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

News Archive for Aug 2018

19 Aug 2018

first ever Grayling, North Baddesley. First Grayling ever seen on my butterfly reserve in North Baddesley today. Also Meadow Brown,Common Blue,Holly Blue,Small Tortoiseshell,Comma,Red Admiral, Brown Argus,Speckled Wood,Small White,Large White,Green-veined White,Silver Y moth. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin Ross

18 Aug 2018

Portsdown Hill and Fort Widley. Visited the East end of Portsdown Hill (SU657063) today where the temperature was 20 degrees. Several Whites were flying with a few battered Meadow Browns and Common Blues. Totals: Large White 6, Small White 11, Common Blue 6M 1F, Meadow Brown 5, Speckled Wood 1.

Across the road at Fort Widley (SU657066) very little was flying, Large White 1, Small White 8, Common Blue 1M. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Perham Ranges Field Trip. The weather today probably accounted for a small turnout today, however despite this we had a very good field trip over the Perham Ranges. This is an Army range, and as such has been untouched, and most of the meadows have many ant hills, suggesting they have never been ploughed, also many miles of Blackthorn Thickets and good Oak and Beech stands.There is also some good downland with some very short turf, however because of the weather we never saw the Silver-spotted Skipper or the Brown Hairstreak, if the weather had been good I suggest we would have seen both of these species. The treat today was to see three not one or two but three Wall Brown butterflies. They were in a meadow and were quite obliging for a photograph or two. I think they may well be making a small comeback dare I say it! These were the first 'inland' Wall Browns I had seen for at least 20 years! Other treats were excellent counts of Brown Argus arguably my species of 2018 also great numbers of Small Heath; some sites are struggling but they are in excellent numbers here. Id like to thank John for his leadership skills today and the other field trippers who I'd never been with before which made for an interesting day. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Wall Brown
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Wall Brown
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

17 Aug 2018

Ovipositing Brown Hairstreak At Noar Hill. I had not so far had much cooperation this season from Brown Hairstreaks, during my visits to find them, so it was a welcome change to see 3 females at Noar Hill around midday today. All were in the same area, close to the 'stone circle' on the Charity Farm side of the reserve, flitting amongst light scrub (which included young blackthorn), perching, basking, briefly diving off into nearly bushes and in at least one case, ovipositing. A return to the area less than an hour later found that 'all was quiet' on the hairstreak front. Two of the individuals had some wing lacerations/damage but one seemed to be close to immaculate. One of the photos below shows a 'freshly laid' egg. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Brown Hairstreak (Ovum)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Brown Hairstreak (Female)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Brown Hairstreak (Female)
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Noar Hill NNR. A look around in almost perfect conditions at Noar Hill today but there was very little on offer in the Brown Hairstreak species. They haven't done very well here this season, so finding any would be a treat. I managed to see three, two males and one female. The biggest surprise was to see two Silver-washed Fritillary, still on the wing looking very battered but still feeding on the Hemp Agrimony. The best counts today by far were the Common Blue, very common they were everywhere, closely followed by the Small Heath, Holly Blue some excellent counts today two or three flying together which is quite rare, and then the Brown Argus. Used to see the Clouded Yellow on this site but I haven't seen one now for a few years. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Common Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Heath
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

15 Aug 2018

Moth Trap Wickham. I was out last night with a couple of friends who helped with a Moth trap on a private site close to Wickham. The site is a vast wooded area with good meadows and I left it on over night and came back this morning to have a look. Unfortunately it must have been close to a Hornets nest, as there was well over thirty odd Hornets caught in the trap. This must have obviously put a lot of the moths off from visiting the trap. However we did have a few interesting specimens, highlights were , August Thorn, Copper Underwing, Smokey Wainscot, Small Angle Shades, Sharp Angled Peacock. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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August Thorn
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Copper Underwing
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Sharp angled Peacock
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

14 Aug 2018

Old Winchester Hill. Today I visited Old Winchester Hill in the early afternoon. The weather was not ideal with cloud and a strong Westerly wind, the temperature reaching 18 degrees. I walked over to the hill fort and then along the top path missing the lower slopes and car park slope which was in the direct blast of the wind. No Adonis Blues or Silver Spotted Skippers were seen in the conditions, but still nine species were recorded. Totals: Large White 1, Small White 13, Chalk Hill Blue 3M, Common Blue 11M 3F, Gatekeeper 3, Meadow Brown 19, Small Heath 5, Speckled Wood 1, Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Chalton Down. This afternoon I visited Chalton Down on my way home from Noar Hill, where the temperature was 23 degrees. On the downs, numbers of Chalk Hill Blues were decreasing not helped by the low rabbit population here in recent years. Other species found in good numbers were Large White 1, Small Whites, Meadow Browns and Common Blues. Totals: Small White 14, Chalk Hill Blue 46M 5F, Common Blue 15M 5F, Gatekeeper 1, Meadow Brown 18, Small Heath 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Noar Hill. Visited Noar Hill this morning, where the temperature was 23 degrees to look once more for Brown Hairstreaks. Still none were to be seen. After about half an hour heavy cloud appeared so I returned to my car for 45 minutes, until the sun reappeared. A few second brood Small Blues were seen along with fresh Common Blues and two Silver-washed Frillarys. One was quite fresh looking, the other very ragged and faded. Totals: Large White 12, Small White 16, Common Blue 29M 3F, Small Blue 3, Gatekeeper 2, Meadow Brown 24, Small Heath 7, Speckled Wood 8, Silver-washed Fritillary 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Wall Brown in Emsworth. I was walking around Nore Barn in Emsworth when I came across a Wall Brown butterfly; it is the first time I have seen this species. [Posted by Brian Lawrence]

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Wall brown butterfly
Photo © Brian Lawrence

Old Winchester Hill NNR (Car-park slope). I was out at the crack of dawn today with the sun just peering over the top of the downs as this was the only sun I was going to see as by 0930 a front had come in and it was completely cloudy. However despite this I had some good records today, Silver-spotted Skipper (30) Clouded Yellow (1) first of the year... Adonis Blue (12) all males, most have just emerged, the Chalk Hill Blue was countless many engaged in mating on the short turf area, hundreds.. well probably thousands. This year has been one of the best for the Brown Argus, it has done extremely well. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Clouded Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Adonis Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

11 Aug 2018

Old Winchester Hill NNR. The weather was back into the old routine today fine and sunny one minute then clouded over with a stiff breeze at times. The counts of many of the species was probably hampered by this especially the sun loving Silver-spotted Skipper. Today I only looked at the fort slope facing south-west and here I just managed to clock up double figures (10). The Adonis Blue was on the wing but I think these have only just emerged, with a count of (7). Excellent counts of Brown Argus, and Small Heath, with great numbers of Common Blue. Many of the Chalk Hill Blues are now looking a bit worn. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Freshly emerged male Adonis Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

08 Aug 2018

Martin Down.. After all the hot days I visited Martin Down today (1045-1430) in bright but very breezy cool conditions making photography tricky to say the least! I noted the following species, Adonis Blue (2nd brood) 6, Clouded Yellow 1, Common Blue 34, Chalk Hill Blue 12, Brown Argus 8, Small White 18, Large White 14, Small Tortoishell 1, Small Heath 30, Meadow Brown 9, Gatekeeper 6, numerous Silver Y moths and the tiny Lime-speck Pug. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Adonis Blue
Photo © Mark Pike
Clouded Yellow
Photo © Mark Pike
Lime-speck Pug
Photo © Mark Pike

Adonis Blue Take Wing On St Catherine's Hill. The summer brood of Adonis Blue are on the wing at St Catherine's Hill, near Winchester. I saw 5 males (including two very fresh ones) on the lower levels of the south-facing slope, during a visit this afternoon. The Adonis were still greatly outnumbered by Chalk Hill Blues. No Silver-spotted Skippers were seen during my visit, noting the sighting two weeks ago. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Adonis Blue (male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Adonis Blue (male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury

07 Aug 2018

Noar Hill. Today I visited a hot and sunny Noar Hill where the temperature reached 26 degrees. I was hoping to spot a Brown Hairstreak, but none was seen. Several Whites, along with Browns and Common Blues were seen as well as a few worn Silver-washed Fritillarys and single Small Blue and Gatekeeper. Totals: Large White 13, Small White 10, Common Blue 13M 2F, Small Blue 1, Gatekeeper 1, Meadow Brown 17, Small Heath 8, Speckled Wood 9, Silver-washed Fritillary 5. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

In our garden at Leigh Park. A Painted Lady was nectaring on one of our budliea bushes in our garden at Leigh Park this morning and a Humming-bird Hawk-moth made a brief visit during the afternoon. [Posted by Barry and Margaret]

Beacon Hill impromptu Field Trip. Today was to get some idea of how the Silver-spotted Skipper was faring at Beacon Hill. Unfortunately in that task I was sadly let down by this species. Either the species isn't out yet, or they still haven't got a foot hold here again. There are some good areas of short turf where they certainly could breed, and large scrapes, where the top soil has been taken off to reveal the chalk underneath. One of my Field Trippers did espy one but unfortunately it was so fast and furious flying through the area. I shall be re-visiting the site again next week and look at a totally new area facing south-east where the sward looks really short. However despite this today I managed to count the highest of the Brown Argus, which were everywhere, Common Blue really lived up to its name as well and the Small Heath was very common. It was good to see the Dark-green Fritillary still hanging on as well. The best was the two Robber Flies mating. I first saw them on some cattle dung but they moved onto a bush just right for a quick picture, but what fascinating creatures!

Thank you for everybody that turned up very short but enjoyable as it was still too hot walk around for too long.. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Heath very common today
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Best count of Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Robber Flies
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

06 Aug 2018

Shipton Bellinger. Paid my first ever visit today from 0945-1330 and noted the following species, Brown Hairstreak 8, Speckled Wood 12, Holly Blue 16, Painted Lady 1, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Large White 5, Meadow Brown 14, Common Blue 10, Brown Argus 2, Gatekeeper 8. It was far and away the most Holly Blues I have seen in one area! [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Brown Hairstreak (female)
Photo © Mark Pike
Brown Hairstreak (males)
Photo © Mark Pike
Holly Blue (egglaying)
Photo © Mark Pike

Old Winchester Hill. We had a walk around Old Winchester Hill today from 1030 to 1400 and recorded 14 species the highlights were as follows. Chalk Hill Blue 1000+, Silver-spotted Skipper 50+, Brown Argus 4, Brimstone 1m, Gatekeeper 1, Red Admiral 5, Painted Lady 1, Clouded Yellow 4, Humming-bird Hawk-moth 4 and 3 Red Kites foraging over a field nearby.

On arriving back home we found a male Roesel's Bush Cricket resting on our kitchen window. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

Tiger in our garden in Sway. A fine Jersey Tiger moth in our garden in Sway. [Posted by Tony Blakeley]

05 Aug 2018

Silver-spotted Skippers at St.Catherine's Hill. Linda and I took a trip to St. Catherine's Hill on Sunday, and had our best ever tally of Silver-spotted Skippers, with 21 seen on the lower and mid slopes. On a typical year we usually see c.5 on a visit, so to see so many is particularly encouraging, for what is the only known breeding colony for this species in central Hampshire. Other highlights included 66 Chalk Hill Blues, 36 Common Blue, 14 Brown Argus and 2 Adonis Blues, and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Silver-spotted skipper (in landscape)
Photo © Andy Barker
Silver-spotted skipper (close-up)
Photo © Andy Barker

Oxenbourne Down. I visited from about 11.30 to 2.30 during the heat of a hot day. The commonest butterfly was Chalk Hill Blue, which were everywhere, both male and female, several hundred. I counted 16 Silver-spotted Skippers, initially a little difficult to spot, they were sitting still on small branches and then suddenly flying off at high speed. A few were feeding on flowers and gave very good views. Otherwise about 50 Common Blue, 20 Small Heaths, 20 Gatekeeper, 20 plus Meadow Browns, some Brown Argus, 2 Silver Y moths and Large Whites. [Posted by Gerard Fordham]

Ackender/Bushy Lease Wood (Alton) August 2018. On another very hot day, I spent the afternoon in Ackender Wood, Alton.

A total of 6 Silver-washed Fritillaries were on the wing, most showing significant wear. As evidence of the early end to the season, there were no Ringlets or Skippers and very few (3) Meadow Browns. Colour was provided by 3 Holly Blues. One Southern Hawker was patrolling a ride, while a loose group of six were in a sheltered corner of a field.

Highlight was two female Sabre Wasps. With long antennae and a very long oviposter these give an initial dragonfly-like jizz. They were exploring conifer logs in a wood pile in Bushy Lease wood. [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Silver Washed Fritillary, Ackender Wood, Alton
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Sabre Wasp, Bushy Lease Wood, Alton
Photo © Steve Mansfield

Broughton Down NNR. This is a site I've only just visited for the first time in nearly 40 years I've always threatened to go there , but as I've got a field Trip here in just a week I thought I would do some forward planning in such glorious weather. The site I was very impressed with and has large areas of very short turf, which is ideal for the lovely Silver-spotted Skipper which were 'buzzing' all over the site. I counted a 'conservative' estimate of (65) but I know there were hundreds here today, they were flying at some parts in threes and fours! Other good counts came from Common Blue (100)+ Dark Green Fritillary (2) Small Heath (30) Adonis Blue (1) Brown Argus (20). (15) species of butterfly and moth were observed on the downland. I must go there in the spring....! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Silver-Spotted Skipper male
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus male and female (rejection )
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Broughton Down NNR
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Keyhaven - No Wall Browns. I don't often put negative news on here but on this occasion it might be helpful. Encouraged by single sightings of Wall butterflies at Shipton Bellinger and Titchfield Haven recently I decided to try what I thought might be their last stronghold in SE Hampshire at Keyhaven. I also visited Dorset just a short distance down the coast a week ago and had no trouble finding Wall there. I made a circuit of the Ancient Highway and the sea wall and just in case I got there a little too early walked back on myself so effectively did most of the circuit twice! And sadly with no luck. It must be 3-4 years since I was here and I could almost guarantee second generation Wall on the Ancient Highway in particular but in what must be perfect conditions, not a sign today. In fact there were very few butterflies about - I only saw both Whites, Small Heath, Meadow Browns and a few faded Gatekeepers (that raised the pulse as one in particular settled on the gravel path!). It would be a huge shame if they have gone from this patch - I suppose I might have been a little late (in this unusual season) so fingers crossed if anyone else decides to try (or perhaps with the 3rd generation if there is one). Disappointing regarding the Wall - beautiful place to be on a lovely sunny day though. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

04 Aug 2018

latest sightings inc wasp spider in North Baddesley. Latest sightings on my own butterfly reserve at North Baddesley.first wasp spider seen anywhere this year.Meadow Brown 42, Ringlet 3,Common Blue 15,Holly Blue 11,Gatekeeper 29,Small White 42,Large White 5,Green-veined White 2,Small Tortoiseshell 1,Red Admiral 1,Purple Hairstreak 5,Brown Argus 1,Peacock 3,Painted Lady 1,Silver-washed Fritillary 5,Comma 5,Speckled Wood 7,Silver Y Moth 15. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin Ross

Monster year for Common Blue at Pitt Down. I recorded 89 Common Blue on the Pitt Down transect today, compared to 35 for the whole of 2017 - they were everywhere. Also a Silver-washed Fritillary female Valezina, but not a single Gatekeeper - they seem to be disappearing fast. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

Portsdown. My fourth loop around Top Field this week produced a minimum Count of 147 Common Blue, previous highest count was 80 on Friday. Single Chalk Hill Blue male(single female seen Friday).Meadow Brown in much decreased numbers today but still many silver Y disturbed from the flower rich grassland. [Posted by Peter Gammage]

03 Aug 2018

Alton - dwarf Common Blues and Clouded Yellow. A walk around the south of Alton on 3 August started on a small patch of chalk download flowers in my Alton garden, where my wife spotted a very small butterfly. It was the size of a Small Blue - however closer inspection revealed it to be a tiny Common Blue. We then found a second, and a male Common Blue was also present.

Along the Caker Stream in Omega Park industrial estate in Alton, we found another particularly small butterfly - this time a Green-veined White. The same site held 6 male and 3 female Common Blues, and a single Meadow Brown. Very few Meadow Browns were seen all day - clearly they have finished early this year. Also present here were 3 Common Darter and 3 Ruddy Darter.

A Clouded Yellow was in an adjacent weedy field (SU728392).

Also surprisingly lacking were butterflies on Buddleia, of which there is plenty. A single Small Tortoiseshell was the only one of note, bar whites. [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Very small Common Blue female, Alton 3 August 2018
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Common Blue pair. Alton 3 August 2018
Photo © Steve Mansfield

02 Aug 2018

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. After visiting the East end of Portsdown Hill and with the temperature increasing to 24 degrees, I visited Paulsgrove Chalk Pit (SU6306) to search for the second brood Small Blues. I managed to see only 3, although numbers of Common Blues were good. Totals: Large White 1, Small White 14, Common Blue 18M 3F, Small Blue 3, Gatekeeper 1, Meadow Brown 19. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Portsdown Hill and Fort Widley. Today I visited the East end of Portsdown Hill (SU657063) and Fort Widley (SU657066). The temperature was 21 degrees. On the track along the ridge above Queen Alexandra Hospital many Small Whites were seen with Meadow Browns and a few Speckled Woods. A single Small Blue and a male Chalk Hill Blue were seen, but a surprise was an active Clouded Yellow fly past. Totals: Small White 19, Clouded Yellow 1, Chalk Hill Blue 1m, Common Blue 4M, Small Blue 1, Meadow Brown 10, Speckled Wood 4.

At Fort Widley (SU657066) the grass was high with just 5 of the more common species recorded. Totals: Small White 10, Common Blue 6M 1F, Gatekeeper 2, Meadow Brown 6, Speckled Wood 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

North Browndown Heathland. I decided to look at the site which has been in the news lately with the spate of heathland fires, and they have done an enormous amount of damage, but fortunately my quarry was still in evidence in some parts of the heathland where it has recovered from heathland fires a few years ago. I saw at least (17) Graylings mainly males, and in one area they weren't hard to find...they were very hard to photograph. Waiting until you had got into position, and then they were off, fortunately they didn't fly too far away, and once they got used to your presence then they became quite tame. On heathland there isn't a lot of invertebrates to see especially with the heat and the dryness of the undergrowth and lack of flowering plants. I saw (8) butterfly species and (1) moth the lovely Jersey Tiger Moth. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Fantastic camouflage.....
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Jersey Tiger Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
North Browndown heathland fire areas
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

01 Aug 2018

Oxenbourne Down. Today I visited Oxenbourne Down (SU716183) where the temperature was 22 degrees. Many hundreds of Chalk Hill Blues were flying, all males, although I did note one female. Numbers of Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were decreasing and I was pleased to see my first Silver Spotted Skippers this year, a total of 5 recorded. Totals: Brimstone 2M 1F, Small White 11, Chalk Hill Blue 100+M 1F, Common Blue 3m, Small Copper 1, Gatekeeper 13, Meadow Brown 20, Silver Washed Fritillary 1, Small Heath 7, Small Skipper 1, Silver-spotted Skipper 5. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


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