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

News Archive for Jun 2017

30 Jun 2017

Blackbush Hanger, Southleigh Forest. Returned to Blackbush Hanger, Southleigh Forest (SU743086) today to search for Purple Emperors. A single male made a swift and gliding flight at head height past me before landing on the master Oak tree, where he made a few short flights around the tree top. Elsewhere several Meadow Browns along with Ringlets and a few Marbled Whites were seen on the short path towards the master tree, as well as Silver Washed Fritillarys and fresh Small Skippers.

Totals: Large White 1, Small White 1, Marbled White 2, Meadow Brown 6, Ringlet 2, Comma 1, Purple Emperor 1, Silver Washed Fritillary 3, Small Skipper 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Havant Thicket. I decided on the last day of June to visit my local Purple Emperor Wood which after a very sunny morning in Portsmouth got me motivated to go out at mid-day, which isn't ideal, as I suspect I left it a bit late to see'him'doing his stuff in the Oak canopy and sallow searching for females. However it was very warm and nil wind but overcast, and with plenty of Silver-Washed Fritillaries flying around including several females now, and White Admirals, with a splattering of Purple Hairstreak. I encountered my first male Purple Emperor at 12:37 Oak edging at the small triangle in the main ride quite close to the bench. I saw a second sallow searching opposite Bells Copse heading south at 13:03, this was in very overcast conditions, but as I walked up to Horsefoot Hill the sun was threatening to come out, and at 1420 one male could be seen on a oak just fluttering about trying to get comfortable I guess. He then flew off then returned at 14:21 just as the sun came out, this really motivated him, and he flew around his vista and the sun was very warm, this is just ideal conditions. He landed on a small beech sprig, and then he was off pursuing another male heading south, great stuff, I hadn't seen any action here for a few years. On the way back to the car-park a male was seen in a very mature oak not far from the car-park and it was very sunny now at 15:05. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Mature Oak and plenty of Sallow in a ride
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
An Assembly Point in Havant Thicket
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

27 Jun 2017

West Wood. A couple of hours in warm but very cloudy weather yielded 3 Male Purple Emperors all grounded in different parts of the wood also 2 Dark Green Fritillarys on thistles in the wood [Posted by Mark Swann]

26 Jun 2017

Blackbush Hanger, Southleigh Forest. After visting the Portsdown Hill area, I visited Blackbush Hanger, Southleigh Forest (SU743086) where I was told the Purple Emperor can be seen. After walking a little way I met Peter Gammage and another who were watching a group of Oaks. A male Purple Emperor took flight then settled followed by another individual and at one point both were in the air together. Individual flights continued for some time, with each male returning to its Oak. This year seems to be a very good year for Purple Emperor numbers, with my own total sightings now numbering 9, well before I have usually seen my first.

Totals: Brimstone 1F, Small White 1, Holly Blue 2, Meadow Brown 5, Comma 1, Purple Emperor 2, Silver-washed Fritillary 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Portsdown Hill. At the Eastern end of Portsdown Hill (SU657063) once more I saw further Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns, although the pathside grass was long.

Totals: Large White 1, Small White 3, Marbled White 11, Meadow Brown 4.

Across the road at Fort Widley (SU657066), numbers were disappointing with very long meadow grass at waist height. A total of just 5 Marbled Whites and 5 Meadow Browns were seen. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Still busy in recent days making the most of the weather, I visited three different sites today. At Paulsgrove Chalk Pits (SU6306) the temperature was 21 degrees. Several Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites were flying, but I could find no Skippers.

Totals: Large White 1, Small White 1, Marbled White 45, Meadow Brown 22, Ringlet 6, Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Butterfly Bonanza at Stansted. This week's Nordic Walk (at Stansted Park) was gloriously interrupted by a cornucopia of butterflies: quite a few White Admiral, numerous Silver-washed Fritillary, a smattering of Red Admiral, Small Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell Speckled Wood, Comma and Small White, but lots and lots of Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Marbled White. [Posted by Michael Berry]

Martin Down. Had a wonderful couple of hours at Martin Down today - and never saw the sun once! I went specifically to see Dark Green Fritillarys and wasn't disappointed. Perhaps the cloud cover worked in my favour - my usual experience of this particular fritillary is to spot an orange flash passing me at speed, never settling and if one does, with wings closed. Today was just the opposite - lots were settling allowing me to get very close and I only managed two closed wing photos the whole period. I estimate I saw 30-40 just on the walk from the Sillens Lane car park to the top of the ditch - so there must be a huge number of them over the whole site. All were pretty much pristine too. Marbled Whites probably outnumbered fritillaries but I saw only 2 blues the whole time. I've attached a photo for interest. I'm not 100% sure of the ID - very bright blue (the photo doesn't do it justice) but no markings. I'm guessing perhaps an 'old' Common Blue - but please don't hesitate to correct me if wrong. In addition to the butterflies the turtle doves were much in evidence today - I saw two and heard many more. My idea of heaven - watching fritillaries and listening to turtle doves purring! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Dark Green Fritillary - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Dark Green Fritillary - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Common Blue? - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Havant Thicket and Bell's Copse. We had a very enjoyable 6 hour walk around Havant Thicket and Bell's Copse today, and recorded the following species. Purple Emperor 3, White Admiral 17, Speckled Wood 4, Brimstone 6, Red Admiral 3, Silver-washed Fritillary 64, Common Blue 4, Peacock 1, Comma 8, Ringlet 100+ and good numbers of Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Skippers etc, we also saw Beautiful Demoiselle 2 females, Southern Hawker 3. (Barry and Margaret Collins) [Posted by Barry Collins]

The Empress and the fly. Another visit to Abbotts Wood Inclosure today produced some interesting results, and this being the last good day for some time, so the Purple Emperor will hopefully stop emerging and put the brakes on until the weather gets more like summer. Today I saw my first Male Sallow searching at 0922, and at the small triangle I noticed an Emperor just fly into the large Oak tree, and sit there for up to 30 minutes. It was about 10 feet above me, and through a telephoto lens I managed to ID it as a female. She was hiding from any attention from the many males that were patrolling the tops of the Oaks. She was quite happy sitting in this Oak sprig, and then eventually flew off into a large Sallow stand. Over the next 2 hours I saw upwards of 15 males patrolling up and down the many Oak stands and Sallow thickets. I also saw three males grounded: two were a bit flighty and never really let me approach, but one had a good meal on some Dog Poo, and was bothered by several Bluebottle Flies. One fly even had the audacity to land on its wings whilst feeding! It soon gave it short thrift, with a good wing wave which I managed to get with my flash, and the fly looking very surprised! This male was with me for about twenty minutes and then moved up the ride flying from right to left looking like a Vulcan Bomber. At one of the Assembly Points I visited in the afternoon the count went up to (17). Other good counts came from Silver-washed Fritillary (26) and White Admiral (20) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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The Empress of the Woods
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male and Bluebottle Fly
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Get Lost! This is my Poo!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Micheldever Woods. On a fine sunny morning butterflies were abundant: I lost count of the numbers of Ringlets and Commas along the main ride here. Silver-washed Fritillarys and White Admirals were active over the bramble banks but the real treat was to find a Purple Emperor dipping into a muddy puddle... further on, I came across another Purple Emperor! A Southern Hawker dragonfly was also cruising around. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

25 Jun 2017

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. After visiting Havant Thicket I surveyed Chalton Down (SU736156) where numbers of Marbled Whites were increasing. I also recorded my first sighting this year of the Small Skipper.

Totals: Large White 1, Small White 2, Marbled White 34, Meadow Brown 22, Ringlet 8, Small Heath 4, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Large Skipper 3, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Havant Thicket. Paid another visit to Havant Thicket (SU7110) following my usual route, hoping to spot any Purple Emperors that may be flying. The temperature was much lower at 19 degrees than my previous visit during our brief heat wave. Today no Emperors but a few White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillarys along with many Browns.

Totals: Small White 2, Gatekeeper 14, Marbled White 6, Meadow Brown 35, Ringlet 37, Speckled Wood 3, Silver-washed Fritillary 2, White Admiral 3, Large Skipper 5. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Old Down Again. A walk around Old Down Wood this afternoon produced a wonderful experience of clouds of Meadow Browns. I don't recall seeing as many in the wood since I have been working the area over the last five years. It really was a lovely sight, despite the overcast conditions with the odd spell of sunshine. As well as the hundreds of Meadow Browns there was a single pristine Painted Lady, a Red Admiral, Green-veined White, four Comma, several Ringlets, three Speckled Wood, and a Southern Hawker dragonfly. http://fourmarksbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Comma
Photo © Chris Rose
Painted Lady
Photo © Chris Rose
Green-veined White
Photo © Chris Rose

Butser Hill Caterpillar Hunt Field Trip. Again another field trip and another overcast windy dull day, however this wasn't going to dampen our spirits. We looked for the tell-tale feeding damage on the Cowslips which we found plenty of but as for the caterpillar, we looked and looked, but to no avail. The caterpillar of the Duke of Burgundy Fritillary wasn't very obliging, the reason being the temperature and lack of sunshine. Plenty of evidence they were about, even small bouts of sunshine, we kept looking but then we got slightly sidetracked by the Dark Green Fritillary, and once we had seen one we fancied seeing a few more. On re-tracing our steps we had the sun out a lot more now after 12:30, and there were good patches of blue sky. We started seeing the Dark Green Fritillary flying in and around the many Blackberry bushes, and in the end they were quite common, seeing them in two's and three's, feeding avidly from the bramble flowers. Other species of note were Small Skipper (10) Large Skipper (3) Small Heath (20) Meadow Brown (100+) Ringlet (50+) Marbled White (25) Small Tortoiseshell (2) Small White (1) Common Blue (2) Red Admiral (2) Six-spot Burnet Moth (5) and last but not least Dark Green Fritillary (25+) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Duke damage on a Cowslip leaf
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Large Skipper and Knapweed
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dark Green Fritillary feeding on Bramble
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Whiteley Pastures. A re-visit this morning to Whitely Pastures and Botley Wood - but in very different conditions to the heatwave earlier in the week. Not ideal today with lots of cloud cover - but at least the fritillaries settled on occasions! White Admirals still showing very well and regularly along the track - probably reached double figures in a circular walk though Botley Wood - but most were seen on the main track - as were the Silver-washed Fritillarys (at least 20+). Also 4 definite Purple Emperors, perhaps 5. Again, the main track seemed to be the place to be with two jousting in the tree tops just before the concrete bridge and another two, perhaps three, again high up but showing well just after the bridge. The usual suspects in addition with a notable increase in Ringlets since the last visit. Some photos attached and just for accuracy the mating pair of Silver-washed Fritillarys was taken a couple of days ago but I didn't have space to include it then. The other two pictures are from today. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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SW Fritillary Whiteley Pastures
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
White Admiral Whiteley Pastures
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
SW Fritillary Whiteley Pastures
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

23 Jun 2017

Abbots Wood Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. At Abbots Wood Inclosure (SU814398) the temperature was 21 degrees. Here there were far fewer butterflies than at Straits Inclosure, as usual. I walked the main track to the Assembly Point where I saw a single male Purple Emperor flying before landing on top of an Oak. There was not much further activity so I continued Northwards along the path, where on a bend at approx SU815402, around Oaks I counted 3 male Purple Emperors in flight together, in an aerial display. A very rewarding day, at the end of which from 2 sites I had counted a total of 6 Purple Emperors.

Totals: Small White 1, Meadow Brown 8, Ringlet 10, Purple Emperor 4, Red Admiral 3, Silver-washed Fritillary 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. Today I visited Alice Holt Forest to look for the Purple Emperor, in Straits and Abbots Wood Inclosures.

I arrived early at Straits Inclosure (SU801400) where in the sunshine butterflies were already active. After a short walk along the main track just after the first bend I saw a male Purple Emperor sat on the track. As I approached it flew up into some nearby sallows. As I walked along the main track the grass alongside was teaming with Ringlets with the odd Meadow Brown. At the first wooden deer tower, I saw a White Admiral resting on the sides. As I looked up at the Oaks here, I saw a male Purple Emperor flying and then landing to rest. I saw no further Purple Emperors. The Silver-washed Fritillary appear to be still emerging as only a dozen were seen along with around half a dozed White Admirals.

Totals: Small White 1, Meadow Brown 22, Ringlet 105, Speckled Wood 1, Comma 2, Purple Emperor 2, Red Admiral 2, Silver-washed Fritillary 12, White Admiral 8, Large Skipper 7. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Old Down Wood Four Marks. A short walk around Old Down Wood this morning produced literally hundreds of Meadow Browns, but also 5 Marbled Whites, Large Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral. The highlight was the first Ringlets and Silver-washed Fritillarys of the year, both the earliest records by 8 days for my local patch. http://fourmarksbirding.blogspot.co.uk/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Ringlet
Photo © Chris Rose
Large Skipper
Photo © Chris Rose
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Chris Rose

22 Jun 2017

Moth Trap. I put my Moth Trap out in the back garden for the last of the heatwave, and was quite disappointed by what turned up over the night. Whether the heat has disrupted the Moth population, as well as the butterflies? Highlights were several Elephant Hawk-moths all in pristine condition, Swallow-tailed Moth, White Ermine, Common Emerald, Peppered Moth, Speckled Footman, and there were other Brocades, Wainscots, and Quakers, but all in all very disappointing. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Head of a Male Elephant Hawk Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
White Ermine Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Peppered Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

21 Jun 2017

Havant Thicket. Today I visited Havant Thicket in the scorching heat, walking the outer perimeter track. There were large numbers of Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites and Ringlets with also my first sighting this year of a Gatekeeper. Towards the end of one of the tracks someone (who I now know to be Michael Berry), alerted me to a male Purple Emperor which flew towards me. It landed on the path near my foot, where I was able to get a few photos before it took flight again - my first sighting of the Purple Emperor this year and my earliest ever by 7 days.

Totals: Brimstone 1M 3F, Small White 4, Gatekeeper 3, Marbled White 37, Meadow Brown 70, Ringet 31, Speckled Wood 1, Comma 1, Purple Emperor 1, Red Admiral 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 8, White Admiral 7. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Alice Holt. Purple Emperors have been scarce at Alice Holt with just the odd one or two showing during the day - probably due to the heat I guess - so I paid and evening visit which paid off. I had three grounded males between 6:15 pm and 7:15 pm and half a dozen were oak edging looking for females. White Admirals were also coming to ground in the damper areas, presumably looking for moisture. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Purple Emperor
Photo © Mark Tutton

Leigh Park moth trap in my garden. I had my moth trap on again last night and caught a new species for the garden, a male Orange Moth quite a rare moth in Hants. Other moths of note included Ghost Moth 2 males (Hepialius humuli humuli), Leopard Moth, Elephant Hawk-moth 9, Eyed Hawk-moth, Poplar Hawk-moth, Buff Arches, Bordered White, Small Angle Shades and Buff Tip, a total of 40 species were caught. While emptying the moth trap this morning a Silver-washed Fritillary flew into the garden. [Posted by Barry Collins]

Havant Thicket. Once again, our Nordic Walking was seriously disrupted by butterflies. In this heat, we were grateful for the excuse to stop. There were large numbers of Marbled White, Ringlet and Meadow Brown. Also Silver-washed Fritillary (20+), Red Admiral (1), White Admiral (4), Large Skipper and Small Skippers (few), Large White (1), Brimstone (1), Speckled Wood (quite a few) and the crowning glory, Purple Emperor (2 male). [Posted by Michael Berry]

Emperor And Dark Greens At Farley Mount. A mid-morning visit to Farley Mount Country Park produced both Dark Green Fritillary and Purple Emperor. With only sporadic sightings of Dark Green Fritillary reported to the branch website so far, I made a short exploration of a couple of areas on Pitt Down. Whilst the eastern area (which is normally good for them) produced a blank on this front, I saw around 4 Dark Green Fritillaries skimming around on the western section of the down. A few thistles and knapweed remain here - and almost all had Marbled Whites feeding - until a fritillary came along and sent them packing! Some of the fritillaries were fresh but at least one was not, so not sure what is going on with their flight period this year.

The highlight of the visit was an excursion into nearby West Wood, where just as I turned left from the main gravel track down the first side track, I managed to disturb a male Purple Emperor which had been taking minerals on the ground. After circling me a couple of times, it alighted in an Ash Tree about 15ft above ground. Thankfully it did return a few minutes later to continue its feed and allow a few photos, only showing momentary glimpses of purple as it occasionally flicked open its wings. It did not move from this one resting place for 10 minutes – and even the placement of dog excrement gathered from down the track did not tempt it – indeed it seemed rather annoyed as it took off soon afterwards! [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Purple Emperor
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Purple Emperor
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Whiteley Pastures & Botley Wood. Had a wonderful morning at Whiteley Pastures and Botley Wood today. Got there reasonably early to avoid the worst of the heat. Also managed to convince my wife to accompany me on a rare butterfly trip - arguing the woods would at least afford some shade! We had a fabulous morning. At least 20+ White Admirals and at least double that number of Silver Washed Fritillary. A handful of Marbled Whites and to cap everything - two (grounded) Purple Emperors. The heat meant nothing much was settling (especially the fritillaries) so photo opportunities were hard to come by until we got in to Botley Wood itself where the shade helped. I spotted the first Purple Emperor on the main Whitely path just as it starts to rise and turn 90 degrees to the left. I was congratulating myself on a good 'spot' (with binoculars) and working out how best to approach it when it decided to teach me a lesson, lifted off from the path, flew straight at me, did a quick circle round me (enough to see the unmistakeable blue) then ascended to the trees never to be seen again! The missed photo was bad enough but doubly disappointing - it all happened so quickly my wife missed seeing her first Purple Emperor! Undeterred we moved on around the copse at the top of the Whitely track and towards Tobys Pond to look out some dragonflies but on the way I found another Purple Emperor deep in Botley Wood. This one was almost as frustrating as the first - it was on a patch of mud to start with then kept us on the move for maybe 100 yards as it constantly dropped to the floor only to take flight again as I reached for the camera. At one point it double backed, circled both of us then landed on my camera case! No photo again I'm afraid but wonderful views and this time my wife had her first unforgettable Purple Emperor experience. On the way back to the car we met up with another couple of enthusiasts who had seen a Purple Emperor right at the start of the Whitely track - so at least 3 seen today - ridiculously early! All in all, a day to remember (hopefully for both of us!) [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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SW Fritillary Botley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
White Admiral Whiteley Pastures
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
SW Fritillary Botley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Silver Y Moth. A Silver Y moth has just arrived in my Cove garden. Unfortunately it moved on whilst I collected my camera so no picture. With the wind coming from France is this an early migrant with more to follow? [Posted by Terrence Hotten]

20 Jun 2017

Early Evening stroll at Pamber. A very warm walk at Pamber Forest this evening brought many species. I thought my luck might be in when I spotted a Scarlet Tiger Moth before I had even gotten out of the car. I also saw 11 Speckled Wood, 12 Meadow Brown, 4 Ringlet, 4 Comma, 4 Red Admiral, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary, 7 Large Skipper, 2 Brimstone and 5 White Admiral. A further short stop at Silchester Common yielded a male and female Silver-studded Blue, a Brimstone and a Small Tortoiseshell. [Posted by Gerwyn Clegg]

Early Evening stroll at Pamber. A very warm walk at Pamber Forest this evening brought many species. I thought my luck might be in when I spotted a Scarlet Tiger before I had even gotten out of the car. I also saw 11 Speckled Wood, 12 Meadow Brown, 4 Ringlet, 4 Comma, 4 Red Admiral, 1 Silver-washed Fritillary, 7 Large Skipper, 2 Brimstone and 5 White Admiral. A further short stop at Silchester Common yielded a male and female Silver-studded Blue, a Brimstone and a Small Tortoiseshell. [Posted by Gerwyn Clegg]

Abbotstone Down nature reserve. On a ferociously warm morning, Marbled Whites were on the wing across stretches of chalk grassland. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

19 Jun 2017

Leigh Park moth trap in my garden. I had my mercury vapour moth trap on in my garden last night, some of the highlights included Elephant Hawk-moth 19, Poplar Hawk-moth, Eyed Hawk-moth, Privet Hawk-moth, L-album Wainscot, Clay Triple-lines, Leopard Moth, Festoon 2 males, Kent Black Arches, Figure of Eighty. (Barry Collins) [Posted by Barry Collins]

Abbotts Wood Inclosure. A steamy hot day and only mad dogs and Englishmen........well with the odd Purple Emperor or two. I arrived at 10:00 and preceded to the main triangle, but there was nothing about and then I branched off on to a lesser known footpath, and having seen only multitudes of Meadow Brown's I saw this shape flash past me at a great rate of knots. I noted where it had alighted, and unknowingly walked past it, and then it flashed up and flew just a little way in front of me, a pristine Male Purple Emperor, the earliest I've ever seen one on the ground, by a long way! It kept hopping and skipping down the the ride, and alighting in the bushes as it was really hot and I felt this was just going to be brief. But it found some dogs muck and there it stayed for at least twenty minutes. He then found patches of shade on the ground, where his Purple Markings became more obvious. I had him for about 45 minutes when it was just getting too hot. I looked in at one of the Assembly Point's but there was very little activity, (2) were at one of the Abbotts Wood Inclosure's giving chase, but the heat of the day made them very lethargic.

It was good to see many Silver-washed Fritillary today and a splattering of White Admiral's, with one Purple Hairstreak, and other commoner species. One Buff-Tip Moth was seen hiding under a leaf in the shade along with a Large Skipper under a Oak Leaf, but these were just out of reach for a photograph. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male on Dog Muck feeding avidly
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
In the shade and the Purple really shone!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Southleigh Forest. A brief lunchtime visit revealed at least 2 male Purple Emperor around an assembly tree. A dominant male was seen in pursuit of another at least three times as well as seeing off an emperor dragonfly. All between 12:50 and 13:20 [Posted by Peter Gammage]

18 Jun 2017

Havant Thicket. Visited Havant Thicket (SU7110) today in very hot conditions, the temperature reaching 26 degrees. I walked the complete outer tracks of the woods and was pleased to record my first Ringlet, Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral this year. The heat wave now has brought out lots of fresh Meadow Browns.

Totals: Brimstone 2M 4F, Small White 1, Holly Blue 1, Marbled White 8, Meadow Brown 71, Ringlet 10, Small Heath 1, Speckled Wood 2, Comma 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 2, White Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Havant Thicket. A 3 hour tour of the site failed to show up any PE however both White Admiral (11) and Silver-washed Fritillary (14) along with several ringlet and good numbers of marbled white and meadow brown [Posted by Peter Gammage]

Old Winchester Hill. We spent a couple of hours walking around Old Winchester Hill this morning, highlights included Dark Green Fritillary 2,Marbled White 2,Ringlet 8,Small Tortoiseshell 5,

Brimstone 3M 2F,Common Blue 4,Meadow Brown 40,plus several Large Skipper and Small Heath. (Barry and Margaret Collins) [Posted by Barry Collins]

Browndown Going Purple Again!. An exploration of Browndown South, Lee on the Solent in the heat of the mid-afternoon sun confirmed it is going Purple again – as the season’s Purple Hairstreaks begin to emerge on the scrub oak! Only a few of the stunted trees at present have hairstreaks flying (9 seen in all) and mostly males. They were being careful to land on leaves in shade or hold their bodies aligned towards the sun to avoid overheating. No hairstreaks were found in the ground cover oak, which may occur later, as numbers build.

Since the area is close to the Grayling breeding area on this site, I took the opportunity to check if Grayling were starting to emerge in this very early season, but none seen. An area close to the shoreline has been cleared of scrub, slightly encroaching on their breeding area [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury

17 Jun 2017

Stoke Common, Hayling Island. On the way home I visited Stoke Common (SU716032) where a few fresh Meadow Browns were flying. Small White 4, Meadow Brown 8, Speckled Wood 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

IBM North Harbour, Cosham. Visited IBM North Harbour (SU6404) today in temperatures of 25 degrees. It was my first visit to the site to look for the White-letter Hairstreak and being unfamiliar with the area was unsuccessful. Seeing several fresh Marbled Whites made up for any disappointment. Large White 1, Holly Blue 1, Marbled White 7, Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Gosport. On a hot morning a trip to Monks Walk in Gosport produced my first White-letter Hairstreaks of the year. At least four were showing along the path from the parking spot, and then in the old car park there were a minimum of four also. Despite waiting they never came down to the brambles to nectar. Also present were singles of Small Skipper and Essex Skipper, many Marbled Whites, a single Holly Blue, Small White, 3 Commas, a Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, a Cinnabar Moth and of course many Meadow Browns. Amazing for such a little patch of wasteland. http://awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.co.uk/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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White-letter Hairstreak
Photo © Chris Rose
Marbled White
Photo © Chris Rose
Cinnabar Moth
Photo © Chris Rose

Alice Holt. No Emperors for me but bizarrely did see numbers of Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral along with a bonus Painted Lady [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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White Admiral
Photo © Mark Tutton

Havant Thicket. I cycled around Havant Thicket this morning from 0930-1130 and recorded the following species. White Admiral 8,Red Admiral 1,Silver-washed Fritillary 11,Brimstone 1M 1F,Marbled White 12,Ringlet 20,Common Blue 1,Small Heath 6,Large Skipper 40,Meadow Brown 45. (Barry Collins) [Posted by Barry Collins]

White Admirals And Silver-Washed In Portland Coppice. A mid-morning exploration of the public bridleways in Portland Coppice near Purbrook produced 7 Silver-washed Fritillary and 4 White Admirals. All the fritillaries were fresh and hyper-active in the building heat and never landed, however a couple of the Admirals paused briefly on foliage in the dappled shade. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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White Admiral
Photo © Alan Thornbury
White Admiral
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Deep Purple. Today Hampshire Kicked off! At least (5) Male Purple Emperors were seen on a Assembly Point in Abbotts Wood Inclosure and (2) Males were also seen at Alice Holt Forest (1)as well, but this is getting rather difficult to see now.It's very bizarre to see them so early in the year, my nearest date to this is the 24th June a few year's ago, but this year this seems totally unreal. If this weather keeps up then they will be all but over by the middle of July! And what makes it even more bizarre is that there are no Silver-washed Fritillaries and White Admirals as yet.Other species seen were Ringlet (2) Comma (1) Large Skipper (6) Brimstone (1) Meadow Brown (30)Red Admiral (2) Small Skipper (1) Speckled Wood (3) Marbled White (2) Small White (2). All the Purple Emperors were seen from 12:10 until 13:45. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male roosting in Abbotts Wood Inclosure
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Males chasing in the blistering heat
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Ringlet
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Botley Wood and Whiteley Pastures. A morning walk around Botley Wood and Whiteley Pastures produced eleven species of butterfly with quite a few Silver-washed Fritillary plus White Admirals. The highlight was a Dark Green Fritillary on the meadow under the pylons at Botley Wood - a scarce species here. Totals: Large Skipper 12, Small Skipper 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 15, Dark Green Fritillary 1, White Admiral 6, Red Admiral 2, Small White 3, Marbled White 10, Ringlet 4, Meadow Brown 50, Speckled Wood 4. Also 2 Downy Emeralds, 2 recently emerged Ruddy Darter, 2 Golden-ringed Dragonfly and 3 Beautiful Demoiselle. [Posted by Mark Rolfe]

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Dark-green Fritillary
Photo © Mark Rolfe

14 Jun 2017

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. At Chalton Down (SU736156) the temperature reached 23 degrees. Here the Common Blue appears to have gone, with many fresh Meadow Brown and around half a dozen fresh Marbled Whites.

Totals: Brimstone 3M 1F, Large White 1, Marbled White 5, Meadow Brown 22, Speckled Wood 1, Small Heath 7. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Portsdown Hill. Returning to Portsdown Hill, the temperature was 22 degrees. Very small numbers were seen. At South Eastern side (SU657067) the following was recorded , Marbled White 6 and Small Tortoiseshell 1.

At Fort Widley (SU657066), Brimstone 1F, Marbled White 1, Meadow Brown 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Today I visited Paulsgrove Chalk Pits (SU6306) where the temperature was 21 degrees. The grass recently has seemed to have grown quite a lot, making any observation of Small Blues difficult, in fact I only recorded one individual. Several fresh Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns were active.

Totals: Marbled White 14, Meadow Brown 8, Small Blue 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Holmsley. Having not seen a small pearl bordered frit in the new forest since june 2015 I had another good look around Holmsley but again without success. There has been some excellent management work in the inclosure and it was in one of these clearings I had a female broad bordered bee hawk moth ovipositing. Also seen a male Silver-washed Fritillary and good numbers of Brimstones. [Posted by Mark swann]

Isle of Wight. I was pleased to find 2 Glanville Fritillary at the under cliff between Wheelers bay and Bonchurch (13/6) and today 14th June to find 2 Glanville in the chalk pit above Compton Farm and then a further 10 or so on the cliff edge at Compton Chine.

On my way back to Salisbury I stopped off at Pondhead enclosure outside Lyndhurst and saw 3 White Admiral.

Plus a good closeup of Peregrine falcon [Posted by Jim Nichols]

13 Jun 2017

Portsdown Hill. Visited Portsdown Hill today where the temperature was 20 degrees. At the South Eastern end (SU657063) I saw a few fresh Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns. In total Brimstone 1F, Small White 1, Common Blue 1m, Marbled White 3, Meadow Brown 4, Small Tortoiseshell 1.

At Fort Widley (SU657066) further Meadow Browns were seen but no Marbled Whites. Totals: Brimstone 1F, Small White 1, Meadow Brown 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Test Valley - White letter day 2. After last year's successful wl-hairstreak day the weather forecast looked good so started at Testwood Lakes which produced my first of the year but it did have a big chunk missing from its wing. Onto Nursling which produced 80+ in a hour, the colony here has exploded after growing steadily over the -ears. Lastly went down the Test Way which produced 20+. So overall well over 100 White-letter Hairstreak seen at 2 sites also of note a fresh Purple Hairstreak seen. [Posted by Mark swann]

Dark Green Fritillary, Portchester Common. On transect on Portchester Common this a.m. saw a newly emerged Dark-green Fritillary, a stunning sight [Posted by Chris Cobb]

12 Jun 2017

White-letters and Marbled White On The Wing At Cosham. A mid-afternoon visit to the North Harbour elms at Cosham, once the sun started poking through the cloud, confirmed that White-letter Hairstreaks are now emerging there. The narrow path passing the elms is becoming very overgrown, restricting the canopy view to small sections at a time, however several pairs of males doing sporadic aerial battles were seen. Further along in the meadow area, a Comma was patrolling and a newly emerged Marbled White, flitting amongst the long grass, was a pleasant surprise. There were also several Common Blues and Meadow Browns. I include my distant shot showing a White-letter’s partial outline and antenna, for what it’s worth! [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Comma
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Marbled White
Photo © Alan Thornbury
White-letter Hairstreak (see it!)
Photo © Alan Thornbury

11 Jun 2017

Marbled Whites in Southampton. On a short trip to Peartree green in Southampton found 2 Marbled Whites 6 Meadow Browns and the highlight of the trip 5 White-letter Hairstreaks at the Bitterne end of the green [Posted by chris piatkiewicz]

White-Letter Hairstreak at IBM/Lakeside. Yesterday I popped in briefly to IBM/Lakeside at Cosham and was surprised to find plenty of White-letter Hairstreak action. In fact, by the look of the half dozen individuals I saw, they would appear to have been out for a while. I returned today with more time and counted about 9 individuals none of which presented me with any decent photographic opportunities. Also seen plenty of Common Blues, Meadow Browns, Comma, Speckled Wood and my first Marbled White of the year.

Anyone visiting this site should note that at the weekend they now lock all the side gates and access is only via the main entrance road. There also appears to be some parking restrictions, but I am not sure how likely these are to be enforced. However, the best viewpoint this weekend was actually from the pavement beside the main road, outside of the site.

White-Letter Hairstreaks were also showing well at another site just down the road where I also counted about 9 or 10 individuals and managed a photo. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Common Blue
Photo © Paul Harfield
Marbled White
Photo © Paul Harfield
White-Letter Hairstreak
Photo © Paul Harfield

Broxhead Common. At Broxhead Common, 20+ Silver-studded Blue. [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Silver Studded Blue, Broxhead Common
Photo © Steve Mansfield

Oxney/Bordon Parade Ground. At this extensive site (SU7937 and surrounds), a couple of Meadow Browns, 2 Burnet Companion, 3 Large Skipper, one Essex/Small Skipper, a single very fresh Small Tortoiseshell, and Golden Ringed Dragonfly.

Meadow Brown also at Kingsley Pond. [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Burnet Companion, Bordon
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Small Tortoiseshell, Bordon
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Golden Ringed Dragonfly, Bordon
Photo © Steve Mansfield

Caker Stream, Alton. Waterbrook Industrial Estate, Alton, at the bridge over the Caker Stream: approx 50 Scarlet Tigers along a short stretch of the stream. 11:30 am.

Also Banded Demoiselles, Large Red Damselfly, and Emperor Dragonfly. [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Scarlet Tiger, Alton
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Scarlet Tiger, Alton
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Scarlet Tiger, Alton
Photo © Steve Mansfield

10 Jun 2017

Silchester Common. A late evening walk around Silchester Common in beautiful sunshine and I spotted my first Silver-studded Blue. There were 8 in total fighting against a very stiff breeze. [Posted by Gerwyn]

Ringlet at Morn Hill, Winchester. While conducting the Morn Hill transect behind the Holiday Inn, Winchester I spotted my first Ringlet of the year. It was hiding from the blustery conditions deep in the grass but there was no doubt about the identification. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

Silver-studded Blues at Deerleap. A short trip to Deerleap, New Forest revealed that the Silver-studded Blues are emerging. Four were seen, three males and one newly emerged female. It was windy on the open area so they were hunkered down in the heather, also saw Speckled Wood(3), Meadow Brown amd Small Heath. [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Female Silver-studded Blue
Photo © Sue Lambert
Male Silver-studded Blue
Photo © Sue Lambert

09 Jun 2017

Havant Thicket. Today I visited Havant Thicket (SU7110), walking my usual route covering the outer main tracks. Numbers of Meadow Brown are starting to increase as well as fresh Large Skippers also seen.

Totals: Brimstone 5M 5F, Common Blue 2M, Meadow Brown 17, Speckled Wood 2, Red Admiral 1, Large Skipper 5. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

08 Jun 2017

Small Blue Immature Stages @ MHD. I managed to spend an hour or so at MHD, dodging the raindrops while looking for eggs and larvae of Small Blue in the scrapes at the top of the reserve. I think every Kidney Vetch flowerhead had at least 1 egg deposited on it, which is a good sign. As well as the many ova, I also managed to find a few early-instar larvae feeding on the inside of the florets and they were surprisingly-easy to make out, and something I've never seen before, which is always rewarding! [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Small Blue egg
Photo © Pete Eeles
Small Blue 2nd or 3rd instar larva
Photo © Pete Eeles

07 Jun 2017

Wednesday Wander at MHD. Eight people attended the walk this afternoon at Magldalen Hill Down. It was windy but we saw a few butterflies and moths: Common Blue(11), Small Blue(8), Dingy Skipper(2, Brimstone, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and Large Skipper(6) also seen Narrow-bordered 5-spot Burnet moth, Cinnabar Moth, Burnet Companion Moth, Yellow Shell Moth, Straw Dot Moth together with Vapourer and 5-spot Burnet caterpillars as well as a Golden-ringed Dragonfly. There were many bees on the wing enjoying the flowers. [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Sue Lambert
Small Blue
Photo © Sue Lambert
Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Photo © Sue Lambert

04 Jun 2017

Noar Hill Photos. Photos I took at Noar Hill on 4th June, included the single faded Duke of Burgundy seen and Small Blue. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

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Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Richard Symonds
Small Blue
Photo © Richard Symonds
Small Blue underside
Photo © Richard Symonds

Noar Hill. Today my father and I visited Noar Hill (SU7431), where the weather in the late morning was overcast with sunny spells. Small Heaths were easily disturbed, with Common Blues appearing when the sun came out in ten minute periods. A male Common Blue appeared to be chasing a female in the open clearing immediately before The Triangle, until upon closer inspection I discovered it to be a fresh male Small Blue. It flew short flights allowing for it to be easily photographed by us and another enthusiast who was unfamiliar with the site. Near the same spot, a Painted Lady briefly alighted. We almost gave up hope of recording a Duke of Burgundy, when the enthusiast we met spotted a worn but intact male in the far pit, which posed for some nice photos.

Totals: Brimstone 1M, Green-veined White 2, Small White 1, Common Blue 16M 2F, Small Blue 1M, Speckled Wood 2, Small Heath 13, Duke of Burgundy 1M, Painted Lady 1, Large Skipper 1M. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

03 Jun 2017

Holly Blue and Buddliea. I was just enjoying a cup of Coffee in the back garden this morning when I saw at least two female Holly Blues alighting on my rather large Buddliea in warm sunshine. One was bending her abdomen round on to the unopened flowers and low and behold she had layed an egg. I know they do lay on many plants but this is a first for me, I've witnessed obviously them laying on Holly, Ivy, Snowberry and Dogwood, and also in the garden Firethorn, and also in the New Forest I witnessed a female laying on Bell Heather. But I shall hopefully follow this egg and see what happens when it hatches. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Holly Blue egg on Buddliea
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Holly Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

02 Jun 2017

Beacon Hill 31st May. p.m.

A brief but a somewhat rewarding visit: my first Meadow Brown of the year. I also encountered one, possibly two Small Blues not usually encountered there according to Ashley W. I did manage a couple of snapshots to support ID.

Other species included a Green Hairstreak, numerous Brimstone, Large White, Painted Lady, Common Blue 6.

Not forgetting the wonderful views of a spectacular area of Hampshire. [Posted by Geoff Jones]

Old Winchester Hill. A disappointing day really looking for the Adonis Blue which seems to elude me in the spring with just one female for my troubles. However I did espy a Dark Green Fritillary which was in the same place as I got it when I announced I had seen one at the end of May a few years ago, on the 28th May 2010. Well today's must run a close second, and he was a magnificent insect patrolling the down at the base of the car-park slope. Not much else either compared with Butser yesterday this site is very poor for counts of invertebrates all round. The count was as follows: Small Heath(11) Speckled Wood (4) Common Blue (12) Brimstone (3) Large Skipper (2) Grizzled Skipper (2) Dingy Skipper (2) Meadow Brown (2) Painted Lady (2) Dark Green Fritillary (1) Adonis Blue (1) Small Blue (1). I have noticed there is more Kidney Vetch coming through since the grazing regime started, so the Small Blue population may well increase. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Dark-Green Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Large Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Adonis Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

01 Jun 2017

Old Winchester Hill Photos. Some of the photos I took at Old Winchester Hill on 1st June. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Richard Symonds
Red Admiral
Photo © Richard Symonds

Chalton Down Photos. Finished editing my photos taken recently to add to the website. Brimstone, Dingy Skipper and mating pair of Small Blues at Chalton Down on 1st June. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

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Male Brimstone
Photo © Richard Symonds
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Richard Symonds
Mating pair of Small Blue
Photo © Richard Symonds

Painted Lady. Painted Lady in our garden in Sway. [Posted by Tony Blakeley]

Wheelers Bay Bonanza.. A visit (from 1030-13.00) on an absolutely perfect day, warm and sunny with a very light breeze I found large amounts of Glanville Fritillary in varying stages from fresh to very worn, estimated numbers 150+. Other species seen were Small Blue 5, Common Blue 10, Green-veined White 4, Large White 1, Peacock 2, Dingy Skipper 4. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Glanville Fritillary
Photo © Mark Pike
Glanville Fritillary
Photo © Mark Pike
Glanville Fritillary
Photo © Mark Pike

Old Winchester Hill. After visiting Chalton Down, my father and I visited Old Winchester Hill (SU6420) completing a circuit. We walked from the car park along the top path towards the hill fort, around the outer hill fort path, descend the steps, through woods, along the bottom of the car park slope and ascending the car park slope. Numbers of butterflies were low despite the weather being sunny and the temperature of 21 degrees, with only a single Small Heath spotted on the entire car park slope. No signs of the Adonis Blue, but with plenty of Brimstones, few more Meadow Browns (with a photo) and two Dingy Skipper sightings it was a worthwhile walk.

Totals: Brimstone 10M 8F, Common Blue 11M 2F, Meadow Brown 3, Speckled Wood 4, Small Heath 10, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 3, Dingy Skipper 2. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. On a trip from Cornwall, my father, Roy Symonds and I visited Chalton Down (SU736156), where the weather was hot and sunny temperature 20 degrees. Numbers of Skippers and Common Blues were low with just a few more Brimstones and Small Heaths. One Common Blue and one Small Heath were noted as newly emerged. We both saw our first Meadow Browns for the year, and a surprise was disturbing a mating pair of Small Blues.

Totals: Brimstone 5M 2F, Small White 3, Orange-tip 1M, Common Blue 4M 1F, Holly Blue 1, Small Blue 2, Meadow Brown 3, Small Heath 12, Red Admiral 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Dingy Skipper 2. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Bentley Wood Chance Encounter. On a hot and humid day there were very few butterflies to see in the Eastern Clearing. I tried hard not to double count so made it just 4 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. None were settling in the heat and in truth there was very little in the way of wild flowers to entice them down to nectar - except perhaps another fritillary! By sheer luck a pair dropped into the grass just 6 feet from where I was standing and mated. I suspect that was the only way to get a picture today. Aside from these 4 I only saw a handful of Speckled Wood and a single Brimstone. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

West Butser Hill & Pillow Mound. In glorious sunshine today I went to see if the Duke of Burgundy had made it into June, and Im pleased to say it has. I went to West Butser which is one of favourite areas on Butser, and here there were countless Six-Spot Burnet Moths, with very good counts of Small Heath's. I was disappointed with the Brown Argus numbers, but I do find this species being more of a June butterfly. The counts were as follows: Small Heath (50+) Six-Spot Burnet Moth (100+) Dingy Skipper (3) Common Blue (10) Duke of Burgundy (4) Grizzled Skipper (3) Brown Argus (3) Green Hairstreak (2) Holly Blue (2) Brimstone (3) Speckled Wood (15) Speckled Yellow (2) Peacock (1) Mother Shipton (2) Red Admiral (1) Small White (1).

I then moved over to Pillow Mound, and in the scrubby slopes I found Dingy Skipper (6) Grizzled Skipper(9) many of these were very fresh, Small White (2) Small Heath (35) Duke of Burgundy (5) Common Blue (5) Six-Spotted Burnet Moth (100+) Speckled Yellow (5) Mother Shipton (1) Cream-Spot Tiger Moth (2) Red Admiral (2) Speckled Wood (2) and last but not least Brimstone (2) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Extra-ordinary numbers of Small Heath on Butser
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus still to reach good numbers on Butser
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Grizzled Skipper still in excellent condition
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Migration through Burkham woodland trust. The warm weather brought our first Painted Ladies to the flowery fields at Burkham near Bentworth. A short butterfly watch saw two heading north and two others nectaring then suddenly a flash of yellow and a Clouded Yellow flew by, a Red Admiral followed.Confirming the site as a good one for passage insects. [Posted by EM Raynor]


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