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

News Archive for Apr 2019

21 Apr 2019

Dingy Skippers, Small Heath and a Duchess take wing In Rake Bottom. A walk along Rake Bottom with Butser Hill towering above, produced a decent crop of species during this afternoon’s heat, including two season firsts for me. Close to the valley floor, Dingy Skippers (5) and a Small Heath (1) had now joined the Grizzled Skippers (10), which have been out for at least a few days. Perhaps the highlight however, was saved for later - a fresh Duke of Burgundy, or more precisely a Duchess, flitted along in front of me as I neared the exit gate, briefly landing on vegetation along the way. Other species seen during my walk included Orange-tip, Brimstone, Peacock and Comma. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Duke of Burgundy (female)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Small Heath
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Clouded Yellow debut in Portchester. Seen at Castle Shore Park, Portchester, at 10 am today, one Clouded Yellow flying north with customary urgency. First cuckoo later heard at Longstock. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. From 1250-1430 nine butterflies were found across the fields, woods and clearings of Monks Walk today. Under full sunshine with the temperature at 23.5 degrees C and barely a breeze we saw: Orange-tip (M)(2); Peacock (9); Speckled Wood (15); Holly Blue (1); Small White (5); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Brimstone (M)(1); Comma (1); Large White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock on dandelion
Photo © Francis Plowman

Gosport - Beside the Sea!. 'Oh I do like to be beside the seaside'...... but two pretty fruitless trips to record:

Haslar Sea-Wall Car Park Scrub. (1145-1200) with the temperature at 23 degrees C: Holly Blue (1) - on the wing. That's that!

Gilkicker Point. (1205-1245). Small White (5); Small Copper (1); Peacock (1). The Small Copper was found on very dry and rubble-strewn earth but a very fresh specimen. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down. A bit of a disappointment today as the Duke was absent, although this is a slightly later site. However its breeding area is much reduced with Gorse and there is very little Cowslip of note. That unmentionable 'M' word springs to mind, and if this isn't rectified soon then we may lose it from this site. There were Grizzled Skippers on the wing, Small Copper, plenty of Brimstones and Orange-tips as well. One Green Hairstreak and one Holly Blue. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Grizzled Skipper feeding on Ground Ivy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brimstone making like a leaf
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Copper keeping territory
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

20 Apr 2019

Fresh Common Blue in Old Basing. A lovely fresh Common Blue flew low across Old Basing Recreation Ground while the Archers were practising on Saturday morning in the glorious spring sunshine. 51°16'35.2"N 1°02'33.0"W. [Posted by Andrew Hutchison]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. The hottest walk of the year so far for me (25.5C) evidently suited the butterflies and took the sightings' count into double figures for the first time in 2019. Between 1500-1645 eleven species were recorded, all the usual 'suspects' for this time of the year but nice to see them all in one walk! Peacock (9); Speckled Wood (18); Orange-tip (M)(2); Small White (7); Brimstone (M)(1)(F)(1); Holly Blue (1); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Green-veined White (2); Comma (3); Large White (2); Red Admiral (1). The Small Copper earlier recorded on 11th and 14th April appears to have gone. Two lovely foxes sighted together at rest. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

Noar Hill. The Duke of Burgundy is now well out at Noar Hill and today my wife Jackie and I counted at least (15) on the wing, all males except for one female which was hiding a top of a Cowslip. Dry conditions have made many of the Cowslips quite stunted, and the Early Purple Orchids are just starting to show. This with other Meon Valley sites makes this the earliest recorded Dukes since records began when the odd one's emerged at the end of March. Other recorded butterflies were many Orange-tips and Brimstones, many of which were pairing up, Holly Blues and Speckled Wood and Peacock.

There were plenty of Blackcaps and Warblers giving us a song as we walked around. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Duke of Burgundy on Cowslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
A thorny issue for this Green Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male at rest after a chase in its territory
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

19 Apr 2019

Martin Down.. My first visit this year to Martin Down from 10.00-13.00 was pretty poor despite the hot sunny conditions with only a light breeze. The rather mediocre count, apart from Brimstone 27, was Grizzled Skipper 2, Orange-tip 6, Green-veined White 1, Peacock 12, Speckled Wood 8, Green Hairstreak 1, Holly Blue 1 and one Marsh Fritillary caterpillar. The Speckled Wood in the image appears to have been skewered but it took flight soon after the pic was taken so all was well! [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Mark Pike
Marsh Fritillary Caterpillar
Photo © Mark Pike
Skewered Speckled Wood!
Photo © Mark Pike

Wall butterfly, Steephill Cove, Ventnor. 1 seen this morning in the bright sunshine. [Posted by Daniel Moden]

18 Apr 2019

Butterflies at Lordshill. There were lots of butterflies at Cromarty Road/Bakers Drove area: 4 Brimstones, 2 Orange-tip, Comma, 4 Speckled Wood, Small White, Holly Blue, Green-veined White and 4 Peacock. [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Comma
Photo © Sue Lambert
Holly Blue
Photo © Sue Lambert
Brimstone female
Photo © Sue Lambert

Old Winchester Hill. With the temperature around 20 degrees Celsius at lunch-time there was every prospect of an interesting walk around OWH. From 1330-1445 just five species were recorded: Brimstone (M)(29)(F)(6); Peacock 4; Small White (1); Orange-tip (M)(1);(F)(1); Red Admiral. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip female
Photo © Francis Plowman

17 Apr 2019

Noar Hill 17th April. A visit to Noar Hill this morning: Numbers of Orange-tips and Brimstones seen, plus a Holly Blue. However, the highlight was a male and a female Duke Of Burgundy seen quite close to each other. Photos attached. [Posted by Dave Miller]

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Duke of Burgundy (m) Noar Hill 17/4/19
Photo © Dave Miller
Duke of Bugundy (f) Noar Hill 17/4/19
Photo © Dave Miller

Alver Valley Country Park, Gosport. A forty-five minutes walk from just after 2pm was enough given the unfavourable conditions around the fields and paths east of the River Alver. The temperature was around 14 degrees but an ever thickening mist covered the sun and, worse, nearer to the sea the easterly breeze was very cool. Thus to the discordant accompaniment of sundry fog-horns of vessels negotiating The Solent and the hullabaloo of hardy teenagers launching themselves into Gosport's only river, the following butterflies were identified: Speckled Wood (3); Orange-tip (M)(2); Peacock (8); Small White (5); Brimstone (M)(1); Comma (2); Small Tortoiseshell (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Orange-tip male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. The milky sunshine put the temperature up to 14 degrees Celsius for the two hours from noon when I checked-in with the local butterflies. Virtually no breeze today. Species were almost doubled from two days ago and numbers of butterflies were up. It was lovely to come across a fox sunning itself and it wasn't bothered at having its photograph taken! Had it not been for the absence of Small Copper today's count would have reached doubled figures. I wonder what's happened to him? New emergence of Speckled Wood was obvious. Here's the count of those that turned-up: Brimstone (M)(4); Small White (14); Green-veined White (M)(3);(F)(1); Speckled Wood (14); Comma (7); Peacock (4); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Red Admiral (1); Holly Blue (1). The latter my first sighting at Monks Wood this year although it was only seen on the wing. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Green-veined White female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Sleepy foxy!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Fresh Speckled Wood female
Photo © Francis Plowman

14 Apr 2019

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. An afternoon circulation from 1320-1445 was undertaken in a chill ESE wind making it mostly too unpleasant for the usual panoply of species here. The temperature was at best 9.5 degrees Celsius but felt much colder. Precious little sunshine either so a very low count today: Small Copper (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Speckled Wood (3); Green-veined White (2)(M); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Diminutive Small Copper & Daisy
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral (hanging-in there!)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman

11 Apr 2019

Stoke Common, Hayling Island. Visited Stoke Common, Hayling Island (SU716033) this afternoon, where the following were recorded; Brimstone 1M, Small White 4, Peacock 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

No Dukes at Noar...some other showings though. Trip to Noar Hill this afternoon. No Dukes in any of the hollows I watched. Not many butterflies but very fresh Orange-tip, Holly Blue and Green Hairstreak. Plus Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstones, Small White. [Posted by Mark Jones]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Between 1215-1430 I noted that at least nine species had survived the very cold night; the warmer the day became the more butterflies emerged into the warm sunlight. My first sighting of Small Copper was most welcome and Speckled Wood reached double figures today. Butterflies were everywhere. While taking a photograph of typical habitat here ie a woodland track lined with heavily scented Wild Garlic, the camera captured a male Brimstone and Speckled Wood tumbling down the lane! The count: Peacock (5); Small Tortoiseshell (3); Speckled Wood (10); Small White (7); Comma (4); Large White (1); Brimstone (M)(1); Small Copper (1); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Typical Monks Walk habitat plus butterflies!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Havant Thicket. Today at Havant Thicket the weather was just warm enough, but butterfly counts were shockingly poor just three species in a space of about three hours. These were Peacock (4-5) one solitary Orange-tip and solitary Brimstone.

I went around and inspected the sallow of which is quite bountiful in this wood. They are all in flower or budding up now and the Purple Emperor caterpillars should soon be taking their first lunches for 2019.

There were good areas of Common Dog Violet and lots of Primrose in the ditches along the main ride up at the junction with Bells Copse. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Sallow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Primrose
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Silver-Birch in Havant Thicket
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Portsdown Hill. Today on the Eastern end of Portsdown Hill (SU657063) the temperature was 12 degrees. I walked the slopes which were out of the chill wind and saw my first Holly Blue this year, which looked like it had freshly emerged. Very little else was flying except a few Small Whites. Totals were Small White 2, Holly Blue 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

10 Apr 2019

Stoke Common, Hayling Island. My third and last site visit today was back at home on Hayling Island at Stoke Common (SU716033) where the afternoon temperature reached 14 degrees. Here the following were recorded, Small White 1, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Huckswood Lane, Old Idsworth. My second site visit was to Chalton Down, but with nothing to be seen, I walked Huckswood Lane (SU745154) where on a path beside a copse near the old quarry, there was good activity of butterflies. Recorded were Brimstone 2M1F, Small White 1, Orange-tip 2M. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Oxenbourne Down. Today I visited three sites, starting at Oxenbourne Down (SU716183) where in the late morning sunshine the temperature reached 12 degrees. Very little was flying just two male Brimstones. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Visit to Noar Hill. I had a look around Noar Hill 1100-1400 on 10th April. Initially a bit cloudy and very cool (9-10 degrees only on arrival), but brilliant sunshine by the time I left. No DoB seen, but there were at least half a dozen Peacocks and a similar number of Orange-tips, plus at least a dozen Brimstones. However, the highpoint was the unexpected sighting of a fresh Green Hairstreak down on the grass, presumably newly emerged. Photos attached. [Posted by Dave Miller]

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Green Hairstreak Noar Hill 10/4
Photo © Dave Miller
Green Hairstreak Noar Hill 10/4
Photo © Dave Miller

Magdalen Hill Down, Winchester. Three species only seen on a 1145-1300 circulation of the reserve, the northern lower area (absolutely carpeted with Cowslip), the southern ridge line path which was nicely sheltered from the cold airs and returning via the same route later when the sunshine was more constant. The exposed fields were too windswept although that bothered not one jot the Skylarks. Sadly, the lower slopes were devoid of butterflies today. However, recorded were: Peacock (2); Speckled Wood (2); Holly Blue (1) - my first sighting of the year so happy with that! Only one Speckled Wood was in a co-operative mood! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman

St Catherine's Hill, Winchester. A brief wander around the lower meadows and base of the hill (Garnier Road entrance) from 1320-1405 accounted for just 4 species. At best the temperature was 13 degrees Celsius but quite warm when sheltered from the cool NE breeze: Orange-tip (M)(5); Red Admiral (1); Speckled Wood (3); Brimstone (M)(3) [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone male
Photo © Francis Plowman

08 Apr 2019

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. So, later than usual because of the abortive trip to Noar Hill, between 1535-1635 with the sunshine warm and enjoyable at 16 degrees Celsius, six species were still in evidence. This included mating Speckled Wood which was a first so happy with that! Comma (9); Peacock (9); Small White (1); Small Tortoiseshell (5); Speckled Wood (7); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood. Female open-winged
Photo © Francis Plowman
Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Noar Hill. I wish I had read Ashley Whitlock's blog of his abortive trip to Noar Hill yesterday - before I went there today! An absolute white-wash! So don't bust-a-gut to visit especially if the sun isn't shining. Between 1400-1500 today with the temperature at 13 degrees Celsius under bright cloudy, windless conditions I saw not one butterfly. Not even a Brimstone on the wing. Plenty of cowslips, dandelions and lovely violets with bees and hover flies enjoying them but no butterflies. For sure there has been some savage "conservation" of the area with hedgerows and edges well cut down and this may have had some adverse impact. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

07 Apr 2019

Havant Thicket. Today I walked around Havant Thicket (SU7110) where the temperature reached 14 degrees. Plenty of Brimstones were flying, with four different species recorded. Totals: Brimstone 17M 1F, Small White 1, Speckled Wood 1, Peacock 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Butser. Had a lovely walk down into Rake Bottom at Butser, if somewhat breezy at times. But on the sheltered south facing slopes the butterflies were taking advantage of the warm sun including Orange-tip, Brimstone, Peacock, a pristine Small Tortoisehell and my first Grizzled Skipper. The walk back up was a bit more strenuous! [Posted by Mark Tutton]

Season Kicks Off At Magdalen Hill Down. A walk along the lower slopes of Magdalen Hill Down in hazy sunshine this afternoon, produced 3 season firsts for me: singletons of Grizzled Skipper and Green Hairstreak as well as 3 Orange-tips (2M, 1F). The female Orange-tip was briefly courting one of the males but to no avail! Hibernators in evidence included several Brimstones and Peacocks, plus a single Comma. So, a good result despite relatively few butterflies on the wing. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Green Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Orange Tip
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Non-forecast sunshine from 12:20 lured me again around the local butterfly haunt for a productive couple of hours. Same temperature as yesterday (14.5 deg Celsius) but less wind and rather more warmth especially in the sheltered glades and closed habitats. A pleasing eight species responded to the weather's invitation. Brimstone (6); (M)(4); (F)(2); Small White (10); Comma (13); Peacock (7); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Green-veined White (2); Speckled Wood (4); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brimstone female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White female (missing antenna)
Photo © Francis Plowman

Noar Hill / Milton Foreshore. I spent over 4 hours at Noar Hill in the morning and part of the afternoon today, and I didn't see a bean. The sun came out in fits and starts but it wasn't enough to motivate anything into action.I spent sometime looking at the wildflowers and this year the Dog-Violets look rather good, plenty out on the hedge-banks and in the ditches and gullies. The Cowslips don't look very good at the moment but I suspect they haven't fully grown yet. There was a wonderful Oxslip growing on the western edge of the reserve, in full bloom. Disappointed I went home and the sun was out from the time I got into the car until I reached Southsea, where it was very pleasant and warm. In a space of 5 minutes on my local patch I saw 5 species! What a contrast. (1)Speckled Wood (1) Green-Veined White (1) Small White (5) Small Tortoiseshells (2) Peacocks. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Common Dog Violet
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Oxslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Speckled Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

06 Apr 2019

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Six species have survived the last four days of seriously inclement weather although, with the exception of Small Tortoiseshell, numbers were down. A couple of hours from 12:40 with the temperature at 14.5 Celsius, cool easterly breeze off the harbour's high tide yet with warm sunny intervals I recorded: Speckled Wood (4); Peacock (4); Comma (6); Small Tortoiseshell (4); Red Admiral (1); Small White (3); (2)(M); l(F). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Tortoiseshell (1 of 4)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White, male with damaged wing
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

01 Apr 2019

Havant Thicket. At Havant Thicket (SU7110) today the temperature reached 15 degrees. Here in the sunshine many Brimstones were flying along with half a dozen Orange-tips, including a female. Totals: Brimstone 18M 1F, Orange-tipo 5M 1F, Comma 1, Peacock 8. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Seven species in an hour circulation of this small area from 1430 with the temperature a pleasant 17 degrees Celsius. Small White (9); Peacock (7); Comma (10); Small Tortoiseshell (3); Brimstone (M)(1); Speckled Wood (4); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small White mating pair
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

Havant Thicket. From 1235-1355, temperature of 14 degrees Celsius and cool breeze I walked a couple of miles around the woodland paths. For the area covered the number of species recorded was, for me, a surprise at only five. Brimstone (M)(23);(F)(1); Peacock (10); Orange-tip (M)(7); Small White (1); Comma (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Male Brimstone
Photo © Francis Plowman
Copper sunbathing
Photo © Francis Plowman

Dukes are out on Noar Hill!. No fooling - Dukes out on Noar Hill - same date as last year. [Posted by Pauline Richards]

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Photo © Pauline RichardsPhoto © Pauline Richards

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