened by by many Red Admirals feeding on Hemp Agrimony, along with a few Small Tortoiseshells. Only a single Common Blue was seen and worn Meadow Browns. A good number of fresh Speckled Woods were seen.

Totals: Large White 2, Small White 6, Common Blue 1, Meadow Brown 7, Speckled Wood 10, Small Heath 5, Red Admiral 16, Small Tortoiseshell 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Old Down Wood & Four marks. A brief walk around old Down Wood in very humid, overcast and calm conditions saw plenty of Speckled Wood on the wing, in a 45 minute walk I counted 25 individuals. In addition there was 5 large Whites, 3 Small Whites and a Red Admiral. With the sun out in the afternoon the remaining flowers on the buddleia in the garden attracted 3 Small Tortoiseshells, 2 large Whites, and singles of a Red Admiral and Peacock.

http://fourmarksbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Speckled Wood
Photo © Chris Rose
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Chris Rose
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Chris Rose

Sunny Autumn Day in Gosport. Three sites visited this afternoon in very warm sunshine and pleasant southerly sea-breezes.

Haslar Sea-Wall Car Park Scrub. 1415-1500. Small Heath (1); Small Copper (1); Common Blue (M)(1); Brown Argus (1); Small White (2).

Alver Valley Country Park (East of River). 1520-1600. A walk along the river path and out through the meadow bordered by mature trees. Small Copper (2); Small White (1); Comma (3); Red Admiral (1); Holly Blue (F)(2) - both feeding on bramble; Speckled Wood (1).

Monks Walk, Elson. 1610-1630. Holly Blue (1); Red Admiral (2); Comma (1); Large White (2); Painted Lady (1). With the exception of Holly Blue all the others were feeding on wild Budleia. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue male at Haslar
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White also at Haslar
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue female at Alver Valley
Photo © Francis Plowman

06 Sep 2016

Clouded Yellow resident at Chalton Down. Today paid a visit to Chalton Down (SU736156) where numbers are now declining as we are in September. Several Small Whites and Meadow Browns were flying with fresh Small Heaths. Sadly the Chalkhill Blues appear to have finished now for the year, but on a happy note I saw the male Clouded Yellow here again which seems to have taken up residence!

Totals: Brimstone 1F, Large White 7, Small White 14, Clouded Yellow 1, Common Blue 8, Meadow Brown 11, Small Heath 7, Speckled Wood 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Solent Sightings. Three Solent edge sites visited today under humid cloud cover and warm airs. However, the recent rains appear to have hastened the season's end for a number of species despite the warmth of today.

Browndown Coastal Area (Elmore). 1020-1100. Comma (1); Meadow Brown (2); Small Copper (2); Clouded Yellow (2); Small White (3); Common Blue (M)(4); Red Admiral (1).

Browndown (West). 1100-1150. Small Heath (3); Small White (3); Meadow Brown (1); Painted Lady (1); Small Copper (3); Common Blue (M)(1). (A gate notice informs that the MOD-site will be in use and closed for the remainder of the week).

Monks Hill & Seafield Park. 1205-1245. Small White (9); Holly Blue (1); Small Copper (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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A distant Clouded Yellow (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath on a warm stone
Photo © Francis Plowman
Hungry Small White
Photo © Francis Plowman

04 Sep 2016

Old Winchester Hill Field Trip. Just a few more photos from the last field trip [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Adonis with a dodgy forewing
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Ganging up on the Clouded Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Class of 2016...cheers!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Old Winchester Hill Field Trip. The 2016 Field Trip Programme drew to a close today, and twenty of us braved the elements to go for a walk which potentially had nothing seen written all over it. But what I've discovered over the last few seasons is that the Butterfly is a very resilient customer and we were in for a good walk around this wonderful site. The clouds were thick and the wind did sweep up and down the southern slope with great regularity but behind a few thickets in a sheltered area, more than just Meadow Browns came into view. We chalked up to (15) Adonis Blues these were slow to start and male was posing for us for many minutes with its lovely metallic blue wings open, and we also saw a female which had a problem with its forewing, and couldn't fly very well. We also clocked up one Silver-Spotted Skipper which was happy to sit on a Field Scabious for us all on the main path, and we managed to e-spy a lovely Clouded Yellow which when settled got us all ganging up on it as it became the star of the show. So my 100% to see the target species is still intact and with (13) species seen it turned out to be another one of those days...excellent.Id like to thank everybody who has come on the field trips this year... and look forward to seeing all again next year, plus hopefully some new faces...you are all very welcome. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Adonis Blue good numbers seen despite the weather!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Silver-Spotted Skipper now on the wane
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Clouded Yellow star of the show
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

01 Sep 2016

More Clouded Yellows At Haslar. My photos missed off previous post [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul Harfield

Old Winchester Hill. Today I made a return visit to Old Winchester Hill in order to obtain some better photos of the Adonis Blue. I therefore just concentrated on the West facing car park slope, where I managed to record a total of 6 males. I met the warden doing the weekly transect count and he had managed a total of 12. Only 2 Chalkhill Blues were seen, both very faded. A pair of Clouded Yellows were also seen in fast flight.

Totals: Clouded Yellow 2, Small White 3, Adonis Blue 6M, Chalkhill Blue 2M, Common Blue 8M 1F, Meadow Brown 25, Small Heath 6. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

More Clouded Yellows at Haslar. I returned to the car park at Haslar both yesterday and today hoping for Clouded Yellows. Today there was something else looking for Clouded Yellows, but it had more sinister intentions! After giving all my attention to a fresh female for an hour I turned around just in time to see a male fly straight into a spiders web. The plump female Garden Spider wasted no time in despatching and wrapping this unfortunate individual. Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue, Large White, Small White and Green Veined White also seen. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

Gosport Shores. The first day of Autumn provided interest at four locations on the Gosport peninsular.

Monks Walk, Frater fields & woods (1020-1140): Green-veined White (1); Brown Argus (2); Small Copper (1; Small White (3); Common Blue (M)(2); Speckled Wood (1); Comma (1); Holly Blue (1); Red Admiral (1). (A later afternoon return also revealed Large White (2) joining a Red Admiral on Budleia).

Haslar Sea-Wall Car Park Scrub (1215-1233): Small Copper (2); Small White (1); Common Blue (M)(2); Brown Argus (1).

Fort Gilkicker (1235-1315): Meadow Brown (1); Brown Argus (1); Small Copper (2); Small Heath (1); Holly Blue (2).

Browndown (South) (1325-1515): Common Blue (M)(2); Meadow Brown (3); Small Copper (3); Comma (1); Small Heath (3); Grayling (2); Holly Blue (1); Green-veined White (1); Speckled Wood (1); Small White (1).

So the Small Copper was common at all sites and all seemed in fresh condition. The two Grayling were something of a surprise although they were both somewhat 'washed'. Disappointing not to see Clouded Yellow close to the sea in Gosport today. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus at Monks Walk
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper at Browndown
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling well camouflaged at Browndown
Photo © Francis Plowman

A Betulae Kinda Day!. With the advent of the Autumnal days just around the corner it was nice to visit Noar Hill today and have some success with one of my favourite species the Brown Hairstreak. The first couple of hours I found just the usual species on the Hemp Agrimony Small Tortoiseshell which has come out in good numbers lately, Red Admiral's were everywhere, up to (50) being counted without any effort at all. I decide to look at some of the high points in the site where the Brown Hairstreaks were seen many years ago when I used to see them battling for territories. There were no males to be seen but on one Ash tree in the triangle several females were ganging up on an unfortunate Speckled Wood which was minding its own business. There brown/Orange wings showing quite readily with the sun shining on them. I then proceeded to a different area and at a high point over a chalk pit, there was a clearing and a very young Beech tree, and instantly where there was a sun trap there were several females seen scurrying about the leaves which were showing signs of turning into Autumn. This boosted the count to (5), I then visited an area where there had been several seen over the past few weeks, and I instantly saw a female necturing on some Hemp Agrimony, but it was well into a thicket of Bramble but it had to be done to get to it, she stayed and even moved closer for me. She wasn't in good condition but as I just stepped back another female alighted a bit further up on a branch of a Beech tree she was in excellent condition and she stopped for awhile and then went on some Hemp Agrimony well away from me. I also saw another fly over one of the chalk-pits near to the entrance of the site, this made the total of (8). Other good numbers were Speckled Wood (21) Common Blue (20) Meadow Brown (20), there was also Clouded Yellow as well. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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A rather tatty female feeding on Hemp Agrimony
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Opening her wings to reveal the Orange on top of her wings
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The small beech where several females were flying in a sun trap.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

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