Butterfly Conservation
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News Archive for Jul 2021

31 Jul 2021

Titchfield Haven. Gatekeeper about in large numbers and several Comma around Titchfield Haven. Nice to be able to get up close for some different views.

https://awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.com/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Gatekeeper
Photo © Chris Rose
Gatekeeper
Photo © Chris Rose
Comma
Photo © Chris Rose

Chilling & Brownwich Coastal Area, Titchfield. From 1000-1230 I walked the woods, paths and cliff-top from the Chilling car-park and back on a large generally circular course. It was 19 degrees Celsius under bright but cloudy skies with an accurate forecast for showers! No Clouded Yellow activity seen above or below the cliffs although one pristine Painted Lady was found resting on the pathway near to Sea House. In all honesty it doesn't look as if it had flown far at all. One nervous Small Tortoiseshell on the cliff footpath took fright/flight before a good photograph could be obtained; I've seen very few anywhere this year, sadly. Total: Gatekeeper (93); Small White (F)(3)(M)(11); Large White (4); Meadow Brown (F)(21)(M)(15); Red Admiral (4); Small Skipper (1); Painted Lady (1); Green-veined White (M)(2); Peacock (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Gatekeeper female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Rain stopped play after an hour's wander through just three areas (1300-1400) with 18.5C on the gauge and grey clouds overhead. Nevertheless, some 16 species were seen in various conditions of health; some just starting-out while others are hanging-on! It was rewarding to see the wild Buddleia that I had pruned heavily in February covered in blossom with 5 Red Admiral, 2 Peacock and a Comma making the most of the nectar. Skippers are just about finished in the butterfly meadow and no Marbled White seen today. Total; Speckled Wood (M)(2); Purple Hairstreak (1); Gatekeeper (23); Common Blue (M)(1); Essex Skipper (F)(1)(M)(1); Brown Argus (1; Small Skipper (3); Small White (4); Peacock (2); Red Admiral (5); Comma (1); Large White (2); Green-veined White (1); Meadow Brown (8); Ringlet (2); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma and Peacock rest on Buddleia
Photo © Francis Plowman
Essex Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

29 Jul 2021

White-letter Hairstreak near Bentworth. When visiting a new site near Bentworth, a few miles NW of Alton, I had the unexpected surprise, and pleasure, of finding a rather tatty White-letter Hairstreak nectaring on Creeping Thistle. Without doubt, this is one of the favoured nectar sources for this species, so if you're passing a large patch of Creeping Thistle in a sheltered sunny location, it's always worth just stopping and slowly scanning the flowerheads. You never know what you might see. Last season the White-letter Hairstreak flight period was over by 22 July, but this season looks set to continue into August, so keep looking. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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White-letter Hairstreak on Creeping Thistle
Photo © Andy Barker

Pitt Down, Winchester - An Unusual Peacock. A first albeit brief visit to part of Pitt Down (1335-1405) under cloudy skies and temperature around 20C proved interesting. Time pressure restricted the visit to a walk down the gentle slope to the valley and back again. However, eight butterflies were seen amid the abundant flora of the area. I photographed a feeding Peacock which had some form of strange band around its abdomen. My first thought was that it looked of man-made origin since it appears neatly to encompass the girth of the abdomen and has a slightly raised rim and in places hairs are covering it. Or perhaps it might be residue from the chrysalis case? I wonder whether anyone can throw any light on this please? (If so, perhaps they might contact me via the webmaster). Total: Gatekeeper (18); Meadow Brown (15); Brimstone (F)(2)(M)(1); Dark Green Fritillary (6); Small White (4); Marbled White (3); Common Blue (M)(2)(F)(1); Peacock (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Photo © Francis PlowmanPhoto © Francis PlowmanPhoto © Francis Plowman

White Admiral immature stages, Pamber Forest. A favourite part of my season is tracking down White Admiral immature stages - eggs and 1st & 2nd instar larvae found at Pamber Forest in Hampshire today. Small but perfectly formed 😀 [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Egg
Photo © Pete Eeles
1st instar
Photo © Pete Eeles
2nd instar
Photo © Pete Eeles

Yew Hill, Winchester. From 1000-1250 I quartered the butterfly reserve and recorded at least 18 species. The temperature ranged from 17.5C to 19.5C with a fairly hefty SW wind that brought over the clouds. But the field is really a joy to behold, carpeted with flowers and speckled liberally with butterflies. Chalk Hill Blue predominate and two mating pairs were noted. At the time I thought that I had photographed Adonis Blue only to find it was just a very bright and shiny Common Blue. Another enthusiast pointed-out to me a fresh Small Blue and visually this appeared so. Alongside this truly diminutive butterfly was a Chalk Hill Blue which helped with scale. However, processing the photograph revealed the tiny blue to be Common Blue and certainly the smallest that I have seen. The field is an amazing tribute to those BC volunteers who make it such a pleasure to visit; thank you. Total: Small White (66); Meadow Brown (109); Red Admiral (2); Green-veined White (5); Gatekeeper (134); Large White (12); Ringlet (11); Small Skipper (5); Comma (2); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(184)(F)(16); Speckled Wood (1); Holly Blue (1); Marbled White (10); Common Blue (M)(17); Dark Green Fritillary (2); Brimstone (M)(2)(F)(2); Painted Lady (1); Peacock (4) [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Female Brimstone on Knapweed
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper on Scabious
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Charlton Down and West Harting Down. A blustery day spoiling any sightings of his majesty or her majesty even, but on the downland at Charlton Down there was the best count of Chalk Hill Blues I've ever had in 30+ years. The site was 'teeming' with them, impossible to count but there must have been thousands of them, plenty engaged in mating and pairs being interrupted by gatecrashers. Up to half a dozen female Dark Green Fritillarys were seen as well with the usual butterflies, except there were very few skippers to be seen, probably now past their best. On West Harting Down there were a few Silver-washed Fritillarys, one White Admiral, but no Emperors. The season is late now, but there is still the potential for the odd male and certainly females to be seen on their rounds of the sallow stands after 11:00 o'clock laying their eggs. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Chalkhill Blues mating
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The only way is Essex
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

28 Jul 2021

Painted Lady in a Gosport Garden - A Helping Hand. Late morning we found a Painted Lady on our lawn. Blown in by very strong southerly winds it looked exhausted. The wind was blowing our garden Buddleia around wildly so a large floret was cut and put in front of the insect. It took a while for it to wonder at its good fortune before setting-out to imbibe nectar. Suitably revived it then nipped onto the nearby Scabious and fed some more. No doubt strengthened it eventually flew off into the breeze! I'm usually looking for butterflies; it's nice when you don't even have to leave home to enjoy them. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Photo © Francis PlowmanPhoto © Francis PlowmanPhoto © Francis Plowman

27 Jul 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. The torrential rain and storms of last night appear to have taken a toll on the Skippers at this site. From 1445-1730 the area was covered finding some 15 species of butterfly. The sky was grey and overcast, temperature around 19 degrees Celsius with a fairly intrusive breeze in the more open spaces. No further sign of any hairstreak activity nor female Common Blue although numbers of the male are increasing. Feral cooking apples and plenty of blackberries were an added bonus although my second tick of the season from this place was not! Total: Small White (M)(6)(M)(20); Holly Blue (1); Marbled White (3); Essex Skipper (4); Brown Argus (4); Small Copper (1); Red Admiral (6); Ringlet (6); Common Blue (M)(11); Meadow Brown (15); Gatekeeper (33); Comma (10); Small Skipper (3); Speckled Wood (3); Large White (F)(1)(M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown female
Photo © Francis Plowman

26 Jul 2021

Havant Thicket. After visiting Oxenbourne Down in the morning, I passed Havant Thicket on the way home. Here I recorded 13 different species and was lucky to spot a Purple Emperor near Bell's Copse flying around the tree tops at 12:40. Totals: Brimstone 4M 3F, Large White 1, Small White 6, Gatekeeper 28, Meadow Brown 18, Ringlet 2, Speckled Wood 6, Peacock 1, Purple Emperor 1, Red Admiral 4, Silver-washed Fritillary 13, White Admiral 2, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Oxenbourne Down. Today I revisited Oxenbourne Down, in the slightly cooler temperature than recently of 22 degrees. I returned to seek out any further Clouded Yellows following my sighting on 22nd July. No sign of one, but still hundreds of male Chalk Hill Blues everywhere like a pale blue sea. Totals: Large White 2, Small White 4, Chalk Hill Blue 500+, Gatekeeper 10, Marbled White 5, Meadow Brown 24, Small Heath 5, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Emperor Showing Off In West Wood. A morning walk on Monday in West Wood (Farley Mount) saw me being entertained by a male Purple Emperor. He first appeared intricately ascending within the foliage of a tall sallow, resting briefly at the top before flying round other sallows in the area (presumably looking for females) and making several high altitude return sorties to the backdrop of tall conifers. Sadly his repertoire did not include coming anywhere near the ground!

Other highlights included Silver-washed Fritillary(8), several mud-puddling Holly Blues, and on nearby Pitt Down, Dark Green Fritillary (6), now mostly fading but still able to fly at speed across the down. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Purple Emperor
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury

The Blues Have It! St Catherine's Hill, Winchester. With the temperature reaching 25 degrees Celsius and the intermittent sun very warm, I checked-out (1350-1545) the bottom meadow and then right lower path of St Catherine's Hill entering from the Garnier Road car park. The target specie was Chalk Hill Blue and it was everywhere. A mating pair was soon found in the lower (left) meadow and attracted my attention by the female leading the joined male on a merry dance around the top of a flower head. The butterflies were on the move continually and each time they reached the top of the flower I took a shot! Eventually they broke free but photographs taken of the pair immediately following mating revealed what appeared to be a distended ovipositor from the female's abdomen. However, she quickly flew away and I hope this condition was quite usual. I later came across two separate groups of male Chalkhill Blue covering dog faeces; fourteen at one time all over the first pile! Seventeen species were recorded today as follows: Red Admiral (1); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(175)(F)(10); Meadow Brown (47); Small Skipper (7); Large Skipper (1); Ringlet (1); Brimstone (F)(2); Small White (17); Comma (5); Common Blue (F)(1)(M)(2); Brown Argus (5); Green-veined White (3); Peacock (2); Gatekeeper (12); Marbled White (7); Large White (3); Speckled Wood (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Chalkhill Blue 'mating on the move' - female at left
Photo © Francis Plowman
CHB x 14 on dog poo!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalkhill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Straits Inclosure. In what can only be described as perfect weather conditions, blue sky nil wind and butterflies in profusion, but the Purple Emperor is on the wane. Saw just one over the tops of the Oaks at Straits Inclosure today, and In Abbotts Wood just two Oak edging, so three in number over a period of 3 hours or so. Plenty of Silver-washed Fritillarys, several rather worn female White Admirals, and plenty of Purple Hairstreaks, which are easier to see in Straits as the Vistas are wider, and the Oaks are a lot taller in places. Gatekeepers were very common, in the rides however the Forest is being harvested, but thankfully many of the sallow haven't been touched in the main ride and they look splendid. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Second Deer tower where the male Emperor was noted
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Gatekeeper in good numbers now in the rides
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female White Admiral
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

25 Jul 2021

Browndown (North) Gosport. Sandwiched between two rain storms I took a quick look around Browndown North. From 1430-1615 with a couple of rain diversions the temperature was around 22 deg C with some sunny intervals; it was enough to record 15 species although numbers - except Grayling - were low. Only one Silver-studded Blue male (probably one of the 3 noted a week previously) was seen fleetingly and a poor photograph showed it to be a very worn butterfly. I was hoping to see a female SSB but alas, today. Total: Small White (3); Small Skipper (4); Common Blue (F)(1)(M)(2); Gatekeeper (13); Peacock (2); Grayling (17); Essex Skipper (1); Silver-studded Blue (M)(1); Small Copper (3); Brown Argus (1); Marbled White (M)(1); Meadow Brown (5); Ringlet (1); Speckled Wood (F)(1); Comma (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

24 Jul 2021

Toadflax Brocade Lava in Lordswood garden. Noted five of the toadflax brocade moth lava on a bunch of purple toadflax as i was staking the tall plant . The caterpillars vary in size also one small one is dead on the plant [Posted by David Lobb]

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Toadflax Brocade Moth Larva on purple toadflax
Photo © David Lobb

23 Jul 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Best day of the Summer for me so far concerning butterfly species - 18 seen today in a long circulation from 0915-1250. The weather was very pleasant, mostly all sunshine (20-25 degrees C) and a light breeze initially from the SW and later from the East. The area to the south of Heritage Way realised 15 species before 10 a.m.! That included both White-letter Hairstreak and Purple Hairstreak the latter being the first time that I had seen it here. The WLH was found sat less than 2 feet from the ground atop Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) and remained static for at least ten minutes before flying into a nearby feral apple tree! Purple Hairstreak was also seen across the main road in the butterfly meadow which again lived-up to its name. Common Blue of both sexes were recorded including three female of the Variety Fb all within a square metre of each other. Total: Gatekeeper (71); Meadow Brown (41); Comma (10); Brown Argus (3); Small Skipper (51); Marbled White (7); Essex Skipper (31); Ringlet (9); Red Admiral (10); Small White (15); Purple Hairstreak (3); Large White (7); Common Blue (M)(4)(F)(3); Peacock (2); Green-veined White (6); Speckled Wood (9); Small Copper (2); White-letter Hairstreak (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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White-letter Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female Var Fb
Photo © Francis Plowman

West Harting Down. Another visit to the site where I've had good encounters with HIM even last week on the field trip we espied one, however today it wasn't playing. It's really annoying you know they're probably looking down at you but that's the nature of the beast. There were good numbers of Dark Green Fritillary in the ride, Red Admirals feeding on something absolutely yuk, and Commas laying on the Nettles. It was fairly breezy in the tops of the trees, so this could have been a factor today. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Red Admiral feeding on something very horrid
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Tortoiseshell on a post
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

22 Jul 2021

Oxenbourne Down Chalkhill Blues and Clouded Yellow. In the continuing heatwave, I visited Oxenbourne Down where the temperature reached 26 degrees. Here the hillside was teaming with hundreds of male Chalk Hill Blues, with easily 500 on the wing. These were in company with Meadow Browns, with a few Marbled Whites, Gatekeepers, Small Heaths. A surprise was seeing a Clouded Yellow flying perhaps flown from over the channel by the warm weather. Totals: Brimstone 1M 1F, Large White 4, Small White 2, Clouded Yellow 1, Chalk Hill Blue 500+, Small Copper 1, Gatekeeper 5, Marbled White 5, Meadow Brown 21, Small Heath 5, Silver-washed Fritillary 1, Small Skipper 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Whiteley Woods and Pasture, Fareham. On a wander between 0915-1130 (24-27 deg C) some sixteen species were counted. The target butterfly was Purple Emperor but only one distant 'on the wing' example can be confirmed. Numbers of White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary are dropping-off while the Meadow Brown and Ringlet population remains abundant. Inevitably a mating pair of Ringlet was found attracting unwanted attention from at least one unlucky suitor! Total: Speckled Wood (2); Meadow Brown (64); Large White (5); Ringlet (52); Large Skipper (5); Gatekeeper (41); White Admiral (4); Purple Hairstreak (4); Peacock (4); Purple Emperor (1); Small White (3); Small Skipper (16); Red Admiral (2); Silver-washed Fritillary (9); Brimstone (M)(2); Marbled White (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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White Admiral (about 9.20 a.m.)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone male
Photo © Francis Plowman

West Wood Emperor. We weren't the only ones at West Wood early this morning looking for the Emperor following Ashley's tip-off from a couple of days ago. We didn't have to look too hard (but we only saw the one)!

Plenty more to enjoy there including Dark Green Fritillary, Silver-washed Fritillary, lots of Large Skipper and the usual supporting cast of whites and browns plus the odd Peacock and Red Admiral. [Posted by Rupert & Sharron Broadway]

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Photo © Rupert & Sharron BroadwayPhoto © Rupert & Sharron Broadway

Whiteley Pastures. A visit to Whiteley today staying on the main path and avoiding the wood. Purple Hairstreaks in abundance with some descending to the lower oak limbs - but no sign of their 'big brother'. Still some White Admirals around but most are showing some wear now. Plenty of Silver-washed Fritillary that settled more for a change. My first 2nd generation fresh Brimstone just by the entrance. Away from Whiteley a pleasant surprise in my moth trap this morning in the shape of 2 Jersey Tiger moths. Also just found our first Boxtree moth of the summer in the garden - thankfully we have no Box! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Purple Hairstreak - Whiteley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Silver-washed Fritillary - Whiteley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Gatekeeper - Whiteley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

21 Jul 2021

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. Forty-five minutes from 13:45 realised a count of nine butterflies roaming the scrubby field that precedes Haslar Sea Wall. Plenty of flora to provide the required nectar sources but no Summer-brood Common Blue noted nor for that matter any Painted Lady. Total; Small White (6); Small Copper (2); Small Heath (1); Small Skipper (25); Meadow Brown (7); Marbled White (6); Essex Skipper (24); Large White (M)(1); Gatekeeper (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Essex Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman

Browndown North/Alver Valley. A last minute change of plan resulted in a trip to the Alver Valley and Browndown North in probably the hottest part of the day. 'Mad dogs and Englishmen' etc - except there is thankfully a distinct lack of the former in this heat. Still lots of Marbled Whites around and Gatekeepers as expected. Bonus butterflies were very fresh Comma, Red Admiral and Peacock - they looked stunning in the bright sun. The highlight though were the Grayling. I don't think I've ever seen one with wings open, let alone had a chance of a photo but I was (very!) lucky today. I think I stumbled on a 3 way tussle - 2 males and a female. Certainly there was a pair for a while but a third (presumably another male?) kept joining in with the result that all 3 kept lifting off the ground for a couple of metres or so then when settling one and sometimes two kept flashing open their wings. They even landed on me on one occasion. Amazing to watch - worth getting dehydrated for! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Grayling - Browndown North
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Grayling - Browndown North
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Grayling - Browndown North
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

20 Jul 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Monks Walk turned-out at least 17 species on my more methodical circulation of the area from 0945-1315 with the temperature rising from 26 to 28 degrees Celsius under full sun. My neck was aching looking up at the tall Elms for the elusive White-letter Hairstreak only to find it literally under my nose feeding happily on bramble nectar at 10:30! Many of the elms are clearly dead and others dying so how long we shall have the WLH with us is anyone's guess. And while on guessing, the mating pair of ? Skippers is another one for deliberation! The top butterfly is Essex Skipper but the lower and rather dull butterfly looks more like Small Skipper. I find as the Skippers age it becomes harder to make firm identification although, clearly, the top butterfly (probably the female) is somewhat less aged. Common Blue and Brown Argus are now Summer brood as were all the Speckled Wood seen today. Total: Small White (28); Meadow Brown (41); Small Skipper (84); White-letter Hairstreak (1); Gatekeeper (36); Red Admiral (6); Marbled White (11); Essex Skipper (47); Ringlet (9); Brown Argus (3); Speckled Wood (4); Common Blue (M)(4); Small Copper (1); Peacock (2); Large White (5); Comma (2); Green-veined White (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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White-letter Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman
Mating pair of ? Skippers
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

West Wood Farley Mount Field Trip. Another hot day, and it would seem the Purple Emperors are out and about really early like they were a few years ago during a hot spell. Unfortunately I couldn't start a field trip any earlier than 09:30, if I could I would. However despite this we all still managed to see 7 males and 1 female in and around the rides. None more so than Ashley's ride (as described in the book of walks) They were patrolling in and around the large Conifer plantations in the wood, and taking up station in the Hazel bushes as the heat intensified during the mid-morning heat. We had one down at eye-level which looked as if he may descend on to the ground but I think he was spooked by so many people in the ride he decided to buzz off. We also had a Valezina Silver-washed Fritillary in Crab Wood, and Scarlet Tiger Moths as well as the usual fare. We walked back to the car-park earlier than we normally do just to get some shade, and we were all busy talking and munching when another male Purple Emperor glided over the small car-park and gave us a little twirl, before getting out of the heat over the road. I'd like to thank all who came and melted with me and made it a most enjoyable field trip. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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In Ashley's ride where we encountered several Emperors
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male shading from the heat on Hazel
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Valezina Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

It’s Purple High And Low In Whiteley Pastures. An early start for my visit to Whiteley Pastures, to avoid the blistering heat, paid off, with a male Purple Emperor down on the main track soon after 9am. He spent at least 10 minutes taking ‘nourishment’ from a small fragment of less than recent dog poo, occasionally flicking open his wings. After making a couple of low circuits around his observers, he settled briefly on a different part of the track before taking off behind bushes. Whilst still in very tidy condition on the upperside, the underside view reveals this individual has been around for at least a few days.

Whilst scouring the oaks for Emperors, I noticed several trees were well stocked with Purple of a different variety - Purple Hairstreaks flitting around the canopy (but no more Emperors!). [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Purple Emperor
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Purple Emperor
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Purple Emperor
Photo © Alan Thornbury

19 Jul 2021

Old Winchester Hill. In the heatwave conditions with a highest temperature recorded of 27.5 degrees, I walked around Old Winchester Hill, this morning covering the hill fort and wooded areas. Many Marbled Whites were seen outnumbering Meadow Browns, along with many Small Whites too. A lone Dark Green Fritillary was seen and a handful of Silver-washed Fritillarys. No sign of Chalk Hill Blues here yet. Totals: Brimstone 1F, Large White 12, Small, White 36, Green-veined White 1, Gatekeeper 3, Marbled White 86, Meadow Brown 60, Ringlet 2, Small Heath 9, Dark Green Fritillary 1, Peacock 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 5, Small Skipper 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Moth trap in my garden at Leigh Park. Had my moth trap on overnight on 18-19 July, in my garden at Leigh Park and caught 40+ species. Some of the highlights were Elephant Hawk 2, Privet Hawk, Kent Black Arches, Gold Spot, Lobster Moth, Lesser-spotted Pinion, Coronet and a male Festoon. [Posted by Barry Collins]

Whiteley Pastures. Another trip to Whiteley on a baking hot day. Just a single Purple Emperor seen - about 100m up the main track from the entrance. Patrolling high up and criss crossing the oaks on both sides of the path. Very high - but at least out in the open for a while. All the other woodland species seen although aside from Purple Hairstreaks (that seemed to be everywhere), the numbers appear to be diminishing. Only saw 5 White Admirals for example. Whether that's because of the hot weather or the season just moving on I'm not sure. A couple of fresh Peacocks on the top path were a bonus. Some closed wing photos for a change - much easier to get on a day like today! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Gatekeeper - Whiteley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Sllver-washed Fritillary - Whiteley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Ringlet - Whiteley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Purple Emperor in Southampton. On a dog walk to look at a Small Tortoiseshell larva nest seen a few days before at weston shore a few larva seen next to the car park good numbers of Marbled Whites and Small Skippers and the odd Comma seen on the way back in the open spots along the jurds lake green way good numbers of Ringlets and Speckled Woods on the way back along the path a female Purple Emperor landed on the path to take up salts? This is the first time I have seen an emperor in Southampton. [Posted by chris piatkiewicz]

18 Jul 2021

Browndown (North) Gosport. The flood waters having receded around the River Alver bridge, another survey of the northern sector of Browndown (south and west of the river) was undertaken between 1125-1340. The mercury continued to rise from 27 to 30 degrees Celsius under hot sunshine without a cloud in the blue sky; summer! Seventeen species went into the field book. Summer brood Brown Argus and Brimstone of both sexes were noted. Having first seen Silver-studded Blue at several New Forest sites on 24th June I was pessimistic about finding evidence that the small colony on the heath was still viable. Many visits in June and to date had drawn a blank. However, it was a joy to count three male Silver-studded Blue on the edges of the heath. They were pretty aggressive towards each other and I have never before seen more than two at this site. Going on through the heath one Grayling was put up and many more found at the triangle feature where several paths meet. A really good day for butterflies. Total: Small White (14); Large White (4); Small Skipper (48); Meadow Brown (31); Marbled White (5); Comma (5); Small Copper (4); Ringlet (3); Brown Argus (2); Red Admiral (4); Speckled Wood (4); Large Skipper (M)(1)(F)(1); Gatekeeper (8); Brimstone (M)(2)(F)(1); Peacock (1); Silver-studded Blue (M)(3); Grayling (7). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling's effective camouflage
Photo © Francis Plowman

Browndown (South) Gosport. The temperature reached a pleasant 30 degrees Celsius during our walk around the heather-strewn heath and shingle 'sea' between 1400-1530. A light breeze came off the calm sea and there wasn't a cloud in the sky! The biggest surprise - on our search to find Grayling and Purple Hairstreak - was to come across a single Silver-studded Blue (male) enjoying the heather. This was my first record of this specie at this site although with the extent of low heather, why shouldn't it thrive here? Just two Purple Hairstreak were eventually seen around the low oaks although Grayling was easily found. Total: Small White (22); Marbled White (13); Small Skipper (20); Meadow Brown (19); Large White (6); Grayling (6); Silver-studded Blue (M)(1); Gatekeeper (1); Purple Hairstreak (2); Painted Lady (1); Small Copper (1); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Marbled White male at left
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-studded Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman

Alice Holt Forest Field Trip. Another great Field trip saw us count up to (16) Purple Emperors at various points within Abbotts Wood Inclosure. It was hard going during the hottest part of the day, gazing skywards, is very uncomfortable at the best of times but when you try to do it in a blast furnace, it's very hard work. Several of the people who came on the field trip had never seen an Emperor before, and were thrilled to see them Oak edging and Sallow searching, several came down to about 12 feet above our heads but the prize of seeing one on the ground was out of the question. By mid-day I noted that they had started to search in more shady spots, and coming down wasn't an option, far too hot. There were good counts of Silver-washed Fritillary but the White Admiral count is getting a little low now, some of the best counts were of Purple Hairstreaks which seem to be having a good year. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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There's an Emperor up there somewhere.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Skipper on Ragwort
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Purple Hairstreak shadow on a oak leaf
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

17 Jul 2021

Others from Abbotts Wood. Some of the supporting cast from Abbotts Wood [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Ringlet
Photo © Chris Rose
Comma
Photo © Chris Rose
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Chris Rose

Purple Emperor at Abbotts Wood. Finally summer was here and in sweltering temperatures into the middle of the day there were several sightings of the Purple Emperor oak edging and searching the sallow in Abbots Wood, two low passes teased thoughts of one grounding. As the temperatures increased it seemed to be that I would not get the chance to catch one on the ground. A took a break for lunch and then returned to the crossroads. As I stood in the shade hoping one flew past me at waist height and finally settled on the path to give some great views. Lots of Purple Hairstreaks about, at least six counted. Silver-washed Fritillary were showing well, although White Admiral were hard to find with only two seen. Other species seen were Large White, Small White, Marbled White, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper and Small Skipper.

https://awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.com/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Purple Emperor
Photo © Chris Rose
Purple Emperor
Photo © Chris Rose
Purple Emperor
Photo © Chris Rose

White-letter bonanza at Great Fontley. A total of 28 White-letter Hairstreaks seen on the wing at Great Fontley, including one ovipositing on a low branch of White Elm Ulmus laevis. The hairstreaks were evenly distributed in twos and threes on elm species and cultivars, and of course on lime, with Small-leafed Lime T. cordata now proving more popular than the earlier-flowering Broad-leaf, T. platyphyllos, as a nectar source. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Spot the spaceship
Photo © Andrew Brookes

Purple Hairstreak nr. Fordingbridge. Two Purple Hairstreaks flying round oak trees at Hyde, near Fordingbridge. (Car park approx 165115 off Buddle Hill) [Posted by Robert Beale]

16 Jul 2021

Blackbush Hanger, Southleigh Forest. Today in the scorching temperature of 24 degrees, I paid a visit to Blackbush Hanger, Southleigh Forest, a location where I have recorded the Purple Emperor in recent years. Arriving in the early afternoon I spotted a single male flying around some Oaks before landing and not taking flight again at 13:15. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Silver-spotted Skipper at Yew Hill?. Just going through my photos from yesterday's visit to Yew Hill and I came across this one. I think it may be a Silver-spotted Skipper but stand to be corrected. If so, then it is a first ever for me! [Posted by Nic Burns]

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Silver-spotted Skipper?
Photo © Nic Burns

Chilling & Brownwich Coastal Area, Titchfield. Sixteen species is more like it! A Summer's day (at long last) brought out the species and sightings during a walk from 1115-1350 with the temperature rising to mid-20s C. From the car park at Chilling we walked through the wood (no White Admiral, yet) then out through the field edges to the cliffs at Brownwich, walking westwards for 400 metres then back via Brownwich pond/woods to the road and return. A very pleasant and gentle walk with glorious Solent views. With a light and refreshing breeze from the north little chance of seeing Clouded Yellow but one Painted Lady was noted. A surprise was finding Dark Green Fritillary on the cliff top at Chilling just metres from the edge feeding on purple clover. Total; Large White (50); Meadow Brown (100+); Red Admiral (10); Small White (90); Gatekeeper (84); Small Skipper (50); Marbled White (48); Comma (6); Large Skipper (1); Painted Lady )1); Peacock (9); Ringlet (3); Speckled Wood (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Dark Green Fritillary (1); Small Copper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman

Abbotts Wood Inclosure. Today summer began, and the Purple Emperor upped its game. In the wood it was quite cool at about 08:45, but from the main car-park I saw two male Purple Emperors giving chase across the main ride. It was a while before I saw any other action, but once it did start it really kicked off, it was about 09:50 and I saw several male Purple Emperors sallow searching in and around the small triangle, and one constantly on the go back and forth, weaving in and out of the leaves, and then up and over the main Oaks on the side of the ride. At one point there were three males all giving chase over the ride and then settling down in the main oak tree. I saw a large female egg laying in some sallow, and other males were zipping about up and down over the crowns of the Oaks. We had three come very close investigating the human audience, I could hear the flutter of the wing beats after they had passed by but unfortunately they never came down on the ground. I saw 4 males on territory up at the Assembly Points, but it was quite breezy at one of them so consequently I think they were sheltering in the lee of the area. Other butterflies were many many Silver-washed Fritillary a few White Admirals, and the usual species in the rides. A grand total of 24 Purple Emperors were seen today. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male on Territory on Conifer
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Comma on my camera bag
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Southern Hawker posing nicely
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Chalkhill Blues at Yew Hill today.. Saw about a dozen during the middle of the day.

Other species seen:- Brimstone, Gatekeeper, Marbled Whites, 2 (or 3) Skippers, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Large White, Small White, Small Tortoiseshell, Dark Green Fritillary, Green-veined White,Painted Lady, Peacock, Small Heath and a Silver Y moth. Also saw 3 Silver-washed Fritillary on way back to Shawford Down where I had left the car. [Posted by Nic Burns]

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Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Nic Burns
Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Nic Burns
Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Nic Burns

Alver Valley/Browndown North. With the weather set fair I could feel the pull to visit Whiteley again - but with temperatures already well above 20 C when I woke up couldn't face a hot car to get there - so visited the Alver Valley which I can thankfully walk to from my house. It turned out a good choice. My first Grayling of the year - at last! They have kept me waiting this year but as the PM might say - 'if not now, then when for goodness sake'!. I found at least 5 in Browndown North - all fresh and quite active in the hot sun. I'm sure there were more - but in a relatively small space there's always the danger of double counting so 5 it is. Apart from these then lots of Gatekeepers (they are everywhere now), still some Marbled Whites (although as Gatekeepers seem to be on the increase, these seem to be on the decrease now). No woodland species but some fresh Commas and a Painted Lady on the Lee on Solent shore as I made my way round to Browndown. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Gatekeeper - Alver Valley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Grayling - Browndown North
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Comma - Alver Valley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

15 Jul 2021

Abbotts Wood Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. After visiting Straits Inclosure in the Alice Holt Forest complex, I paid a visit to Goose Green Inclosure to search for any Purple Emperors. Here the grass was very high and has always been an area with a high tick population. I therefore viewed the usual master tree from the roadside without luck. A short drive took me to Abbotts Wood Inclosure, where around 200 yards from the main entrance I saw a Purple Emperor flying above a large Oak. Further along the path in Oaks opposite a grassy side track, is a known assembly point for the Purple Emperor. Here in company with a few other visitors we saw a total of 3 Purple Emperors, including one male which briefly settled on the ground at around 13:45. Elsewhere numbers were low but I did spot a few Purple Hairstreaks at low height. Totals: Purple Hairstreak 3, Gatekeeper 1, Marbled White 1, Meadow Brown 8, Ringlet 5, Comma 1, Purple Emperor 3, Silver-washed Fritillary 5, White Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. Today with the temperature reaching 20 degrees in the mid morning, I visited Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. Here the main ride had been heavily pruned with many track side plants and shrubs including Sallow affected. Several Meadow Browns and Silver-washed Fritillarys were flying, but numbers were well below those seen in recent years. Totals: Small White 7, Gatekeeper 1, Meadow Brown 25, Ringlet 5, Comma 2, Silver-washed Fritillary 6, White Admiral 1, Large Skipper 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Havant Thicket. Thirteen species seen today including a high and fleeting glimpse of Purple Emperor. Some other watchers told us that they had been watching three so I guess something is happening here. From 1010-1250 we circulated the main track and outer path. The sunshine was with us at the early part of the walk but soon gave way to bright cloud with a temperature around 20 degrees Celsius. Total: Meadow Brown (60); Silver-washed Fritillary (40); Large White (3); Red Admiral (1); Ringlet (55); Large Skipper (11); White Admiral (7); Gatekeeper (10); Small White (8); Speckled Wood (2); Small Skipper (16); Marbled White (3); Purple Emperor (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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White Admiral on thistle
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
White Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

14 Jul 2021

Whitleley Pastures. With pretty much uninterrupted sunshine this morning, conditions were perfect for butterflies so I headed over to Whiteley Pastures to look primarily for Purple Emperor. I soon came across the first of numerous Purple Hairstreaks mostly flitting around in the treetops but later on one came down to drink by a puddle and then flew up onto some bramble. White Admirals were also soon seen as were Silver-washed Fritillary although numbers of the latter still seem low. A male Purple Emperor was seen gliding around the top of an oak before landing out of sight. Fifteen minutes or so later it reappeared and descended to a much lower branch allowing some great views to be had. The large meadow (with the sad backdrop of building work for the new housing development) was teeming with skippers plus Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns.

Butterflies seen: Essex Skipper 1 identified (didn't check many of these); Small Skipper 20; skipper species 60+; Large Skipper 6; Purple Hairstreak 20; Purple Emperor 1; White Admiral 7; Red Admiral 6; Silver-washed Fritillary 7; Comma 2; Large White 3; Small White 2; Marbled White 12; Ringlet 25; Meadow Brown 50; Gatekeeper 2; Speckled Wood 1. Also 5 Blue-tailed Damselfly; 10 Azure Damselfly; 12 Beautiful Demoiselle; 6 Golden-ringed Dragonfly; 1 Southern Hawker; 6 Emperor; 4 Black-tailed Skimmer [Posted by Mark Rolfe]

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Photo © Mark RolfePhoto © Mark RolfePhoto © Mark Rolfe

White-letter Hairstreaks at Great Fontley. The overnight monsoon did little to dampen the ardour of the White-letter Hairstreaks (6) seen at Great Fontley, three on one cluster of limeflower, while others were seen sparring over the Italian 'Fiorente', a 'first' for the cultivar. Innumerable Browns and skippers feasting on bramble flower, creeping thistle, and self-heal, plus a few Whites, large and small. A solitary Comma completed the tally. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Boarhunt Woods blues. Idyllic conditions failed to inspire much activity in the 1km-long woods at Boarhunt. Immaculate White Admiral (1), Silver-washed Fritillary (4, all male) in a wood where both species could once be reckoned in dozens. Also seen were Red Admiral (5), Peacock (1), Comma (1), Large White (10), numerous Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, and Skippers. Ash removal has opened-up the ride, now lined by swathes of flowering bramble. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

West Harting Down Field Trip. It was nice to go on another field trip today after having rescheduled it after appalling weather in the past couple of weeks, and today it was perfect weather all the way. The butterfly species count was rather impressive, and where we had parked next to a meadow, just before we had even started we had clocked up about 8 species, including Dark-green Fritillary, so we were onto a winner straight away! The walk is part of the Queen Elizabeth Country Park complex, built on chalk downland so there is a fair mix of species from both downland and woodland. Silver-washed Fritillary were very impressive in numbers, with gorgeous females flitting in amongst the bramble, and White Admirals also being seen in the Conifer plantations. Marbled Whites were in good number on the downland part with Meadow Brown and Ringlet, being uncountable! At 10:47 near that magical time of 11:00 right on cue a magnificent male Purple Emperor was seen gliding in and around several tall Ash Trees, he was seen about three times, and we were in an area with sallow by the bucket load, and it was all broad leafed Sallow as well 'Pussy Willow' the species that the female Emperor prefers to lay her eggs on. So the top prize was seen and I would like to thank all who came on the walk and hope it wasn't too tiring as we clocked up about 6 miles, which is by far the longest walk of any field trip. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brimstone Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
View from West Harting Down over to the Isle of Wight
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Havant Thicket Goes Purple. Today I visited Havant Thicket during the late morning, where the temperature reached 22.5 degrees. I walked the main perimeter track where I saw my first White Admirals of the season. Further on by the corner of the track by Bell's Copse (NGR SU70841038), I saw a male Purple Emperor flying around the top of a large Oak tree at 11:45am. I watched it for a few minutes before it flew deeper into Bell's Copse and out of sight. This was also my first sighting this season of His Majesty and hope to visit Alice Holt Forest tomorrow. My totals were: Brimstone 2F, Small White 5, Gatekeeper 6, Meadow Brown 43, Ringlet 6, Speckled Wood 3, Purple Emperor 1M, Silver-washed Fritillary 11, White Admiral 2, Large Skipper 4, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Whiteley Pastures/Botley Wood. A 'perfect' day for butterflies for a change. There was everything you could wish for at Whiteley/Botley Wood this morning - all the usual woodland species you could expect at this time of year. Highlights were 2 Purple Emperors - one on the main track just after the bridge (thanks to Mark R for spotting it) and another deep in the woods. The latter was in strict 'patrol' mode so it was moving out in the open for at least 2-3 minutes but sadly never at anything other than tree top height. Other highlights were Purple Hairstreaks (every oak seemed to have them!) and some fresh Commas and Gatekeepers on the top path. Aside from butterflies, 3 species of dragonfly - Emperor, Golden Ringed and Southern Hawker. Perhaps not surprising with all the standing water about (for wellies insert waders in some areas). Also a nightjar crossed the path in front of me on the main track at almost the same spot as it did last year! No churring this time and it was quickly lost to view. Not a day for the camera - I hardly took it out of the case - but great for catching up and watching. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

13 Jul 2021

Browndown (North) Gosport - East of River Alver. From 1400-1530 we circulated the more accessible eastern sector of Browndown North. Twelve butterfly species were recorded. Total: Small Skipper (50); Meadow Brown (24); Comma (6); Large White (M)(5); Marbled White (23); Red Admiral (4); Speckled Wood (M)(1); Ringlet (1); Gatekeeper (13); Peacock (2); Small White (M)(14)(F)(1); Purple Hairstreak (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large White male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Browndown (North) Gosport - West of River Alver. With the Alver in full flood and Apple Dumpling Bridge under water, access to the west of the river area was gained via the Lee on the Solent road gate. The target butterflies were Silver-studded Blue and Grayling neither of which were seen. One hour was spent avoiding large puddles from 1535-1635 in warm (21 degrees Celsius) conditions. Two Purple Hairstreak were spotted high around mature oaks. The only White Admiral seen was flitting around the access gate at 4.30 pm. Total: Small White (3); Ringlet (1); Meadow Brown (16); Small Skipper (21); Large Skipper (2); Large White (2); Purple Hairstreak (2); White Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Alice Holt Forest. Today I really found out about how depressed the numbers of Purple Emperors are in Alice Holt Forest. In the particular ride I usually sit in, I espied the grand total of three/four males in the space of two and three quarter hours. Granted the weather was mostly overcast but when the sun did come out for a good 30 minutes HIM didn't flex his wings much. I saw one or two Oak edging and Sallow searching, but it seemed a half hearted affair, and when I was leaving the sun had been out for a good twenty minutes and there was no activity at all, and one can only assume they had all disappeared up to their Assembly points. I am now wondering will we be getting more action when the females come on stream, but I'm not holding my breath. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Nursery Web spider and cardinal beetle prey
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

11 Jul 2021

Alver Valley/Browndown North. Very cloudy this morning so more of a walk for exercise than a butterfly trip. I did try (hard!) to find a Grayling at Browndown North (better area at South was closed) but still no luck. On a more positive note I managed my first Gatekeeper at last - behind everyone else as usual! Nothing much else around on a very overcast day. Just for something different I've popped a couple of photos of what I think is a Poplar Hawkmoth that I found in my trap this morning. The pictures don't do it justice - it was huge and on occasions showed a glimpse of the crimson under its wings. A first for me in our small Lee on Solent garden [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Poplar Hawkmoth - Lee on Solent
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Gatekeeper - Alver Valley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Poplar Hawkmoth - Lee on Solent
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

10 Jul 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. When the rain stopped I spent just over three overs from 1.15pm checking-out the fields and meadows. The temperature rose to 21 degrees Celsius, hardly a breath of breeze and with warm sunshine. Thirteen species were around in varying numbers but the butterfly meadow was awash with roosting Skippers when I re-visited around 4.30pm. The buddleia is coming out nicely and bramble blossom is already the choice of nectar for many species. Two mating pairs of Marbled White were inadvertently disturbed with only one eventually settling. No further sign of White Admiral although high above a tall oak a single Purple Hairstreak was noted. However, sadly no sign of White-letter Hairstreak. Total: Red Admiral (4); Meadow Brown (48); Small Skipper (67); Gatekeeper (3); Essex Skipper (55); Small White (5); Large White (M)(2); Ringlet (21); Comma (8); Marbled White (29); Purple Hairstreak (1); Peacock (1); Speckled Wood (M)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White female at right
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Milton Lock NNR. With the wet weather cancelling the planned field trip, I endeavoured to visit my local patch in the afternoon after the weather had cleared up a bit. I visited Milton Lock NNR which some might say is a complete mess due to Covid restrictions on groups getting together and of course no conservation work has been attempted consequently its very overgrown, with grasses, Bramble and other trees and shrubs all getting taller than they should be. However seeing past this I saw some of the best counts of Small Skippers there, and several Essex Skippers thrown in. Plenty of Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, and a fresh Small Copper. In the Allotment area the council have stopped cutting the grass and this is now a complete meadow of yellows and purple wildflowers, and I had a good look at the Wych Elm on site, it doesn't seem to have been affected by the Dutch Elm disease, but alas I have never found the White-Letter Hairstreak at home here. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Skipper female laying eggs
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Wych Elm on the Milton foreshore grass meadow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

09 Jul 2021

Great Fontley firsts. Male Gatekeeper (2), and Peacock (1) on bramble, first of the summer, while more White-letter Hairstreaks enjoyed the limeflowers, with others seen above Slovak wych elm gifted by Prince Charles, and LUTECE. Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Ringlet, and skippers now abundant in the plantation, meanwhile a White Admiral was seen cruising the edge of Pegham Copse. Singleton Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral seen around the farmhouse, though strangely not indulging the flowers. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Whiteley Woods and Pasture, Fareham. My first walk of the year at Whiteley Woods a fortnight ago realised just four species. What a difference a couple of weeks and some sunshine makes! Fifteen species were recorded during a walk from 1100-1330 which covered the pasture, woodland paths and main path to/from Botley Woods. The temperature improved all the time reaching 22 deg C. No sighting of Purple Emperor and other enthusiasts also were loitering with intent on seeing it. Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral were seen in rising numbers (more seen around noon in full sun) and Ringlet was everywhere and probably beyond accurate recording. Total: Ringlet (77+ incl at least one female); Meadow Brown (24); Speckled Wood (5 incl one female); Large Skipper (19); Small Skipper (43); White Admiral (7); Marbled White (11); Large White (M)(2); Silver-washed Fritillary (20 incl at least one female); Gatekeeper (1); Comma (2); Essex Skipper (3); Small White (2); Red Admiral (7); Peacock (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
White Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary, female at left
Photo © Francis Plowman

Friday Foray at Yew Hill. Another successful Friday Foray to Yew Hill butterfly reserve today in the sunshine - good turnout and the butterflies put on a show, with 16 different species recorded including the highest number of Dark Green Fritillary I've ever seen there. Other species recorded included Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Brimstone, Small White, Large White, Brimstone, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Painted Lady (very tatty), Comma, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Heath and a Small Tortoiseshell on the way up. We looked unsuccessfully for White-letter Hairstreak: and no Chalk Hill Blue yet in evidence. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

Purple Emperor comes of age in Hampshire. Today the 9th July would seem to be when the Purple Emperor's response to the call to arms....and appeared in several woods, in Basing Forest great sightings by Michael Duffy, and again in Alice Holt Forest where the butterfly was seen at several locations and in total about 18 individuals were seen. Several were seen at the Assembly Points in the afternoon, but the weather stayed warm and quiet like summer for a change, which made all the difference. I suspect there were other sightings around the county but I haven't received any yet. In Alice there were plenty of Silver-Washed Fritillary on the wing and a few White Admirals, and the usual Browns in the rides, plus a fresh summer Peacock[Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Peacock
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

New White Letter Hairstreaks in Drayton. During the spring I identified a handful of columnar Elm street trees along the Havant Road. I am unsure of the cultivar type so if anyone knows I would be interested to find out?

This morning I walked into Drayton in warm sunshine and took the opportunity to spend ten minutes checking the one on the kerb outside the Methodist Church at the top of station road. Sure enough at least four White-letter Hairstreaks showed themselves high towards the top of the tree. Now to find them on the one opposite my house. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Drayton Elm Tree
Photo © Mark Tutton

Moth trap on in my Garden at Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on overnight in my garden at Leigh Park, and caught 45 species. Some of the goodies were Privet Hawk, Poplar Hawk, L-album Wainscot 3, Kent Black Arches 3, Beautiful Hook-tip 3, Blackneck, Festoon, Least Carpet, Varied Coronet, Evergestis limbata. [Posted by Barry Collins]

Whiteley Pastures/Botley Wood. What a difference a bit of sun makes! Whiteley was alive with butterflies this morning - well into double figures for White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillary. The latter were hyper active as usual but some of the White Admirals were nectaring on the bramble (and already showing signs of wear). Lots of Ringlets and Marbled Whites. One very fresh Comma and the usual Skippers. Regarding Purple Emperor then conservatively I'd have to say 1 probable and 2 possible. Right at the top of the oaks and just couldn't be 100% certain - but the first I saw (in fact the first butterfly I saw just 50 metres up the main track) looked very much like a male. That was relatively early in the day - before 0900 - I returned via the same route at about 1100 and it seemed very quiet in comparison. For anyone contemplating going in to Botley Woods - it is still a quagmire in places - I was in wellies and very grateful for them [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Silver Washed Fritillary - Botley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
White Admiral - Whiteley Pastures
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Marbled White - Botley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

08 Jul 2021

Havant Thicket. Today I visited Havant Thicket walking my usual route following the main perimeter path. With the temperature reaching 18.5 degrees, lower than my previous visit, numbers of species flying were lower. Totals: Gatekeeper 3, Meadow Brown 16, Ringlet 9, Speckled Wood 3, Silver-washed Fritillary 1, Large Skipper 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Browndown (North) Gosport. A walk of four hours from 1100 realised 16 butterfly species, my highest count of this year, all to the unmistakeable Merlin engine accompaniment of not one but two Spitfires from nearby Daedalus! The disappointment comes with reporting no sighting of Silver-studded Blue on the heath nor Grayling; indeed, even the previously sighted White Admiral wasn't found today. The weather was pretty unseasonal with intermittent sunshine, increasing grey clouds and temperature around 21 deg C. Most of the butterflies were the usual suspects but the highlight was a pristine Peacock which was on dry bracken near the heath. At the other end of its season, a Common Blue male was still going but only just. Total: Small Skipper (67); Meadow Brown (40); Red Admiral (3); Speckled Wood (2); Comma (10); Large White (3); Marbled White (36 incl 3 female); Large Skipper (4); Essex Skipper (15); Small Copper (1); Holly Blue (1); Small Heath (1); Peacock (1); Ringlet (18); Gatekeeper (1); Common Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue fading fast
Photo © Francis Plowman

Browndown South. With Browndown South open for the only day this week I decided to look for 'small' purple butterflies as opposed to the bigger ones! The weather turned out far more cloudy than forecast so I'm hoping I made the correct call. Very little in the way of butterflies actually flying throughout my walk but there were 5 or 6 Purple Hairstreaks on the stunted oaks that made the visit worthwhile. Still nowhere near the sort of numbers I've seen here in previous years but perhaps in this odd season they are like their larger brothers and just late to emerge. No Grayling yet which was a disappointment. Only other butterflies of note was a Small Copper and a couple of fresh Large Whites on the way out. Pauline - if you are reading this it was lovely to meet up in person. Hope you had better luck with the Grayling than I did - I must have covered every square metre in front of the firing range but nothing moved. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Purple Hairstreak - Browndown
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Purple Hairstreak - Browndown
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Purple Hairstreak - Browndown
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Alice Holt Forest. Another attempt at Alice Holt Forest today but I was defeated by the weather. It looked OK to start with, but then it always does, never get fooled by the skyline at Portsdown Hill!. When I got to Alice the black clouds were thick and the last remnants of the sun were just disappearing behind the large scale rain clouds. It was just the last glimpses of sun and the start of some rain when I espied a male Purple Emperor flying over some large sallow thickets. He didn't hang around long, and in the distance there was the Song Thrush which has been singing in the ride now for the past few days. Also seen were several Greater Spotted Woodpeckers obviously finding shelter before the heavens opened up, which it did. Ringlets and Meadow Browns were still playing in the ride, but I was hiding under some mature Oaks, and then legged it to the car before I could get any wetter, I stayed just barely an hour. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

06 Jul 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Hardly a prospect with 35mph gusts of south-westerly winds, recent showers, overcast skies and a temperature around 18 degrees but two hours from 3pm brought ten species to book and most to the camera. Only visited the more sheltered fields which were windswept to a point but the grasses were warm and damp and very well populated. Sunshine was intermittent but very welcome. Two 2021 firsts for the area was Gatekeeper which settled and a White Admiral which didn't! Total: Meadow Brown (31 incl at least 1 female); Red Admiral (4); Comma (6); Small Skipper (37); Marbled White (23 incl 3 female); Essex Skipper (13); Ringlet (17 incl at least 1 female); Gatekeeper (1); White Admiral (1); Small White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown female at left
Photo © Francis Plowman

05 Jul 2021

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. The fort was walked on its outer three sides as usual between 1250-1355 when with sunny intervals the temperature reached an unseasonal 19.5 deg C. The strong southerly breeze was felt even on the northern fields and doubtless kept numbers low today. Nevertheless, nine species were counted mostly in and around the main meadow which is spectacular with myriad wild flowers including many orchids. Total: Meadow Brown (31 incl 1 female); Ringlet (7); Marbled White (53 incl 3 female); Large Skipper (1); Small Skipper (6); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Gatekeeper (1); Small Blue (M)(1); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Blue (faded male)
Photo © Francis Plowman

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. From 1430-1525 I quartered the field which was adversely affected by the strong southerly breeze. The skies were grey and leaden and temperature 19 deg C. Still five species were noted with relatively good numbers of Skippers (given the small area of scrub). Total: Small Heath (1); Marbled White (M)(11); Small Skipper (13); Essex Skipper (8); Meadow Brown (6). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Haslar Clayhall Naval Cemetery, Gosport. Somewhat later in the day when the temperature was just 19 deg C under grey skies and strong southerly breeze I walked the perimeter path finding it somewhat protected from the fresh wind (1530-1600). This was my first visit in 2021 and I wanted to check on the Common Blue colony in the small field beside the creek. This field, however, was populated with just two species, Meadow Brown and Essex Skipper only. Total: Essex Skipper (19); Meadow Brown (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Essex Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

White-letter Hairstreak progress at Great Fontley. Following the VarWild intelligence about limeflower being the No. 1 nectar source in the south of France, a broad-leaf lime was planted amid the elms at Great Fontley, flowering for the first time this year and finding immediate favour with the White-letter Hairstreak population. Ringlets, Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites were everywhere, while singleton Red Admiral and Comma sunbathed on the farmhouse wall. A Dark Green Fritillary was later seen on Ports Down near the Skew Road bridge across the M27. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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White-letter Hairstreak nectaring on lime
Photo © Andrew Brookes
One and a half White-letter Hairstreaks resting atop elm
Photo © Andrew Brookes
Red Admiral sunbathing
Photo © Andrew Brookes

Deep Purple at Alice Holt!. At last the first signs that Hampshire is going Purple! Today at 1330 a lone male was seen on territory at one of the many assembly points in Alice Holt Forest, he was seen twice in the space of about 30 minutes. It was overcast most of the time and windy with small brief periods of sunshine, and with no other Purple Emperors to engage with he was very reluctant to move about.

In the woods there was no sign of any doing their usual thing Oak edging or sallow searching, or just making their presence felt. It's either still very early, or there is a very small emergence this year, that if you not lucky to be standing in the right place then you will not be seeing many if any at all.

Plenty of Silver-Washed Fritillary, White Admirals, Large Skippers, Ringlets and Meadow Browns, but very little else. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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White Admiral male on Bramble
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Painted Lady Caterpillar on Thistle
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Assembly Point Alice Holt Forest
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

03 Jul 2021

Abbotts Wood, Alice Holt. More from Abbotts Wood [Posted by Chris Rose]

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White Admiral
Photo © Chris Rose
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Chris Rose
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Chris Rose

Abbotts Wood, Alice Holt. Despite the awful forecast we visited Abbotts Wood in hope. Breaks in the cloud produced periods of sunshine that brought out the Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral, but not the hoped for Purple Emperor. Throughout the day Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Large Skippers occupied the grassy rides, a single Red Admiral early on and there was a distant high view of a Purple Hairstreak.

https://awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.com/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Photo © Chris RosePhoto © Chris RosePhoto © Chris Rose

Martin Down National Nature Reserve South. Equipped for rain and with an eye to the south-western horizon we walked down the Bokerley Ditch between 1015-1125. We didn't get beyond the first former rifle-range butts. The skies were grey and threatening with the temperature around the forecast 18 degrees. But nine species took advantage of the dry hour before we hastily turned north to escape the rain seen sweeping up the distant valley towards us! Total: Meadow Brown (21); Small Skipper (10); Marbled White (50+ incl 3 female); Dark Green Fritillary (8); Small Heath (9); Red Admiral (1); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Ringlet (2); Common Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Marbled White female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Martin Down National Nature Reserve North. After lunch spent watching the drizzle obscure the view we took a chance and crossed the main road to the northern edge of the reserve. From 1220-1330 the rain held off sufficiently long enough to do a quick circulation of the outer paths and just one woodland track. Eleven species were evident and some abundant eg Dark Green Fritillary which was everywhere in view outwith the woodland paths. Total: Marbled White (50+ incl 4 female); Small Skipper (21); Small Heath (18); Ringlet (35); Meadow Brown (33 incl 3 female); Dark Green Fritillary (50+); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Brown Argus (1); Speckled Wood (2); Large Skipper (1); Red Admiral (1) [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown female
Photo © Francis Plowman

02 Jul 2021

Havant Thicket. Today I paid a visit to Havant Thicket where the temperature was 21 degrees, walking the main perimeter track. Here I recorded my first Gatekeepers of the year. Totals: Small White 1, Gatekeeper 5, Marbled White 2, Meadow Brown 26, Ringlet 5, Speckled Wood 8, Red Admiral 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 4, Large Skipper 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Small Tortoiseshell in Four Marks. In between the showers when the sun dares to come out this beautiful Small Tortoiseshell visited the lavender in my garden.

https://awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.com/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Chris Rose
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Chris Rose
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Chris Rose

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Sunny and warm between 1000-1300 (24 deg C) during an extended circulation of the area. Twelve species recorded with strong numbers of summer field butterflies and especially good to note numbers of summer-brood Comma emerging. No Marbled White female seen yet! Total: Comma (11); Meadow Brown (57); Marbled White (M)(27); Small Skipper (39); Essex Skipper (20); Ringlet (3); Common Blue (M)(1); Large White (M)(1); Red Admiral (3); Speckled Wood (M)(4); Small White (M)(2); Holly Blue (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper (female probably uppermost)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman

Silver-studded Blue at Silchester. Despite the lack of sun, there were good numbers of Silver-studded Blue flying at Silchester Common this morning with, in the space of an hour, sightings of 29 males and 17 females. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Male
Photo © Pete Eeles
Female
Photo © Pete Eeles
Female Underside
Photo © Pete Eeles

Abbotts Wood Inclosure. Another day another blank, again in perfect weather after a slow start with fog and mist and being very cool in the wood. Once the warmth filtered around the rides the Silver-Washed Fritillaries and White Admirals were on display and a few Meadow Browns and Ringlets and the Large Skipper. HIM is not even on the starting blocks yet. With the weather being cool and wet over the weekend its going to be well into next week before any of us get a sniff I feel. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Meadow Brown
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Hawker
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
White Admiral
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Whiteley Pastures/Botley Wood. The sun came out just as I started walking up the main track at Whiteley. Nothing much doing until I got into Botley Wood where I saw the first of 8 White Admirals. Also a couple of Silver Washed Fritillaries but they were definitely not waiting around for a photo opportunity!. Other species included fresh Red Admirals, Large and Small Skippers and my first Ringlets of the year. Lots of Beautiful Demoiselles around and both Emperor and Southern Hawker dragon flies. Just one word of caution - if you step off the main track and especially go in to Botley Woods it is very wet - wellies are not out of place! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Ringlet - Whiteley Pastures
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
White Admiral - Botley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Beautiful Demoiselle - Botley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

01 Jul 2021

Portsdown Hill. Today with the temperature reaching 21 degrees, I walked the Eastern end of Portsdown Hill including Fort Widley. Along the pathway in front of the Fort I recorded Brimstone 1F, Small White 1, Marbled White 13, Meadow Brown 3.

Around Fort Widley I recorded Small White 2, Marbled White 18, Meadow Brown 7, Painted Lady 1, Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

White Letter Day @ Mountbatten Centre, Portsmouth. 1330-1400. At least 3 White-letter Hairstreak in constant battle with themselves and a worn Holly Blue. Not sure if this is known site? It is directly as you enter into car park on right - there are 3 Plane trees and then 2 Elms. The White Letters were dualing between the Elms and some dogwood on top of a small mound directly behind the Elms. They were spending more time at the top of the dogwood than the Elms. I’d noticed leaf damage on the elms from caterpillar earlier in year too. The mound itself makes convenient viewing of the Elm trees - you could bring a chair! [Posted by Adam Fulton]

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White-letter Hairstreak
Photo © Adam Fulton

Abbotts Wood Inclosure. A second day of reckoning in perfect conditions,no wind ideal temperatures, and still no Purple Emperor. I think it may appear in small numbers in the first weekend of July but could well be a protracted emergence and we could see the Emperor still emerging well into July and so it will fly into the weeks of August weather permitting of course!. Today was my first 2021 encounter with the White Admiral, and the numbers of Silver-Washed Fritillaries are mounting. Plenty of Meadow Browns and Ringlets and a few Large Skippers, also saw several hungary Painted Lady caterpillars, what they find nourishing on a Thistle is beyond me, still it was good to see this species in another form. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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White Admiral
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Painted Lady caterpillar
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Meadow Brown
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Browndown (North) and Alver Valley Country Park. A very long walk today taking in Browndown North (the old MoD area west of the River Alver) and towards the Alver Valley Country Park crossing the main hilly field towards the main path. From 1110-1430 (Temp range 21-25 deg C) we recorded fifteen species at least including first 2021 sighting here of White Admiral and flitting high around mature oaks a single Purple Hairstreak. Still no evidence of Grayling nor Silver-studded Blue on the heath and pathways. Total: Meadow Brown (34); Small Skipper (20); Essex Skipper (1); Large Skipper (2); Ringlet (8); White Admiral (1); Speckled Wood (M)(3)(F)(1); Red Admiral (5); Large White (2); Small Heath (8); Common Blue (M)(2);Marbled White (11); Comma (6); Purple Hairstreak (1); Small White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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White Admiral, glimpse of!
Photo © Francis Plowman
White Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman

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