Butterfly Conservation
Saving butterflies, moths and our environment
Hampshire and
Isle of Wight Branch
Celebrating our 40th Anniversary!
1982 - 2022

News Archive for Aug 2021

31 Aug 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. My last tour of the area for August this afternoon (1330-1600) realised eleven species. All 'usual suspects' for this time of the year but given the gloomy skies, northerly breeze and temperature around 17.5 deg C I was very satisfied. Two mating pairs of Small White were seen; the buddleia bush in the butterfly meadow at one time had six species resting or feeding which was very pleasing. Clearly the season is drawing to its conclusion and the poor weather seems to be hastening the end. Total: Small White (M)(18)(F)(12); Speckled Wood (M)(5)(F)(1); Holly Blue (M)(4)(F)(1); Small Copper (1); Common Blue (M)(3); Meadow Brown (M)(2)(F)(1); Brown Argus (2); Red Admiral (5); Comma (4); Green-veined White (M)(3); Gatekeeper (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

29 Aug 2021

Old Winchester Hill. Today a visit to Old Winchester Hill, where the temperature reached 19 degrees. Here I walked to the Hill Fort, where around the South West facing slope I recorded 15 male Adonis Blues as well as 4 Silver-spotted Skippers. A wonderful sight to see these striking Blues. A total of 11 species were recorded. Totals: Brimstone 2M 4F, Small White 5, Adonis Blue 15M, Chalk Hill Blue 6M 1F, Common Blue 4M, Gatekeeper 28, Meadow Brown 12, Small Heath 3, Red Admiral 1, Small Tortoiseshell 2, Silver-spotted Skipper 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Noar Hill NNR. This like last year there hasn't been many reports of the Brown Hairstreak at Noar Hill, and by the way things are with the weather it is hardly surprising. Today started off very sunny and warm and I thought I was in for a chance. However by 11:00 it had completely closed in and the temperature had dropped several degrees. I am lucky in knowing most of the areas where the Brown Hairstreak tends to spend its time, although it can really turn up anywhere. I saw one fly across the road as I was parking up, and then again atop of an Oak tree, but it wasn't very active as it was very cloudy. There wasn't any chance of seeing them down as the weather was just too cold. Other species seen were several Red Admirals and there has been a good turn out of new Small Tortoiseshells, all feeding on the acres of Hemp Agrimony. Small Copper and Common Blue really made up the bulk of the interesting species. Its good to know the Brown Hairstreak seems to making inroads along Portsdown Hill, it will be in my garden soon! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Tortoiseshell on Hemp Agrimony
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brimstone and two flies feeding on Hemp Agrimony
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Caterpillar of a Pug Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

28 Aug 2021

Stockbridge Down. Sixteen butterfly species accounted for today in a walk from 1015-1310 initially under very lumpy grey skies, strong breeze from the NE (14.5 deg C) through to pleasant sunny intervals and 20 deg C around midday. This site currently 'belongs' to Meadow Brown closely followed by Chalk Hill Blue. No sign of Silver-spotted Skipper but some really nice and fresh Adonis Blue were noted in the lower fields adjacent to the main road. Brown Hairstreak x2 was seen flying fast down the 'avenue' before rising to the tree-tops before repeating the same flight path. Frustratingly neither settled. Total: Meadow Brown (50+); Speckled Wood (M)(2)(F)(1); Small Heath (4); Small White (M)(6)(F)(5); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(50+)(F)(40); Painted Lady (2); Common Blue (M)(9)(F)(2); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Brown Hairstreak (2); Brimstone (M)(4)(F)(2); Small Copper (2); Peacock (1); Red Admiral (1); Gatekeeper (1); Brown Argus (3); Adonis Blue (M)(12)(F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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

27 Aug 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Three more butterflies from my time at Monks Walk today. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Meadow Brown female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma inverted in an apple tree
Photo © Francis Plowman

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Just when I thought the season was on the way out today's walk proved the lie. Fourteen species recorded in a walk from 1015-1330 accompanied mostly by sunshine around 19 degrees Celsius. A slight breeze coming across Portsmouth Harbour from the north-east was hardly felt in the enclosed fields and woody glades. This place never ceases to provide a surprise and I nearly missed it! Walking out of one field through a narrow path surrounded by brambles a somewhat obscured and faded Meadow Brown caught my eye on some blackberries but in all honesty it wasn't worth stopping for a photograph. Fortunately the 'Meadow Brown' was buzzed by a hoverfly and a sudden flash of its wing was enough: my first ever Grayling at Monks Walk was happily if not hungrily gorging on blackberries! It took no notice of me and for over 10 minutes hardly moved until once again another insect caused it to flash open its wings and the resulting photographs revealed a female. (Thus my first opportunity to photograph Grayling with open wings). The field is adjacent to the DM Gosport eastern-most boundary fence so whether there is a colony of Grayling 'next door' I cannot be sure. Certainly there are no dry, heather-strewn stony places at Monks Walk just as there is no chalk - but try telling that to the Chalk Hill Blues that appeared here - admittedly in single numbers - these past two years. The other pleasant surprise was once again to see Small Skipper and Speckled Wood numbers continue to grow. I have to go back three weeks to find a better day for butterflies here. Total: Small White (M)(36)(F)(5); Holly Blue (1); Red Admiral (6); Speckled Wood (F)(8)(M)(15); Green-veined White (M)(2); Gatekeeper (5); Comma (4); Brown Argus (5); Meadow Brown (7); Common Blue (M)(7); Grayling (F)(1); Small Skipper (1); Small Copper (2); Small Heath (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Grayling female
Photo © Francis Plowman
With her wings flashing open
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling Feeding detail
Photo © Francis Plowman

26 Aug 2021

Brown Hairstreak on Portsdown Hill. Second attempt to upload photo [Posted by Peter Gammage]

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Brown hairstreak at Portsdown hill
Photo © Peter Gammage

Brown Hairstreak on Portsdown Hill. I have been speculatively searching for Brown Hairstreak on Portsdown Hill for several years and on Saturday I had the good fortune to blunder into a female on the north side of the hill. Today I returned to see if she was still present. I had to wait about half an hour when at close quarters a female was disturbed by a second individual. Being a pristine female it is clearly different to that seen on Saturday, which had a chunk taken out of the hindering.

Hopefully this will prove to be a viable colony. [Posted by Peter Gammage]

Shipton Bellinger Re- visit. After last week's runaway success with Brown Hairstreaks I decided to pay another visit

from 1045-1500 as the weather was nice for a change (apart from the strong wind) and although it was a bit of a slow start I finally found my quarry. Species seen where Brown Hairstreak 7, Holly Blue 22, Common Blue 15, Adonis Blue 2, Brown Argus 2, Brimstone 16, Meadow Brown 15, Gatekeeper 2, Peacock 4, Wall Brown 2, Red Admiral 1, Speckled Wood 21, Large White 5. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Brown Hairstreak (female)
Photo © Mark Pike
Common Blue (female)
Photo © Mark Pike
See Thru Holly Blue!
Photo © Mark Pike

Beacon Hill, Exton. Southern slopes were full to bursting with wildflowers and butterflies. Meadow Brown in hundreds. 10s of Brimstone, Brown Argus, Chalk Hill Blue, Common Blue. Several Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Silver-spotted Skipper. 1 Adonis Blue, Gatekeeper and Painted Lady. [Posted by Adam Fulton]

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Silver-spotted
Photo © Adam Fulton
Adonis
Photo © Adam Fulton

Shipton Bellinger. The annual pilgrimage to Shipton Bellinger, so nearly thwarted by the pile-up on the A303, proved very rewarding despite a slow start. Brown Hairstreak the obvious quarry, none were seen high or low along the southern drove track, but the moribund ash at the western end (SU2188545684) held them aplenty, never a moment when at least two weren't on the wing, though never nearer than 3 metres alas. Returning by the same route, a female BH alighted a blackthorn branch near The Sallow at eye level, but was gone in seconds. Holly Blues and Speckled Woods were everywhere, along with a few Meadow Browns and Brimstones, but the late surprise was the sheer number of Small Tortoiseshells nectaring on the village hall buddleja. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Holly Blue underside study
Photo © Andrew Brookes

25 Aug 2021

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. Just six butterfly species noted in a walk from 3-4pm this afternoon. The temperature (23 deg C), the light breeze from the NE and abundance of flora provided excellent conditions but sadly few takers. Total: Small White (21); Meadow Brown (28); Holly Blue (13); Common Blue (M)(27)(F)(3); Brown Argus (2); Red Admiral (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

24 Aug 2021

Noar Hill. Today I visited Noar Hill in search of the Brown Hairstreak. After walking most of the tracks and scrubby areas, I still did not see a single individual. A total of 9 species were recorded including a lingering Silver-washed Fritillary. Totals: Brimstone 1M 2F, Small White 1, Common Blue 6M, Gatekeeper 15, Meadow Brown 11, Speckled Wood 1, Peacock 3, Red Admiral 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Magdalen Hill Down - transect on the Original land. Although the 2021 butterfly season is past its peak, there's still plenty to see on Butterfly Conservation's Magdalen Hill Down reserve, near Winchester. Highlights from today's butterfly transect included 185 Meadow Brown, 151 Chalk Hill Blue, 38 Common Blue, 10 Adonis Blue, 29 Brown Argus, 5 Small Tortoiseshell and an unexpected Large Skipper. Initially my hopes were raised that it might be a Silver-spotted Skipper, but seeing it at rest it was clearly a male Large Skipper. As it was so fresh, I presume it's a very late emergence, or could it be a second brood individual? The double-figure count for Adonis Blue is the best I've ever had at MHD, which is great news, given that the species only colonised the site a few years ago. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Adonis Blue (male)
Photo © Andy Barker
Chalk Hill Blue (male)
Photo © Andy Barker
Large Skipper (male)
Photo © Andy Barker

Old Winchester Hill NNR. Had a quick look around the far south western slopes of Old Winchester today in what can be only described as winter and summer in a space of two hours. No sun and it was windy and cold, and everything shut down except for the new broods of Meadow Brown and a few Gatekeepers, and when the sun came out whooooosh....every butterfly was clambering for nectar and territories most bizarre, and there were thousands of butterflies flying in the short summery periods. Mostly Chalk Hill Blues some of which are still in very good condition. I only saw (4) Adonis Blues these haven't really emerged yet, (a late site) but the Silver-spotted Skipper I only looked in a small area, and saw at least (40). Multiply that with how big the site is and you get some indication of how well this little whizzer is doing here. I just love the little butterfly feisty and with lots of character, both sexes were fighting with each other and with other males for territories and driving away Small Coppers which is a feat in itself as they are feisty as well. Next week's Field trip should be good as the Silver-spotted Skipper should be at its peak then and the Adonis Blue should be out in good number. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Silver Spotted Skipper at rest
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Silver Spotted Skipper on take off!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Adonis Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

23 Aug 2021

Painted Ladies in Winchester (almost). This afternoon, under relatively cool (19degC) and very cloudy conditions and while walking the Percy Hobbs Mound transect I saw 8 Painted Ladys. They were sitting on the path with wings open presumably trying to warm up. A couple of Small Tortoiseshells were behaving similarly. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

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Painted Lady trying to keep warm
Photo © Bob Whitmarsh
Very fresh Small Tortoiseshell on path
Photo © Bob Whitmarsh

22 Aug 2021

Seafield Park & Monks Hill Promenade, Hill Head. The fates conspired against me when I visited Seafield Park and the Monks Hill area of Hill Head this afternoon. First surprise was that Fareham council have installed car parking meters at the previously free car park at Monks Hill. Secondly, the scrubby field adjacent to the promenade had recently been cut with no flora to see and unsurprisingly the usually well populated field was devoid of butterflies. The final and rather malodorous surprise was finding a sizeable yet decapitated dogfish in the field 250 metres from the sea! On a brighter note, the recreation ground car park on the northern edge of Seafield Park remains free of charges. Eleven species recorded today the majority within the confines of the park. Protected from the SW breeze the temperature rose to 23 degrees Celsius for my wander from 1430-1545. Total: Meadow Brown (23); Small White (26); Speckled Wood (M)(6)(F)(1); Red Admiral (2); Large White (1); Brown Argus (1); Common Blue (M)(3); Small Copper (1); Gatekeeper (8); Brimstone (M)(1); Small Tortoiseshell (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Gatekeeper female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White - female uppermost
Photo © Francis Plowman

Gosport Shore Sites. 1. Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub. 1220-1300. 22 deg C. Breezy and sunny. Total: Small White (8); Small Heath (2); Common Blue (M)(9)(F)(1); Meadow Brown (8); Brown Argus (1); Holly Blue (M)(1).

2. Gilkicker Point. 1305-1350. 22 deg C. SW breeze. Sunny periods. Total: Small White (18); Common Blue (M)(7); Brown Argus (1); Gatekeeper (3); Meadow Brown (1); Small Heath (1); Large White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Heath - Haslar
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brown Argus - Haslar
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male - Gilkicker
Photo © Francis Plowman

Small Heath on the wing again, Great Fontley. Two Small Heath on the wing at Great Fontley, enjoying the prolific fleabane along with several pristine Brown Argus, the site's first Small Coppers (2) of the year, and a fresh second-brood Small Tortoiseshell tempted away from the garden buddlejas. Peacocks seem to have opted for hibernation, but Red Admirals and Brimstone still common. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Small Heath taking a break
Photo © Andrew Brookes
Disobliging Small Copper
Photo © Andrew Brookes

Shipton Bellinger - transect. The Shipton Bellinger (west) butterfly transect was established in 2012 to monitor Brown Hairstreak numbers. During today's transect walk I was pleased to see seven Brown Hairstreaks (4 male, 3 female), of which five were down low and gave good views. Two of the females were seen walking down young blackthorn stems looking for egg-laying sites, and one of the males was imbibing the juices of ripe Wayfaring tree berries. Other highlights included 6 Wall (all male), plus an incredible 37 Holly Blues, which is probably the most of this species I've ever seen in a single visit to a site. Plenty of other butterflies around, including 95 Brimstones, all busily taking nectar from Wild Basil. Presumably they're building up reserves ready for their winter hibernation. Also saw a Hummingbird Hawk-moth on the Wild Basil, which was an added bonus at the end of an excellent day. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brown Hairstreak (female)
Photo © Andy Barker
Wall (male) holding territory
Photo © Andy Barker
Holly Blue (two females) on bramble
Photo © Andy Barker

New Forest Beaulieu Heath Field Trip. Another day of mixed weather, of cloud, wind, a bit of rain, and blazing hot sunshine, just what the summer should be really! Anyway we achieved seeing our target species again by some margin seeing in access of (40+) Grayling. Many were very faded but one or two were very fresh looking bright bold colourations when they landed with their forewings up they looked splendid and then when the flicked it down they melted into the landscape with their superb camouflage. We saw up to (13) butterfly species today and several moths one which I was having difficulty identifying. With the Bell and Ling Heather looking splendid and seeing the last remaining Silver-studded Blues two males and two females. Today it was a pleasure to be out in just a wonderful landscape. Thank You for all who came. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Trousered by a Grayling
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
One of the fresher looking females
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Unknown Moth on Heather
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

20 Aug 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Twelve species recorded today on a slow circulation of the area (1015-1300) under cloudy skies (circa 19 deg C), light breezes and occasional soft drizzle. Numbers are steadily reducing although Speckled Wood bucked that trend with an amazing count of 19 of which nine were female. Some nice fresh butterflies among the ragged. Total: Small White (M)(10)(F)(6); Red Admiral (5); Speckled Wood (M)(10)(F)(9); Comma (5); Brown Argus (3); Small Copper (2); Gatekeeper (5); Meadow Brown (8); Holly Blue (4); Common Blue (M)(5); Small Heath (1); Green-veined White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood female, very newly emerged
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White (female lower butterfly)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male in pristine condition
Photo © Francis Plowman

Brown Hairstreak goes south, Great Fontley. Pristine female Brown Hairstreak seen resting on bramble at Great Fontley by Mrs J Mallett. No camera to hand alas, but the butterfly was observed at leisure from a distance of less than a metre. A notable first for this site, just 1 km north of Fareham's urban sprawl. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

18 Aug 2021

Soberton Down and St Claires Meadow. I never really expected anybody to turn up at the car-park in Soberton today, I was pleasantly surprised to see so many on such a dull day. We made the best of it and on Soberton Down we saw up to (18) species of butterfly and a good moth count with some interesting caterpillars and many other invertebrates, including good numbers of Crickets, and Grasshoppers, Robber Fly, many bees feeding on the Hemp Agrimony all over the down. However the weather wasn't going to entice any female Brown Hairstreak to show themselves, and we didn't see any eggs on the Blackthorn, I dont think the Brown Hairstreak is having a good year in 2021 although there is still time if the weather improves. At St Claires Meadow on the River Meon we saw many more Crickets and Grasshoppers, and other invertebrates, and a few other butterflies we had not noted on Soberton Down. Thank You all for coming and as I said to you all today Sunday's field trip is looking dodgy so I've cancelled it as there is a large area of wet weather coming our way for Sunday. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Blood Vein Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dark Dagger Moth caterpillar
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

16 Aug 2021

Oxenbourne Down. Today I visited Oxenbourne Down where the temperature reached 19.5 degrees. Here still many Chalk Hill Blues were flying, with several females noted too. A good search revealed 2 Silver-spotted Skippers - my first sighting of this species this year. Totals: Brimstone 2M 1F, Chalk Hill Blue 150M 16F, Small Copper 1, Gatekeeper 11, Meadow Brown 18, Red Admiral 1, Silver-spotted Skipper 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Shipton Bellinger. As a reinforcement of yesterday's report from here I visited from 1000 to 1400 today and although it was almost 100% cloud, there were just a couple of breaks for a few minutes at a time which was all that was needed to get the Hairstreaks moving, with one female in particular egg laying and pleasing the crowd. It was on the short grass with wings open for a good few minutes at one point. Species seen were Brown Hairstreak 8, Holly Blue 10, Common Blue 5, Brown Argus 2, Large White 6, Green-veined White 1, Peacock 1, Red Admiral 2, Brimstone 1, Gatekeeper 4. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Brown Hairstreak (male)
Photo © Mark Pike
Brown Hairstreak (female)
Photo © Mark Pike
Brown Hairstreak (female)
Photo © Mark Pike

Martin Down National Nature Reserve South. From 1255-1450 the southern aspect of the NNR was covered following Bokerley Ditch to the end of the trail and then back up the central pathway. Wind from the NW, temperature 18 degrees Celsius with patchy sunlight through a cloudy sky. Meadow Brown won the count hands-down; there are still thousands on the wing. Chalk Hill Blue follow a close second; counts of both were soon ended! A few sparkling fresh Adonis Blue were seen but none displaying open wings. Seventeen species recorded but numbers generally low overall. Total: Red Admiral (1); Meadow Brown (50+); Common Blue (M)(18)(F)(5); Small Skipper (2); Adonis Blue (M)(4); Small Tortoiseshell (6); Dark Green Fritillary (3); Brown Argus (5); Small White (3); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(65+)(F)(12); Small Copper (2); Green-veined White (M)(1); Peacock (1); Large White (M)(1); Brimstone (M)(1)(F)(1); Painted Lady (1); Gatekeeper(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Adonis Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Moth Trap. Just a few notes on a moth trap I put out last night, which was highly successful, as it's taken me the best part of a day to sort out what I had managed to entrap. The highlights were Pine Hawkmoth, Poplar Hawk Moth, Garden Tiger Moth, Jersey Tiger moths, Many Many Black Arches in fact never had so many, female and males, Yellow Underwings, Autumn Thorns, Large Emerald, Brimstone Moths, Peacocks, Common Carpet, Willow Beauty, Lesser Swallow Prominents, Swallow Prominents, Pale Prominent,Coxcomb Prominents, Iron Prominents,Yellow Tail, Rosy Footmen, Common Footman, Common Wainscot, Coronet,Spectacle Moth,Burnished Brass (one of my favourites) Scalloped Oaks, Phoenix, Dusky Hook Tip and Oak Hook Tips. Not a bad haul I would say.... [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Large Emerald
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Pine Hawkmoth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Jersey Tiger Moth and a Black Arches
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

15 Aug 2021

Shipton Bellinger Field Trip. The forecast today wasn't good, the best I could see at 0800 this morning was cloud and even more cloud in the afternoon, but with every weather forecast it's best just to hold on to your hat and hope for the best, and with twenty people on the walk today it turned out to be a great field trip with the weather turning out to be cloud but with good sunny intervals. As it turned out there were twenty species of butterfly seen today which is one of the highest I've ever recorded here. Brown Hairstreaks and Wall Brown were the target species and these were met with a great triumph and fanfare. No sooner had we got to the crossroads of the tank tracks we had two immaculate female Brown Hairstreaks on the Blackthorn and even on the grassy paths. Even more turned up at the main 'Lekking' trees along the ride with male clashes seen and males just sitting on the leaves looking down at us. Up to 10 Brown Hairstreaks were noted around the site, and with that at the border with Wiltshire we had our first Wall Brown. Also two Wall Browns were seen along one of the tracks of the main rides. Other species of note were good numbers of Magpie Moths which seem to be diving into the Blackthorn thickets and laying eggs. Other species of note were Small Coppers and Brown Argus in the meadows along with Common Blue, Green -veined Whites and Speckled Wood and many Holly Blues in the Blackthorn Rides. Dark Green Fritillary and Silver-washed Fritillary were also noted along the way.

I would like to thank all who came and braved the initial weather, and hope to see some of you again. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Wall Brown
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Magpie Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

14 Aug 2021

Keyhaven - Lymington. Good numbers of Painted Lady seen along the sea wall and the Ancient Highway. All were good looking specimens. Also seen Red Admiral, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Common Blue, Gatekeeper

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

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Painted Lady
Photo © Chris Rose
Painted Lady
Photo © Chris Rose
Painted Lady
Photo © Chris Rose

Stockbridge Down. Stockbridge Down is looking magnificent at present, with a colourful display of chalk grassland flowers in full bloom, plus plenty of butterflies. The Chalk Hill Blues were so numerous (100+), that we stopped counting. In total we saw 16 different butterfly species, and after a bit of searching we did find singles of both Brown Hairstreak and Silver-spotted Skipper. The male Brown Hairstreak was nectaring on Yarrow, and gave good views with wings both open and closed. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get a photo. The female Silver-spotted Skipper was watched for several minutes alternating between egg-laying amongst the Sheep's Fescue grass and nectaring on Lesser Hawkbit in the short turf near the top of the site. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Silver-spotted Skipper nectaring
Photo © Andy Barker
Silver-spotted skipper egg-laying
Photo © Andy Barker

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Later than normal (1440-1700) I covered the area under full sunshine and a pleasant 23 degrees Celsius. Thirteen species were identified today and it is clear that here we have passed the zenith of the Summer. The unseasonal rains have put paid early to the Skippers and even Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper are evidently now in the descent. Nevertheless, it was good to see increasing numbers of Speckled Wood. I also watched a brief and ultimately unsuccessful mating performance of two Small Coppers; presumably it was the female that crawled deeper into the long grass of the butterfly meadow, and remained there for my camera! Total: Red Admiral (8); Peacock (1); Holly Blue (5); Green-veined White (M)(1); Meadow Brown (6); Brown Argus (1); Common Blue (M)(4); Gatekeeper (16); Large White (M)(3); Small White (13); Comma (5); Small Copper (2); Speckled Wood (15). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Green-veined White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper possibly female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

Meonstoke (1pm). Allowing nature to reclaim the garden has been paying dividends, though it’s not every day that the species tally reaches 18, with numbers healthy too: Essex Skipper (1), Brimstone (5), Large White (5), Small White (2), Green-veined White (6), Holly Blue (5), Brown Argus (2), Common Blue (12), Chalk Hill Blue (1), Small Copper (2), Red Admiral (8), Painted Lady (1 + 1 larva), Small Tortoiseshell (3), Peacock (24), Comma (1), Speckled Wood (2), Gatekeeper (20) and Meadow Brown (20+). Absentees included the Small Blue present in the week and Brown Hairstreak (often present in August, but not yet this year). [Posted by David Mills]

13 Aug 2021

Old Winchester Hill - Part I. In search of Silver-spotted Skipper we descended the steep car park slope for a walk from 1000-1135. The temperature under leaden skies was just 16 degrees Celsius with a strong SW breeze which meant absolutely nothing was recorded on the way down to the valley. Here we eventually came across roosting Chalk Hill Blue butterflies, later a rather washed-out Dark Green Fritillary and many a Meadow Brown. As we started the ascent a fresh male Silver-spotted Skipper was found perched on a low plant and moved with its host under the wind's effect. Making a human wind-break the butterfly's gyrations slowed and allowed a close approach. It was, however, the only example seen throughout the whole of our time at OWH. No sign yet of Adonis Blue. Total: Chalk Hill Blue (M)(56)(F)(23); Meadow Brown (98); Common Blue (M)(11)(F)(2); Brown Argus (4); Small Heath (1); Dark Green Fritillary (1); Gatekeeper (25); Silver-spotted Skipper (M)(1); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Red Admiral (2); Peacock (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Silver-spotted Skipper male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Same Silver-spotted Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman

Old Winchester Hill - Part II. Part II of our walk (1200-1425) - when the temperature hovered around 18 degrees and the sky darkened and threatened rain - was the mainly flat, grassy path skirting the top of the valley and then following the track around to the south and west. This took us clockwise around the hill fort into a very strong wind then back dropping down along the valley-side narrow track, back to the main path to the car park. Some 13 species were recorded including five Small Tortoiseshell all in pristine condition and Painted Lady x 4. Total: Red Admiral (12); Meadow Brown (117); Gatekeeper (81); Painted Lady (4); Peacock (4); Small White (18); Small Heath (1); Small Skipper (3); Common Blue (M)(28); Small Tortoiseshell (5); Small Copper (1); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(106)(F)(25); Green-veined White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Male & Female Chalk Hill Blue above Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

11 Aug 2021

Old Winchester Hill. Today I visited Old Winchester Hill where the temperature was 21 degrees. Here I walked along the main path leading to the Hill Fort before ascending the slope where wooden steps used to be to reach the Hill Fort. After walking around the perimeter I returned following the top path, the heat and my age preventing me from attempting a return to the car park via the steep slope. A total of 12 species were recorded: Brimstone 9M 5F, Large White 1, Small White 17, Green-veined White 1, Chalk Hill Blue 46M 6F, Gatekeeper 43, Meadow Brown 62, Painted Lady 1, Peacock 6, Red Admiral 12, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

10 Aug 2021

Old Winchester Hill (11am-midday). Long-awaited, today’s sunshine was welcomed by the butterflies of OWH which was awash with them, although time constraints limited my walk to the northern sector of the reserve. Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns were abundant, as were Brimstones, whites, Red Admirals and Peacocks. Small Tortoiseshells were well-distributed and Chalk Hill Blues present in their dancing clouds, though numbers noticeably lower than in 2019 and 2020. Highlights included 3 Clouded Yellows (only my second sighting here this summer), 8 Painted Ladys and single tatty Dark Green Fritillary and Silver-washed Fritillarys. No sign of OWH’s Silver-spotted Skippers yet. [Posted by David Mills]

Oxenbourne Down. Followinga visit to Chalton Down, I visited Oxenbourne Down where the temperature had increased to 23 degrees. Here like at Chalton Down, Chalk Hill Blues were at their peak with several hundred males flying with 15 females identified. Totals: Brimstone 5M 4F, Small White 1, Chalk Hill Blue 400+M 15F, Gatekeeper 13, Meadow Brown 21, Comma 1, Peacock 3, Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Chalton Down. Late morning I visited Chalton Down where the temperature was 21 degrees. Here some areas of grass has grown very high. Despite this many Chalk Hill Blues were on the wing, easily over 200 males were seen with 6 females identified. This is good for this site following a few poor years for this species. Totals: Brimstone 2M, Large White 1, Small White 4, Chalk Hill Blue 200+M 6F, Gatekeeper 5, Meadow Brown 19. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Browndown (South) Gosport. Twelve species noted on a two hour walk from 2pm across the heather-strewn stony ground that is Browndown South. A pleasant sea-breeze from the SW kept the temperature to around 23 deg C. Target species was Clouded Yellow and Grayling. No yellow turned-up and only two Grayling seen. The up-side to that was they were a mating pair! Painted Lady is still zipping around. The Purple Hairstreak season has not been good this year here and nothing seen of them today. Total: Small White (15); Gatekeeper (18); Meadow Brown (24); Common Blue (F)(2)(M)(1); Large White (2); Small Copper (2); Peacock (1); Grayling (M)(1)(F)(1); Painted Lady (2); Brown Argus (3); Holly Blue (1); Red Admiral (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling mating pair
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female Variant Fb
Photo © Francis Plowman

Slow start at Shipton Bellinger but Brown Hairstreak and Wall make welcome late appearances.. A couple of hours spent searching the Shipton Bellinger roughs to the west of the village hadn’t produced very many notable sightings, although plenty of colour was on show with fresh Red Admirals, Peacocks and Brimstones, accompanied by a supporting cast dominated by Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers. Brown Hairstreaks seemed scarce with just two or three high level sightings and reports of a male feeding low down along the county boundary hedge (which had eluded me).

However, I knew things were about to pick up when what seemed to be just another 'Brown' was seen flitting along the hedge. On landing however, it turned out to be a fresh male Wall Brown and the first one I have seen this season!

Half and hour or so later, I had recorded two male Brown Hairstreaks down nectaring on Creeping Thistle and Wild Parsnip as well a beautiful fresh female Brown Hairstreak, perched in a characteristic downward facing posture. A very good result in the end! [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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

Lee on Solent Garden. After some awful (butterfly) weather these last few days our garden here has come alive this morning so couldn't resist a short report and a couple of photos. The highlight was a Small Tortoiseshell which has been here all day either basking on the house wall or nectaring on the plants. I think I've seen less than it takes to count on one hand this year so especially nice to see one in good condition and as close to home as possible. We've also had 2 Painted Ladies (in poorish condition), a single Small Copper and a steady procession of Holly Blues as well as the usual Large and Small Whites. Also managed to get the moth trap out again this week and was rewarded with a beautiful Garden Tiger that insisted on opening its wings. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Holly Blue - Lee on Solent
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Small Tortoiseshell - Lee on Solent
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Garden Tiger Moth - Lee on Solent
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Clouded Yellow near Compton. When visiting a new site near Compton, Winchester, today, I was pleased to come across my first Clouded Yellow of the year. As well as seeing plenty of Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers and Small Whites, I was also pleased to encounter a few Common Blues and Chalk Hill Blues plus a single Brown Argus. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Clouded Yellow (male)
Photo © Andy Barker
Chalkhill Blue (female)
Photo © Andy Barker
Brown Argus (female)
Photo © Andy Barker

09 Aug 2021

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. With a very strong SW wind gusting against the hillside we circled the somewhat more sheltered northern slope of Fort Widley from 1350-1440. The temperature was around 19 deg C with overcast skies and a few drops of rain thrown in for good measure. Numbers of butterflies were very low but 11 species were recorded. Highlight for me was a fleeting glimpse of Small Tortoiseshell a butterfly that has proven very elusive for me this Summer. A rather shabby male Small Blue put in a brief appearance; but for the strong wind and lack of sunshine there may well have been a few more about. Total: Meadow Brown (5); Red Admiral (2); Gatekeeper (19); Green-veined White (M)(1); Common Blue (M)(6)(F)(2); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Small White (M)(1); Small Blue (M)(1); Peacock (1); Painted Lady (1); Brown Argus (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady feeding on Scabious
Photo © Francis Plowman

Southwick Park Trail, Southwick. At around 19 deg C, from 1455-1625, we walked past the ancient priory ruins, across the golf course and then followed the perimeter path through woodland and field edge back to the Southwick village car park. The strong SW blow was less noticeable but the clouds ensured dark and gloomy pathways until sunlit glades were found (not many to be sure!). Twelve species were recorded but not the hoped-for White Admiral. Compensation came in the form of a female Silver-washed Fritillary that we found resting. Total: Small White (7); Red Admiral (6); Peacock (2); Speckled Wood (M)(2); Large White (M)(1); Gatekeeper (7); Silver-washed Fritillary (F)(1); Meadow Brown (9); Holly Blue (M)(1); Large Skipper (1); Small Copper (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Holly Blue male & green beetle
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Buff Tip devastation. Alarmed by denuded elm branches at Fontley and Portchester, closer inspection found the culprits to be Buff Tip larvae, now in their final instar. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Photo © Andrew Brookes

08 Aug 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. The slight improvement in weather - i.e. it finally stopped raining - sent me to my local haunt (1215-1530) initially under grey clouds but later warm sunshine. The very strong SW wind played havoc with the butterflies and kept the temperature around 20 deg C. A dozen species were recorded, a pleasant surprise given the recent awful weather. There has clearly been a surge in Red Admiral with many pristine examples noted as well as a few ragged specimens. The two Painted Ladys which stayed on the buddleia bush in the butterfly meadow for three consecutive days have at last moved-on. Speckled Wood numbers have also markedly increased since my last visit. Total: Meadow Brown (23); Red Admiral (16); Small White (13); Gatekeeper (49); Common Blue (F)(3)(M)(8); Large White (M)(4)(F)(2); Brown Argus (1); Peacock (1); Speckled Wood (M)(12)(F)(1); Comma (6); Green-veined White (M)(2); Holly Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue male displaying genitalia
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White male
Photo © Francis Plowman

06 Aug 2021

Longstock buddlejas. Longstock buddleja collection currently at its best, attracting Red Admirals and Peacocks by the score despite the overcast skies. Six Painted Ladys completed the vanessid tally; Comma and Small Tortoiseshell conspicuous by their absence. A few Large Whites and Meadow Browns were also indulging. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

05 Aug 2021

Chalk Hill Blue - Monks Walk, Gosport. During Summer 2020 a Chalk Hill Blue female (24 July) and male (1 August) were to my great surprise recorded at Monks Walk. I hoped that the two sexes met up. Today, the last of the sixteen species noted during my walk from 1000-1250 was a pristine Chalk Hill Blue male. It was found nowhere near last year's butterflies but in a wood-edged clearing packed with nettles. Earlier I had walked the field with its flooded stream alongside which grows Water Mint but no Chalk Hill Blue was found there. But at least one has appeared again for 2021. Yesterday's pair of Painted Lady seem quite happy to continue gorging on the Buddleia and then dropping to rest in the long grasses of the butterfly meadow where they tolerate approach and photography. Only one solitary Small Skipper seen today, no Marbled White, Ringlet or the Silver-washed Fritillary spotted on 4th August. Unexpectedly the forecast rain held off until 1pm and so a good survey was undertaken mostly under clouds (19 deg C) with a fairly stiff SW-breeze. Summer is fading fast! Total: Gatekeeper (60); Red Admiral (5); Peacock (2); Meadow Brown (15); Holly Blue (M)(3); Small Copper (3); Common Blue (M)(11)(F)(4); Painted Lady (2); Comma (5); Small White (M)(6); Green-veined White (F)(3); Brown Argus (2); Speckled Wood (M)(5)(F)(3); Small Skipper (1); Large White (1); Chalk Hill Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

04 Aug 2021

Havant Thicket. Visited Havant Thicket today where the temperature reached 21 degrees. A total of 12 different species recorded, with Gatekeepers flying everywhere. Totals: Brimstone 2M 5F, Large White 1, Small White 9, Green-veined White 1, Gatekeeper 69, Meadow Brown 17, Ringlet 1, Speckled Wood 2, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 3, Silver-washed Fritillary 22, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Starting early (0930) when the temperature was just 16.5C and the dew wet on the grasses we undertook a two-hours' circulation of just three zones. From a very slow start we were able to experience the rise in temperature coincide with the emergence of fourteen species of butterfly, 13 in the butterfly meadow alone. The Buddleia was providing nectar for Red Admiral (x2) and two Painted Lady. The meadow's first Silver-washed Fritillary of the season appeared feeding hungrily on bramble flowers. Two Purple Hairstreaks were zipping around the tall oak trees. Many butterflies were very new and provided great opportunities for closer study and photography. A Gatekeeper was quickly and safely released from the clutches of a spider - no breakfast for that one! The sunshine eventually emerged and the thermometer had reached 20C when, at 1130, the exciting walk had to end. Total: Common Blue (M)(10)(F)(2); Essex Skipper (1); Painted Lady (2); Red Admiral (4); Gatekeeper (22); Speckled Wood (M)(2); Purple Hairstreak (2); Silver-washed Fritillary (M)(1); Small White (2); Peacock (1); Brown Argus (3); Ringlet (2); Small Skipper (1); Large White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male - asymmetrical?
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady - great 'eye' markings
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Last day at Alice. Had a another look at Alice today this afternoon as the Purple Emperor is really only an afternoon butterfly now, and in almost perfect conditions, only (4) males turned up at the Goose Green Inclosure Assembly Point, between 1330 and 15:00. there was no chasing and other than a few periodic flights in and around the vistas, there would have been very little evidence that they were actually there if you hadn't seen them fly. Yesterday was a show of strength I think in the two Vistas, as the males knew there were two females in the canopy so they were showing off. One male did manage to attract a lady and I saw the pairing and it was a very brief, where they did it I dont know but it was very quick pairing no standing on ceremony. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male perched on a Sweet Chestnut leaff
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Purple Emperor on the lookout
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

03 Aug 2021

Contrasting days at Broughton Down. On 2nd August I visited Broughton Down to look for Silver-spotted Skipper. The weather was dire, almost total cloud cover and a good soaking late afternoon, nevertheless I managed to see 2. Today I made a return visit and saw at least 10, some very fresh, others looking as though they had emerged late July. Also seen were Chalk Hill Blues, fresh Brown Argus, Common Blues, 10 Dark Green Fritillarys, Brimstones, Peacocks, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns. [Posted by Mike Gibbons]

Straits Inclosure and Goose Green Inclosure. The last chance saloon for the Purple Emperor for me in 2021 and it certainly paid off , although it wasn't seen in Straits Inclosure it more than made up for it at Goose Green. In Straits the Silver-washed Fritillary is still in good numbers, although I would say the females outnumber the males by about 5-1 now, and most if not all the males are looking ragged, with the females still looking in good order. Three or four White Admirals were also so seen all females these were looking for good areas to egg lay as they were noted going deep within the Hazel thickets and Oak canopy to find good stands of Honeysuckle. At Goose Green the weather had closed in initially, but when the sun did come out at 13:30, the first male was noted on territory, and as the minutes rolled by then several others were noted in the area, and over a space of an hour I noted Purple Emperors in the air at least twenty times. At one point on a ridge I saw three males chasing each other, into a small vista close to a major Oak stand. This happened several times, and males were noted using the Way-leaves as a combat zone, just like old times. Two females were noted one passing through the area over to the other side of the road, and a male and female rejection was noted a bit further down the ride. So in all it was about 6-7 males and 2 females. Not a bad ending! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female White Admiral
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Silver-Washed Fritillary and Red Mites
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Action Stations!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Browndown (North) Gosport. My first survey of August produced 15 species in the northern (west of the River Alver) sector. (Sounds of cacophonous 'battle' from the south clearly put that area of Browndown out-of-bounds today!). From 1100-1330 with a temperature no better than 19.5 deg C under intermittent sunshine and south-easterly breeze the walk produced one or two surprises. A Brown Hairstreak was seen in a sunny woodland glade flying from one tree to another; two mating pairs of Gatekeeper were noted; Marbled White and Ringlet appear to have run their courses and overall numbers are reducing. That said, Grayling are very evident with numbers up from my previous visit (25th July). Total: Red Admiral (7); Common Blue (M)(3)(F)(2); Brown Argus (3); Small White (4); Meadow Brown (18); Gatekeeper (50); Green-veined White (F)(2); Purple Hairstreak (1); Holly Blue (M)(2); Speckled Wood (M)(1)(F)(1); Small Skipper (4); Grayling (20); Large Skipper (2); Small Copper (1); Brown Hairstreak (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Holly Blue male feeding on Heather
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper female at right
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling on the low heath
Photo © Francis Plowman

02 Aug 2021

Shipton Bellinger - Brown Hairstreak. Although the conditions today were far from ideal, a visit to the hedgerows and scrub west of Shipton Bellinger eventually produced sightings of Brown Hairstreak (2). Both were males, low down, with one nectaring on Creeping Thistle (2.05pm). Unfortunately it didn't present the best position for a good photo. Other butterflies of note included Dark Green Fritillary (2), Chalk Hill Blue (4), Peacock (11), Red Admiral (3), Holly Blue (3), Common Blue (7) and Brimstone (12), plus plenty of Meadow Browns and Gatekeeper, but no Wall. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Photo © Andy Barker

01 Aug 2021

Purple's last stand at Alice Holt Forest. This morning whilst working in the garden I was fortunate enough to see the amazing Jersey Tiger Moth, first it was on on of my white chairs, then it moved onto the Buddleia bush where it remained for awhile then it decided to alight on the garage wall, then onto the garden fence, where I took this picture. I then decided to see if the Purple Emperor had made it into August and went to Alice Holt Forest. I never looked down in the woods, I timed it so I would see them if at all at their Assembly Points. I arrived at midday and there wasn't any activity, it was partially sunny and quite warm, but the thick black clouds were a constant threat. I was there for 30 odd minutes, when I saw a male fly over the vista, going nowhere really he disappeared into the tree line by the road, and I never saw him again. Over an hour later I espied a female Emperor in the vista, flying in the opposite direction and she seemed to dive into some sallow , whether she was up here to eye up any talent, or press on with egg-laying, but there were no males flexing their muscles here so I suspect she was doing what came naturally, although I never saw her again, but very distinct from a male by size and flight pattern. I went down to Abbots Wood Inclosure car-park and spent an hour there but to no avail. Which says to me there all but done, I should have seen more activity, but three storms in a space of a week has really shot them to pieces. I can only hope that 2022 brings better observations. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Jersey Tiger Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Abbotts Wood Inclosure Assembly Point in the main car-park
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

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