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Hampshire and
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1982 - 2022

News Archive for Mar 2022

27 Mar 2022

First Holly Blue sighting in Winchester. Holly Blue is always a regular sighting in our Winchester garden, there is a shrub that it seems to especially like. My wife and I both independently sighted a Holly Blue in flight as we were sitting in the garden after lunch (ca. 2pm). Unfortunately it never landed and we only had fleeting glimpses but by its size and pale blue colour we were convinced it was a Holly Blue. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

26 Mar 2022

Orange-tip first in Lordswood. Today noted the first Orange-tip (male) of the season in my Lordswood garden. Also this week the following butterflies were also spotted, Comma (2) Peacock, Male Brimstone and Red Admiral. I have planted honesty and Garlic Mustard to attract the Orange-tip so hopefully like last year it will attract the butterfly to breed in my garden. [Posted by David Lobb]

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Photo © David Lobb

25 Mar 2022

Park Hill. A visit to one of the most picturesque areas in the Meon Valley Park Hill, probably a site very few people visit. It's always been a site that I have always thought the Duke of Burgundy may well inhabit one day. Today in bright sunshine along one of the country lanes where several large Beech trees had been felled, during the storm I suspect, and consequently the sunshine was now falling on the hedges and flowery side of the lane and here there were several Brimstones, Small Tortoiseshells and Peacocks, all feeding on Hawkbit and Ivy flowers. On the downland there was an area where the new growth of Nettles was just coming through and I saw at least (4) Small Tortoiseshells, all very downbeated and faded, these looked like females looking for a spot to lay eggs. One Comma was also espied looking for a suitable site to lay as well. In the church graveyard there were more Brimstones, Peacocks and Small Whites. A good count today of all of the hibernators. Along with Red Kites many Buzzards spiralling upwards on the thermals, a hunting Sparrowhawk and the constant barking of crows in the many rookeries around the site. [Posted by ashley Whitlock]

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Cuckoo flower
Photo © ashley Whitlock
Park Hill looking North
Photo © ashley Whitlock
Brimstone
Photo © ashley Whitlock

Orange Tip sighting north of Andover. Saw this little wonder going through my garden today, a bit early me thinks. (Just north of Andover) [Posted by Frank Haggar]

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Fly by orange tip
Photo © Frank Haggar

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Six species accounted for today on a longer walk from 1130-1415 with the temperature rising steadily throughout reaching 20 degrees Celsius at the end. Despite spending much time on my local patch I have yet to see any butterfly mating pairs. However, today I saw Small White, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock egg-laying! Peacock ran Comma a close second today and clearly it looks like our mild winter has produced an excellent crop of surviving hibernators as well as fresh emergences. Total: Peacock (14); Comma (18); Small Tortoiseshell (6); Small White (5); Brimstone (M)(2); Speckled Wood(M)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Tortoiseshell egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone male (lunchtime pit-stop)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman

24 Mar 2022

7 UP! Monks Walk, Gosport. An earlier and shorter circulation today (1045-1225; 17-18.5 deg C) when the sunshine was warm and welcoming. Seven species came to book including a female Brimstone which was being chased by a male and both quickly disappeared from view. Total: Peacock (8); Small Tortoiseshell (6); Comma (9); Brimstone (M)(1)(F)(1); Small White (M)(2)(F)(1); Red Admiral (3); Speckled Wood (M)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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

23 Mar 2022

Milton Lock NNR. On another perfect day out to my local Nature Reserve and (5) Peacocks (2) Commas and one Red Admiral seen flying around in and around the sun traps and feeding on the blossom on the Cherry trees. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Comma
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Peacock
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

22 Mar 2022

Clouded Yellow seen on the Isle of Wight. Andy Butler has reported a single Clouded Yellow on 21st March and two on 22nd March, along the revetment at Wheeler's Bay, Ventnor.

They are almost certainly locally bred rather than immigrant arrivals. [Posted by Jim Baldwin]

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Photo © Jim Baldwin

Chalton Down. Paid my first visit of the year to Chalton Down (SU736156) where in the sunshine the temperature was 14.5C. Here I recorded two male Brimstones in flight. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Five species seen in Rownhams. Today I saw Brimstone, Comma, Peacock and Speckled Wood in the Horns Drove Conservation wood, and then Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock in CromertyRoad/Bakers Drove Field, also a bee fly. They were very flighty so only 2 photos. [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Photo © Sue LambertPhoto © Sue Lambert

21 Mar 2022

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. My first sighting of Speckled Wood for 2022 was recorded together with four other species in a 120 minutes' circulation under diffused sunlight (15 degrees Celsius) from 1.10 pm. It was the last butterfly of the afternoon seen high in a tree at 3.10 pm. Small Tortoiseshell appearances continue to surprise me with two distinct colonies of between 3 and 4 in each area. A pair were in close formation contact at 2 pm and an hour later were still there; I think that they are both males and appeared simply to be keeping themselves warm! Another in the butterfly meadow was feeding on Pussy Willow along with Peacock and Comma while at least 3 more (including one female) were patrolling the dry bracken area in the main field. It looks like it might be a good year for Aglais urticae, at least in this neck of the woods! Total: Small Tortoiseshell (7); Comma (15); Peacock (6); Small White (2); Speckled Wood (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Tortoiseshell pair at 2 pm
Photo © Francis Plowman
Same pair at 3 pm
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood first (distant) sighting
Photo © Francis Plowman

19 Mar 2022

Bedhampton Park. Today I visited Bedhampton Park area (SU703062) where the temperature was 15C. Here I saw Brimstone 2M, Comma 1 and Peacock 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

18 Mar 2022

Hibernators arise! in Whitchurch. On an early afternoon walk near Whitchurch allotments today:

Brimstone 3

Comma 2

Small Tortoiseshell 2

Peacock 1

Also 3 or 4 Chiffchaffs singing loudly in the vicinity. [Posted by Andy Bolton]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Today's sunshine and temperature of 15 degrees Celsius proved irresistible to the butterflies recorded on a 1220-1430 circulation this afternoon. Two hitherto unseen species here for 2022 (Brimstone and Small White) were both drawn into flight. Red Admiral's early season seems to have run its course but five species for mid-March was most welcome. A male Brimstone discovered a female Small White who finally struggled free from its awkward suitor. Comma numbers soared commensurate with the temperature! Total: Small Tortoiseshell (6); Comma (18); Peacock (8); Brimstone (M)(3); Small White (M)(1)(F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Tortoiseshell on the pavement at Monks Walk south
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma takes post Monks Walk south
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White male on Pussy Willow Monks Walk butterfly meadow
Photo © Francis Plowman

At home in Southsea. Yesterday in my garden in Southsea there was a flurry of butterflies including Brimstone, Small Whites, Peacock, Red Admiral, and Comma. This is the best count I've ever had in the garden in March. Lets hope its a good omen for 2022, boy do we need it! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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comma on blossom
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Peacock on nettle
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

17 Mar 2022

Havant Thicket. In bright Spring sunshine I visited Havant Thicket today where the temperature reached 12C. Here hibernating species were awake with the following on the wing; Brimstone 11M and Peacock 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. From 1415-1515 we undertook a short but interesting circulation of the accessible areas both north and south of the main road. The temperature was 13 deg C and quite warm in the glades although shadows were lengthening. The highlight was recording at least four (but possibly five) Small Tortoiseshell. Four were seen at one moment and all were in the main field on dry bracken interspersed with growing nettles. No sign of Red Admiral today and still no Brimstone! Total: Comma (8); Peacock (5); Small Tortoiseshell (4). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell possibly female top
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell one of at least 4
Photo © Francis Plowman

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. 1305-1335 we circulated the perimeter of Fort Widley in full sunshine (13.5 deg C) but cool under a strong breeze. Only 3 Peacock butterflies were seen. Total: Peacock (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Havant Thicket, Rowlands Castle. Determined to see my first Brimstone of the year we set out for a known hot-spot, Havant Thicket. However, two Brimstone males were seen on the wing as we approached the M27 flyover roundabout at Wallington! From 1140-1250 (12 deg C in full sunshine but breezy) we counted 9 male Brimstone and managed a photograph of one. Be advised that the areas off the main pathway here is very flooded and extensive forestry works preclude some access. HGV lorries are transporting piles of cut pine which activity was ongoing throughout our time there. Total: Brimstone (M)(9); Comma (3); Peacock (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Brimstones in Locksheath. At least 6 Brimstone in the small fields by Locksheath Shopping Centre this morning. Very spring like in lovely sunshine! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

15 Mar 2022

Portsdown Hill. Tuesday 15th March 2022 Portsdown Hill and Milton Lock reserve : It was promised to be a warmish day but the sun decided to hide behind a veil of cloud which hindered sightings, however I did see on Portsdown Hill up to (4) Brimstones and a Peacock butterfly, which was imbibing on some Gorse. Had it been sunnier I feel I could have seen another two or three species. The Kestrels were hunting and the Buzzards were soaring on the thermals rising up from the chalk-pit. The Flora on Portsdown Hill at the moment is dominated by good clumps of Common-Dog and Hairy Violets which helps the Dark Green Fritillary breed here. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Peacock
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brimstone
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Dog Violet
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

First Brimstone in Rownhams. Today saw 2 male Brimstones, one in Nutshalling Avenue and the other in Horns Drove Wood Rownhams [Posted by Sue Lambert]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A total of four species were recorded today but, sadly, not Brimstone. Last year's first appearance here was 27th February so it's somewhat overdue. From 1245-1430 I covered both sides of Heritage Way but after more overnight rain it remains very wet and unpleasant ground. With sunshine, light easterly breeze and temperature of 12 degrees Celsius the butterflies were not unduly bothered and were easily found. A second Small Tortoiseshell was seen and tolerated approach whereas the first (originally seen on 8th March) remains on dry stinging nettle/bracken and was very irritable. Peacock numbers are increasing and one had even discovered the thermal qualities of discarded polythene and wasn't giving up its comforts even for my approach. Some really nice butterflies seen today. Total: Comma (4); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Peacock (4); Red Admiral (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Second Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral, Monks Walk south
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock comfortable on polythene sheeting
Photo © Francis Plowman

10 Mar 2022

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. My first (non-hibernating!) Peacock of 2022 was recorded today on a walk from 1300-1420. The sunshine was warm in the more sheltered areas (12-13.5 deg C) although the wind from SSE was fresh. The Peacock was found basking in the mostly dry nettle-bed area as was Tuesday's first Small Tortoiseshell which species was not seen today. Some 75 metres or so to the north in the Butterfly Meadow I came across another Peacock feeding on Pussy Willow. However, the clear damage to the right forewing revealed it to have been the original sighting having moved further afield to nectar. Totals: Red Admiral (4); Peacock (1); Comma (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman

08 Mar 2022

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Eighteen days earlier than my first 2021 sighting, a Small Tortoiseshell was one of three species (all singletons) recorded today. From 1300-1410 I covered both main areas although the ground remains very wet and gooey in places; the temperature stood at just 9 degrees Celsius but with a cold SE wind coming off the harbour high tide it felt much cooler. All the butterflies were hunkering down to bask but were very fidgety. The Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell were very close together. I was hoping to find Brimstone today but will happily settle for my first trio of 2022! Total: Comma (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma (Monks Walk South)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

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