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

News Archive for Sep 2017

24 Sep 2017

Alice Holt Lodge Inclosure. Plenty of Speckled Wood still on the wing - 40+ but not counted. 3 Red Admiral. Half a dozen Hornets.

We were watching two common lizards on a log when we found an Elephant Hawk Moth larva crawling down the middle of the path. [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Elephant Hawk Moth larva. Alice Holt
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Common Lizard. Alice Holt
Photo © Steve Mansfield

Eastney Beach Part 111. Another week or so has passed by since my last report on the Clouded Yellow and Small Copper and Common Blues. A lifetime for most butterflies, and today the Common Blues had diminished to a much smaller number on the southern banks, but I saw some more opposite the former Royal Marine Barracks, and today this is where I found another colony of Small Copper. A lovely female was seen amoungst the vegetation, which is spreading, all over the Eastern part of Eastney Beach. Here I espied another Clouded Yellow a tatty male, which probably came over on the southern winds which we are experiencing at the moment.Seven Species were seen today which isn't bad for a beach at the end of September! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Small Copper still evident on the grassy banks
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Newly emerged female seen further up the beach
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Tatty Clouded Yellow still gave me the run around!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

23 Sep 2017

Portsdown Hill. Today I visited Portsdown Hill, East end (SU657063) where despite the temperature reaching 18.5 degrees, very few butterflies were on the wing. Two male Brimstones with a single Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell were seen.

At Ford Widley (SU657066) only a pair of Speckled Woods were seen. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk - Gosport. Nine butterfly species were seen making the most of the autumnal sunshine and abundant food as I circulated Monks Walk and the surrounding fields and woods. Having completely missed the summer, I have to go back to 20 April to record a similar number of species at this location! It was a pleasure to see my first Brown Argus of the year and to see a male Brimstone on the wing tussling and tumbling with an annoying white! Those seen between 1125-1300 today were: Small Copper (2); Common Blue (M)(6); Brown Argus (2); Comma (4); Speckled Wood (5); Small White (2); Red Admiral (2); Brimstone (M) (1); Large White (1). One common lizard and a shy fox also seen on my walk. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

22 Sep 2017

Chalton Down. This morning I visited Chalton Down (SU736156) where the temperature was 15.5 degrees. No Common Blues were seen, with just a Brimstone, Whites and a single Speckled Wood seen. Totals: Brimstone 1M, Large White 4, Small White 3, Speckled Wood 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Havant Thicket. After Chalton Down in the morning, I visited Havant Thicket (SU7110) in the afternoon where the temperature had increased to 17 degrees. I completed a full circuit following the perimeter track, with a reasonable number of sightings for the time of year, including half a dozen Meadow Browns towards the Northern end of the woods. Totals: Brimstone 1M, Large White 2, Small White 1, Meadow Brown 6, Speckled Wood 5, Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Solent-Shore Sites. A late morning visit to three shoreline sites provided the following census. After yesterday's rain and low temperature this was more than I expected to see!

Monks Hill, Hill Head. Small White (6); Large White (1); Common Blue (M)(1).

Seafield Park, Hill Head. Small White (1); Red Admiral (3); Speckled Wood (1); Large White (2).

Browndown Coastal Area, Elmore (Gosport). Small White (2); Red Admiral (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small White - Monks Hill
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood - Seafield Park
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral - Seafield Park
Photo © Francis Plowman

19 Sep 2017

Gilkicker - Gosport. An intended brief circulation of Fort Gilkicker turned into something more protracted and challenging as developers have enclosed the fort with fencing and have extended it 200 metres or so eastwards. This has effectively closed-off previously productive areas for finding butterflies and looks ominous; a 3 years' closure according to the notice. The seaward habitat is now completely hidden and may disappear altogether. However, the approach road produced the following sightings: Small White (3); Common Blue (M)(1); Red Admiral (9) - the latter all feeding on an ivy-covered bush. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. With the news of Clouded Yellow still lingering around our shorelines, I took a short walk around the scrubby field betwixt the old Immigration Removal Centre and golf course. In previous years I had sighted Clouded Yellow here and I was not to be disappointed this afternoon. A female was very active feeding on dandelion and similar yellow flowers and led me a merry chase in order to get a photograph. The Common Blues are still going - some stronger than others. Butterflies counted: Small White (3); Large White (1); Common Blue (5)(M); (1)(F); Clouded Yellow (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Clouded Yellow (Female)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue (male) fresh
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue - down but not out!
Photo © Francis Plowman

16 Sep 2017

Eastney Beach, Portsmouth. Part Two Fresh Clouded Yellows. Further to my report from Eastney Beach on the 15th September I went back there again today, as it's just a ten minute walk, and it would seem there has a been a fresh emergence of Clouded Yellows at least (5) males flying up and down the area of grassy banks. Last year I noted a female laying eggs on large tracts of Clover on the beach, and this fresh emergence is obviously from the beach area, as the winds of late have been in the wrong direction for any migrants, anyway the butterflies were straight out of the box, some the freshest I've ever seen. Also I noted again four Small Coppers this time though there was an almost fresh female, there were two females and two males today. There were so many Common Blues and Whites they were impossible to count and they used the tall grasses to roost in when the sun disappeared, which was quite often. The Sorrel at this site is quite extensive, so the Small Copper should become a stable colony all being well. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Fresh..ish Female Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Clouded Yellow straight out of the box
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Blues were roosting in the grasses when the sun disappeared
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

15 Sep 2017

Blackberries & Butterflies - Monks Walk, Gosport. Ninety minutes spent this morning wandering Monks Walk and the surrounding fields and woodlands produced a satisfying count of some eight species. After the recent heavy rains and high winds this came as something of a pleasant surprise. The enclosed nature of this site obviously offers the insects good protection and plenty of food. The usual suspects were all over the blackberries and feeding well! Butterflies noted: Comma (7); Large White (2); Speckled Wood (3); Small White (1); Peacock (3); Red Admiral (2); Small Copper (2); Common Blue (5)(M); (1)(F). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Feeding Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock on blackberries
Photo © Francis Plowman
Male & Female Common Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman

Eastney Beach, Portsmouth. A look around my local patch today which is about ten minutes walk from my house, it's so nice having such lovely butterflies so close. I was looking for the Small Copper as last year I saw a female laying eggs on a grassy bank of Sorrel. Today I was extremely lucky as I found three males and a female, none was in particular good order as they have just endured some of the roughest weather they could have thrown at them! The grassy bank is an Earthworks: a sea defence about ten feet tall, and has now been overgrown by legumes,Sea Holly, Sheep Fescue and other grasses, and obviously Sorrel and Birds-foot Trefoil. The Small Coppers were quite active but once they found some nectar sources they were quite tame. The female just sat on a grassy bank on bare earth which they normally do. I never saw whether she laid any eggs, I've a feeling she probably had been earlier ,and was now resting. There has also been a another generation of Common Blues as I saw at least (25+) or more and most of these were in very good condition,they can normally a have a partial third brood in October but this year has been so 'topsy-turvey'I don't know if they know whether they are coming or going.Also the Peacock is normally at this time well into hibernation, and the Peacocks now are a second generation, and are still quite happy to be flying about enjoying the late sunshine. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Copper small numbers on Eastney Beach
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Another generation of Common Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Another generation of Peacocks....
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

14 Sep 2017

Old Winchester Hill NNR. Probably my last venture to this site in 2017, when I look through my records for this time last year, when we had a mini heatwave, and the species count was obviously far better. The counts today really was a case of two halves, the species on the main Southern slope were just Meadow Brown, but on the car-park slope where there is some good cover from the hill side the slope produced far more species. Adonis Blue (2) Common Blue (1) Chalkhill Blue (4) Comma (2) Red Admiral (4) Small Heath (5) Large White (1) Small White (1) Meadow Brown (50+) Speckled Wood (1), looks like the Silver-spotted Skipper has succumbed to the poor September weather. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Chalk Hill Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Old Winchester Hill the Fort landscape
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Comma
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

12 Sep 2017

Isle of Wight jaunt. A quick jaunt to the Island allowed me to visit a few "chines" in the south-west. I managed to find several dense silk webs that are the (cramped) overwintering home for Glanville Fritillary 5th instar larvae - should be quite a spectacle next spring when the larvae emerge. I also watched a Small Copper oviposit on a Sorrel plant that has definitely seen better days! [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Photo © Pete EelesGlanville Fritillary larval web
Photo © Pete Eeles
Small Copper egg (bottom left)
Photo © Pete Eeles

Oxenbourne Down. A slight lapse in the awful weather we are having in September brought out some Small Coppers at Oxenbourne Down today,about four males were seen close to the footpath, one male was feeding on Eyebright and Hawkbit. This site normally has a reasonable good count of this species although over the last couple of seasons it has struggled like it has at a lot of sites now. Other species seen were Chalkhill Blue (5) Common Blue (2) Comma (2) Meadow Brown (12) Small Heath (2), and a Silver-'Y' Moth. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Copper (male) on Bramble
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Comma seen in good numbers in this Autumn
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Copper on Eyebright
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

07 Sep 2017

Monks Walk & Frater Fields, Gosport. At last fit enough to walk my local butterfly haunt, the first opportunity since April 2017. Finding seven species under breezy clouds gave me inordinate pleasure. With my faithful 'scribe' at my side, we counted: Comma (2); Peacock (3); Speckled Wood (3); Red Admiral (3); Common Blue (M)(5); Small Copper (2); Small White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Painted Lady - Gosport Garden. A pleasant surprise under grey and blustery skies today was to see a Painted Lady feeding in our garden. It stayed for 20 minutes before zipping away, probably south. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Photo © Francis Plowman

06 Sep 2017

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Today in the late morning, I visited Chalton Down (SU736156) where the temperature was 16 degrees. Many Whites were flying and some worn Meadow Browns. The Chalk Hill Blues appeared to have almost finished although two females were recorded, but with a heavy dew on the down, this may have prevented any further from flying. Totals: Large White 11, Small White 5, Green-veined White 1, Chalk Hill Blue 2F, Meadow Brown 12, Small Heath 1, Peacock 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

05 Sep 2017

Wet Whites in my Gosport Garden. I was surprised to see any butterflies under the grey skies and dampness after heavy rain. Two rather wet and weary whites sought rest on our flowers and were unfazed by my approach. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White (female)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White
Photo © Francis Plowman

04 Sep 2017

Gosport garden. Beautiful Red Admiral. A pair of stunning Red Admiral took advantage of the gloomy skies to feed on the Budleia. Fair brightened-up the afternoon they did! (Granddaughter Kitt had her first go with a digital SLR camera and should be proud of her effort). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Photo © Francis PlowmanKitt's first picture with digital SLR!
Photo © Francis Plowman

02 Sep 2017

Clouded Yellows at Keyhaven. A walk around Pennington and Keyhaven in search of Wall Brown failed miserably, but we did manage to find a single Small Copper and Painted Lady, several Common Blues, plenty of Red Admirals and at least 6 Clouded Yellows, it was difficult to count as they were so very mobile. Finally managed to pin them down in the short grass are to the west of Keyhaven Lagoon, although did manage a poor flight photo. One was very close to being dinner for a juvenile Stonechat.

https://awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.co.uk/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Small Copper
Photo © Chris Rose
Clouded Yellow
Photo © Chris Rose
Clouded Yellow
Photo © Chris Rose

Havant Thicket. Today I visited Havant Thicket (SU7110), a site I had walked since early July. The weather was sunny until cloud appeared as I had almost completed my walk, temperature 19 degrees. Common autumnal species were seen along with several worn Meadow Browns.

Totals: Brimstone 1F, Large White 3, Small White 1, Meadow Brown 16, Speckled Wood 9, Comma 1, Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Old Winchester Hill NNR Field Trip. More Pictures from the Field Trip [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Class of 2017 Many thanks!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Adonis Blue in good numbers on the downland
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Pair of Mating 6 Spot Burnet Moths
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Old Winchester Hill NNR Field Trip. As another Field Trip season draws to a close, the last lived up to most expectations, the only disappointment was that the elusive Clouded Yellow never turned up. However there were good counts of Adonis Blue including many females in perfect condition. The Silver-spotted Skipper was also in evidence, many females, and we found a rather nice patch on the fortifications which is very short turf where we found a few 'buzzing' about where everybody had good views of them. On the Northern slopes of the fortification the Small Tortoiseshell was seen in excellent numbers, and an 'odd' Small Skipper was espied, and I saw early in the morning a very late pair of mating 6-Spotted Burnet Moths. Everybody enjoyed the excellent views of the Meon Valley as we walked around observing, Spotted Flycatchers, Buzzards, Kestrels, and Green Woodpeckers. I'd like to thank everybody who has supported me and the Conservation group with their attendance this year, and here's to a good 2018! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Early wakeup call for this Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Adonis Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Beacon Hill NNR across from Old Winchester Hill
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

01 Sep 2017

Beacon Hill NNR. Today I visited a site that has gone off many a radar, as it used to have good counts of Silver-spotted Skipper but over the last few years the species here has waxed and waned, and it's at a very low ebb. Today was no different, I've drawn a blank here now for two seasons on the trot, last year I went in the middle of August, as this site is never predictable, not like its fellow 'sister' OWH, so this year I went today, as they are still well out on Old Winchester Hill. The good news is that any wandering female that happens upon this site now should be very interested in the good areas of well shorn grasses, the only thing thats lacking is rabbit scrapes, where the female Silver-spotted Skipper normally lays its eggs on Sheeps Fescue. There were very little other species here today either, the best counts came from Small Tortoiseshell (12) and Small Heath (15). [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Comma feeding on Blackberry
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The end of a Speckled Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
One of the south facing slopes, where cattle have been busy.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Old Winchester Hill: Late Photos from 24th August. Just received photos for editing from my father, Roy Symonds following his visit to Old Winchester Hill on 24th August featuring the ABC of butterflies - Adonis Blue, Brimstone and Clouded Yellow. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

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Adonis Blue male
Photo © Richard Symonds
Brimstone male
Photo © Richard Symonds
Clouded Yellow male
Photo © Richard Symonds

Chalton Down: Late Photos from 17th August. Just received photos for editing from my father, Roy Symonds following his visit to Chalton Down on 17th August featuring a male Clouded Yellow. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

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Clouded Yellow male
Photo © Richard Symonds
Clouded Yellow male
Photo © Richard Symonds

Old Winchester Hill: Late Photos from 13th August. Just received photos for editing from my father, Roy Symonds following his visit to Old Winchester Hill on 13th August featuring a female Clouded Yellow. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

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Clouded Yellow female
Photo © Richard Symonds

Noar Hill: Late Photos from 11th August. Just received photos for editing from my father, Roy Symonds following his visit to Noar Hill on 11th August featuring a female Brown Hairstreak. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

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Brown Hairstreak female
Photo © Richard Symonds
Brown Hairstreak female
Photo © Richard Symonds

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