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

News Archive for May 2022

26 May 2022

Martin Down NNR Field Trip. A gloomy day with 100% cloud cover most of the morning, which rather surprised me when I drove in to the car-park there were a fair few waiting for the field trip to start! The breeze was quite keen and I didnt hold out much hope of seeing much, but today I think it was quality not quantity. Around the first rifle butts there were Adonis Blues, Common Blues, Brown Argus, a couple of Marsh Fritillaries, but in the gullies, there were a good number of Small Blues along with the odd Painted Lady and a few Small Heaths. Common Spotted Orchids were also seen as well as the Burnt Tip Orchid but these weren't very big. There was a constant chatter of Skylarks on the downland, and Yellowhammers, Whitethroats, Stonechats, Corn Bunting dotted around the field margins and the calling of a Cuckoo in the distance, unfortunately we didn't hear the Turtle Dove. The Common Carpet Moth was very common along with a few Burnet Companions, along with 5 spot Burnet Moths,Yellow Shell, Cinnabar Moth, Lattice Heath,and Treble Bar Moth. I'd like to thank all who came a braved the cool overcast weather. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Marsh Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Carpet Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

24 May 2022

Old and new at Great Fontley. A few over-wintered butterflies still bearing up at GF, notably a Peacock and Brimstone addicted to Bowles Mauve wallflower, and a Small Tortoiseshell on Phuopsis stylosa.

Meanwhile in the elm plantation, a second instar Comma larva, and in the meadow a pristine Brown Argus. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Peacock on Bowles Mauve
Photo © Andrew Brookes
Small Tortoiseshell on Phuopsis
Photo © Andrew Brookes
Brown Argus resting in the grass.
Photo © Andrew Brookes

22 May 2022

Shalden. A couple of Mother Shiptons at Shalden.

Also a single female common blue. [Posted by SteveMansfield]

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Mother Shipton, Shalden
Photo © SteveMansfield

Stockbridge Down Field Trip. This was one of those field trips where you come back to the car-park and feel that everything has gone to plan...the weather was sublime,excellent attendance, and everybody seemed to be having a good time with the amount of species seen. I counted (19) species of butterfly and moths were very spartan it has to be said, but the 5 and 6 spot Burnet moths are building quite nicely and there were generous amounts of Burnet Companions flying about. This is the first time I have seen the Adonis Blue at this site, which was a treat, and the Small Blue seems to be in good numbers all over the down, and of course the Duke put in an appearance, with several freshly emerged specimens, there were excellent numbers of Green Hairstreak, but alas the Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, is sadly absent. It became rather hot by mid-afternoon, but a good time was had by all, and this will go down as one of the best I have the pleasure of leading, and I must thank all who came from near and afar, you know who you are. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Green Hairstreaks were quite common in certain places on the gallops...
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
5 Spot Burnet Moths
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Theres a Adonis Blue in the centre there somewhere!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

21 May 2022

Defence Munitions, Gosport. The Bedenham area at the north of this vast site was surveyed this morning by Env. Officer Raf Turk and myself, yielding an encouraging range of species albeit, with one exception, few in number. First seen was a Grizzled Skipper, followed by Small Copper (2), Common Blue (5), Small White (1) and Red Admiral (2). The area has only recently been cleared of scrub after >20 years neglect, so little plant recolonization has occurred yet. The rides through the oak and Dutch elm woodland produced Speckled Wood (10), while returning to the car across open managed grassland afforded a glimpse of a Small Heath.

Thanks due to Caroline Dinenage MP for her tireless efforts to get the MoD to face up to its conservation obligations, and her ongoing battle to see the site designated part of the Portsmouth Harbour SSSI. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Marsh Fritillary at West Down , Chilbolton. There was at least one, possibly two, Marsh Fritillary flying at West Down, Chilbolton today on the slope immediately adjacent to the car park. They seem to be popping up all over the place!

Other species at the site included Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Brimstone, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Peacock and Small Heath.

Took a detour after the Pitt Down transect later in the day to check out the western clearing, which has been subject to some rather destructive grazing in the past: and pleased to see modest amounts of kidney vetch and three Small Blue on the wing. [Posted by Rupert & Sharron Broadway]

20 May 2022

clouded yellow at north baddesley. first clouded yellow of the year seen here today,very early for my reserve. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin Ross

Magdalen Hill Down and New Forest. I went to Magdalen Hill Down to do a survey of a certain area, and was pleased with the area I looked at and on the main slopes there were lots of Small Blues and Common Blues, with the Painted Ladies which seem to be coming in thick and fast. Green Hairstreak was also seen with Dingy and Grizzled Skipper and Small Heath and the usual suspects. Being so close to the New Forest in the afternoon we decided to move on to Pignal and other Inclosures. It was very warm and the Pearl Bordered Fritillary was very active, there were several males and females which were very fresh but the majority of the (50+) I stopped counting at fifty, were quite threadbare, and were constantly feeding on Wood Spurge, and Bugle. Other species seen were Speckled Wood and Common Blue but very little else. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Pearl Bordered Fritillary on Bugle
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Blue at Magdalen Hill Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Drinker Moth caterpillar
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

19 May 2022

Northington Down. While heading out for an early evening stroll around the back fields, we saw seven Painted Ladies, mostly basking wings open on sunlit paths. We watched a Red Admiral having a tremendous territorial tussle with two intruding Painted Ladies - the Red Admiral won! [Posted by Robert Bryant]

Martin Down + Pignal Inclosure. For reasons I won't bore anyone with today was my first real butterfly trip of 2022. I don't think I could have chosen two nicer places - Martin Down in the morning then a brief detour to the New Forest on the way home. Thick cloud greeted me at Martin Down first thing (early to avoid the worst of the M27) but the birds made up for any butterfly absence. By about 0930 the sun started to break through and with it came all the usual suspects - Grizzled Skippers, Dingy Skippers and Small Heath being first on the wing followed by the 'stars' of the show Adonis Blue a little later. If the latter caught the eye the sheer number of Small Blue deserves a mention. Once off the bottom track (coming from Sellens Lane) they are at virtually every step. Even the mandatory Painted Lady put in an appearance. If there was a disappointment it was a lack of Marsh Fritillary but I may be too early (season and time of day) or I suppose it could be that the small discrete colony I could depend on pre covid has moved on or been lost. Fingers crossed others find them. On the way home I called in briefly to Pignal Inclosure (park at Standing Hat). Pearl Bordered Fritillary were in abundance within 50 yards of the CP and I was soon into 20+ by the time I walked the first main ride. Most seemed fresh but one or two were showing some wear so perhaps have been around a while. All in all, after a poor start weather wise - a wonderful day. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Painted Lady - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Adonis Blue - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Pearl Bordered Fritillary - Pignal Inclosure
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

18 May 2022

Stockbridge Down. A really enjoyable afternoon visit, with plenty of action, but the ditch just south of the Woolbury Hill Fort was particularly productive, with 7 Duke of Burgundy and even a Marsh Fritillary present! But the most pleasing sightings were of several Painted Lady, two of which were laying eggs on thistles. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Marsh Fritillary (male)
Photo © Pete Eeles
Egg-laying Painted Lady
Photo © Pete Eeles
Extreme closeup of a Painted Lady egg
Photo © Pete Eeles

West Wood and Pit Down Field Trip. Another very eventful day in good weather, although it looked a little dodgy to start with however we ploughed on and the sun shone for most of the time and the temperature was quite warm. At West Wood a few days on from my last visit and the Duke count was up to about (25) with males and females still emerging there. We saw a female flying into a Primrose plant and really testing the suitability of the leaves with her abdomen and feet. She hadn't been mated I dont think, however she was doing the round of several potential egg laying plants. Dingy Skippers and Grizzled Skippers in the coppiced woodland areas and Holly Blue flying in the main ride, where there is good flora with lots of Bugle in the gullies and was very sunny at mid-day, however we didn't see the Pearl-Bordered Fritillary which was a great shame. On Pitt Down we saw lots of Treble Bar and Common Carpet Moths in the afternoon with Common Blue and a Brown Argus alas we didn’t see Small Blue. We saw a Dark Green Fritillary caterpillar really pacing it across the ground but we couldn't see it clearly enough to record on camera. Exmoor ponies are keeping the sward down on Pitt Down and all in all it was an excellent field trip. Id like to thank all those who came. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Duchess of Burgundy testing suitability of the Primrose leaves of Primrose
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Treble Bar Moth resting after egg laying
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Exmoor ponies on Pitt Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Legal immigrant lands at Portchester Castle. A rather tatty Painted Lady seen on the foreshore at Portchester Castle this afternoon. A Common Blue later encountered in Castle Shore park. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

17 May 2022

Two more Painted Ladies.. Are we due a Painted Lady summer? I have seen three in the last two days. [Posted by Paul Ingate]

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Photo © Paul Ingate

Painted Lady in my Garden. A Painted Lady in excellent condition visited my garden today at Freshweater,Isle of Wight.It nectared on Wallflower for some time outside my back door.Last year's first of the year sighting of this species was in the same spot on the same date. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

16 May 2022

sightings. seen on my reserve at north baddesley on quick walk round today first two painted lady of the year.also first common blue,2 peacock,1 comma,1 small tortoiseshell,1 orange tip,2 small white,2 large white,3 brimstone,2 burnet companion,5 mother shipton and 3 speckled yellow.also what i think is red admiral caterpillars.on another note 6 adder,2 grass snake,2 lizards,19 slowworm. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin RossPhoto © Kevin Ross

15 May 2022

Painted Lady on Emsworth shore.. Painted Lady today at Emsworth. [Posted by Paul Ingate]

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Photo © Paul Ingate

14 May 2022

Marsh Fritillary. A brief excursion to Broughton Down late in the afternoon unearthed an unexpected sighting of a single Marsh Fritillary in the small gully at the top of the reserve. Other sightings include 1 no. Adonis Blue, and 6 no. Small Blue as well as double figure counts of Grizzled & Dingy Skippers. [Posted by Nick Freeman]

Pearls at New Copse and Perrywood Inclosures. In search of my first ever Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Parked at Ivy Wood car park just before lunch and set off through New Copse, crossed under the railway into Perrywood and then crossed back over the railway at next bridge and returning through New Copse.

Saw my first Pearl within some 200 m into walk, thought about turning around as job done but am really glad I didn't.

I ended up seeing 67 Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 6 Speckled Wood, 1 Orange-tip, 1 Green Hairstreak, 1 Peacock, 2 Brimstones and my first for the year Small Copper.

Along with several moths (2bID'd), several Broad-bodied Chasers and Damselflies, a buzzard and heard a couple of cuckoos. [Posted by Nic Burns]

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Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Nic Burns
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Nic Burns
Small Copper
Photo © Nic Burns

Large Tortoiseshell today on Stockbridge Down. Family picnics are hardly ideal for looking for wildlife but, with two small boys, that is all that is on offer for me. But I managed to persuade the family that Stockbridge Down would be a great place for a day out.

The small area south of the road is now almost impenetrable and rapidly becoming sycamore woodland, but the clearing is still in good condition and yielded a rather worn male Duke of Burgundy and a single male Common Blue. It used to be good for Large Pearl-bordered Fritillaries but looks hopelessly overgrown for them now.

We then crossed to the north side and walked up from the eastern car park. Butterflies are luckily immune to small yelling boys and though there were not that many butterflies around, and most of them were Brimstones (at least 50), and much of the time I was on child duty, I totted up at least 6 Grizzled Skippers, 4 Dingy Skippers, 4 Green Hairstreaks (the first spotted by my boy Sammy aged 5), 2 more male Dukes (both fresh and on territory), at least 10 Common Blues in good nick, one Holly Blue, a very brief Small Blue near the top, a male Adonis Blue that looked freshly hatched, a pristine Brown Argus in the moat at the top, 3 Small Heaths, ~5 male Orange-tips (only), and sundry Whites that didn’t stay to say hello. Nearly back at the eastern car park at 3pm, I reflected that we hadn’t seen a single nymphalid except a shape that went over at 60mph. Shortly after, my wife saw a butterfly on the path, and a large and stately nymphalid soared over our heads. I hadn’t the faintest what it could be but both of us thought it looked like a large fritillary – Silver-washed in size, but surely impossible?? I dumped what I was carrying and followed it fast. It disappeared. Helen shouted that she had it on the path; it had doubled back over me. It was sitting on the path sunning itself and I could see the main criteria: size (how it could it ever be confused with a Small Tort?); shape; different colour; number of spots on the forewing and lack of white spot at its apex. I was looking at a tatty Large Tortoiseshell, in mid-May.

It clearly liked this sun-drenched stretch of the footpath; dog-walkers appeared and the dog tried to eat it, but it flicked overhead with disdain and soared back, landing on one gentleman (hence the photo) and even briefly – God is gracious – on me…. but it clearly wanted to move on; a photographer five minutes later was that – too late.

Not a bad day.

(The exact spot is on the footpath 50 -100 yards up – north-west – from the eastern car park). [Posted by David Murdoch]

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Photo © David Murdoch

West Wood and Stockbridge Down. An unofficial field trip today to West wood and then onto Stockbridge Down, where the weather turned out to be more like summer, than spring. Again looking for the Duke of Burgundy it sort of turned out to be a bit of a triumph at both sites. At West Wood where the area surveyed is of new Oak plantation interspersed with lush growth of Primroses. I have been coming to this site now for about 10 years and today was the best count I've ever had in a woodland outside of Porton Down. We counted (20) individuals several females were seen as well but alas no Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries, which I suggest have probably gone from this site. We decided to make a trip over to Stockbridge Down which is the closest site to West Wood with Dukes, and here again it was a triumph, with a count of (10) at the area at Walbury Hill. I usually see only normally 2 or 3 at this site, so I probably just caught them at their peak. Again no Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries so they may well have disappeared from here as well. Everything is so dry so a storm and drenching tonight would be most welcome.... [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Freshly emerged Male Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Lines of Oak trees at West Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Lush Primrose growth foodplant of the woodland Duke
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

13 May 2022

Worthy Down Field System. A small and forgotten remnant area of huge ant hills and grassy tussocks; last year Green Hairstreaks and plenty of Dark Green Fritillaries, on Friday 4 more Green Hairstreaks (I think they are having a good year) and 2 Grizzled Skippers, almost certainly a tetrad tick. Also Small Heath (scarce round here). There are a lot of scraps of land in mid-Hampshire that are rarely visited but may well have significant butterfly populations; I am finding a new site for Grizzled Skipper every year. [Posted by David Murdoch]

DoB @ Noar Hill. A lovely afternoon spent at Noar Hill, with an obvious mix of very old and very new Dukes and Duchesses on display; the cold spell really does seem to have spread the emergence out. I found 14 individuals in total (11 males and 3 females) in the space of 3 hours (the cold wind didn't help!) ... with the males found in their territorial chalk scrapes, and all of the females in more scrubby areas where two were found ovipositing. Also all of the usual suspects - Dingy Skippers and Small Heath were especially in profusion, along with quite a few Small Blue. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Duke of Burgundy male
Photo © Pete Eeles
Duke of Burgundy female
Photo © Pete Eeles
Duke of Burgundy ovipositing female, with the first of three eggs visible
Photo © Pete Eeles

Butser Hill NNR. Today really turned out to be Friday the thirteenth, the weather on the whole was horrid, with a strong wind very leaden sky and only occasionally did the sun appear and make everything look more like May should be. I was at the bottom of the main slope for about One and half hours and had notched up just (4) Duke of Burgundies. Today was going to be a good count (so I thought!) as I had reckoned that they were at their peak, but I really had to wait to the wind had dropped, and the sun did appear for about 30-45 minutes, and boom the Duke count shot up and at the end of my rather restricted session I had clocked just (30) individuals. Most will say this is an extremely good tally, but I know for sure the number should exceed three times that on a good day. Ramsdean Down is a bridge too far now, especially behind Grandfathers Bottom, so the counts are a slightly more restricted. Other species seen were Common Blue, Orange Tip, Brimstone, Small Heath, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Silver 'Y' Moth, Speckled Yellow, Six Spotted Burnet Moth, Common Carpet and I dont know how many Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars were seen feeding on the many Nettles at the base of the site, if they all hatched out there would be some specktacular numbers, but we all know that will never happen. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Common Blue Male
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Speckled Yellow Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Southampton Common surprise. After years of fruitlessly wandering the Keyhaven-Lymington path, I stumbled on a pristine Wall Brown (1) within 50m. of my house... [Posted by Jon H-D]

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Wall Brown on phone camera...
Photo © Jon H-D

12 May 2022

MHD. A brief visit to Magdalen Hill Down threw up a number of specialties, not least good numbers of Adonis Blue (2 female, 14 male), Brimstone (15), Common Blue (14), Dingy Skipper (23), Grizzled Skipper (14), Green Hairstreak (12), Small Blue (6), Small Copper (2) and a good showing of Brown Argus (24) ... this is surely one of the country's best sites for this species! [Posted by Peter Eeles]

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Adonis Blue male
Photo © Peter Eeles
Adonis Blue female
Photo © Peter Eeles
Brown Argus male
Photo © Peter Eeles

Stockbridge Down. A lovely time spent on the lower slopes of Stockbridge Down with all of the usual suspects in attendance - with Dingy (22) and Grizzled Skippers (17), Orange-tip (2), Brimstone (14), Small White (2), Green Hairstreak (7), Small Copper (5), Common Blue (3), Holly Blue (3), Brown Argus (2) - together with singletons of Peacock and Red Admiral - all putting on a good show! [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Green Hairstreak male
Photo © Pete Eeles
Holly Blue ovipositing on Dogwood
Photo © Pete Eeles
Small Copper male
Photo © Pete Eeles

Old Winchester Hill. This site is vast if you do not know where specific species are then it can be like looking for a needle in a haystack. Luckily the Duke turns up year after year in the same places, albeit with less Cowslips to guide you. Today I started very early on site at 0900 as the sun was just starting to warm parts of the down up, and the Duke when found was flying around. However an hour later about 10:30 it had completely clouded over and at times when the sun disappeared it was quite cool. Ten species of butterfly were noted today Duke of Burgundy (7) with just one female, emerged in the last 24 hours, Small Heath, Small Copper,a female was seen laying eggs on Sorrell. Many Common Blues, and Dingy Skippers, and only two Grizzled Skippers in the more scrubbier parts. A Common Carpet was seen but not much else moth wise. Several Muntjac deer were seen very close and Roe Deer in the Dead Ash Woods. Several Red Kite and Buzzards were also seen. I did not visit the Adonis Blue slopes as that's for another day. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Fresh Female Duke of Burgundy at rest
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Small Copper laying eggs on Sorrell
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Herdwick sheep
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Fort Widley, Portsdown. In the early sunshine this morning I spotted a butterfly land on the track adjacent the pony fields at the top of Mill Lane. I was taken aback when it proved to be pristine Wall brown. Within seconds it was off east towards the fort and I could not relocate it.

This is my first record on Portsdown for over 15 years. [Posted by Peter Gammage]

08 May 2022

Dukes at Shipton Bellinger. Most people visit the Shipton Bellinger area in August in search of Brown Hairstreak, but the area on the boundary with Wiltshire is well worth a visit earlier in the season. There are good numbers of Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper, but if you're lucky you may also encouter Duke of Burgundy, as we did on our afternoon visit in warm sunshine. The noteworthy species seen during our visit were Dingy Skipper (37), Grizzled Skipper (21), Duke of Burgundy (3), Small Heath (2), Green Hairstreak (1) and Brown Argus (1). Ground Ivy was the most popular nectar source for the skippers. I had various photos of the Dukes, but decided to include one showing the beautiful underside markings. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Duke of Burgundy (underside)
Photo © Andy Barker
Grizzled Skipper on Ground Ivy
Photo © Andy Barker
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Andy Barker

Beacon Hill (Exton) & Stephens Castle Down Field Trips. Today in very warm and sunny conditions I conducted two field trips, and in these conditions they were very tiring. At Beacon Hill it's a bit of a trek to northern slope to see the Duke of Burgundy and having to maneuver around several cows which conduct grazing for English Nature. We did manage to see one male, but I suspect the Duke of Burgundy are just emerging here. We saw plenty of Dingy Skippers and a few Grizzled Skippers along with the usual fare. The Orange-tip was very common especially along the footpath at the top. Around the area facing south the Common Blue, and Small Blue which in 40 years of visiting this site is the first time of seeing this species here. Good numbers of Brown Argus as well. We were closely flew past by a quartering Red Kite, which was so close we could almost touch it. We then had lunch and then went on to Stephens Castle Down and went in two cars as there is no parking there. We saw up 5 Duke of Burgundy, all males and several Green Hairstreaks having a battle over Hawthorn with a third joining in. All in all a good day and I would thank all who came which made this a very enjoyable field trip. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Head of a Common Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Head of a male Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
I can see you...two battling Dingy Skippers before mating.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Glanville at Freshwater,IOW.. A good selection of spring butterflies on the Landslip close to Compton Chine today.Pride of place was a Glanville Fritillary seen in a sheltered sunny grassy spot.It flew on and despite my best efforts I was unable to relocate it. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

07 May 2022

Oxenbourne Down. Not a very good day with 75-80% cloud cover with short glimpses of warm sunshine, but despite this my quarry was still around. (8) Duke of Burgundy were observed including a male abb: Furva which is a creamy white colour on top of its wings instead of the orange colour. He was battling with another male for territory, very fiesty little individual. There were also good numbers of Grizzled Skippers and Dingy Skippers, one Small Copper, Small Heaths, Brimstones, Green Hairstreak and several moths one of these was the very red Cinnabar Moth. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Duke of Burgundy Abb:Furva
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Grizzled Skipper resting pose
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Green Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

06 May 2022

Stockbridge Down, DoB. A good sunny day, temperatures in the high teens. A circuit from the lower car park, produced Brimstone (70+), Peacock (10), Large White (3), Small White (5), Green-veined White (1), Orange-tip (3), Common Blue (3), Holly Blue (15), Small Heath (4), Green Hairstreak (1), Dingy Skipper (21), Grizzled Skipper (12), Duke of Burgundy (4). [Posted by Jon H-D]

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Common Blue at rest (for a change)
Photo © Jon H-D
Somewhat battered Green Hairstreak
Photo © Jon H-D
A few Dukes in the old fort area
Photo © Jon H-D

Early Adonis Blue at Magdalen Hill Down. The Butterfly Conservation nature reserve at Magdalen Hill Down, Winchester, is always a great place to visit, and its warm south-facing aspect often produces early sightings for many butterflies. To my surprise, today's visit produced a very early male Adonis Blue, nectaring on Germander Speedwell. This reflects the very early nature of the season, and is 11 days earlier than the first sighting in the 2021 Butterfly Report. Other species of note seen during the transect walk were Dingy Skipper (17), Grizzled Skipper (11), Green Hairstreak (19), Brown Argus (22), Common Blue (6), and Small Heath (6). The Green Hairstreak tally is an exceptional count, and certainly the best showing I've seen for many years. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Adonis Blue (male)
Photo © Andy Barker
Adonis Blue male (underside)
Photo © Andy Barker
Brown Argus
Photo © Andy Barker

05 May 2022

Gosport Shore - 2 Sites. Haslar Sea wall Car Park Scrub (HSWCPS). 1045-1115 16.5 deg C slight SW breeze. Went in search of Small Heath and Common Blue but neither put in an appearance. However, my first sighting of Small Copper was compensation enough and then a Green Hairstreak appeared. Can't remember ever seeing that butterfly here before. Total: Holly Blue (5); Green Hairstreak (1); Small Copper (1); Green-veined White (1); Small White (1).

Gilkicker Point, Alverstoke. 1130-1215 16.5 deg C with a keen SW breeze off The Solent. Even before I had reached the scrubby area before Fort Gilkicker I was twice passed by Clouded Yellow! The butterfly did not stop but I took a few mid-air 'hopefuls' and lucky enough to confirm my first year's sighting of Clouded Yellow. No sign yet of Small Copper or Small Heath. Total: Clouded Yellow (1); Large White (4); Small White (6); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper at HSWCPS
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green Hairstreak at HSWCPS
Photo © Francis Plowman
Clouded Yellow (just!) in mid-air
Photo © Francis Plowman

04 May 2022

Stephens Castle Down. After the recent gloom I took the opportunity of some warmth to pay a visit to Bishop’s Waltham. The down has been subject to some extensive scrub bashing which may have had an effect on butterfly numbers. Handfuls of Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper and Green Hairstreak and after much searching three male Duke of Burgundy [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Mark Tutton

Small Tortoiseshell larvae at Great Fontley/Boarhunt. Several Small Tortoiseshell larval nests found at Great Fontley and Boarhunt; those at Fontley @25mm long, 3rd? instar, with several already seeking solitude. Not as many larvae anticipated after last year's remarkable second brood. Peacocks still on the wing, but no larvae found yet. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Small Tortoiseshell larvae at Fontley
Photo © Andrew Brookes

Stephens Castle Down. After the recent gloom I took the opportunity of some warmth to pay a visit to Bishop’s Waltham. The down has been subject to some extensive scrub bashing which may have had an effect on butterfly numbers. Handfuls of Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper and Green Hairstreak and after much searching three male Duke of Burgundy [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Mark Tutton

Common Blue Sighting on Isle of Wight. A much brighter day than yesterday and at Whiteway's NT carpark a male Common Blue together with two Wall Brown.

On the Landslip below Compton Chine another male Common Blue and a Wall Brown.Other species seen were Small Copper,Dingy Skipper, and Green Hairstreak. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

03 May 2022

Large white egg laying in Southampton. Introduced Honesty to my Lordswood garden a few years ago and have had Orange-tip laying eggs each year. Today saw the first Large White of the year egg laying watched by the local Robin! Also visited by this Nut Tree Tussock who flew into the kitchen attracted by the light. [Posted by David Lobb]

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Photo © David LobbPhoto © David Lobb

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Common Blue (male) recorded today some eleven days earlier than 2021! Ten other species noted on a good ramble (1240-1510) with a rising temperature range of 15.5-20 deg C under largely bright clouds but very still airs. I unintentionally disturbed a mating pair of Green-veined White that rewarded my clumsiness by flying away and settling high on a maple leaf! Total: Small White (11); Green-veined White (M)(6)(F)(3); Large White (2); Orange-tip (M2)(F)(1); Speckled Wood (M)(8)(F)(1); Peacock (4); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Red Admiral (F)(1); Holly Blue (4); Comma (1); Common Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Orange-tip on garlic mustard
Photo © Francis Plowman

Brown Argus at Freshwater,IOW.. A visit to the Landslip close to Compton Chine today under bright but cloudy skies discovered Green Hairstreak, Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper,a Wall Brown and a Small Copper. Returning to Whiteways NT carpark where I had started the trip, there was a pristine Brown Argus. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

02 May 2022

Pearl-bordered Fritillary in the New Forest. Despite the unpromising weather, but encouraged by reports from Devon and Sussex, I visited the Pignal/Parkhill Inclosures on Monday afternoon.

The sun broke through for about 10 minutes around 2pm and in that window I was delighted to find 5 Pearl-bordered Fritillary at the western end of the Frowhawk Ride. When the sun went again, so did the Fritillaries! [Posted by Robin Dryden]

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Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Robin Dryden
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Robin Dryden

01 May 2022

Butser Hill NNR Field Trip. It took a few brave souls to walk around the lower slopes of Butser Hill today, being overcast and wet, hoping we would come across something that resembled a butterfly, but alas it wasn't to be. We found a couple of 6-spot Burnet moth caterpillars, and a mass of Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars feeding on Nettle. If the cats all hatch out then the slopes of Butser will have a good show of this now much rarer butterfly, but we all know that predation and parasites will have their fill and very few will manage to turn into butterflies. Thank You all who came lets hope the weather gets better for the next one! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Six Spotted Burnet Moth Caterpillar
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

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