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

News Archive for Apr 2018

26 Apr 2018

Marsh Fritillary larval release. As many of you will be aware, Butterfly Conservation and the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust have been involved in a fully licensed collaborative project to reintroduce the Marsh Fritillary butterfly to its former stronghold of north-east Hampshire. I'm very pleased to report that over the last few days, Clive Wood and I, with additional support from Steve Easter and Kelvin Richards, have released more than 1000 final instar captive-bred larvae into high quality marshy grassland habitat within the target landscape. The Marsh Fritillary has not been recorded in this area for more than two decades, so this is certainly a momentous occasion. We now wait with great anticipation for adults to emerge in late May or early June. I have attached an image of Clive releasing some of the larvae, plus a photo of a newly released 6th instar caterpillar happily munching into a Devil's-bit Scabious leaf, and another larva basking. Clive and I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved with, or donated towards the project, and helped us reach this significant milestone. We will keep you informed of further developments. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Marsh Fritillary larva release
Photo © Andy Barker
Marsh Fritillary larva feeding
Photo © Andy Barker
Marsh Fritillary larva basking
Photo © Andy Barker

Duke of Burgundy at Noar Hill. Before the heavens opened. One seen. [Posted by Mark Jones]

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Photo © Mark Jones

Duke of Burgundy at Noar Hill. Before the heavens opened. One seen. [Posted by Mark Jones]

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Photo © Mark Jones

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Even earlier start today; much cooler, cloudy, strong and fresh breeze but when the sun came out, pleasantly warm when out of the wind. 0910-1115 the following noted: Speckled Wood (11); Small Copper (1); Comma (5); Green-veined White (3); Small White (1); Holly Blue (2); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Large White (M)(1). The Holly Blues are on the wing seemingly all the time but a brief stop allowed enough to be seen to identify one male! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper feeding on dandelion
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood on blackthorn
Photo © Francis Plowman
Male Holly Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman

Alver Valley Whites. I'm in the process of putting together an album of butterflies and was surprised to find I had one (very old) picture of a Green-veined White and nothing else! So today I tried to put that right with a visit to Alver Valley in bright sunshine (but very windy)specifically to find Whites. It's not until you want to get a picture of these common butterflies that you realise just how much they move about! I think I found the three I was looking for - I'm fairly sure about the Green-veined White. Similarly the Large White seems to fit the book description (and it was large). Where I may have come unstuck is with the Small White - very easy to mistake it for a Green Veined I think (at least for me!) so if my caption is wrong below - please put me right. Otherwise I only saw Speckled Woods (lots), Brimstone (1) and Comma (3). No Orange-tips sadly despite it looking a very inviting place to see them. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Large White - Alver Valley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Green Veined White - Alver Valley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Small White - Alver Valley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

25 Apr 2018

Part II Monks Walk, Gosport. As soon as the rain had gone I did a quick circuit of the area and was very glad that I did! Nine sightings in my earlier walk increased in 60 minutes (1215-1315) to ten. Another first sight of the year was a diminutive Small Copper that landed briefly on the path in front of me! When the rain started again, the elusive Orange-tip finally sat down and tolerated an approach; at last! The count: Holly Blue (1); Speckled Wood (6); Small White (3); Small Copper (1); Large White (F)(1); Peacock (1); Green-veined White (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Orange-Tip (M)(1); Comma (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White (female)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Orange-Tip (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Earlier start @ Monks Wood, Gosport. Following up the tip of a dog-walker, I made an earlier start around the woods and fields here 0940-1050 (when rain stopped play!). The elusive Orange-tip (male) showed-up with a number of whites in view. At last a Large White was available to the camera - a male but the Holly Blue seen was on the wing. Another female Small Tortoiseshell was photographed laying eggs upon nettles so hopefully the summer for this species bodes well in this spot. In the photograph (below) one can see how arched the butterfly's abdomen is in order to place her eggs on the underside of the nettle). Totals this morning were: Orange-tip (M)(1); Comma (3); Green-veined White (3); Speckled Wood (5); Peacock (1); Large White (3); Small Tortoiseshell (F)(1); Small White (3); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White & Orange Tip
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell (female) egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman

24 Apr 2018

Chalton Down 2018 First Visit. Today I visited Chalton Down (SU736156) for the first time this year with the temperature 15 degrees. All four species of butterflies recorded were of the White family and included my first sighting this year of the Green Veined White.

Totals: Brimstone 3M, Green-veined White 1, Orange-tip 1M, Small White 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

23 Apr 2018

Monks Wood, Elson, Gosport. A later visit today (1425-1600) in considerably cooler conditions with cool SW breeze, watery sunshine around 16 degrees C realised a count of seven species. Some really fresh Speckled Wood noted otherwise usual 'suspects' only. Another enthusiast had seen a female Orange-tip but that sighting still eludes me this year! Speckled Wood (6); Peacock (2); Large White (1); Comma (5); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Green-veined White (2); Small White (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Fresh Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman
Slightly ragged Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Noar Hill NNR. Near perfect conditions for butterflies but it soon clouded over. If the Duke was about then it wasn't about to present itself, such a large area it's like looking for a needle in a Haystack. Butterflies on the wing were Orange-tip (7) Brimstone (6) Peacock (2) Small Tortoiseshell (2). [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Bee-fly on Ground Ivy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brimstone
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Noar Hill
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

22 Apr 2018

Ten Up on the Test. My first butterfly walk of the year today on the Test (near the Salmon Leap). Chosen only because we were visiting near by. Perfect day for butterflies and in a two hour stroll around this lovely part of the world I managed 10 species. Firsts for me this year for Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Orange-tip. Only the Speckled Wood really wanted to pose for the camera, the rest being very active in bright sunshine but I couldn't resist including the photo of the Orange-tip. Most of my Orange-tips are invariably busy going somewhere (in a rush), so to find a settled male in lovely warm sunlight and with wings wide open was a real bonus - until I got him in the viewfinder and then you can see for yourself what a sorry state he was in! Just my luck - and I suspect many a photographer reading this can identify with this situation. All that said - a wonderful start to the 'season' - just hope this weather holds and we can catch up a bit after a very cold early spring [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Speckled Wood - Lower Test
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Orange Tip - Lower Test
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Speckled Wood - Lower Test
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

21 Apr 2018

Martin Down Nature Reserve (North) and (South). Martin Down (North) from 1150-1320, 20 degrees C, high white clouds but warm. Brimstone (M)(6)(F)(5); Peacock (6). Martin Down (South) from 1345-1500, sunny periods but getting cooler. Brimstone (M)(7)(F)(4); Peacock (3); Small White (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1). A very disappointing visit. I estimate that nature is at least 3-4 weeks behind parts of the South Coast with even daffodils still out! Only early Spring butterflies seen and then in very spare numbers. This winter's toll on the exposed hills and downlands has been severe. However, the first cuckoo of the year was heard. [Posted by Francis Plowman & Kitt Wills]

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Daffodil by Kitt
Photo © Francis Plowman & Kitt Wills
Brimstone (Female) (KW)
Photo © Francis Plowman & Kitt Wills
Cowslip (KW)
Photo © Francis Plowman & Kitt Wills

20 Apr 2018

Hook Village towards Warsash. Today a.m.

A beautiful sunny morning so we embarked on a walk from Hook to the shore hoping for a sighting of an Orange-tip ...

We were delighted to find 3 males, one on cuckooflower. I was too slow to grab a photo, of course.

Along the way we also had sightings of 2 Holly Blue, one on a patch of muddy car track. Other sightings included: Comma 1; Peacock 5; Small White 2; Brimstone 2 males; Speckled Wood 4. A later stroll from Cowes Lane produced a Peacock and 3 further Speckled Wood and an Orange-tip male.

A thoroughly enjoyable walk. [Posted by Geoff Jones]

Gosport - 3-Site Comparisons. Browndown Coastal Area (Elmore) 1140-1200. Full sun, 20 deg C: Peacock (2); Small Tortoiseshell (1). Gorse apart, very little blossom about. With the red flag flying reinforced by the sound of gunfire a wander through Browndown South was out. Thus, Alver Valley (East of the River) 1200-1252, full sun, hardly a breeze, 22 deg C: Speckled Wood (1); Peacock (7); Small White (2); Comma (3); Brimstone (M)(1). A lot of invasive ground works have impacted this area with a paved car park, vast BMX arena and nearby play-area with smaller BMX track; the latter having taken-out the habitat of an established Holly Blue area. Monks Walk 1300-1400, full sun, 24 deg C: Brimstone (M)(2); Peacock (4); Small White (3); Speckled Wood (2); Large White (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Green-veined White (2); Comma (1). This area remains substantially wild with very little intrusive 'maintenance' by the council ie conservative conservation; it's a winning formula judging by the variety of butterflies, birds, mammals eg badger, fox, grey squirrels and deer that populate this very small patch of urban nature. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Tortoiseshell aggressively patrols the nettles
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacocks takes a breather!
Photo © Francis Plowman

19 Apr 2018

Fire and Brimstones at Havant Thicket. Having arrived home from a visit to Cornwall, I visited Havant Thicket (SU7110) during this mini heat wave, where the temperature reached 27 degrees. I walked a complete circuit of the site, where a staggering total of 35 Brimstones were seen. I also recorded my first of the year Orange-tips and a Comma.

Totals: Brimstone 20M 15F, Orange-tip 2M, Comma 1, Peacock 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

3 more first of year sightings North Baddesley. First of the year sightings 6 Orange-tip,2 Holly Blue,1 Green-veined White. Also 32 Brimstone,19 Peacocks,11 Small Tortoiseshell,5 Comma 2 Small White. All seen today on my own butterfly reserve at North Baddesley. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

Large White and Green-veined Whites. Cromarty Rd Pond Fields, Southampton. My first Large White and 2 Green-veined Whites for me today here. Also 1 Holly Blue and a Speckled Wood. Plus some super weather at last! [Posted by Jason Claxton]

Monks Walk in the Sunshine!. It reached 24 degrees C during the three-hours' wander this afternoon under perfectly clear skies, barely a breeze and extremely warm indeed; at last! Yesterday's sighting of 8 species was matched today although there was a switch, Holly Blue turning-up - my first sighting of the year. The Green-veined White's noted on 18th April have wasted no time and a mating pair was photographed precariously balanced at the top of a small sapling in bud. Today's count: Brimstone (2)(M); Peacock (9); Small White (5); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Holly Blue (1) (on the wing); Speckled Wood (3); Green-veined White (3) including mating pair; Comma (4). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Find the camouflaged Peacock!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman

Micheldever Woods Field Trip. Today was the start of the field trip season, and to start with weather like this! However because the season is about two weeks behind many species were still not on the wing here. However the Bluebells didn't disappoint, although some of these were not in full bloom. I was surprised at how dry the wood was, with all the rain we have had of late. Good clumps of Primroses were seen, and the Beech trees were just about to break out into bud. On the butterfly front the following species were seen:Peacock (2) Brimstone (25) Orange-tip (2) first of the season for myself and Comma (2) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Bluebells in Micheldever Woods
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The First Class of 2018
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Comma
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

18 Apr 2018

8 Up! Monks Walk, Gosport. The hot sunshine between noon and 3 pm today (22.5 deg C) in the glades and woodland edges encouraged more butterflies to emerge. Green-veined White and Large White appeared - my first sightings of 2018. Totals seen: Small White (4); Large White (1); Green-veined White (2); Peacock (5); Comma (6); Speckled Wood (2); Brimstone (M)(1)(F)(1); Small Tortoiseshell (1). A beautiful fox was again seen outside its den. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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green-veined White
Photo © Francis Plowman
Seen any Peacocks foxy?
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

Northington Down. A Holly Blue, my first of the season, flew past me on a glorious sunny afternoon. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

Fort Widley (Portsdown Hill). In near perfect conditions today visited one of my favourite areas on Portsdown Hill the area surrounding Fort Widley. Despite the good weather some species are still a bit shy of flying. I noted no Orange-tips or Holly Blue,yet but I managed to see a really fresh Speckled Wood. Other counts were of course Brimstone male and females on the wing (25) Green-veined White (1) Small Tortoiseshell (2) Comma (1) Small White (1). There are good clumps of Cowslips now on the Northern side of Fort Widley, if only it was a bit more scrubby! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Speckled Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Cowslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Hawthorn
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

17 Apr 2018

Speckled Wood @ Monks Walk, Gosport. It's always satisfying to set-out to find a particular species of butterfly and succeed. It was about time the Speckled Wood put in an appearance and eventually a fresh and pristine example was found. Sadly my clumsy arrival in size 10-large wellies quickly put it into a nearby tree from which it refused to budge. From 1400-1515 under white clouds, strong south-easterly breeze but with the temperature standing at 18 deg C the following were active today: Comma (6); Speckled Wood (1); Peacock (7); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Small White (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Close-up Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Distant Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman
Sleepy Small White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Chelveston Cresent, Southampton. Speckled Wood. Pleased to see my first Speckled Wood of the spring! Along a hedge at the back of Chelveston Cresent,off of Lord's Hill Centre East. Butterflies responding to some better weather at last. [Posted by Jason Claxton]

16 Apr 2018

Magdalen Hill Down, first visit of the year. Despite the weather, which was supposed to be sunny spells but turned out to be cold, cloudy, windy and even rain, I did manage to see a single butterfly! Fortunately a Small Tortoiseshell still braved the weather and settled long enough to get a quick shot.

The Skylarks were in full song and we saw serveral scaling to great hights with their beautiful song. Also had a pleasant chat with Jayne Chapman who was doing some planting work.

No sign of Green Hairstreaks yet but not surprised regarding the weather also no Orange-tips yet. Still had an enjoyable walk from 9.45 - 12pm even though we only saw 1 butterfly. [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Tracy Piper

14 Apr 2018

Pennington. When the mist finally rolled back around midday, and the sun came out, there were a few butterflies on the wing. Up to four Peacocks, a Comma and at least two Green-veined White. The day total was completed by Brimstone seen along Lymore lane in the late afternoon.

http://www.awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.uk [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Peacock
Photo © Chris Rose
Comma
Photo © Chris Rose
Green-veined White
Photo © Chris Rose

Rownhams butterflies. A short walk round Rownhams yielded a Small White, a Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Brimstones, 3 Commas and 6 Peacocks. Spring has finally arrived. [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Comma
Photo © Sue Lambert
Peacock
Photo © Sue Lambert
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Sue Lambert

Northington Down. In warm sunshine there were a number of butterflies on the wing, including Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone (male) and my first sighting of an Orange-tip this year. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

St Catherine's Hill, Winchester. With the first warm day of the spring a trip to St Catherines Hill to do the second transect of the year only a Peacock and one Brimstone seen. On the way back to car park two male Orange-tips seen. [Posted by chris piatkiewicz]

Cromarty Road Pond Fields, Southampton. Holly Blues. 2 Holly Blue butterflies here today, were the first I've seen this year. Plus 1 Small White. 6 Brimstone (5m 1f). 3 Comma. 2 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Red Admiral . A murky start turned out into a fine day. The first of the blues being seen at around 11.20am. [Posted by Jason Claxton]

Amazing butterfly day in North Baddesley. the following butterflies were seen here on my own butterfly reserve in North Baddesley today;in excess of 100 Brimstones only about 5% were females,44 Peacocks,39 Small Tortoiseshells,2 Small Whites? (cannot confirm exact species as they did not stop) and 1 Comma. Amazing considering none was seen here yesterday and virtually no nectar available yet. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

11 Apr 2018

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Between 1415-1555 today in generally warm conditions (circa 15 deg C) but with the ground thoroughly soaked I recorded: Brimstone (M)(1) - on the wing; Peacock (9); Comma (10); Small White (M)(2); Small Tortoiseshell (4). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Peacock on a Daisy
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell, fresh
Photo © Francis Plowman

Anson Grove /Portchester Common/Milton Allotment. A break in the miserable weather welcomed another good count of the Brimstone (12) up on Portchester Common and Portsdown Hill, all being males so far. Also at Anson Grove there were Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, and Small Whites on the wing.

After I got back from here in the late afternoon sunshine at Milton Allotments my local patch and it was very warm by this time. Small Tortoiseshell's were well on the wing with (10) being noted in the Common Nettles, and several were pairing up. (5) Peacock's were also noted, along with my first Comma of the year, and several Small Whites.

Spring has sprung! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Photo © Ashley WhitlockPhoto © Ashley WhitlockPhoto © Ashley Whitlock

06 Apr 2018

Signs of Spring in the New Forest area. Male Brimstone in Lymington and Red Admiral in our garden in Sway in sunshine. [Posted by Tony Blakeley]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Two hours 1255-1455 today was rewarded with five butterfly species that despite the stiff easterly breeze were prominent and especially active in sheltered spots. Four Peacock's lifted as one and ascended in an ungainly tumble - so I guess at least one was a female! The egg-laying Small Tortoiseshell of yesterday was conspicuous by her absence leaving her solitary mate hanging-on in hope of finding another female. Thursday's tattered Red Admiral was not found either. However, another female Small White was noted today. Peacock (6); Comma (4); Brimstone (M)(3); Small Tortoiseshell (1) (prob. male); Small White (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell (prob. male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White (female)
Photo © Francis Plowman

05 Apr 2018

Havant Thicket. Today I paid a visit to Havant Thicket (SU7110) walking the main track and into Bell's Copse. I saw a total of 5 Brimstones, all male, one of which landed long enough for me to get a few photos. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

First Comma, North Baddesley. First Comma of the year seen on my own butterfly reserve in North Baddesley today.also 7 Brimstones,2 Peacock,5 Small Tortoiseshell and first adult lizard. [Posted by kevin ross]

Six-up @ Monks Walk, Gosport. The last butterflies recorded here was 5 species on 26 March. Today between 1120-1410 I recirculated the area not in any anticipation given the awful weather over the last 10 days; my fears quickly proved groundless. Although much of the area remains a quagmire the resilient butterflies have made it back into the Spring sunshine. Indeed, I was taken by the peculiar behaviour of one Small Tortoiseshell; it wanted to hang off nettles rather than bask upon them. I soon realised that it was an egg-laying female; another Small Tortoiseshell close by displayed usual behaviour, basking in the sunshine, so perhaps this was the male? So that was a pleasant first for me. My first female Brimstone of the year came into view after watching a male drop down beside her; bringing the camera up slowly, out of the air alighted a Comma which promptly scared off the male Brimstone! I got quite excited by my first sighting of a Small White, a female that was feeding hungrily on dandelion. Great fun. The final tally today: Brimstone (M)(2); (F)(1); Peacock (4); Small Tortoiseshell (2)(1F); Comma (4); Red Admiral (1); Small White (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Tortoisehell egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman
Over 30 eggs on this small nettle
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White female
Photo © Francis Plowman

What a difference a year makes!. Visited Portsdown Hill today and walked most of my old transect route, despite very good weather, the only species seen today was the Brimstone. At least a dozen or more male Brimstone's being on the wing, and when it was cooler when the wind got up and the sun disappeared behind a few clouds in the morning, I found the Brimstone roosting on leaves in sheltered spots which gave me ample opportunity for a photo or two and really study these delightful butterflies, as they are usually very flighty in sunny weather.

Looking back through my records for this time last year, same weather warm and sunny but (6) species on the wing including Orange-tip and Speckled Wood, what a difference a year makes! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Brimstone roosts on a leaf
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Another perches on a branch
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Dog Violet
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Alresford. A Small Tortoiseshell butterfly was basking on a sunny doorstep in Broad Street, mid-morning, market day in Alresford. [Posted by Robert Bryant]


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