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

News Archive for Jul 2020

31 Jul 2020

Brown Hairstreak at Shipton Bellinger. A brief visit to Shipton Bellinger on the hottest day of the year resulted in a close encounter with a very fresh Brown Hairstreak, hopefully the first of many. [Posted by Kevin Haggar]

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Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Kevin Haggar

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. My final outing to Monks Walk for July from 1425-1700 - when it was at first very hot sunshine and later somewhat humid under high cloud - recorded 14 species. Clearly this location has passed its zenith for species with notable absentees today eg Skippers, Marbled White. Total: Speckled Wood (13 incl 2 females); Holly Blue (8); Small White (6); Common Blue (M)(10)(F)(7); Large White (2); Brimstone (M)(1); Red Admiral (4); Green-veined White (1); Meadow Brown (12); Gatekeeper (39); Comma (4); Small Copper (3); Ringlet (1); Purple Hairstreak (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down. We spent a couple of hours at Oxenbourne Down from 1030-1230. The highlight of the day was seeing our first Silver-spotted Skippers of the year at least six. Other records of note included a Dark Green Fritillary and 100+ Chalk Hill Blues. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

strange sighting at North Baddesley. today on my reserve at North Baddesley among all the other butterflies was a Chalk Hill Blue!! [Posted by kevin ross]

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Photo © kevin ross

Moth trap in our garden at Leigh Park. We had our moth trap on in our garden at Leigh Park overnight and caught 39 species.

Some of highlights were a Tree-lichen Beauty a new species for the garden, Bordered Beauty, Pebble Prominent, Drinker, Rosy Footman 2, Pale Prominent 3, Small Wainscot, Dingy Footman, Yellow-tail. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

30 Jul 2020

Oxenbourne Down. Visited Oxenbourne Down where the temperature was 21 degrees. Here there was hundreds of Chalkhill Blues flying everywhere, my estimate was of around 300, but could easily have been more. Totals: Brimstone 2F, Small White 2, Chalk Hill Blue 300+, Small Copper 2, Gatekeeper 24, Meadow Brown 8, Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Shipton Bellinger. Shipton Bellinger (west) transect produced a good tally today, including 3 Brown Hairstreaks and a second brood Dingy Skipper. One very well behaved Brown Hairstreak low down on a bramble flower gave excellent photo opportunities. Other people had seen several on Creeping Thistle flowers. Further species of note on the transect were 10 Dark Green Fritillary and a Hummingbird Hawk-moth. The DGF were all rather worn as it is late in the season for them, but nice to see all the same. A couple of people I met had seen a Clouded Yellow, and one person had seen a Wall. I didn't see either of these, but nice to know they're about. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Andy Barker
Dingy Skipper (2nd Brood)
Photo © Andy Barker

Brown Hairstreak Prove Hard Work In The Afternoon Heat, But Show Up Eventually. An early afternoon visit to Shipton Bellinger produced two male Brown Hairstreaks low down, and a third higher up in foliage. All three were in different parts of the so called ‘roughs’. There is a now paucity of remaining bramble flowers to feed on, and two of the males were taking sustenance from thistle and hogweed respectively. The former had been feeding for at least half an hour in the same area, occasionally making short flights between thistle heads. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Brown Hairstreak (Male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Brown Hairstreak (Male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Brown Hairstreak (Male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Browndown (North) Gosport. Having recorded my first sighting of Grayling on 10th July (3 butterflies), I looked today to see how the colony was developing. From 1045-1345 in warm and sunny conditions but with a freshening southern breeze (21-24 C) I recorded 12 species. Many field species are now gone eg Marbled White and Skippers but Grayling is doing very well. At a conservative count, 24 were seen including my first ever mating pair. In the photograph below I cannot sex them but the left-hand butterfly did the flying! They were photographed in two areas generally the majority at the triangular shaped path intersection at the end of the heath. Total: Small White (4); Gatekeeper (46); Meadow Brown (21); Small Copper (3); Common Blue (M)(5)(F)(5); Speckled Wood (4); Large White (2); Grayling (24); Red Admiral (1); Brimstone (F)(1); Purple Hairstreak (1); Green-veined White (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Grayling on the pathway
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling mating pair
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling in the heather
Photo © Francis Plowman

29 Jul 2020

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. Fourteen species seen today between 1230-1400 on the field surrounding the fort. A sunny 21 degrees Celsius day with pretty strong SW-breeze posed problems for photography even on the northern side of the fort. No Chalk Hill Blue noted but Small Blue is still evident mainly in the ditch beside the road. Total: Small White (9); Common Blue (M)(55)(F)(4); Meadow Brown (29); Brown Argus (10); Large White (5); Holly Blue (3); Gatekeeper (51); Brimstone (M)(3); Small Copper (2); Green-veined White (M)(1); Ringlet (1); Small Skipper (2); Essex Skipper (1); Small Blue (5). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Essex Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Ashdown Copse and Bedlam Plantation. Visited a remote outpost today close to Shipton Bellinger, but well inside the county boundary for Wall Brown and Brown Hairstreak. Its the way things are now to go on a hundred mile round trip to see a specific species, which 50 years ago was a very common butterfly.The Wall Brown as the crow flies over the Solent from my house would be a lot closer, but its not cheap, so I guess this is the lesser of two evils. However I was quite pleased to see up to 5 or 6 individuals today, including a male which was on the ground for a few seconds so I could get a good view of him. There were many other species seen in his wonderful setting, which is miles and miles of uninterrupted meadows, full of wildflowers, and young Blackthorn Scrub, with pockets of Beech and Oak woodland on the hill sides. They do say the best wildlife havens are MOD ranges , which is precisely what these are. Species of note were: Brown Argus and Common Blue with Dingy Skipper and Large Skipper, also many many Brimstone, Peacock, and of course Gatekeepers. But alas no Brown Hairstreak, but I think they are having a very slow or poor season as yet not many sightings at all in Hampshire. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Argus common today
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Acres of meadows of scrubby blackthorn and wildflowers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Looking south from Bedlam plantation
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

28 Jul 2020

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A later wander just around the two main fields and woodland from 1530-1800 at 22 deg Celsius with sunny periods enumerated 12 species. The Chalk Hill Blue female of four days ago was not seen but Common Blue remains strong. At least 19 were recorded of which 5 were females which is a high ratio. A mating pair was photographed at 6 pm when others were roosting in the long grasses. There must be a very good chance of a third generation later this summer. Total: Common Blue (M) 14 (F)(5); Brown Argus (3); Holly Blue (4); Gatekeeper (32); Meadow Brown (5); Large White (F)(1); Comma (6); Red Admiral (6); Small White (3); Small Copper (2); Speckled Wood (4) incl 1F; Ringlet (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female Var Fb
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue Mating pair male uppermost
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female normal (but worn!)
Photo © Francis Plowman

24 Jul 2020

Chalton Down. Visited Chalton down where the temperature was 21 degrees. Some Chalkhill Blues now increasing in numbers on the slope following the scrub clearance. Totals: Large White 5, Small White 13, Chalk Hill Blue 46, Common Blue 5M, Gatekeeper 12, Meadow Brown 6, Dark Green Fritillary 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Finally we have made it 20 in 2020 at Monks Walk! This place never fails to surprise and today was no exception. Starting out at 1135 when it was about 22 degrees Celsius under grey clouds the air was warm and still. Three hours later it was 24 degrees of sunshine but with a strong SW breeze. Gatekeeper predominates here followed some way off numerically by Common Blue and Meadow Brown. Walking through the main field six bright Common Blue males rose up as one so it was not surprising later to come across yet another mating pair here. A rather large but dusky brown butterfly I recorded as a faded female Common Blue. It was not until processing the photographs (25th July) that this butterfly was in fact a female Chalk Hill Blue. This was a first and may be explained by the northerly winds earlier this month which swept the butterfly over from the chalk hills of Portsdown - some 4.5 kilometres to the north as the butterfly flies - and across upper Portsmouth Harbour. A Purple Hairstreak was found in a field previously unrecorded on a small oak so that augurs well. A really great walk especially when blackberries and cooking apples can readily be picked en route! Total: Red Admiral (12); Gatekeeper (70); Meadow Brown (21); Comma (6); Ringlet (4); Large White (6); Common Blue (M)(19)(F)(4); Peacock (1); Green-veined White (2); Brown Argus (4); Marbled White (2); Small White (10); Speckled Wood (18); Essex Skipper (1); Holly Blue (4); Small Copper (2); Small Skipper (2); Purple Hairstreak (1); Brimstone (F)(1); Chalk Hill Blue (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalkhill Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman

Noar Hill. Today I had every intention of looking for a possible second generation Duke of Burgundy, however the weather being what it is, very cloudy and muggy, I had little chance anyway of seeing one. There are a lot of factors to consider, why a second generation Duke of Burgundy appears at this site all be it very rarely. It's certainly good spring and summer weather, and when the first eggs are laid in the very early part of spring in April. There were a lot of butterflies about Peacocks, Ringlets, Small Heaths, and Large Whites. The odd Silver-washed Fritillary greeted me with its presence, and a rare Small Blue, which I've only seen at this site on the odd occasion, despite good areas of Kidney Vetch.What I didn't expect to see, not yet anyway, was a male Brown Hairstreak, which had just emerged, as it was resting on top of a flower head for over an hour. I've been coming to this site since 1984 and I think this is the earliest I've ever recorded one. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Brown Hairstreak freshly emerged
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

23 Jul 2020

Portsdown Hill East. After visiting Paulsgrove Chalk Pits, a walk along the East end of Portsdown Hill where the following was seen: Large White 1, Small White 11, Common Blue 4M, Gatekeeper 2, Meadow Brown 1, Ringlet 1, Peacock 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Today I visited Paulsgrove Chalk Pits where the temperature reached 20 degrees. Still some Marbled Whites flying. Totals: Brimstone 1M, Large White 3, Small White 32, Common Blue 15M 1F, Gatekeeper 6, Marbled White 4, Meadow Brown 8, Peacock 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Another Burridge Garden- small Coppers. Pleased to read Brian Heal's recent posting from a Burridge garden. In our Burridge Garden at 240 Botley Road, we have much the same species, but yesterday had 3 Small Coppers to add to the usual mix of meadow butterflies. Mint moths today on our marjoram. [Posted by Ashley Ailes]

Browndown (South) Gosport. From 10 o'clock this morning when there was hardly any hint of breeze until 1225 when the wind was around Force 4/5 we recorded 12 species on our walk. Around 20 degrees Celsius with intermittent warm sunshine made for a pleasant outing with co-operative Grayling! Eleven were recorded. Surprisingly three Purple Hairstreak were noted, two on the low oaks and one on the low branches of an oak on the main path towards the Elmore gate. Apart from Grayling and Gatekeeper numbers are in decline. The general area is extremely arid with heather already drying. Not one Small Copper was recorded today. Total: Gatekeeper (102); Small Skipper (2); Grayling (11); Small White (6); Purple Hairstreak (3); Common Blue (M)(1)(F)(1); Large White (5); Marbled White (2); Meadow Brown (2); Holly Blue (1); Ringlet (1); Brimstone (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman

Moth Trap. Here are some of the moths from my moth trap from Wednesday July 22nd. List was quite impressive, Lime Speck, Pug Dark Arches, Popular Hawk Moths,Pebble Prominant, Drinker, Swallow Prominant, Iron Prominant, Bright-Line brown eye, Yellow Tail,Clouded Border, Scarce Footman,Ruby Tiger Moth, Dusky Sallow, Rosy and Common Footman, Small Dotted Buff, Double Kidney, Flame Shoulder, Drinker,Common Wainscot, Dot Moth, Nut tree Tussock, Black Arches male and female, Peppard Moths, Buff Tips, and Twin Spot. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Drinker Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Popular Hawk Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Pebble Prominant
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

22 Jul 2020

Purple Emperor at QECP. I have walked all the trails in the Queen Elizabeth Country Park hundreds of times, and worked there as a volunteer. So I was amazed when a female Purple Emperor appeared from nowhere and landed in front of me. [Posted by Michael Berry]

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Purple Emperor at QECP
Photo © Michael Berry

Seafield Park & Monks Hill Promenade, Hill Head. The SW-breezes spread fresh brine-filled airs but was too strong for most butterflies on the promenade field. This grassy meadow has been seriously cut-back and very few wild flowers were out and thus even less butterflies. It has been a profitable stopping-point for Clouded Yellow on their northwards journey but sadly not today. From 1400-1500 at 23 deg C most butterflies recorded were in the Seafield Park enclosure. Total: Meadow Brown (13); Small Copper (1); Small White (6); Gatekeeper (62); Common Blue (M)(7); Large White (2); Red Admiral (2); Small Skipper (2); Essex Skipper (1); Ringlet (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

21 Jul 2020

Old Winchester Hill. Today I visited Old Winchester Hill where the temperature reached 18 degrees. I walked to the hill fort area and then down the steps before returning to the top path. A good variety of 14 different species were recorded, but very low numbers of Chalk Hill Blues, suggesting that they may only be starting to emerge here. Totals: Brimstone 2M 2F, Large White 9, Small White 25, Chalk Hill Blue 5, Common Blue 12M 1F, Holly Blue 2, Gatekeeper 15, Marbled White 28, Meadow Brown 15, Ringlet 4, Comma 1, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 3, Small Skipper 6. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Stockbridge Down. An afternoon visit with a good few clouds passing to create cooler spells made for a good few hours ,plenty of Chalk Hill Blues seen , 5 male Adonis Blues, 18 _Silver-spotted Skippers most male but did spot a female ovipositing, Clouded Yellows, a few dozen battered Dark Green Fritillary and three 2nd brood Dingy Skippers and a fresh Grizzled Skipper. Also of note hornet robber flies. [Posted by Mark swann]

Oxenbourne Down. We had a another look at Oxenbourne Down during the morning of Tuesday the 21st July from 0930-1100, the numbers of Chalk Hill Blue had increased since our last visit too 100+, which was pleasing. Other species of note were Dark Green Fritillary 6, Large White 10, Red Admiral 4, Brimstone 2M etc. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

Clouded Yellow at Martin Down. Clouded Yellow seen at Bokerley Dyke, Martin Down LNR yesterday (just yards from the Hampshire/Wiltshire Border!). Good numbers of Chalk Hill Blue and a rather out of date Dingy Skipper seen amongst large numbers of other butterflies, especially Gatekeeper and Dark Green Fritillary. [Posted by Paul Warren]

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Clouded Yellow Martin Down
Photo © Paul Warren
Clouded Yellow Martin Down
Photo © Paul Warren
Dingy Skipper Martin Down
Photo © Paul Warren

20 Jul 2020

Oxenbourne Down. After a visit to Chalton Down, I visited Oxenbourne Down, where around midday the temperature reached 19 degrees. Here Chalkhill Blues were flying everywhere with 125 recorded. Totals: Brimstone 1M, Large White 5, Small White 6, Chalk Hill Blue 125, Common Blue 2M, Gatekeeper 18, Meadow Brown 8, Ringlet 1, Large Skipper 1, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Today I visited Chalton Down at Old Idsworth where the temperature in the late morning sunshine reached 18 degrees. I was interested to see how the Chalkhill Blue population found here would be adapting to the heavy scrub and grassland disturbance which occurred earlier in the year. It was pleasing that even at this early stage of the season 23 males and a female were recorded, still about 5% of the numbers once found here on a good year at their peak flight period. A few late Marbled Whites were also seen. Totals: Large White 7, Small White 5, Chalk Hill Blue 23M 1F, Common Blue 7M 1F, Gatekeeper 15, Marbled White 2, Meadow Brown 12, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. 1330-1545 23 deg C. Eighteen species recorded. No, the Marbled White season has not finished, yet! To contradict my previous deduction that their 2020 course was run, one male was very active today! Second only in numbers to Gatekeeper, Common Blue is doing really well this year and pleasing to capture a mating pair literally 'swinging' atop tall grass. Green-veined White mating pair also recorded and was very well camouflaged until disturbed by another white. Speckled Wood numbers on the increase too. Total: Brown Argus (6); Small Skipper (8); Gatekeeper (45); Meadow Brown (13); Ringlet (9); Small White (11); Common Blue (M)(15)(F)(4); Peacock (2); Comma (5); Green-veined White (5); Brimstone (F)(1); Silver-washed Fritillary (1); Holly Blue (4); Red Admiral (4); Large White (5); Speckled Wood (14); Small Copper (1); Marbled White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brimstone female on Buddleia
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman

19 Jul 2020

Longstock census. The brief sunshine this afternoon persisted long enough to complete a Vanessid census at the Longstock buddleja collection. The Peacock was easily the commonest species at @35, perhaps not as many as anticipated after such spectacular numbers of larvae in the spring, followed by Red Admiral (12). Commas conspicuous by their absence, rather surprising given their abundance elsewhere, as were Small Tortoiseshells, not one. A few whites and Meadow Browns made up the also-rans. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

18 Jul 2020

Hayling Island Cycle Trail. Today I paid a local visit to the Hayling Island Cycle Trail walking a section near Saltmarsh Lane, where the temperature reached 22 degrees. A good number of Small Whites were seen. Totals: Large White 3, Small White 16, Meadow Brown 3, Speckled Wood 4, Gatekeeper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Our garden in Leigh Park. A tatty looking Silver-washed Fritillary was in our back garden at Leigh Park, nectaring on the buddleia bush. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

sightings and invitation to North Baddesley. sightings today on my reserve at north baddesley,12 Large White 14 Small White 2 Green-veined White 2 Brimstone 21 Marbled White 2 Small Copper 1 Speckled Wood 24 Meadow Brown 24 Ringlet 29 Gatekeeper 7 Comma 19 Peacock 2 Tortoiseshell 9 Common Blue 4 Purple Hairstreak 1 silver y moth 2 Brown Argus 3 Silver-washed Fritillary 1 Purple Emperor 1 White Admiral. photo attached of a new one on me! silver y moth on buddleia in the daylight. 3 adult adders under same panel scary!! 1 grass snake 42 sloworm IF ANYONE WOULD LIKE TO DO THERE BIG BUTTERFLY COUNT HERE YOU WOULD BE VERY WELCOME. [Posted by Kevin]

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Photo © KevinPhoto © Kevin

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. I look for Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady at this nondescript site but neither were recorded from 1000-1030 this morning. It was a warm 20 degrees Celsius and the SW wind was just picking-up force. There is still an abundance of wild flowers, weeds and high grasses although it is getting very arid. (Spithead was sparkling off the sea-wall and, so we were told by one happy angler, the fish biting!) Total: Small Skipper (3); Gatekeeper (6); Meadow Brown (19); Essex Skipper (15); Common Blue (M)(8)(F)(2); Marbled White (1); Small White (2); Brown Argus (1); Peacock (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper on Scabious
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Warm and sunny with SW breeze and temperature 22 degrees and rising, my wander around this harbour-shore-side clump of woods, fields and glades from 1130-1420 realised a count of 18 species. The disappearance of Marbled White was a surprise. Their life here began on 5th June (1) and my last sighting (11) on 13th July. The Skippers and Ringlet are likewise tailing-off but a good variety of species may yet be found at this site. Total: Speckled Wood (13); Peacock (6); Small White (19); Green-veined White (4); Gatekeeper (67); Meadow Brown (53); Comma (5); Common Blue (M)(17)(F)(1); Red Admiral (5); Holly Blue (6); Small Skipper (21); Large Skipper (2); Small Copper (2); Brown Argus (6); u/i Skipper (1); Large White (5); Brimstone (M)(1)(F)(1); Ringlet (5); Essex Skipper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large Skipper & Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large Skipper on Buddleia
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeepers sharing nicely!
Photo © Francis Plowman

Abbotts Wood Inclosure. The old saying 'it ain't over till the fat lady sings' certainly applied today in perfect weather conditions I saw up to 8 Purple Emperors, and one female on the ground imbibing on something rather nasty. She was in a really poor state, but could still fly really well, I feel the days of egg laying hour after hour really takes its toll, and of course the predators in the sallow as well.

There were good Silver-Washed Fritillary in the rides the odd Purple Hairstreak and still White Admiral to be seen.

At two of the Assembly Areas in the afternoon there were two sets of two males, having a good old chase in the vistas and along the tree top line. They are there for fun and frolics now not merely for territory keeping. I really do feel the end is nigh though. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Purple Emperor imbibing on something rather smelly
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
One of the areas of Operations in 2020
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Up to one of the Assembly Points in the early afternoon
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

17 Jul 2020

Oxenbourne Down. We spent a couple of enjoyable hours at Oxenbourne Down during the afternoon but no sign yet of our target species the Silver-spotted Skipper. But we were not disappointed a brief view of a flighty Jersey Tiger was a nice surprise, butterflies of note were Chalk Hill Blue 15, Dark Green Fritillary 5, Marbled White 6 etc.

Raptors of note in the surrounding area were a Hobby, 2 Red Kites and 6 Buzzards. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

West Harting Down. This should be called not for the feint hearted down, as I really push on the miles when I do this site and most of it is up hill. I've had success in the past with the female Purple Emperor at this site, and today I thought I might have just glimpsed one, egg laying but it wasn't to be.The sallow content along some of the rides is very good, but I feel it's probably past the sell by date now. However the Silver-Washed Fritillary was in very good numbers and several were seen in the rides performing their mating rituals. The Peacock numbers here have just exploded, they were in their hundreds. All along the footpaths, multitudes on the Buddleia bushes, and many other ride side flowers. Good Comma and Red Admirals as well, and Large White. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Peacocks were everywhere.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Gatekeeper on takeoff...
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Hutchinsoni Comma on Bramble
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Charlton Down. Visited this site to see how many Chalk Hill Blues had emerged,and there were a few on top of the down but not so many as I thought there would be. I expect this warm weather will bring out many more. On the bottom of the down there were many Common Blues, and several Dark Green Fritillary buzzing about. However the biggest surprise was a second generation Dingy Skipper was seen, along with fresh Brown Argus. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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2nd Generation Dingy Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dark Green Fritillary male
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Old Winchester Hill, Warnford. My walk today was three hours from 1030 (22.5 Deg C) down the car park slope to the valley field and pathway then returning up the slope and walking the top field pathways. The temperature was 26 Deg C and very warm at the end of the perambulation which recorded 20 species. An unexpected sighting (for me) was a fresh Dingy Skipper and at one stage a male blue flashed its wings as per Adonis Blue but sadly the photograph proved it to be a mint Common Blue! I noted that many Marbled Whites and Common Blue were well infested with the mite Trombidium breei but seemed none the worse for their bright red lodgers. Dark Green Fritillary and Silver-washed Fritillary also about. No sighting of any female Chalk Hill Blues today. The inevitable mating pair of Meadow Brown was noted attracting the attention also of at least one more male. Total: Meadow Brown (68); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Comma (2); Large White (12); Marbled White (32); Small Skipper (36); Small Heath (8); Small White (25); Gatekeeper (28); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(60); Brimstone (M)(8)(F)(10); Peacock (19); Common Blue (M)(11)(F)(1); Small Copper (3); Dark Green Fritillary (7); Dingy Skipper (1); Red Admiral (5); Ringlet (5); Silver-washed Fritillary (2); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary with Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman

16 Jul 2020

Alice Holt Forest. Today I paid a visit to Alice Holt Forest, hoping to catch a last glimpse of a Purple Emperor. At Straits Inclosure much wood clearance had taken place with timber piles along the main track. For the site there was a low number of sightings, totals being: Small White 2, Holly Blue 1, Gatekeeper 2, Meadow Brown 3, Ringlet 15, Peacock 3, Silver-washed Fritillary 3.

At Abbots Wood Inclosure, numbers were not much better despite the temperature reaching 20 degrees, with no sign of Purple Emperors. Totals: Brimstone 3F, Small White 5, Holly Blue 2, Meadow Brown 15, Ringlet 6, Speckled Wood 1, Red Admiral 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 6. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

15 Jul 2020

Whiteley Woods and Meadow, Fareham. Mid-Summer slowly disappears under a daily gathering gloom but the butterflies are out and can still be found! A walk around Whiteley Woods and meadow from 1215-1440 at a temperature of 19 deg C saw eleven species recorded. Nothing remarkable in that but enjoyable nonetheless. Total: Ringlet (112); Meadow Brown (18); Gatekeeper (105); Small Skipper (41); Marbled White (7); Peacock (2); Common Blue (M)(1); Silver-washed Fritillary (4); Large Skipper (3); Green-veined White (3); Small White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper
Photo © Francis Plowman

14 Jul 2020

St Catherine's Hill, Winchester. Chalk Hill Blue was our target today and we started at St Catherine's at 1115. The grey overcast and relatively cool temperature did not augur well. However, at the lower (left) meadow once through the Garnier Road (tunnel) gate, two males were seen. As we crossed the path and entered the right hand meadow and followed the sloping path at the base of the hill, further fresh males were seen. No females noted. The hill slopes are covered in summer flowers and the lower slopes still have both Pyramidal and Spotted Orchids in good numbers. By the time we finished (1245) having returned via the Itchen Navigation tow-path some 11 species had been recorded. Total: Green-veined White (5); Small White (2); Meadow Brown (11); Ringlet (2); Small Skipper (7); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(10); Gatekeeper (10); Peacock (6); Marbled White (8); Red Admiral (2); Brown Argus (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Chalk HIll Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Yew Hill, Winchester. The leaden skies remained between 1310-1445 as we circulated the site. The temperature was around 19 deg C and at one time there was slight rain. So we were surprised to account for 15 species. Total: Speckled Wood (1); Marbled White (21); Gatekeeper (69); Ringlet (1); Small Skipper (3); Brown Argus (1); Common Blue (M)(8)(F)(3); Meadow Brown (60); Small White (24); Peacock (6); Large White (M)(5)(F)(3); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(18); Small Heath (2); Dark Green Fritillary (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman

13 Jul 2020

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Another excellent perambulation today between 1000-1400. The first hour was completely still and warm and 13 butterflies were then recorded. By the end of the walk (circa 22 deg C) I had booked a total of nineteen - still can't get to twenty! More mint-fresh Brown Argus on the wing including a co-operative mating pair. White-letter Hairstreak made a reappearance. A fellow enthusiast pointed me in the direction of elms at the end of Frater Lane and after a few minutes a pair was seen zipping through the uppermost branches. In another part of the area a distant Purple Hairstreak was recorded also. In the order I saw them, today's total: Holly Blue (3); Small White (M) 20 (F)(2); Gatekeeper (38); Ringlet (19); Common Blue (M)(11)(F)(2); Small Skipper (25); Meadow Brown (28); Red Admiral (8); Marbled White (11); Large White (M)(1)(F)(5); Peacock (12); Green-veined White (1); Brown Argus (8); u/i Skipper (37); Comma (4); White-letter Hairstreak (2); Brimstone (M)(1); Speckled Wood (8); Purple Hairstreak (1); Essex Skipper (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brimstone male on Mallow
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Portsdown Chalkhills Joined By 2nd Brood Small Blue. A short visit last week to the wild flower carpeted central area of Portsdown Hill drew a blank for Chalkhill Blue sightings (although there were still a few faded Small Blues around). However, a return visit this morning produced 6 fresh Chalkhill Blues (all males), enjoying their new life in the sunshine. Two faded Small Blues were still to be seen amongst the plentiful kidney vetch, but this time a new arrival in the form of a fresh male Small Blue had joined them - a newly emerged 2nd brood specimen? [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Chalkhill Blue (Male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Chalkhill Blue (Male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Small Blue (Male - 2nd brood?)
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Burridge garden. Great day for butterflies in our garden yesterday. Nine different species. Marbled White, Brimstone, Peacock, Comma, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Large White, Holly Blue.

And then this morning - Small Tortoiseshell. A good sign. There are years when we don't see Commas or Small Tortoiseshells in the garden at all. [Posted by Brian Heal]

Garden butterflies in Lordswood. The biggest gathering of butterflies this year so far today with Peacock (7) Red Admiral (1) Comma (1) Small White (4) Large White (4) Holly Blue (2) Brimstone (1) and Gatekeeper (1)also had a Small Tortoiseshell (1) Meadow Brown and Small Skipper in my Lordswood garden earlier in the week..around 60+ large white larva on nestertiums. [Posted by David lobb]

12 Jul 2020

King's Hat Blues. A late afternoon excursion north-west from King's Hat flanking the Beaulieu river still found Silver-studded Blue aplenty, though all rather jaded. Not obvious at first, they briefly surfaced from the heather and vanished again. Returning to the car, a fresh pair of Holly Blue was seen sparring over the bramble in the woodland. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Silver-studded blue, male
Photo © Andrew Brookes
Silver-studded Blue, female
Photo © Andrew Brookes

Our garden in Leigh Park. We had our first Hummingbird Hawkmoth of the year, nectaring on the buddleia bush in our front garden at Leigh Park this afternoon. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

Our wonderful reserves at BSM and Yew Hill. In good weather over the past couple of days I’ve enjoyed splendid visits to our reserves at Bentley Station Meadow and Yew Hill – well worth a visit. At both the wildflowers were glorious and butterflies and birdlife plentiful. Butterflies seen at BSM were: Red Admiral, White Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Comma, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood, Small White, Green-veined White, Large White, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Silver-washed Fritillary, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper and Purple Hairstreak. Species seen at YH were: Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Brimstone, Large White, Green-veined White, Small White, Common Blue, Small Blue, Chalk Hill Blue, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Dark Green Fritillary and Small Skipper. [Posted by K FREEBORN]

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In head first! This Purple Hairstreak went deeper and deeper into the bramble flower, busying itself for at least a couple of mi
Photo © K FREEBORN
Small Blue
Photo © K FREEBORN
Newly emerged Chalk Hill Blue, enjoying knapweed, fixated on this particular flower for a good two minutes
Photo © K FREEBORN

11 Jul 2020

White-letter Hairstreaks at last. Five White-letter Hairstreaks seen at Great Fontley today, one photographed by Paul Harfield nectaring on bramble; the others favoured the elm cvs. LUTECE and ACCOLADE. A later search of the white elms at Southwick was not so fruitful, but the abundance and range of species, inc. Small Copper and Brimstone, on the brambles there was some compensation. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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White-letter Hairstreak, male?
Photo © Andrew Brookes

Havant Thicket. It was still cool within the woodland paths at 11 o'clock this morning but soon warmed under the intermittent sunshine. We completed the published walk as well as a section of Bells Copse. Fifteen species of butterfly noted. Total: Small White (10); Meadow Brown (137); Brimstone (M)(5)(F)(3); Comma (3); Ringlet (52); Gatekeeper (46); Speckled Wood (6); Small Skipper (15); u/i Skipper (21); Large White (3); Red Admiral (5); Large Skipper (12); White Admiral (3); Silver-washed Fritillary (11); Peacock (8); Green-veined White (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Meadow Brown mating
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
White Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. Eighteen butterfly species were recorded during our walk (1430-1555) this afternoon when the temperature was 21 deg C under a strong northerly breeze. This bothered the butterflies not a jot. The fields are ablaze with Summer flowers and butterflies were everywhere present. Of particular note was evidence of a second emergence of Small Blue as four males were seen in pristine condition. Common Blue also in good numbers though only one female noted. Total: Peacock (3); Red Admiral (4); Small White (23); Gatekeeper (37); Brimstone (M)(3); Meadow Brown (41); Large White (7); Common Blue (M)(46)(F)(1); Small Copper (2); Marbled White (10); Brown Argus (3); Ringlet (5); Small Blue (4); Large Skipper (1); u/i Skipper (17); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Green-veined White (1); Comma (2); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper mating
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

10 Jul 2020

Browndown (North) Gosport. Access denied to Browndown South it was to the north for a wander this morning. From 1100-1350 the west of the Alver River was quartered taking in woods, paths, heaths and glades. The temperature was a warm 19 degrees Celsius throughout and moderated by a WNW breeze. My target butterfly was Grayling but I also wanted to check for White Admiral and Silver-studded Blue. The White Admiral was nowhere to be seen but I was in luck with the other two! At least three Grayling were sighted on ground just to the east of the heath on a triangular pathway intersection. Having earlier not seen the Silver-studded Blue I returned to the heath and left the main pathway using the other 'cut' tracks across the heather. One tiny female was soon found. I have only ever seen two Silver-studded Blues in this location in any one year. On 24 June 2020 I had photographed a solitary male. One hopes that there may have been more or that today's female had met the previously recorded male! It can hardly be described a colony but they are still here, just. Totals: Small White (7); Small Skipper (9); u/i Skipper (6); Gatekeeper (27); Marbled White (9); Large White (1); Meadow Brown (16); Ringlet (7); Red Admiral (2); Speckled Wood (M)(3); Comma (4); Holly Blue (1); Small Copper (7); Grayling (3); Silver-studded Blue (F)(1); Common Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Grayling feeding on heather
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-studded Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
small Skipper & 6-Spot Burnet Moth
Photo © Francis Plowman

It's all over bar the shouting (Alice Holt Forest). Yes it's near to the end of the IRIS season and for those who have been following this blog then you will realise how short and very depressing its been. Numbers in most places I've visited were well down, the weather has not been very good, we started with a great heatwave, then at the end of the month of June we hit a storm for over two days, which really knocked them for six just as the ladies were emerging. Since then the wind has been relentless, and at night they really do suffer. Today I saw about 8 individuals in Alice Holt Forest most looked as if they had been through a shredder, one was a nice individual and gave us a quick look at his flashy purple wings, also including one female,and three were on station at an Assembly Point, at which in the afternoon there were three males chasing each other.. briefly having fun and frolics in the tree tops. The highlights today is that there has been a glut of Purple Hairstreaks, I've never seen so many each Oak I was looking up at there was at least half a dozen flying in and around the oak leaves, also excellent numbers of Holly Blues as well. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Purple Emperor
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Silver-Washed Fritillaries
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Great numbers of Purple Hairstreaks
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

09 Jul 2020

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. The sky was grey and the SW wind strong but between 1330-1530 this afternoon it wasn't cold (19 degrees Celsius) and some thirteen butterflies were recorded on my walk. All the usual suspects but because of the conditions many were very settled and tolerant of my intrusion. Total: Small White (7); Meadow Brown (20); Ringlet (13); Gatekeeper (15); Holly Blue (1); Comma (7); Common Blue (M)(5)(F)(1); Red Admiral (3); Peacock (3); Marbled White (15); Small Skipper (4); Essex Skipper (4); u/i Skipper (28); Speckled Wood (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Silver-washed Fritillary form valezina at Butterwood nr Hook, NE Hampshire. The weather was dull when I arrived at Butterwood near Hook in NE Hampshire this morning. But there were many Meadow Browns and Ringlets to be seen, and the occasional Marbled White. A few brighter periods brought out more species including Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Small White, Large White, Green-veined White, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Large Skipper, Small Skippers and Silver-washed Fritillary. The highlight was a Silver-washed form valezina which settled obligingly for photographs - perhaps the most subtly beautiful butterfly I've ever seen. [Posted by Peter Vaughan]

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Siver-washed Fritillary form valezina
Photo © Peter Vaughan

07 Jul 2020

Pig Bush, New Forest. From 1500-1640 the strong SW wind swept across the heath (circa 19 deg C) and we were not hopeful of seeing Grayling which was our target or, indeed, much else given the conditions. However, the Silver-studded Blue was very prominent still with good numbers of both sexes although the females, although pestered continually by male suitors, were not interested in mating. Some of the butterflies were in excellent condition while others were clearly very worn out. The abundance of SSB made up for the absence of Grayling. Totals: Silver-studded Blue (M)(46)(F)(15); Meadow Brown (3); Large Skipper (1); Small Heath (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Silver-studded Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
SSB male & disinterested female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-studded Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Dibden Bottom, New Forest. After Pig Bush we spent thirty minutes (from 5 p.m.) doing a quick circulation of this large field cutting short because of numerous large livestock moving in our direction! The Silver-studded Blue own the heather still and a total of 106 was counted (83 male) and 23 female. Two rather forlorn Meadow Brown also noted. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Havant Thicket and Bell's Copse. We caught the number 27 bus from Leigh Park this morning at 0940 to Redhill Road. Then walked on the main tracks going through Havant Thicket, we then did a circular walk around Bell's Copse, before finally walking home and finished at 1255.

We recorded 18 species, the highlights were Purple Emperor 3 males, Silver-washed Fritillary 51, White Admiral 2, Red Admiral 5, Comma 6, Purple Hairstreak 4, Peacock 8, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Brimstone 2, Gatekeeper 18 also good numbers of Marbled White etc. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

06 Jul 2020

It's an ill wind.. Great Fontley. The strong north westerly blew a female Silver-washed Fritillary out of Botley Wood to Great Fontley, where she vainly searched for violets, a 'first' for the site. In the lee of the garden, Peacock sought sustenance on the early-flowering Buddleja 'Border Beauty'. Venturing to Creech in the afternoon, my luck with Purple Emperors remained as dismal as ever, but a solitary White Admiral and two Silver-washed Fritillary deigned to appear. However, it was the pristine Holly Blues (8) which stole the show, their pale blue wings particularly luminous in the overcast conditions. Also seen were a few Marbled White, a newly emerged Speckled Wood, numerous Ringlet, Meadow Brown, rather jaded Small Skipper / Essex Skipper, Large White and Green-veined White, and a Comma. Moving on to Huntbourn Wood brought little more success, not one White Admiral at this former stronghold, but a fair number of Peacock and Red Admiral resting on the path. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Peacock on Buddleja 'Border Beauty'
Photo © Andrew Brookes
White Admiral waiting for the sun
Photo © Andrew Brookes
S-w Fritillary enjoying bramble flower
Photo © Andrew Brookes

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A mixture of blackberrying and butterfly spotting for 3 hours from 10 a.m. and good success in both ventures! We couldn't top the maximum of 19 species (26 June) but came close with eighteen today. The Skippers dominate the fields with Comma well represented in the hedgerows. It is always pleasing to see Common Blue numbers increasing and especially when a female is recorded. Sadly the White-letter Hairstreak appears finished nor did White Admiral show up today. The buddleia is abundant and attracting many butterflies in the enclosed meadow. All in all a really good morning. Total: Small White (16); Marbled White (27); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Red Admiral (4); Gatekeeper (12); Essex Skipper (4); Common Blue (M)(4)(F)(1); Small Skipper (46+); u/i Skipper (50+); Speckled Wood (1); Comma (17); Ringlet (10); Meadow Brown (34); Holly Blue (2); Peacock (4); Green-veined White (2); Small Copper (1); Large White (2); Purple Hairstreak (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female Var Fb
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman

Alice Holt Forest. Today despite the weather being rather cloudy at times was a triumph. My best day of Purple Emperoring by a long way. Jackie my wife and I arrived at our destination at 09:30 and at 10:05 we saw our first male Emperor and he was oak edging for a few, minutes, and then we saw a female close by but she was in a large sallow keeping out of the way, she was surrounded by several males who were flying around her and above and over the sallow thicket, but she was not spotted.. Here she sat for well over an hour, looking across the ride. In two hours I noted in my notepad the Purple Emperor (28) times this includes two females. This would mean probably there were at least 10 males in and around our area, allowing for counting some twice or even three times, plus the two females as well. One male came down on to the ground and started imbibe but unfortunately he was very skittish. The highlight of the observation's was seeing a pristine female in a Caprea Sallow tree, she was sat there for a good 20 odd minutes, quite low down, just looking at us.This was at 10:55 and at 11:18 she started to start egg laying which is about the right time. Out she came and she looked enormous, and in fine fettle too. In and out of the sallow she weaved, diving into the back laying one egg and then two, then having a little rest up. we watched her doing this for a good 10 minutes until we lost her. All the males had been sallow searching and Oak edging, which means they were not that old, probably emerging in the last few days.

At one of the Assembly Points there was one male on station, but it was 14:30 and the weather had closed in with just a few glimpses of sunshine. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Purple Emperor on Sallow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Bramble pecked White Admiral
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Basingstoke hairstreaks. Despite rather cloudy conditions, a visit to Basing Wood in the morning gave good views of four Purple Hairstreaks. Two were low down amongst oak leaves (1st photo), the other two were seen on bramble leaves at rest and walking around. One opened its wings and basked (2nd photo) as sunshine tried to break through the clouds. In the afternoon, a visit to Crabtree Plantation yielded four White-letter Hairstreaks. Three were binocular views at rest high on elm foliage, but the fourth and final sighting, spotted by a friend, was less than a metre above ground level, at rest on an elm leaf. In the cloudy conditions, this pristine individual was very well behaved and provided plenty of photo opportunities. An impressive number (15+) of Commas, mostly on bramble was another highlight of this last site. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Purple Hairstreaks (2)
Photo © Andy Barker
Purple Hairstreak basking
Photo © Andy Barker
White-letter Hairstreak
Photo © Andy Barker

05 Jul 2020

Browndown (South) Gosport. You never know for certain when access is available to the MOD training area at Browndown so I took a chance today despite the very strong wind from the SW. The red flag wasn't flying and the sun shone with temperature at 21 degrees Celsius but felt much fresher near the coast. Eleven sightings made but all species in single numbers and hardly surprising. The Grayling was my target but it was not found today. Totals: Gatekeeper (6); Small Heath (1); Small Copper (7); Meadow Brown (9); Marbled White (8); Ringlet (3); Small Skipper (2); u/i Skipper (3); Purple Hairstreak (4); Large White (1); Small White (2); Comma (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Gatekeeper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman

West Walk and Creech Wood. Visited two woods today and there was a fair amount of strong winds again, but lots of good sunshine, in fact the sun was out 100% of the time. West Walk (east) was a new area for me, although I had taken a field trip there last year in the western part of the wood and we had a lot of success with the Purple Emperor, this was on the eastern edge of the wood, and again it looked very good for the Purple Emperor, but alas it was too windy I feel. I spent about an hour and a half looking, but went back to nearby Creech Wood, at about 12:15. At 12:20 I saw my first male looking in and around the Douglas Fir trees which align the way-leaves area, it was still very windy. At 12:30 I saw a female Purple Emperor over the sallow strewn area of the way-leaves, it looked at if it had been laying eggs, and had been disturbed by a large flock of Long-Tailed Tits which I noticed had been sulking in the undergrowth. I walked further along to another vista, and saw another male at 12:35, he was flying in and around the vista , when a gale hit him and he just couldn't control his flight and he was gone. Another female was seen over sallow at 12:40 further up the way-leaves, but I lost sight of her, when I looked in and around the area. It wasn't a good day for White Admirals, not seeing one in either wood, and only 4 or five Silver-Washed Fritillary in Creech Wood. Many Red Admirals and Commas again in both woods, but the Purple Emperor now is getting hard to find. [Posted by Ashley whitlock]

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Skulking in the shadows a typical female Purple Emperor awaits.
Photo © Ashley whitlock
West Walk East
Photo © Ashley whitlock
In and amongst the sallow in Creech Wood
Photo © Ashley whitlock

Hairstreaks at Stockbridge Down. Despite blustery conditions, the warm sheltered areas at Stockbridge Down proved to have plenty of butterflies. A total of 21 different species were recorded in a 3hr visit. There were impressive numbers of Red Admirals, especially on bramble, but the highlight was seeing White-letter Hairstreak (3). One (on the NT reserve) was fairly low down taking nectar from a bramble flower, the other two (males), just off the reserve, gave good views through binoculars when at rest at the top of a hedge, between bouts of spiralling as they battled over territory. On the return to the lower car park several Purple Hairstreaks (4+) were seen on the SW sunny side of some oaks. Photo opportunities were limited, but I've included a couple of record shots of the hairstreaks. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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White-letter Hairstreak on bramble
Photo © Andy Barker
Purple Hairstreak hiding
Photo © Andy Barker
Brimstone on Musk Thistle
Photo © Andy Barker

03 Jul 2020

Havant Thicket. Today I walked Havant Thicket to search for the Purple Emperor. None were seen, the temperature was 17 degrees, around 10 degrees lower than my previous visit during the heatwave. A total of 12 species were seen with increasing numbers of Meadow Browns, but low numbers of most species. Totals: Small White 3, Gatekeeper 6, Marbled White 1, Meadow Brown 31, Ringlet 10, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 5, Small Tortoiseshell 1, White Admiral 1, Large Skipper 4, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Southwick Park Trail, Southwick. Trying to find a location unaffected by the strong winds led us to the Southwick Park Trail in the village of Southwick. The gate is conveniently placed to the small car park by the village hall and leads through a mix of woodland paths, across a golf course, a few sunny glades in a circuit that returns one to the start. From 1450-1620 we followed the trail and saw nine species of butterfly. It would have been more but for the strength of wind and lack of consistent sunshine. But White Admiral turned-up so that was really nice and at one time we had four Red Admiral and a Comma settled on the pathway. Total: Red Admiral (15); Ringlet (2); Meadow Brown (18); Large Skipper (2); Comma (10); Peacock (3); Green-veined White (4); Gatekeeper (4); White Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral in our way!
Photo © Francis Plowman
White Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Browndown South. Another trip to Browndown South - and another Force 7 gale. It's becoming a habit. My last opportunity for a while so had to go late afternoon just as the cloud thickened and the wind was strongest. At least it didn't rain. Managed to find my first Grayling of the year though (or rather it found me) which was worth the trip alone. Others seen were Small Copper (4), Marbled White, Common Blue (very fresh looking) and plenty of Purple Hairstreaks. The only one I could photo was on the ground - the rest were swinging about so wildly on the trees I was getting motion illness looking through the viewfinder! A lovely trip out despite the elements. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Small Copper - Browndown
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Grayling - Browndown
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Purple Hairstreak - Browndown
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

White-letter Hairstreak, Milton Common. A couple seen mid-afternoon in small copse containing elms on Milton Common between Eastern Rd and the cycle track. Don't know if this is a known site so GR is SU 6725 0103 . A couple at the top of a small tree that has been heavily strimmed below immediately next to the cycle track which was largely shelterd from the wind. [Posted by Keith Turner]

Creech Wood. Today was probably one of the windiest days I’ve ever had the pleasure of looking for HIM ever. I don’t know what‘s wrong with our weather but it seems to be windy every day we just cannot shake it off.

In the wayleaves again I had a look in the same places as last time, and spotted my first male Purple Emperor at 10:50 at the gap where it meets the small footpath. It seems to be a good area where there are several small and medium sized conifers and a few small beech and hazel stands and a good under-storey of Sallow, facing North again. He was flying towards the western end of the tree line from the eastern part of the way-leaves.

Surprisingly in small bouts of really good sunshine there was no action, and I did not see a Silver-washed Fritillary today, and only one White Admiral. At 11:15 another male was flying through the vista from East to West and circling in the Vista looking for something, but generally ambling about, and again a male seen flying 11:22 in and over some tall conifers but the wind was just about putting the mockers on everything.

At 12:00 I decided to walk a fair way along the way-leaves as it rises up slightly and here at 12:20 a male was seen over a smallish Oak and some conifers in good sunny period, he was flying in and around the conifers and decided to go up and over going south. Going back retracing my steps but a lot further in on a ride path, under the Oak under-story I espied another male at 12:30 patrolling over a stand of conifers close to the way-leaves going west again. At this time it was not sunny at all and very windy, but it didn’t seem to bother him. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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First Gatekeepers of the season seen today
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Several Commas including one Hutchinsoni
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Marbled White mating hundreds of these along the power lines
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

02 Jul 2020

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. My walk from 1200-1500 was rain interrupted and with a very strong wind augured ill for butterflies. Leaving the exposed areas well alone, however, some 14 species were numbered today including a mating pair of Essex Skipper right on the edge of the harbour shore. A rather ragged if not exhausted Painted Lady resigned itself to my intrusion and was still on the grass as I left. Flying in that strength of wind clearly had taken its toll. Total: Marbled White (23); Meadow Brown (22); Small White (8); Ringlet (22); Gatekeeper (3); Red Admiral (9); Comma (7); Large White (3); Peacock (2); Small Skipper (15); Essex Skipper (9); u/i Skipper (35); Common Blue (M)(2); Painted Lady (1); Holly Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman
Essex Skipper (black underside antenna tips)
Photo © Francis Plowman

01 Jul 2020

Martin Down National Nature Reserve North. After circulating the southern sector of the reserve we crossed the main road and for an hour 1500-1600 did a hasty survey of the fields, paths and woodland edges. As we were late and the wind still very strong many species were roosting and tolerated approach. One again there was not a single blue to be seen and the anticipated White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary was absent. Totals: Purple Hairstreak (1); Meadow Brown (50); Small Skipper (47); Dark Green Fritillary (12); Marbled White (55); Peacock (7); Small White (7); Ringlet (24); Small Heath (5); Comma (1); Large Skipper (4); Gatekeeper (1); Small Copper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Martin Down National Nature Reserve South. As we were in the Fordingbridge area we took a chance (of getting well soaked) to visit Martin Down. Under cloudy and threatening skies and buffeted by a very strong SW breeze we circulated the main paths and ditch edge between 1310-1445. We were neither drenched nor chilly but entertained by 13 species of butterfly. Significantly absent from the site including the chalk areas was any blues. Dark Green Fritillary was our 'target' and many were seen. At last a Large White settled for a photograph; it's been hard up to now to get them to stop! Total: Small White (29); Meadow Brown (45); Marbled White (69); Dark Green Fritillary (47); Small Skipper (35); Ringlet (19); Large White (14); Peacock (5); Small Heath (5); Brimstone (M)(1); Green-veined White (3); Red Admiral (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman

Birth of a White Admiral!. I was lucky to come across this chap today, which was just starting to emerge from its egg when I was out monitoring White Admiral eggs today at Pamber Forest. Out of 42 eggs found so far this year (which seems to be extremely good for White Admiral), 6 have already been predated, so I hope this one makes it through. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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White Admiral 1st instar larva
Photo © Pete Eeles
White Admiral 1st instar larva
Photo © Pete Eeles
White Admiral 1st instar larva
Photo © Pete Eeles

Kevin Ross Nature Reserve, North Baddesley. It been about two years since Kevin invited up to see his reserve at North Baddesley and today was a good opportunity, although the weather wasn't great it did show what amazing amount of work he has put into his reserve, and what potential the site has. There were countless amount of invertebrates in the meadow, with Roesel's Bush Crickets,Common Green Grasshoppers, Meadow Grasshopper, several Long Horned Beetles, 7 spotted Ladybirds, Burnet Moths, all of the Skippers, Essex, Small, and Large by the hatful, Ringlets, Marbled Whites, and Meadow Brown, with many wild flowers,Small Scabious, Marsh Thistles, Self Heal,Birds Foot Trefoil,Hawks-beard, Stinging Nettle, Bramble and a host of other wild plants. We also saw a young Adder and many Slow Worms. In the Woods there are many good sallow stands and Medium to large Oaks, and I've never seen so much Honeysuckle, which is probably why today was my best count of White Admiral for many years, up to 25 plus I would say. Several Silver-washed Fritillary graced us with their presence, and of course a couple of Male Purple Emperors zoomed overhead in one of the rides, however I never saw where they went, and a suspected Assembly point never produced any flights. It was rather windy and the trees which were either Grand Fir trees or Western Hemlock were swaying much too much for any action today. All in all a great afternoon and thumbs up to Kevin for a wonderful site, which I thoroughly recommend to visit. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Woodland ride where two Purple Emperors zoomed through
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Essex Skippers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Newly emerged Small Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

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