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

News Archive for May 2019

19 May 2019

WLH larvae at Stockbridge. Following yesterday's success when searching for White-letter Hairstreak (WLH) larvae, I had another brief check of some Wych Elms near Stockbridge with signs of eating damage. Once again, I was lucky enough to find a single larva, and I do count myself very lucky, as they have great camouflage. In side profile they look just like the very young elm leaves as they open up. They even have the same fine row of white hairs along the edge. Another thing about these larvae is they really cling on, clearly trusting their camouflage, whereas caterpillars of butterflies in grassland simply drop to the ground at the slightest movement of the vegetation. Understandably, caterpillars in trees can't adopt this strategy as they have to deal with stormy weather, when their branch is being knocked about. Think about that on the next windy day! [Posted by Andy Barker]

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WLH larva (close-up)
Photo © Andy Barker
WLH larva - amongst elm leaves
Photo © Andy Barker
WLH larva - side view
Photo © Andy Barker

Porton Down Field Trip. More photographs of the trip [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Marsh Fritillaries were only just emerging...
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating pair of Duke of Burgundies
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Blue on Germander Speedwell
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Porton Down Field Trip. The weather certainly didn't look good at all today, but as luck would have it the rain stayed away and we had good bouts of sunny and cloudy but warm weather, which was ideal for counting butterflies, for which this exercise was for. Porton Down is a rich tapestry of different environments, with lots of small pockets of open clearings within woodland and these have fantastic areas of Primrose, interspersed with Wild Strawberry and rough grasses. Here the Duke of Burgundy still remains the dominant species (thank goodness) and with the counting over a period of three to four hours the total was a very conservative (83). Several Female Dukes were just emerging and this gives the Duke of Burgundy a very long extended flight period this season. Other areas where Dukes could be found were in areas of open meadow with hundreds of Ant Hills and here the Duke was found also. Other species seen today were Marsh Fritillary, (1) Pearl-bordered Fritillary which was a big disappointment, Brown Argus and Small Blue. There were fabulous Orchids, and other wild flowers only associated with this site. In all we saw (14) species of butterfly along with the Dark-green Fritillary Caterpillar, and several Moth species. We had just got back into our cars when it started to rain.... talk about good timing! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Several female Dukes were seen egg laying on Primulas and here are three eggs.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating pair of Dingy Skippers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Forester Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

18 May 2019

White-Letter Hairstreak Larvae at Pitt Down. I did not go to Pitt Down today expecting to find White-Letter Hairstreak Larvae. I went looking for Small Blue and Duke of Burgundy and failed on both counts. However, I was surprised to find Elm there with feeding damage and subsequently 2x Pre-Pupation White-letter Hairstreak larvae on the western section. Some small branches had oddly been very recently (within the last 24 hrs) removed for no apparent reason and were laying on the ground beneath the tree. One of the larvae was on those branches. A similar tree on the eastern section also had feeding damage, but I could not locate any larvae there. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Pre-pupation White-Letter Hairstreak Larva at Pitt Down today
Photo © Paul Harfield
A similar Pre-pupation larva found on Elm branches which were lying on the ground
Photo © Paul Harfield

White-letter Hairstreak larva seen near Hursley. Following Paul Harfield's posting of White-letter Hairstreak (WLH) larval images on 5 May, and encouragement for us all to have a look at low branches of elm, I decided I'd have a go this afternoon at a known WLH site near to where I live. The site near Hursley, that I've known since the 1990s, has some nice roadside Wych Elms with convenient low branches. To my surprise, after less than 5 minutes I found a larva under a leaf on one of many branches showing larval feeding damage. I didn't have time for a longer survey today, but will return at a later date. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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WLH larva (under elm leaf)
Photo © Andy Barker
WLH larva (top view)
Photo © Andy Barker
WLH larva (side view)
Photo © Andy Barker

Old Winchester Hill Field Trip. Overcast today for the most part but we did have a small window of sunshine when we were at the bottom of the South facing slope off of the Hill Fort and here we saw Small Blue, Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Small Heath, Brimstone, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Orange-tip, and further in from this slope facing North we encountered two Duke of Burgundy still fresh looking. We also had Common Carpet Moth, Mother Shipton and the caterpillar of the Mullian Moth.

All things considered you should never give up on a grey overcast day! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Adonis Blue straight out of the box...
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Dingy Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Duke of Burgundy were utilizing the higher shrubs when the sun went in.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

16 May 2019

Portsdown Hill and Fort Widley. Today I visited the East end of Portsdown Hill (SU657063) where the temperature was 18 degrees.The main species seen were Brimstones. Totals: Brimstone 5M 2F, Common Blue 2M, Speckled Wood 1.

Across the Road at Fort Widley (SU657066) there was much more variety with six different species noted. Totals: Brimstone 2M 2F, Large White 1, Small White 1, Common Blue 2M, Holly Blue 2, Speckled Wood 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

West Wood and Pitt Down Field Trip. More photos from the trip [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Green Carpet Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

West Wood and Pitt Down Field Trip. With the last day of any decent weather for a few days we started the field trip with a view of a Duke of Burgundy on Pitt Down, which doesn't get mentioned much in my records, and into the woodland we encountered several Pearl-Bordered Fritillary feeding on dandelion and Bugle plants. Inside the coppiced area we encountered the Duke of Burgundy still in really good condition and many more Pearl Bordered Fritillaries. We saw a Fox Moth male on the woodland floor but it looked well past its best and wouldn't fly so I don't know whether it had encountered a bird strike as its left hind wing was frayed. (12) Species of moth and butterflies were encountered in the wood with Pearl-bordered Fritillary (11) and Duke of Burgundy (8). On Pitt Down I saw another Duke on the woodland side at the bottom of the downland, and there were several species that added to the list like Small Heath, Small Copper, Small Blue, Common Blue, Comma, Green Hairstreak,and a lovely Smooth Snake and Green Carpet Moth.

Thank you all for coming on making this a great feast of invertebrates! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Fox Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
West Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Plenty Of Spring Butterflies On Portsdown Hill. A walk on Portsdown Hill this morning produced an excellent display of spring butterflies. On the lower slopes below the Paulsgrove quarry, Small Blues were flitting around the path and scrubby vegetation. At least 20 were present including a couple of females, mingling occasionally with Common Blues. Just to the east of the quarry on the central section of the hill, there were a few more Small Blues but here they were outnumbered by Common Blues.

The highlight of this area however, was one section of mixed hedgerow with hawthorn fronted by plentiful dogwood, where several Green Hairstreaks were engaged in territorial battles - up to 3 at a time, lasting several minutes. They eventually settled for a few photos! Other species seen included Orange-tip, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and Green-veined White. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Small Blue
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Orange Tip
Photo © Alan Thornbury

15 May 2019

P.b.f in the New Forest. With the Pearl-bordered Fritillary season hitting peak about now i undertook a count away from the core areas to see how it's doing. The weather was very sunny with a breeze. Finished the day on 291 p.b.f with 2 pairs in copulation, 17+ ovipositing females and a male being eaten by a crab spider! Still plenty of other rides I never had time to see. Also seen 5 Green Hairstreaks and a Grizzled Skipper [Posted by M swann]

Martin Down(2). More pics from Martin Down. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Photo © Mark PikePhoto © Mark PikePhoto © Mark Pike

Martin Down. A visit today from 0900 to 1345 produced a wonderful array of butterflies, but I have never seen quite so many Marsh Fritillary here, at least 40 from all over the site but suspect there were more! Apart from this bonanza other species seen were Brown Argus 16, Small Blue 22, Common Blue 8, Adonis Blue 12, Green Hairstreak 10, Small Copper 12, Grizzled Skipper 10, Dingy Skipper 24, Brimstone 10, Orange-tip 5, Red Admiral 2, Peacock 3, Speckled Wood 1. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Adonis Blue
Photo © Mark Pike
Burnt Tip Orchid
Photo © Mark Pike
Brown Argus
Photo © Mark Pike

Large Skipper on the Isle of Wight.. I saw my first Large Skipper today close to Stag Lane,Cowes. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

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Photo © Peter Hunt

14 May 2019

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. After visiting Oxenbourne Down, I headed to nearby Chalton Down (SU736156) where the temperature had increased to 18 degrees. A total of six species were recorded, although no Grizzled Skippers have appeared here yet. Totals: Brimstone 6M 1F, Small White 1, Common Blue 5M, Holly Blue 1, Small Heath 6, Dingy Skipper 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Oxenbourne Down. Today I made a return visit to Oxenbourne Down (SU716183) where the weather was much better than my previous visit, the temperature reaching a respectable 17 degrees. A total of five species were seen including Dingy Skippers, my walk just covering the main scrubby areas. Totals: Brimstone 4M 2F, Orange-tip 1M, Common Blue 3M, Small Heath 3, Dingy Skipper 8. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

New Forest Pearl Bordered Fritillaries. Having read Ashley's report from the weekend and with the weather set fair I changed plans and went to the New Forest today - roughly the same area around Pignal and Parkhill Inclosures. The Pearl-bordered Fritillary were out in abundance - another enthusiast counted 70+ from the Standing Hat CP to the start of the Frohawk Ride. Just about all were fresh although I was late getting there so very active in the hot sun. My real goal though was to see a Raft Spider (mentioned in Ashley's report). With his help (and a lot from above) I managed to find one! 'Spider' hardly does this amazing creature justice - it was huge! (have included a picture - I appreciate it might not be appropriate on a butterfly web site so quite understand if it is removed during submission). A near perfect day! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Pearl Bordered Fritillary - Pignal Inclosure
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Raft Spider - Parkhill Inclosure
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Pearl Bordered Fritillary - Parkhill Inclosure
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Stockbridge Down Field Trip. It pays to visit a site very early in the morning and while most of you were still asleep I was on Stockbridge Down as the sun was rising catching Pearl Bordered Fritillaries having breakfast.....!As I knew they were going to be flying at Mach 3 by the time the field trip started I thought I would seize the opportunity. I had already counted (20) Small Copper around the car park area by 10:30, and by the time the field trip had ended I had counted (52). Other good numbers were Grizzled Skipper (25) Pearl-bordered Fritillary (9) Brimstone over (100) Small Heath (25) along with Common Blue. Sadly the Duke count was very modest with a count of (2).

13 Butterfly species and two moth species was very good and the weather certainly played its part. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Copper were everywhere...
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Pearl Bordered Fritillary at 07:00
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Grizzled Skipper again quite common
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

13 May 2019

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Today I visited Paulsgrove Chalk Pits (SU6306) where my target was the Small Blue. The temperature was 16.5 degrees. I recorded nearly a dozen in mostly one area along with Common Blues and a few Holly Blues too. Totals: Brimstone 3M, Small White 1, Orange-tip 1M, Common Blue 5M, Holly Blue 3, Small Blue 11. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Brimstone Courtship, Chappett's Copse Nature Reserve. An orchid trip to Chappett's Copse Nature Reserve at 1pm on 13th May provided an opportunity to take this photograph of a female Brimstone apparently rejecting a male by pretty extreme contortions of her body. Plenty of Holly Blues and Speckled Woods present, and the sword leaved helleborines are coming into flower. [Posted by Ashley Ailes]

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Male and female Brimstone courtship at Chappett's Copse
Photo © Ashley Ailes

Meon Valley. In perfect conditions today I visited several Duke of Burgundy sites and they are still emerging many I saw were in perfect condition. At Westbury Park the count was (13) which is a triumph, as I normally see just 5-6 here, but I suppose I have just managed to catch the peak time for this species. Other species today were good Green Hairstreak several males were interacting with females and buzzing around each other for what seemed like hours. A fresh Brown Argus was seen and Small Blues were also on the wing with Common Blues, Small Heath was out in good numbers as well along with Dingy Skippers, but its close cousin struggled with just 3 being seen. All in all a total of (17) species were seen. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Its still freshers week
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Holly Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Early Purple Orchid
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

12 May 2019

West Wood, Farley Mount. very productive short walk around part of West Wood produced the following;6 Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 3 Duke of Burgundy, 1 Grizzled Skipper,1 Small Heath,1 Small Copper,2 Holly Blue,3 Peacock,numerous Brimstone,11 Orange-tip,1 silver ground carpet moth. Very surprised not to see a speckled wood. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin RossPhoto © Kevin RossPhoto © Kevin Ross

New Forest Field Trip. Some more photos from field trip [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Ramnor Inclosure typical Pearl Bordered Habitat
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Broad Bordered Chaser
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Class of 2019
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

New Forest Field Trip. Its always nice to start off the field trip in good sunny weather and today made a pleasant change, and from the car park it wasn't long before we had encountered our quarry the Pearl-bordered Fritillary. They all looked particularity fresh with several being seen with bent antennae and looking rather wobbly on their legs, which is a sure sign they hadn't hatched long before we saw them. We walked from Pignal Inclosure into Parkhill Inclosure and then through Ramnor Inclosure, and we counted well in excess of (70) individuals there were obviously many more than that as they were at times flying in two's and threes. On the way we saw several Raft Spiders, which is a very handsome beast lying on the sphagnum mosses in the damp areas, several newly hatched Broad Bordered Chasers were just sitting on Hawthorn bushes sunning themselves before going on the hunt and several common Lizards. Several Tiger Beetles were also seen in the rides as well. Other butterflies seen were Brown Argus, Orange-tip, Speckled Wood, Small Copper and Brimstones. We heard the Cuckoo in the distance and heard Blackcaps and warblers singing in the trees and shrubs along the way.

A fabulous field trip and I thank all those who joined me looking at the various wildlife the New Forest has to offer. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Pearl Bordered Fritillary Male
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Pearl Bordered Fritillary Female
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Head of a Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Beacon Hill. Paid an early visit to Beacon Hill this morning to check out the tiny colony of Dukes here. Despite a reasonable amount of what appears to be suitable habitat they seem largely confined to an area about 200m square. I have visited for the last seven or eight years and only once have I seen them outside their “home.” In all I spotted five individuals including a nice Duchess. Green Hairstreak are doing well with one or two in virtually every bush and there were pleasingly a good count of Small Copper and Dingy Skipper. A lovely bright warm morning. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Duchess
Photo © Mark Tutton
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Mark Tutton

11 May 2019

Stoke Common, Hayling Island. Today I visited Stoke Common, Hayling Island (SU716033) where the temperature was 15 degrees.Five different species were recorded. Totals: Large White 2, Small White 7, Orange-tip 2M, Holly Blue 1, Peacock 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Gurnard IOW. Wall Brown in the garden today resting on a small dry stone wall that I built for plants. [Posted by Mick Sivell]

first small coppers in North Baddesley. First Small Copper (2) of the year seen on my butterfly reserve in North Baddesley. As the site is very open small copper are always late compared to some other sites but this is earliest ever. Also seen today: Peacock (12), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Comma (1), Orange-tip (minimum 45, males and females), Brimstone (12),Holly Blue (4),Green-veined White (5), Cinnabar moth (1)and Speckled yellow moth (3). [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin Ross

10 May 2019

Martin Down - A Few More. A few more from Martin Down today [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Grizzled Skipper - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Green Hairstreak - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Small Copper - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Martin Down. Visited my favourite site today and wasn't disappointed. Mixed weather - clouds and sun with a cold wind but plenty to find by the Dyke. The Marsh Fritillary are there - I'm not good at counting (birds or butterflies) but easily into double figures and all fresh. As another enthusiast commented - they look like stained glass windows! Lots of Brimstone and skippers (Grizzled Skipper and Dingy Skipper - some of the latter already looking a little worn). Also Green Hairstreak, Peacock, Small Heath and Small Copper. If there was anything negative then I didn't see a blue of any sort and didn't hear a Turtle Dove - but I suspect I'm a few days early for both. Wonderful place! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Marsh Fritillary - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Marsh Fritillary - Martin Dowen
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Marsh Fritillary - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Today I visited Chalton Down (SU736156) where the sun had come out after a trip to Oxenbourne Down in cloudy skies, where I saw just two male Brimstones. Here at Chalton Down the temperature reached 14 degrees and I was pleased to record my first Common Blue and Grizzled Skipper of the year. Totals: Brimstone 2M, Small White 1, Orange-tip 1M, Common Blue 1M, Small Heath 2, Dingy Skipper 1, Grizzled Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Old Winchester Hill. Unbelievably there are still some Duke of Burgundy sites where the species is still emerging and this is one today where I really struggled to find them. I managed just four all very fresh looking, and with this site being so large its best to concentrate on one slope so I did the North or North West facing slope. Here the Cowslips are not abundant, as there are sheep feeding all over the site and obviously they will eat Cowslip, given half a chance, which in turn keeps the Duke of Burgundy numbers down. The specimens I did see were well spread out, I never saw any two together. There were Brimstone, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper and Small Copper on the wing with just one Common Blue. The weather played a part as well with sun appearing in very small amounts between large areas of cloud. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Typical Duke of Burgundy area on OWH
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dingy Skippers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Duke of Burgundy on Hawthorn
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

07 May 2019

Oxenbourne Down. After visiting Chalton Down, I visited nearby Oxenbourne Down (SU716183) walking the lower scrubby slopes. The temperature had dropped slightly and despite the small numbers of butterflies, I did record my first Green Hairstreak of the year just inside the entrance.Totals: Brimstone 2M, Green Hairstreak 1, Small Heath 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Today I paid another return visit to Chalton Down (SU736156) where the weather was slightly warmer at 14 degrees. Despite this only three species were recorded; Brimstone 2M, Small White 1, Small Heath 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Glanvilles on the landslip at Compton Chine. Up to 10 Glanville Fritillary including a mating pair seen on the landslip at Compton Chine.Also 3 Common Blue,2 Small Heath,a Small Copper,a Dingy Skipper and 4 Green Hairstreaks. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

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Photo © Peter HuntPhoto © Peter HuntPhoto © Peter Hunt

Oxenbourne Down. I'm Happy to report the Duke of Burgundy is alive and well at Oxenbourne Down with up to (12) being seen today including a mating pair which proves they must be happy with the environment as it stands at the moment.There were counts of Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper, Brimstone, Small Heath, and a single Green Hairstreak.

I think there may well be another colony of Dukes on the top of the down where there were once a large stand of conifers, as I seem to see odd ones on the transect path at the top of the down, which is good as they seem to be spreading out. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Mating Pair of Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Pole-vaulting mating flies
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Westbury Park. Today looked a non starter for looking for butterflies it was really cloudy right up to about 0930 and I went for it and I was really glad I did as the Duke of Burgundy didn't disappoint. In several secluded areas this species is very hard to find but in a very warm 20-30 minutes after I had been over the same ground in very cool weather, I thought I would give it one last try. And low and behold several males were seen having fisticuffs and several females were noted keeping out of the fray. I was very pleased to count up to (7). There wasn't a lot else a few Orange-tips, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, and a worn Comma. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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The main arena with good clumps of Cowslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male at rest probably emerged on the 06 May
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The Dukes of Hazel.....
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

06 May 2019

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156) in the late morning, the weather became overcast later, the temperature 12 degrees. A few male Brimstones were flying in the sheltered spots and later after the skies had become overcast, I disturbed a resting Small Heath, my first sighting of this butterfly this year. Totals: Brimstone 3M, Small White 1, Small Heath 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. Visited Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill (SU657066) this morning where in sunny spells the temperature reached only 11.5 degrees. Only single sightings of Green-veined White, Holly Blue and Speckled Wood were seen. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Two hours from midday with some sunny periods between the clouds (around 15 degrees) ten types were recorded. Many were grounded seeking shelter from the occasionally strong breeze and/or just trying to warm-up. Numbers: Large White (1); Small White (5); Green-veined White (3); Holly Blue (5); Orange-tip (F)(2); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Speckled Wood (6); Red Admiral (1); Peacock (1); Comma (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Peacock, almost pristine!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large White female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman

Martin Down. Started at Sillen's Lane end and followed the path along the hedge. Up to five Holly Blue - all of which landed and three of which gave topside views, also Orange-tip, Small White, Speckled WoodS, Small Copper and several Green Hairstreaks.

Carried on straight across the site towards Bokerley and saw a Grizzled Skipper and 4 Small Coppers.

Working along Bokerley (away from the Butts) there were Brimstones, a couple more Small Copper, a Peacock, single Brown Argus, Small Heath, male Orange-tip and too many Dingy Skippers and Grizzled Skippers to count - it fantastic to see!

Down at the 'Hotspot'where the dyke dips down and there is the small wood there were some more Grizzlies and Dingies, a Small White, Green Hairstreaks and a Marsh Fritillary.

On the walk back to the car more of the same but the grass seemed to be alive with Dingies. Once back at the car Tick check; Me 3, Ticks 0! [Posted by Rich Wurzel]

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Photo © Rich Wurzel

West Wood. A few hours walking around a very scrubby area within West Wood near to Winchester on a very cool day with sunny periods which were quite warm at times. This produced (7) Pearl-bordered Fritillary and (6) Duke of Burgundy and one solitary Speckled Wood and nowt else!

This site is an area of cut down forest which has been replanted with Hazel and other trees and shrubs. It is lightly covered in Primroses where the Duke breeds, but either species are not evident at first or to the untrained eye.... as there is a lot of Bramble to negotiate. One of the Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries was seen in (Ashleys ride)!

I'm really surprised I haven't had any reports of Duke of Burgundy from Pitt Down which is covered in Cowslips and is very scrubby just right for the Duke of Burgundy, I await a report..... [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Woodland Duke of Burgundy on Primrose very fresh.....
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries were very fresh as well...
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Old Blue eyes is back!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

05 May 2019

Martin Down National Nature Reserve. There were at least two cuckoos at MD during the cold and cloudy afternoon; one, the feathered variety repeatedly and misguidedly announcing the coming of summer, the other shod in 'size 10 large' clutching a camera and looking for butterflies! A black cloud was stuck above the reserve until around 3 pm when a milky whiteness drew me out of the car for a quick circulation. One (1) brave Brown Argus put in an appearance although two nice ladies I met said they had earlier seen a Small Copper! As it was my first Brown Argus of the year coupled with a family celebration in the area it wasn't a complete waste of time. But it was so cold! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Photo © Francis Plowman

White-Letter Hairstreak Larvae, Old Winchester Hill. If you can find Elm with low branches NOW is a great time to be out looking for White-Letter Hairstreak larvae. They are really well camouflaged but with a bit of patience they can be found. I quickly managed to locate half a dozen at Southwick yesterday. Today I was pleased to locate just 2 at Old Winchester Hill, but they required a bit more effort. All larvae found were between 10mm and 15mm in length. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Old Winchester Hill
Photo © Paul Harfield
Old Winchester Hill
Photo © Paul Harfield
Southwick
Photo © Paul Harfield

Duke of Burgundy at Noar Hill. Two very fresh Duke of Burgundy males seen in chalk hollow, west of information board. Flying during brief sunny spell. [Posted by Jacki Solman]

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Duke of Burgundy at Noar Hill
Photo © Jacki Solman

Butser Hill. More Photos of the field trip [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Butser Hill and Ramsdean Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Purple Barred Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Butser Hill. For once the field trip started on a sunny note and in the sunny periods it was very warm, and as we ascended the very steep slopes many species were coming into view.There excellent counts of Small Copper and Green Hairstreak, these two species were seen in very good numbers, at one point there were three Small Coppers on a bare patch all within inches of each other which is quite unusual. One Hawthorn Bush had up to 5 Green Hairstreaks on it at once a very unusual occurrence, and several of these looked worse for wear. Excellent counts of Dingy Skippers and Grizzled Skippers as well. Brown Argus came into focus as we were nearing Ramsdean Down, and by this time the Cuckoo had been heard and we had had a real Purple Patch of good weather, and we didn't know where to look there was so much flying around. The main character the Duke of Burgundy didn't disappoint either, we saw well over (50) on the slopes of Butser and around to Grandfathers Bottom. Several well fattened females were resting in the cool wind away from the scrub line which gave good views of the fat abdomen with many eggs, and the six-legs supporting these rather plump individuals. In all we saw up to (12) species, others of note were Small Heath's and Common Blues. We also noted Common Lizard, Red Kites and Buzzards, Yellowhammers, Cinnabar Moths, and Double Vein, and what I think is a Small Purple Barred Moth and according to the manuals it shouldn't be out until late June /July?

Thank you all for coming especially the new faces, over the past couple of weeks it's been nice to see you. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating pair of Grizzled Skippers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Green Hairstreak and Hawthorn
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Bentley Wood. A visit to the Eastern Clearing from 1000-1300 on a sunny but cool morning produced only only three species of butterfly, Brimstone 1, Grizzled Skipper 1, Pearl-bordered Fritillary 12, and also Speckled Yellow Moth 10. As usual the Fritillaries all vanished when the sun went in and by 1300 it was completely overcast. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Mark Pike
Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Mark Pike
Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Mark Pike

04 May 2019

A Couple Of Pearls Brave Chill Wind In West Wood. A mid-afternoon visit to an area of regeneration in West Wood (Farley Mount) produced two fresh Pearl-bordered Fritillary (both male), despite the low air temperature and chill wind. One provided a few brief photo opportunities. The only other butterfly seen was a Peacock. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury

03 May 2019

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A cool, overcast afternoon with occasional sunny periods took the temperature to no more than 13.5 degrees between 1230-1440. The butterflies were hard to find initially but later responded to longer spells of sunshine. However, only eight species were seen today. Promiscuous Small White was well represented and my third finding of a mating pair this Spring was welcome. An elegant Little Egret dipped in the foreshore rivulets watched - no doubt hungrily - by an equally impressive fox. Later still another lazy fox posed for the camera completely unfazed by my approach. The butterfly count: Small White (M)(8)(F)(2); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Peacock (1); Speckled Wood (9) including a female with particularly black hind wing spots; Green-veined White (4); Orange-tip (M)(1)(F)(1); Holly Blue (4); Large White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Green-vein White (female lower)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White (female uppermost)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood with black hind wing spots
Photo © Francis Plowman

02 May 2019

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. From 1420-1500 a short excursion around the Cowslip-bedecked fields behind and surrounding Fort Widley brought just one butterfly to light. Doubtless the cool breeze and overcast skies wasn't at all helpful. Common Blue (1). At least the blues are emerging here as well as on the southern slopes of Portsdown Hill. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Photo © Francis Plowman

Portsdown Hill, Paulsgrove. Today I undertook most of Walk 18 (p.48 H&IW Butterfly Walks) between 1125-1300 when foreboding dark clouds saw me scurrying back to the car! At best the temperature was 16 degrees but the SW breeze was fresh and interfering. Nevertheless, seven species were found including a few Brimstone. The females were being harried by males but most of the former appeared to be egg-laying. One male forced a female to the ground but she, raising her abdomen upwards, eventually got through to her suitor who flew off disappointed no doubt. She then continued to lay single eggs on short, weedy plants. A first appearance (for me) this year of Common Blue and Green Hairstreak was very welcome. Altogether: Orange-tip (M)(2); Holly Blue (M)(4)(F)(1); Brimstone (M)(6)(F)(5); Common Blue (M)(1); Green Hairstreak (1); Speckled Wood (1); Small White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brimstone female egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down / Wascoombe Bottom. The last of the warmish weather for a few days so I had to be quick on the slopes, and today I'm happy to report the Duke of Burgundy has double in numbers and some. (5) Dukes including a female were seen on the Gorse strewn downland. Typically this is a normal count for many sites in Hampshire, although I have had double figures at this site and there is another week or so before they are at their peak, so I'm hopeful they have a good year here. Other species who had good counts were Dingy Skipper (15), and the best count for Green Hairstreak at this site for many years (7). Other species of note Grizzled Skipper, Small Copper, Peacock, Small Heath, Small/Green-veined White, Brimstone, Orange-tip, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, and a lovely Ermine Moth. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Ermine Moth having a bad hair day
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Speckled Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

01 May 2019

Brown Hairstreak Larva, Soberton. Having found good numbers of Brown Hairstreak eggs over the winter (over 100 counted at my home site), locating the larvae is much more challenging, even having tagged the egg sites. So I was pleased to find this little one today (Photo 1) on the underside of a blackthorn leaf. I had also been wondering about feeding damage patterns from BrHS larvae, and this photo seems to provide some evidence that feeding is from the leaf margins, which might help in locating larvae.

I also found the another caterpillar (Photo 2) on more mature blackthorn leave, resting motionless, which I haven't been able to identify yet.

Photo 3 shows the egg case of a Brown Hairstreak ovum from the same site, after emergence of the larva through the micropyle (at the apex). [Posted by Angus McCullough]

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Brown Hairstreak larva
Photo © Angus McCullough
Geometrid moth caterpillar?
Photo © Angus McCullough
Brown Hairstreak egg case
Photo © Angus McCullough

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