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

News Archive for Apr 2020

27 Apr 2020

More skippers at Bushfield Camp. I managed to see both Dingy Skipper (2) and Grizzled Skipper (1) at Bushfield Camp at lunchtime today, together with an early Small Heath. The site is, quite frankly, an eyesore with derelict buildings, litter and other detritus, but that doesn't seem to bother the butterflies, as there are large areas of nectar source. One benefit of lockdown is that it has encouraged me to look carefully close to home. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

Portsdown Hill. Butterflies have been quite plentiful during my lunchtime walk with the dog last week and have included Green Hairstreak, good numbers of Brimstone, Speckled Wood and my first Small Copper, Green-veined White and Common Blue.

Holly Blue seems to be having a good year with eleven individual sightings during a one hour timed count in my garden. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Common Blue
Photo © Mark Tutton
Small Copper
Photo © Mark Tutton
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Mark Tutton

26 Apr 2020

Stockbridge Down : Grizzled Skippers. Lots of Grizzled Skippers on the wing. Also saw Brimstone, Holly Blues, Large White, Red Admiral, Peacock, Speckled Wood and a fresh Small Copper. [Posted by Alison Vincent]

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Single Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Alison Vincent
Pair of Grizzled Skippers
Photo © Alison Vincent

Wall butterfly sighting in Ventnor. One male Wall settled in our garden around 1100 Sunday 26 April.

Hazelbrae, Belle Vue Road, Ventnor

PO38 1DB [Posted by jerry comber]

Brimstone egg-laying. As well as the Orange-tips, we also get Brimstones breeding in our Chandlers Ford garden every year. If you want to provide breeding opportunities for Brimstone in your garden, what you need is a buckthorn shrub in a sunny position. If you're on the chalk or have well-drained soil the best option is Buckthorn (Rhamnus catharticus), but if you have a wetter or more acid clay soil, try Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus). We've found Buckthorn an easy plant to manage. It's fairly slow growing and just needs a light prune every now and then. The one shown in the first photo is about 10-15 years old, so you can see it will fit well even in a small garden. Today, I watched a female Brimstone lay at least 20-30 eggs on this Buckthorn over a 30-minute period. She'd lay one, fly around for a bit, select a favoured leaf and then lay another. My photo of her in the act of egg-laying is slightly blurred, but I was pleased with the two-egg photo. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Buckthorn in our garden
Photo © Andy Barker
Brimstone egg-laying
Photo © Andy Barker
Brimstone eggs (2)
Photo © Andy Barker

Small Heath, Brown Argus & Common Blue out at Magdalen Hill Down. I was hoping to see Brown Argus and Small Heath today at Magdalen Hill Down, which I did. I did not expect to find a mating pair of Common Blue!

I returned via the same route later and they had separated, although he was still around. [Posted by Lee Hurrell]

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Common Blue, mating pair, Magdalen Hill Down, Winchester, Hampshire, 26th April 2020
Photo © Lee Hurrell
Common Blue, male, Magdalen Hill Down, Winchester, Hampshire, 26th April 2020
Photo © Lee Hurrell

Dukes and Grizzled Skippers at Stockbridge Down. Saw my first and possibly only Duke of Burgundy of the season near the old ramparts on Stockbridge Down today plus 3 Grizzled Skipper, 2 Dingy Skipper, 36 Brimstone, 2 Small Copper and assorted Holly Blue, Peacock and Orange-tip. The Duke photo was not good enough to upload, sadly. [Posted by Clive Wood]

25 Apr 2020

First sightings for the year. I noted two new species for the year while undertaking my daily exercise around a local nature reserve. A number of Dingy Skippers were very active in the warm sunshine and a single Brown Argus was having a tussle with one of them. I managed a quick picture of the latter along with its primary food plant, Rock Rose, which was flowering well nearby. Also on show were a number of Grizzled Skipper, three Small Copper, Brimstone, Peacock, one Comma and a Small White. [Posted by Dave Pearson]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Dave Pearson
Rock Rose
Photo © Dave Pearson

Orange Tip larva. We had the first male Orange Tip in our garden on 9 April, then a female the following day. I sent a news item reporting our first Orange Tip egg on 12 April, and since then we've had plenty of Orange Tips and more egg-laying. I checked the plant with the first egg this morning and found our first Orange Tip caterpillar. It was a tiny 1st instar larva about 3mm length (see attached photos) face downwards on the seed-pod of Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), also known as Jack-by-the-hedge. If you look carefully you can see the empty egg shell with exit hole lower down on the same seed-pod. Also look at the top of the seed-pod where you can see the caterpillar has been starting to feed. Referring to Peter Eeles' excellent book on "Life Cycles of British and Irish Butterflies", I can see it won't be long before this caterpillar moults to go into 2nd instar. I'll keep you posted. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Orange Tip 1st instar larva
Photo © Andy Barker
Orange Tip larva (close-up)
Photo © Andy Barker

24 Apr 2020

Milton Allotments. Another warm day and the butterflies were in good numbers, with Orange-tip, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Small Whites again bringing up the rear in double figures. The Green-veined White was a treat as two were mating, on Cow Parsley and then on Daisy, they were a bit jumpy in my presence but settled down after about five minutes. No Holly Blue today although I did see it in the garden. [Posted by Whitlock]

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Green Veined Whites mating
Photo © Whitlock
Peacock at rest
Photo © Whitlock
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Whitlock

Yew Hill. First Green Hairstreak and Dingy Skipper of the year at Yew Hill today - the latter in pretty good numbers. Also, rather bizarrely, a large wading bird (whimbrel or curlew) seen at Hilltop whilst checking the sheep. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

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Photo © Rupert BroadwayPhoto © Rupert Broadway

23 Apr 2020

Stoke Common. On the way home from my weekly shopping trip, with the temperature reaching 21 degrees, I called at Stoke Common, Hayling Island for a short walk. Here I recorded 14 Small Whites and 3 Red Admirals. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Small Copper on Teg Down, Winchester. I spotted my first Small Copper of the year on Teg Down above Winchester at around 12.45 in bright sunshine. No photos as it was flitting from flower to flower but exciting nevertheless since only one other report of Small Coppers here so far this year. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

Butterfly transect update. In line with current Government advice relating to the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, all Butterfly Transect recording is suspended at present. However, to give you the latest update about the 2020 transect season, and how you can help with garden butterfly recording, a 1-page news sheet has been uploaded to this web-site. Click the "Transect" tab, then "Transect News", then "2020 season".

Also available by clicking on the "Transect" tab, then "25 year trends" are the latest graphs showing 1995-2019 trends for Hampshire and Isle of Wight butterflies. An example for Brimstone is included with this news item to show how numbers at Butterfly Conservation's Magdalen Hill Down (MHD) reserve have really taken off in recent years.

Finally, if you haven't already looked, click the "About" tab, then Resources/Publications/Annual Reports, to access the 2019 Hampshire & Isle of Wight Annual Butterfly Report, which includes flight period graphs for all species, based on transects and other data. You may find this a helpful guide to know when to look out for butterflies in your garden. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brimstone long-term trend 1995-2019
Photo © Andy Barker

22 Apr 2020

Hayling Billy Cycle Trail Daily Walk. Today the temperature reached 21 degrees during my short daily walk along a length of the Hayling Billy Cycle Trail near Saltmarsh Lane. Totals: Small White 18, Orange-tip 5M, Speckled Wood 2, Peacock 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Milton Allotment. A another warm and good butterflying day, very local again just 100 yards from my house, and the daily walk, with all this sunshine is paying off species wise. Today was a first time I've seen two Orange-tips in the area where I've never seen them before, and one was a female getting unwanted attention from a amorous male. He was quite persistent, he must have known that there was a female in the area, how they detect them in all that shrubbery is mind boggling. He never mated with her as she had already mated I feel, so he kept on patrolling hoping for better luck. Also seen were several Holly Blues, countless Small Whites with one Large White and a Green-veined White. Also several Small Tortoiseshells and Peacock, with Speckled Woods bringing up the rear. [Posted by Whitlock]

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Male and Female Orange Tips playing hard to get....
Photo © Whitlock
Female Orange Tip at rest
Photo © Whitlock
Peacock in splendid condition.
Photo © Whitlock

21 Apr 2020

Hayling Billy Cycle Trail. Today the temperature reached 17 degrees during my daily walk along a length of the Hayling Billy Cycle Trail from West Town to Saltmarsh Lane on Hayling Island. Oddly no Orange-tips were in flight but plenty of Small Whites. Totals Small White 22, Holly Blue 1, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Grizzled Skipper at Bushfield Camp. This is a brownfield site with an uncertain future. I've looked unsuccessfully for Dingy Skipper in the past and will do so again, as the food plant is abundant. Delighted to see a single Grizzled Skipper there today on a patch of ground ivy; I'm not aware of any previous records. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

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Photo © Rupert Broadway

19 Apr 2020

Hayling Billy Cycle Trail. Toady a daily exercise walking a short length of the Hayling Billy Cycle Trail at West Town, Hayling Island where the temperature was 15 degrees. Totals Large White 1, Small White 10, Orange-tip 7M, Speckled Wood 1, Peacock 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Grizzled Skipper and Red Admiral on Stockbridge Down. Grizzled Skipper seen and photographed on South East part of Stockbridge Down close to a patch of Wild Strawberry. Also our first sighting of a Red Admiral in the same location. [Posted by Dr David Knight]

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Grizzled Skipper on Stockbridge Down
Photo © Dr David Knight

Red Admirals seen in Winchester. I saw my first Red Admirals of the year today. The first was in Garnier Road, Winchester (photo) and the second was in Clifton Terrace. I have no idea of the temperature but both observations were in bright sunshine under a cloudless sky. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

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Red Admiral enjoying the sun
Photo © Bob Whitmarsh

Milton Allotments Foreshore and Nature Reserve. The warmest day yet and the butterflies were out in reasonable numbers today along my 'hourly' walk from home. Today I saw Speckled Wood (3) Red Admiral (4) one of the females was laying eggs on Nettles, Small Tortoiseshell (3) Peacock (3) Small Whites (25+) and Holly Blue (5). At home I found (9) White Ermine Moth Caterpillars, in varies stages of size all munching away and a Cabbage Moth Caterpillar. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Red Admiral female which was laying eggs on Nettles
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Speckled Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Cabbage Moth Caterpillar
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

16 Apr 2020

Orange-tip on the Isle of Wight. Male and female Orange-tip's on our garden honesty blooms in the last few days.Males looking for females but females egg laying. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

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Photo © Peter HuntPhoto © Peter HuntPhoto © Peter Hunt

15 Apr 2020

Isle of Wight Garden Orange-tip.. Although several male Orange-tip have visited my Freshwater garden over the last few days,it was a female that took lingering interest in our honesty blooms.She spent some time laying her eggs among the flowers.

I am sure that we would all agree with statement at the top of the page re the lockdown restrictions.It is not acceptable for individuals to take advantage of the term 'exercise walk' to give an excuse for butterfly recording at this time. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

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Photo © Peter HuntPhoto © Peter HuntPhoto © Peter Hunt

My First Green-veined White of 2020. Today I completed my daily walk along a section of the Hayling Billy Cycle Trail in West Town, Hayling Island where the temperature was 15 degrees. A total of 5 species were seen, including my first Green-veined Whites and male Orange-tips. Totals: Large White 1, Small White 11, Green-veined White 2, Orange-tip 4M, Speckled Wood 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Milton Allotment and Nature Reserve. Still a cool wind blowing off of the sea which tempered some of the species counts I feel, the only species I saw on my daily 'walk' was about (12-15) Small Whites, (1) Small Tortoiseshell,and three Speckled Woods. One female Small White was laying eggs on wild Cabbage,but the numbers of species was rather disappointing. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Speckled Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small White Egg
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

14 Apr 2020

First sightings for the year. At a nearby nature reserve I had my first Grizzled Skipper of the year followed up by three Small Copper and a supporting cast of Peacock, Brimstone, Holly Blue, Orange-tip and Speckled Wood. [Posted by Dave Pearson]

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Small Copper
Photo © Dave Pearson
Holly Blue
Photo © Dave Pearson
Orange-tip
Photo © Dave Pearson

12 Apr 2020

Orange Tip egg in Chandlers Ford. I was interested in Tracy Piper's news of Orange-tips in her Chandlers Ford garden. We also live in Chandlers Ford, and have always had Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), also known as Jack-by-the-hedge, in our garden. We are also fortunate that Orange Tips not only pass through, but also breed in our garden every year. Our first garden Orange Tip (a male) was seen on 9 April, with the first female spotted the following day, and many more visiting during this recent warm weather. We have found that the females prefer to lay their eggs on isolated Garlic Mustard plants rather than those plants in a dense group. Having seen females investigating several plants I found my first Orange Tip egg yesterday (see photos). It had clearly been there a while as it was already orange (they are greenish-white when fresh). The favourite Orange Tip nectar sources in our garden are the flowers of Garlic Mustard and Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'. The latter is an excellent nectar source, with a long flowering period, and visited by various butterflies and bees. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Orange Tip egg on Garlic Mustard
Photo © Andy Barker
Close-up of Orange Tip egg
Photo © Andy Barker

Hardway, Gosport. Since I am not yet experienced enough to be able to apply the letter and spirit of the national restrictions by taking exercise whilst simultaneously taking photographs of butterflies, my very own butterfly reserve (aka the back garden and all 15 x 25 feet of it) has to make do! Sensing my discomfiture a few kindly insects have come to my rescue this week. Small and Large White, Comma and a female Holly Blue only have brightened up the weeks since lock-down. Happy Easter and stay safe everyone. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small White male 10th April
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma 11 April
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue female 11 April
Photo © Francis Plowman

11 Apr 2020

My First Orange-tip for 2020. During my daily walk on the Hayling Billy Cycle Trail, near West Lane/Saltmarsh Lane, the days temperature was a hot 21 degrees, where I stopped to photograph a Small White only on closer inspection for it to be a female Orange-tip, my first annual sighting of this species. Later I also recorded my first annual Large White. My totals were: Large White 1, Small White 8, Orange-tip 1F, Holly Blue 1, Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Home and Milton Lock Nature Reserve. Milton Lock Nature Reserve and Back garden produced a flurry of species. In the Garden there were several Holly Blues on the wing with plenty of Small Whites and the odd Peacock patrolling about. At Milton Lock Nature Reserve about 10 minutes away, there were many Small Whites , Several Speckled Woods, in the dappled sunlight of the small copse at the entrance of the Nature Reserve. Peacocks were also seen, but the Commas seemed to have been ousted by the resident Peacock. Chifchaffs were also seen and singing but there was no sign of the resident Kestrels. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Speckled Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Speckled Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Peacock
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Good day in our Chandlers Ford garden. Since last year I have been cultivating a little area in the garden to specifically attract Orange-tips. I planted 10 Garlic Mustard plants and some Cuckoo Flowers. We always get Orange-tips passing through in small numbers but Iím hoping to get them to stay and lay eggs. Today we had 2 Orange-tips, 1 female that had a good look at the Garlic Mustard and then nectared on a Periwinkle and later a male flew through the garden. I think the flowers need to be more developed to get the female to lay but itís growing fast and the flowers are about to open. It would also help if my 2 cats, didnít keep chasing everything!

We also had, a female Brimstone, 2 Holly Blues, a Peacock, a Small White and a tatty Comma that looked like it was laying eggs on some of my many nettles! :) [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Orange-tip female
Photo © Tracy Piper
Garlic Mustard patch
Photo © Tracy Piper

Fort Purbrook. Had a lunchtime walk along the front of Fort Purbrook with the dog and it didn't disappoint - good numbers of male and female Brimstone, half a dozen Holly Blue, Peacock and Orange-tip made up the numbers but best of all was a fresh Green Hairstreak. I then came home to a female Orange-tip resting on Garlic Mustard in the garden [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Old zebra legs
Photo © Mark Tutton
Resting after egg laying
Photo © Mark Tutton

Green Veined White at Netley. Photographed a very early single Green-veined White at Westwood, between (Netley and Woolston) yesterday (10th April) on our daily exercise. Thought it would be a small white, but see underwing in photo 1. Mainly alighting on bittercress [Posted by Ashley Ailes]

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Green veined white showing underwing
Photo © Ashley Ailes
Green veined white on bittercress
Photo © Ashley Ailes

10 Apr 2020

There no place like home.... nr. Milton Lock. Another week of the Lock Down and the butterflies are now coming into the garden in reasonable numbers, today there were several Small Whites and Peacock's and a lonesome Holly Blue. In the shrubbery were Mint Moth Caterpillars, and White Ermine Moths. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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White Ermine Caterpillar feeding
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Peacock on Nettle
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Holly Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Leigh Park our garden. We had our first Holly Blue of the year in the back garden this morning. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

09 Apr 2020

sightings in N Baddesley. seen today on walk round my butterfly reserve at North Baddesley 17 Orange-tip including mating pair,8 Peacock,9 Brimstone,5 Comma,4 Small Tortoiseshell,5 Small White,1 Holly Blue. [Posted by kevin ross]

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Photo © kevin ross

08 Apr 2020

Ovipositing Orange Tip at Great Fontley. Highlight of a glorious afternoon was an immaculate female Orange Tip ovipositing on the bed of Honesty 'neath the yew at Great Fontley. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

07 Apr 2020

Stoke Common. Today I walked the Northern end of the Hayling Billy Cycle trail on Hayling Island, where at Stoke Common I recorded 2 Small Whites and a Small Tortoiseshell. The temperature was a warm 16 degrees. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

06 Apr 2020

First Speckled Wood on Hayling Island. On another sunny spring day at around mid day, I walked a short section of the Hayling Billy Cycle Trail once more. I was pleased to record my first sightings of a single Speckled Wood and Small Tortoiseshell along with a single Comma. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Hassock Copse, Northington. An Orange-tip butterfly flying low along the roadside verge in bright morning sunshine. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

05 Apr 2020

Small White on Hayling Island. Walking a portion of the Southern end of the Hayling Billy Cycle Trail, I recorded a Small White at Furniss Way, West Town, Hayling Island. The temperature was a warm 16 degrees in the Spring sunshine. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

04 Apr 2020

Small White on Hayling Island. Recorded my fist Small White sighting this year outside my house in Rest A Wyle Avenue, Hayling Island. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Male Small White in Winchester. Only my second of the year, a male Small White along The Itchen Way in Winchester today. [Posted by Lee Hurrell]

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Small White, male, The Itchen Way, Winchester, Hampshire, 4th April 2020
Photo © Lee Hurrell

First Speckled Wood for me this year in Winchester. Two male Speckled Wood seen along The Itchen Way in Winchester today. [Posted by Lee Hurrell]

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Speckled Wood, male, The Itchen Way, Winchester, Hampshire, 4th April 2020
Photo © Lee Hurrell
Speckled Wood, male, The Itchen Way, Winchester, Hampshire, 4th April 2020
Photo © Lee Hurrell
Speckled Wood, male, The Itchen Way, Winchester, Hampshire, 4th April 2020
Photo © Lee Hurrell

Leigh Park my garden. We had our first Speckled Wood of the year in the back garden at Leigh Park [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

02 Apr 2020

Spring has officially started in Winchester. Spring has officially started with my first Orange-tip of the year. Seen today on a lunchtime stroll alongside the River Itchen in Winchester. [Posted by Lee Hurrell]

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Orange-tip, male, Winchester, Hampshire, 2nd April 2020
Photo © Lee Hurrell

Milton Lock Nature Reserve. Today was a far better day with very little wind and the specie count went up as a result. Constant mowing of the grass area on the Milton Allotment area has cut down a lot of the Nettles, but today there was several Small Tortoiseshells seen, two were battling it out and ascending into the heavens and then back down again on territory. The Small White was also seen in better numbers, and at the Milton Nature Reserve, The two resident Commas were still squabbling over territory. Iíve been over this site so often now my resident Kestrel says good morning to me before he embarks on his hunt. There are two but I suspect the female maybe sitting on eggs. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Tortoiseshell better numbers today
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Peacock looking at Nettles to lay eggs
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Good Morning ...
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

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