Butterfly Conservation
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Hampshire and
Isle of Wight Branch
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1982 - 2022

News Archive for Oct 2021

30 Oct 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. The most welcome warm sunshine this morning encouraged more butterflies to come out and enjoy it. For two hours from 1115 the SW breeze was fresh but it was constant sunshine with the temperature around 14-15 degrees Celsius. Most of the butterflies were simply basking in the sun. Not a bad end to my October record. Total: Red Admiral (M)(6)(F)(1); Speckled Wood (F)(1)(M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Female Speckled Wood in the butterfly meadow
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral in the butterfly meadow
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral in the shore-line grasses
Photo © Francis Plowman

29 Oct 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Just Red Admiral found this afternoon between 1400-1515 when the temperature hovered around 15 deg C with a very strong wind, showers, dark clouds interspersed with some warm sunshine! Continuing the nautical theme, it was a surprise to see TS Royalist just off-shore - clearly too rough in The Solent today. Total: Red Admiral (M)(2)(F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral male (some minor wing damage)
Photo © Francis Plowman
TS Royalist off Monks Walk
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral female
Photo © Francis Plowman

28 Oct 2021

Wood White near Alton. In conversation with Prof. Clive Brasier of Forest Research today, he mentioned seeing two Wood Whites in his garden on the fringe of Ackender Wood, Alton, last August. Relics of an ancient population, or introduction? [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

24 Oct 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. With watery and intermittent sunshine I found three species in an hour's walk from 1330. The temperature was 15.5 deg C in the sunshine but very soon the grey clouds swept in and that brought an end to an otherwise enjoyable wander. Red Admiral is still to be found ranging in condition from tatty to immaculate but most today were open-winged, hunkering down out of the breeze and waiting for the sun to come out. Total: Red Admiral (5); Speckled Wood (1)(M); Small White (M)(1)(F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Immaculate Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Seafield Park & Monks Hill Promenade, Hill Head. From 1220-1310 a walk through the park and out along the promenade and lower field to Monks Hill and back found just one Small White male! The temperature at 14 deg C and a pretty strong (and cool, if not bracing) southerly breeze off the sea wasn't really helpful. Even within the more protected park there was not found even a Red Admiral notwithstanding the abundance of ivy bushes. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

22 Oct 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Ninety minutes from 1225 today was long enough to record three species. When the cloud eventually swallowed the sun the butterflies were gone. At the start of the walk the temperature was around 14 degrees Celsius with a noticeable westerly breeze; in the sheltered glades in sunshine it would have been warmer still. And that is where most of the butterflies were found. Three foxes, and a pair of swans on the creek at full tide added to the interest. Total: Red Admiral (7 incl at least 1 female); Speckled Wood (M)(2)(F)(1); Peacock (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral female with wing damage
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock hunkering down
Photo © Francis Plowman

21 Oct 2021

Garden sightings in Axmansford. Today in the garden at Axmansford:

Red Admiral 9, Comma 4, Peacock 1

A very productive afternoon with 14 butterflies seen, either on rotting apples or basking. Quite surprising considering the forecast arctic air. [Posted by Andy Bolton]

19 Oct 2021

Lennox Point kicked into the long grass. Portsmouth planners' scheme to build 3500 homes on reclaimed mudflats and Tipner firing range has been rejected by the city council. The development would have meant the destruction of the wading bird feeding grounds, despite their triple protection (Ramsar, SPA and SSSI), while building on the ranges would have wiped out its Small Heath colony. Also earmarked for destruction were the woodlands on east Horsea including the elm plantation funded by Branch, and discovered this summer by the council's ecoconsultants to be hosting the White-letter Hairstreak. Full marks to HWT and RSPB for organizing such an effective opposition, inc. raising a petition signed by 24,000. https://lennoxpoint.com/ [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

16 Oct 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. The curtain falls inexorably on the butterfly season but today's 18 degrees and warm sunshine produced one surprise at Monks Wood. A later start than yesterday (1330-1500) and being much brighter and warmer, brought out four species including a pristine male Common Blue! It wasn't noted yesterday but today it shared a large field with just one Red Admiral. Fortunately the largely dry field still has one or two Ragwort and the blue was feeding on it. So over two days six species recorded and with warmer weather next week, who knows, the curtain may roll back a touch? We can always hope. Total: Common Blue (M)(1); Red Admiral (5)(incl 1 female); Small White (M)(4); Speckled Wood (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue newly emerged
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue on Ragwort
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral missing right antennae tip
Photo © Francis Plowman

15 Oct 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A two hours' wander from 11 o'clock this morning under light clouds circa 16C revealed just three hardy species. Total: Red Admiral (6); Peacock (1); Comma (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma in the butterfly meadow
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

14 Oct 2021

Hayling Cycle Trail. Today I walked a section of the Hayling Cycle Trail close to Saltmarsh Lane. Here the temperature reached 16 degrees. Numbers of butterflies are now in single numbers with just 3 Red Admirals and a Speckled Wood recorded. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

painted lady in North Baddesley. very surprised to see a fresh looking Painted Lady on my reserve in north baddesley today.i have had them here all season but not seen one for about 4 weeks.also at least 3 Clouded Yellow,2 Common Blue,2 Red Admiral,1 Small White, 1 Small Copper. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin Ross

Chilling & Brownwich Coastal Area, Titchfield. Six species were recorded today on a pleasant wander from 1130-1340, 16-17 degrees Celsius under cloudy skies with sunny interludes but a strong on-shore southerly breeze nearer to the Brownwich shore. The target species was the Clouded Yellow and finally, at last, our first sighting here this year, a fast-flying male along the cliff face; it made many appearances landing briefly half-way up the cliffs and my 100mm macro proving useless with just a poor distant shot for my efforts to scramble up the shingly cliffs! However, over a mile from the shore whilst returning to the car park, a Clouded Yellow overtook us before crossing into the adjacent field; so at least two Colias croceus into the field book. Total: Large White (M)(1); Small White (6); Red Admiral (4); Small Copper (2); Clouded Yellow (2); Comma (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper on the Brownwich shore
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White
Photo © Francis Plowman

11 Oct 2021

Bedhampton Park. Today I walked Bedhampton Park (SU703062) where the temperature was 15 degrees. On a path near to the railway line, I recorded Red Admiral 2 and a Speckled Wood. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Portsdown Hill, Paulsgrove. Two hours from 2 o'clock (16 deg C) with sunshine and light breeze we completed a circuit that included the Paulsgrove field at the base of the chalk-pit before re-climbing the eastern hill area back to the car park at Fort Widley. However, most of the activity was on the upper hill including one Clouded Yellow easily seen on the wing flying erratically towards the eastern area. Numbers of Red Admiral remain strong as does their condition generally; a very strange hind-wing marking of one butterfly shows distinctly as '98'! I've heard of a Clouded Yellow having an '8' on its hind-wings but this is my first '98'! Total: Brimstone (M)(1)(F)(1); Small White (9); Red Admiral (16) (incl 1 female); Small Copper (4); Clouded Yellow (1); Meadow Brown (F)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brimstone male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral No. 98!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown female somewhat tatty
Photo © Francis Plowman

09 Oct 2021

unexpected butterfly day in North Baddesley. Amazed by sightings today on my reserve at North Baddesley as follows.at least 5 Clouded Yellow,4 Small Copper,2 Common Blue,2 Brimstone,3 Small White,4 Large White,4 Red Admiral,1 Meadow Brown,1 Peacock. also 7 adders including a new born,3 lizards, numerous slow worms, several dragonflies. not bad for October! [Posted by Kevin Ross]

A further photograph - Portsdown Hill, Paulsgrove. The blurry in-flight shot of the female Clouded Yellow seen this afternoon showing the two large orange discs on its upper hind wings. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Clouded Yellow female showing her true colours!
Photo © Francis Plowman

Portsdown Hill, Paulsgrove. Crossing the main road from Fort Widley at 1230 we walked westwards along the hill, crossing the Cosham road and then continuing west along the top path. Negotiating a stile we entered the main field and followed paths west and then took a lower path to walk back to Fort Widley. The hill is still very rich in flora with Michaelmas daisies and dandelion-type plants prominent. The temperature was around 18 degrees and butterflies were soon seen. Amazing to see both Common Blue male and female in very good condition, Brimstone of both sexes on the wing and the highlight, of course, was the hoped-for appearance of Clouded Yellow! One female flittered around us sufficient to get some aerial shots which showed two very large orange discs on the upper hind wings; a brighter more orangery Clouded Yellow than I can ever remember seeing. Eventually it settled on a dandelion and a better photograph was obtained. We completed our walk by 1430. Noting eight species on 9th October was a very pleasant surprise. Total: Red Admiral (9); Brimstone (F)(3)(M)(2); Small White (3); Comma (1); Common Blue (M)(1)(F)(1); Meadow Brown (F)(4); Clouded Yellow (F)(1); Peacock (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female feeding on Michaelmas daisy
Photo © Francis Plowman
Pristine male Common Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Clouded Yellow female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. Given the glorious sunshine we walked through Fort Widley from 1150-1230 today with a temperature of 17 degrees Celsius, calm airs and very pleasant indeed. Three species recorded. The fields are resplendent with huge bunches of tall Michaelmas daisies which the butterflies we saw were all using. Total: Red Admiral (14); Small White (1); Peacock (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral by the gate
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock on Michaelmas daisy
Photo © Francis Plowman

Charlton Down and Oxenbourne Down. A Misty morning to start and the temperature was reluctant to rise much above 15-16 C and I visited two chalk downlands, the first being Charlton Down which had been mown and there were very few wild flowers to be seen consequently there were very little in the way of lepidoptera to see, only counting two Meadow Browns. I thought visiting Oxenbourne Down would be more profitable but they do say better in quality than quantity, and so it turned out. I wandered around for a good 45 minutes before I saw what I thought in the distance was a large white, and it turned out to be a female Clouded Yellow which gave me the run around for a few minutes but did settle for a photo or two, so I was really in the right place at the right time! I haven't seen many female Clouded Yellows over the years so this was a triumph! The only other butterflies seen were 6-8 Red Admirals on Ivy. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Clouded Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Red Admiral on Ivy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Clouded Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

07 Oct 2021

Hummingbird Hawk-moth. On a grey but warm day, our visit to the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Romsey, was rewarded with the sight of a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, busily nectaring on Clerodendron sp. The conditions weren't great for photography, but I did get a few images that might be of interest. Notice the long proboscis of this moth, probing deep into the tubular flowers of the Cleredendron to access the nectar. I'm sure many of you will have watched Hummingbird Hawk-moths systematically working their way over a Buddleia flower, or Red Valerian, probing each individual floret for nectar. Late in the season, Clerodendron is favoured by many butterflies and moths, but on this occasion it was just this one individual that brightened our day. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Hummingbird Hawk-moth (top)
Photo © Andy Barker
Hummingbird Hawk--moth (side view)
Photo © Andy Barker
Hummingbird Hawk-moth (proboscis)
Photo © Andy Barker

06 Oct 2021

Buddleja surprise at Great Fontley. The Buddleja davidii cultivar 'Border Beauty', recognized as one of the three most attractive to butterflies at the Longstock Park national collection in July, is flowering strongly a second time at Great Fontley. In this morning's sunshine, it hosted 6 Peacocks, more than were seen in summer and all undamaged, strongly suggesting second brood. Also present were Red Admirals, a female Brimstone, a female Small White, and a Small Copper, an unusual buddleja visitor.

'Border Beauty' was raised by a Dutch nursery, and is more easily distinguished by its blood red stems than its deep lilac flowers. A rarity in the UK, but well worth pursuing, neatly flowering in succession to 'Autumn Beauty' aka 'Beijing Blue' (which actually flowers in late summer). [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Peacock duet
Photo © Andrew Brookes
Red Admiral
Photo © Andrew Brookes
Small Copper
Photo © Andrew Brookes

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. Three butterflies, three species was the sum total found within and around the scrub at Haslar today (1410-1435). The temperature was an encouraging 18 deg C and the sunshine warm but the flora is now well on the wane and the ground very wet. Once again, a nil return for the sought after Clouded Yellow. Total: Comma (1); Small Copper (1); Small White (1)(M). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Gilkicker Point, Gosport. Only two species around this afternoon from 1330-1405 when the temperature stood at 17 deg C with a fresh westerly breeze and azure skies. No further sign of the elusive Clouded Yellow. Total: Small White (3); Red Admiral (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral feeding on ivy floret
Photo © Francis Plowman

03 Oct 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. As the season rapidly draws to an end it's dash out when the sun shines! Ninety minutes was enough from 1230 to record just four species. Yesterday's incessant rain and storm force winds has taken its inevitable toll on nature but 16 degrees Celsius and a little sunshine brought out some hardy insects this afternoon. Five Red Admiral occupied one ivy bush and were feeding avidly. Total: Comma (2); Speckled Wood (M)(2); Red Admiral (6); Small White (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma feeding on blackberry
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral sucking on an ivy floret
Photo © Francis Plowman
Two out of five Red Admiral on the ivy
Photo © Francis Plowman

01 Oct 2021

clouded yellow at north baddesley. if anyone is trying to see Clouded Yellow before it is too late you are very welcome to come and see them on my reserve at north baddesle. for weeks there has been 3 resident here but today at least 5 were here. also 5 Small Copper,2 Common Blue,1 Large White,1 Peacock,2 Red Admiral. my email is spark.ky@hotmail.co.uk or 02380733995. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin Ross

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Six species surviving here in low numbers on the first day of October. The weather permitted just an hour's wander from 1330 before (yet more) rain. In the brief window of sunshine the temperature stood at 17.5 deg C with a strong SW breeze. The buddleia in the butterfly meadow has just about gone with only one tatty Red Admiral holding-on there despite the aggressive manoeuvres of numerous dragonflies and darters. Total: Small White (M)(6)(F)(1); Large White (M)(1); Red Admiral (1); Speckled Wood (M)(4)(F)(1); Small Copper (2); Comma (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small White female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

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