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News

Please note that any sightings mentioned in news items do not automatically go into our records database. Sightings should be submitted using one of the mechanisms listed on the Recording page.


12 Apr 2024

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Numbers of butterflies seemed to rise with the temperature this afternoon! From1215 for two hours (16-18 deg C) some seven species were recorded. No further sighting of Small Tortoiseshell nor Holly Blue seen earlier this month. The ground remains saturated with pockets of deep mud and Wellington boots still a necessity! Total: Small White (M)(10)(F)(1); Brimstone (M)(5); Peacock (12); Comma (4); Large White (M)(3)(F)(1); Red Admiral (2); Speckled Wood (M)(10)(F)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma on Blackthorn blossom
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White, female right and spider
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock on wild apple blossom
Photo © Francis Plowman

Butterflies at Fishlake Meadows. A walk at Fishlake Meadows led to sightings of 5 species: many Brimstones, one Small Tortoiseshell, three Red Admirals, five Peacocks and four Orange-tips. Photos were very difficult as the insects were very mobile [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Peacock
Photo © Sue Lambert
Red Admiral
Photo © Sue Lambert
Small tortoiseshell hiding!
Photo © Sue Lambert

09 Apr 2024

St Giles Hill Graveyard. Speckled Wood basking on Common Hogweed [Posted by Anna Stewart]

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Photo © Anna Stewart

Hollybank Woods. A cool, very blustery day, with the temperature, struggling to reach 13ºC, but enough sunshine to get a few butterflies moving. During a 90 minute walk around Hollybank Woods, near Emsworth, I came across 3 basking Peacocks, and a solitary male Brimstone which I found at roost under a bramble leaf. [Posted by Adrian Hoskins]


08 Apr 2024

Sun and sand, Hogmore Inclosure. Spotted my first male Orange-tip of the year at Hogmoor inclosure before it disappeared into the gorse. Also male Brimstone and Peacock butterfly which like to bask on the sandy track and fly up just in front of me as I cycle along. [Posted by Jim Smith]


07 Apr 2024

Spring butterflies in the Itchen Valley. Despite the windy conditions we saw our first Speckled Wood of the season close to Itchen Abbas this morning with an Orange-tip on Lovington Lane, a single Red Admiral near Ovington and two or three Peacock in various places in the area. [Posted by Rupert & Sharron Broadway]

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Orange-tip in Lovington Lane
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway
Speckled Wood near Itchen Abbas
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway

06 Apr 2024

St Giles Hill Graveyard, Winchester. Holly Blue flying in St Giles Hill Graveyard [Posted by Anna]


Study in Speckled Wood - Monks Walk, Gosport. Speckled Wood numbers reached 10 today on a wander around the southern and northern parts of Monks Wood (1345-1445, 18 deg C, cloudy, strong SW winds) until rain stopped play and the (camera) covers came out! Only three other species were seen but my first Holly Blue of the year (on the wing) was a welcome surprise. First brood Speckled Wood I find are really strongly marked and without comparison it isn't always easy to discern the sexes. I was helped enormously by finding a mating pair that settled in front of me and adopted the usual approach of both insects with folded wings. Then the female opened her wings, presumably to find the sun's warmth before the male followed suit leaving both butterflies in plan form! I had never seen this before and the photograph shows how much larger the female is compared to her male partner whose yellow spots are somewhat smaller. Moreover, comparison of the abdomen shows the male's to be rather slender whereas the female abdomen appears shorter and somewhat wider for egg-carrying. (The two single insects were photographed on this walk but are not those of the mating pair). Apologies for teaching experts to suck eggs but hopefully this may be helpful for those who, like me, often struggle in identifying butterfly gender. Total: Holly Blue (1); Speckled Wood (M)(8)(F)(2); Peacock (5); Brimstone (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Male & female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Ashdown Copse. There were a few butterflies brought out by the warm yet windy weather today.

Two male Orange Tip, one Comma, one Small Tortoiseshell and a male Brimstone were all seen in the south end of Ashdown Copse, just north of Shipton Bellinger. [Posted by Dave Pearson]


05 Apr 2024

Havant Thicket. Today I visited Havant Thicket where the weather was sunny and the temperature reached 15.5 degrees. With so much recent rain I walked the main track only where I recorded the following: Brimstone 13M, Comma 1 and Peacock 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Given the recent rains and boggy conditions (my first - and necessary - circulation in Wellington boots!) it was a surprise to record six species this afternoon when there was a small window of brightness (16.5 deg C, strong SW wind) between 1400-1550. Total: Speckled Wood (8); Brimstone (M)(1); Peacock (6); Red Admiral (2); Small White (M)(1; Comma (4). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock feeding on Dandelion
Photo © Francis Plowman

01 Apr 2024

Easter Eight - Monks Walk Gosport. What a difference a day/month can make! Yesterday's four species doubled in 24 hours. Slightly warmer (14 deg C) when finally the sun reluctantly appeared mid-afternoon, my walk (1430-1555) was again restricted by poor ground conditions caused by more overnight and morning rain. Total: Brimstone (M)(1); Large White (F)(1); Comma (5); Peacock (2); Small White (M)(1); Speckled Wood (4); Red Admiral (3); Small Tortoiseshell (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Male Brimstone on White Dead-Nettle
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman

Isle of Wight Speckled Wood. Very pleased to see a first Speckled Wood of the year in my Freshwater garden today. It was happily fluttering around in the sunshine seeking a warm spot and landed close to my garden pond. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

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Photo © Peter HuntPhoto © Peter Hunt

31 Mar 2024

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Four species appeared this afternoon on a quagmire-restricted wander from 1400-1530. The temperature stood at 13 deg C under cloudy skies but there clearly has been some insect awakening since my walk on 27th when just three Red Admiral showed-up. Strangely this species was not seen today. Total: Peacock (10); Comma (6); Speckled Wood (M)(3)(F)(1); Small White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Almost pristine Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood male and female (right)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman

30 Mar 2024

Havant Thicket. This morning I visited Havant Thicket walking the main track. Here I recorded Brimstone 13M and Comma 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


First Orange-tip, Bishop's Waltham. On a walk from Bishop's Waltham to Winchester today my wife and I encountered our first Orange-tip of the year, on the outskirts of the town, and later two Commas and a Peacock as well as numerous Brimstones which included two females. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]


First Orange Tip, North Baddesley. First sighting of the year of Orange Tip (M) today on my reserve at North Baddesley also 19 Brimstone only 1 female,14 Peacock, 2 Red Admiral, 1 Comma. [Posted by kevin ross]


Brimstones galore at Havant Thicket!. A beautiful sunny day with temperatures hitting 14ºC at Havant Thicket this afternoon. I spent 2 hours there, taking a circular route to avoid double-counts, and saw 35 male Brimstones and 2 females, plus 12 Peacocks, 9 Commas and 2 Speckled Woods. You'll definitely need wellies if you wander away from the gravel tracks. [Posted by Adrian Hoskins]


29 Mar 2024

Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Lee on Solent. My first report of 2024 and surprisingly not a butterfly - but a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in our Lee on Solent garden this morning. It seemed to be nectaring on daffodills if that's possible? Certainly it was moving from head to head and burrowing deep into the flower. Needless to say it disappeared as I sought a camera - it's time I had one to hand in the garden! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]


27 Mar 2024

Small mercies at Great Fontley. Small White (m) seen at 3pm today at Great Fontley nectaring on blackthorn and dandelion despite an air temp. of only 11.4 C. Bright periods last week had seen emergence of Brimstones (all male), Peacock, Comma, and Small Tortoiseshell, but conspicuous by their absence were the Red Admirals. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]


Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. After six weeks in Cyprus (20 species) it was something of a rude shock to slither around the quagmire of Monks Walk (1310-1430) at just 8 degrees Celsius and with a very cool southerly breeze. Still, there was some hazy sunshine and three Red Admiral made the best of it. So two distant shots to start my UK recording year. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Number 1 Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Number 2 Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

26 Mar 2024

Peacock Butterfly at Testwood Lakes. Peacock butterfly at Testwood Lakes also seen Comma and Brimstone [Posted by Carol J Thorpe]

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Photo © Carol J ThorpePhoto © Carol J ThorpePhoto © Carol J Thorpe

24 Mar 2024

Holly Blue at Itchen Abbas. First Holly Blue of the year flying around our garden in Itchen Abbas this afternoon. Earlier we saw Brimstone, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell in the field edges around Tichborne. [Posted by Rupert and Sharron Broadway]

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Holly Blue at Itchen Abbas
Photo © Rupert and Sharron Broadway
Peacock near Tichborne
Photo © Rupert and Sharron Broadway
Small Tortoiseshell near Tichborne
Photo © Rupert and Sharron Broadway

Titchfield Haven. Sunny and windy conditions, but good shelter to be had in the woods. 7 Peacocks, 4 Brimstones (all male), 2 Commas and a small white one that flitted by very quickly so I didn't get a good look at it. [Posted by Adam Jones]

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Photo © Adam JonesPhoto © Adam JonesPhoto © Adam Jones

20 Mar 2024

Havant Thicket My First Sightings 2024. Today being a sunny day and the temperature reaching 16.5 degrees, I walked the main track through Havant Thicket. Here I recorded my first sightings of 2024 with a total of 7 male Brimstones. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Havant Thicket. A mostly cloudy day, but the temperature hit 14ºC, and there was enough sunshine to get plenty of butterflies flying at Havant Thicket this afternoon. I spent about 2 hours walking the trails, and counted a minimum of 19 Brimstones (all males), 7 Commas, 5 Peacocks and a Red Admiral. [Posted by Adrian Hoskins]


14 Mar 2024

Brimstone in Winchester. Just seen my first butterfly of 2024, a Brimstone, flying vigorously in our garden in Winchester. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]


08 Mar 2024

Havant Thicket. 4 Brimstones, 3 Commas and 1 Peacock seen on an hour long stroll around Havant Thicket on Friday. [Posted by Adrian Hoskins]


04 Mar 2024

Youth Panel Butterfly Conservation. Butterfly Conservation would like to hear from young Lepidoptera enthusiasts age 16 - 25 years old, who may like to form a team of 10 volunteers for the charity’s first Youth Panel guided by Youth Engagement Officer, Emma Dakin. The closing date for expressions of interest is the 13th March 2024. See ‘How to apply’ on the Butterfly Conservation website https://butterfly-conservation.org/youth-panel or email Emma for the short application form on edakin@butterfly-conservation.org [Posted by Suzie Brown]

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Photo © Suzie Brown

27 Feb 2024

Purple Emperor Caterpillars. I went to check the five Purple Emperor caterpillars that I have been following this winter, only to find, that sadly, four of them have been predated, probably by Blue or Great Tits. The one survivor had moved about 500mm from an exposed position to the relative safety of a fork.

All that was left of the others was the silk pad they had laid down to hibernate on.

Makes you wonder how any survive at all? [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Lone Survivor
Photo © Mark Tutton
Silk pad remnants
Photo © Mark Tutton

21 Feb 2024

Sighting of Peacock butterfly this morning, Bishop's Waltham. Peacock butterfly landed on my pink hellebore about 11.00 am My garden is near Priory Park in Bishop’s Waltham [Posted by Lesley Millard]


18 Feb 2024

White-letter Hairstreak larva at Hursley. Encouraged by yesterday's success when searching for White-letter Hairstreak eggs at a site near Hursley, I returned to make the most of today's sunshine and better photographic conditions. Also, given that a few of the eggs seen yesterday had hatched, I thought I'd raise the degree of difficulty and search for one of the newly hatched first instar larvae. After half an hour of searching, I'm pleased to say I was rewarded with finding a tiny White-letter Hairstreak larva feeding on the top of a newly opened Wych Elm flower bud. For information, I found nine eggs today, five of which had hatched. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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White-letter Hairstreak egg (hatched)
Photo © Andy Barker
WLH (1st instar larva) on elm bud (top)
Photo © Andy Barker
WLH (1st instar larva) close-up
Photo © Andy Barker

17 Feb 2024

White-letter Hairstreak eggs at Hursley - update. Further to my observations of White-letter Hairstreak eggs near Hursley, on 28 January, I re-visited this morning with three other butterfly enthusiasts. I'm pleased to report that during a 30 minute search we were able to locate 15 eggs. At least three of these had recently hatched, as shown by the neat circular exit hole in the crown of the egg (see image below). Flower bud-burst had just started (see below), which is critical for young larvae. The larvae don't eat the egg-shell, but move to the nearby bud to burrow in and feed, before moving onto leaves at a later stage in their development. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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White-letter Hairstreak egg
Photo © Andy Barker
Freshly hatched WLH egg (upper left)
Photo © Andy Barker
Wych Elm bud-burst
Photo © Andy Barker

12 Feb 2024

Red Admiral butterfly nr. Totton/Ashurst. A single Red Admiral was spotted on my flowering Prunus Blireiiana at 14:30 12-2-24 at SO40 7ET It didn’t settle long enough to get a photo. [Posted by Clive Rutland]


01 Feb 2024

Red Admirals at Hillier Gardens. Today's lovely winter sunshine has clearly encouraged many butterflies to make the most of the mild conditions. During a visit to the Hillier Gardens, Braishfield, I was very pleased to see a group of six Red Admirals taking nectar from a single Edgworthia chrysantha plant in the 'Winter Garden', and a further two Red Admirals nectaring on Viburnum bodnantense. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Red Admiral (2) on Edgworthia
Photo © Andy Barker
Red Admiral (underside)
Photo © Andy Barker
Red Admiral on Viburnum
Photo © Andy Barker

28 Jan 2024

White-letter Hairstreak eggs at Hursley. As it was another bright sunny morning I decided to try my luck at finding White-letter Hairstreak at a site near Hursley that I regularly visit to see the butterfly in early July. I'm pleased to report that I found eight eggs in a 25 minute search, which is the best I've ever had when searching for WLH eggs. They're a bit harder to find than Brown Hairstreak eggs, as they're not bright white, and they're found on flowering elm branches, which are usually more than two metres above ground level. However, their 'flying saucer' shape is so distinctive you instantly know when you've spotted one. They're often on the hairy young outermost twigs, near buds, at bud scars, or close to the join with the previous year's growth. Of the eggs I found today, there were two pairs laid close together (see below), and the other four eggs were singletons. These eggs will have been laid in late June or early July last year, so they've been eggs for seven months already, and still have a month or more to go until caterpillars hatch in March. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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White-letter Hairstreak egg
Photo © Andy Barker
Pair of White-letter Hairstreak eggs
Photo © Andy Barker
White-letter Hairstreak eggs by same bud
Photo © Andy Barker

27 Jan 2024

Peacock Butterfly at Pennington. Whilst walking the coast path at Pennington I was VERY surprised to see a Peacock Butterfly battling the breeze over the reeds, not the most likely site for a January butterfly, I hope it survives the remainder of this "Winter". [Posted by Kevin Haggar]


26 Jan 2024

Red Admirals in January, New Forest. It was supposedly midwinter but on a lovely sunny day it was mild in the New Forest and one south-facing ride had a minimum of 2 Red Admirals flying - together, some of time, I'm not sure whether they were courting or fighting. My first January Red Admirals [Posted by David Murdoch]


24 Jan 2024

Brown Hairstreak eggs at Basing Wood. Following the sighting of a female Brown Hairstreak on the Basing Wood butterfly transect last summer, five of us set out this morning to see if we could find any eggs. We started at the place where the female butterfly was seen, and sure enough, within a few minutes we'd spotted three eggs, including a pair (see below). Further exploration along adjacent rides produced a grand total of 26 Brown Hairstreak eggs in 90 minutes searching. This included five on one small stem, four of which were in the field of view of a photograph (see below). A couple we met asked if we'd seen anything interesting. We explained about Brown Hairstreak eggs and what they looked like, and with little effort, one of the couple said is this one, and sure enough, he'd found one! We also spotted a single Blue-bordered Carpet moth egg. To round off an excellent visit, as we walked back to the car park, we saw our first Brimstone of the year, enjoying some warm sunshine on a lovely mild winter's day. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brown Hairstreak eggs (2)
Photo © Andy Barker
Brown Hairstreak eggs (4)
Photo © Andy Barker
Blue-bordered Carpet moth egg
Photo © Andy Barker

15 Jan 2024

North Baddesley sightings.. Seen 15th Jan on my reserve at North Baddesley 1 Peacock, 1 Brimstone Male, 1 Red Admiral. [Posted by kevin ross]


10 Jan 2024

Surprise sighting in N Baddesley. Very surprised to see a butterfly flying yesterday at my reserve in North Baddesley in the sun at 2 degrees C with some laying snow! it was too fast to identify but either Peacock (I have 4 hibernating in an outbuilding) or a Red Admiral. [Posted by kevin ross]


06 Jan 2024

Brown Hairstreak on Stockbridge Down. Now that the rain has passed and we've got some lovely winter sunshine, I thought I'd take a quick look at Stockbridge Down to see if I could find any Brown Hairstreak eggs. I spent about 30 minutes searching suckering blackthorn scrub in several places, and managed to find a single Brown Hairstreak egg. If I'd had more time I'm sure I'd have found more.

With settled dry weather and a good amount of sunshine forecast for the coming week, it's an ideal time for Brown Hairstreak egg-searching, so if you live in or near any of the key areas for this species, I'd encourage you all to go out and have a look. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brown Hairstreak egg
Photo © Andy Barker
Brown Hairstreak egg (detail)
Photo © Andy Barker

04 Jan 2024

More Portsdown Hairstreaks. A new year, and very wet, dog walk, on Portsdown Hill turned up seventeen Brown Hairstreak eggs in a different area making a total of thirty nine in a couple of weeks. I think it is safe to say that this is a sizeable colony now. I also paid a visit to Brook Meadow in Emsworth to see if I could find any eggs there as a female was spotted last year. However it was a fruitless search as I could find very little Blackthorn present which made me wonder where she had wandered in from? [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Photo © Mark TuttonPhoto © Mark TuttonPhoto © Mark Tutton

21 Dec 2023

Brown Hairstreak on Portsdown Hill. I had a cursory search of some Blackthorn hedges where I had seen Brown Hairstreak in the summer and turned up a pleasing 22 ova. In previous years I have only managed single figures so this is a significant increase and hopefully shows that this once uncommon Hampshire butterfly has gained a firm foothold in the area. There is certainly plenty of suitable habitat that seems to be sympathetically managed. I will go back and carry out a more detailed search. Lots of Blue-bordered Carpet eggs too - some out of focus top left in the pair photo. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Single egg in classic location
Photo © Mark Tutton
A pair
Photo © Mark Tutton

11 Dec 2023

Red Admiral at Hardway, Gosport. I was pleasantly surprised to see not one but three Red Admiral on a neighbour's Mahonia just after 2pm this afternoon. The sun was out and temperature a balmy 11.5 degrees Celsius so a sighting today was probable. By the time I had got hold of my camera the bush held but one butterfly and here he is! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Photo © Francis PlowmanPhoto © Francis Plowman

06 Dec 2023

Successful Brown Hairstreak egg searches. After a BC and HIWWT volunteer spotted a lone adult Brown Hairstreak whilst walking a transect in September, a small posse of volunteers and HIWWT staff organised by Ben Pickup, Asst Reserves Officer, undertook an egg search at St Clair's Meadow Nature Reserve, just south of Soberton. The Brown Hairstreak had not been recorded on the site before this year but a pair of eggs were found within seconds of starting the survey. Beginners luck or what! A promising clump of blackthorn scrub revealed around 25 eggs and all told around 40 eggs were recorded on the site. This further confirms the Soberton area as a local hotspot for the species.

Buoyed by this success, the posse moved south to Hookheath Meadow near Southwick. This is a restricted access HIWWT site where neither adults nor eggs had been recorded for two successive years. A quick search found 14 eggs but also no eggs in several areas of suitable-looking blackthorn. Photos to follow. [Posted by Clive Wood]


Purple Emperor larvae in West Wood. After my initial success at Whitely Pastures I have been looking for Purple Emperor larvae in other woods where I see adults most years but without much success. Today I thought I would try West Wood near Winchester. I concentrated my search on a couple of sheltered north facing paths where I had previously seen females inspecting the sallows. Very quickly I spotted two dangly leaves that were firmly attached to their twig with silk, and though very dead, both appeared to have had the distinctive feeding pattern of Emperor larvae. Carefully I pulled the branch down and diligently searched the whole spray, checking the buds, forks, growth scars and remaining leaves. After going boss eyed for about ten minutes I finally tracked the caterpillar to a nice fork about a meter away where it had settled to spend the winter. During the course of fours hours or so I managed to track down two more, both by searching for ‘dangle leaves’ another one in a fork and the other aligned alongside a bud, both fantastically camouflaged. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Photo © Mark TuttonPhoto © Mark TuttonPhoto © Mark Tutton

30 Nov 2023

25-year transect trend graphs. I have incorporated all the latest (2023) transect data for Hampshire and Isle of Wight sites to create a full set of 25-year transect trend graphs for all butterfly species. I've shown one example below, for Brimstone. You'll notice that the Hampshire and Isle of Wight average trend shows a strong correlation with the England national index, and that 2023 was a good year for this species. You'll also notice how well Brimstone is doing on Butterfly Conservation's Magdalen Hill Down (MHD) nature reserve. To see the full document with similar graphs for other species go to the "Transects" tab of the BC Hampshire & Isle of Wight website, then click on the "25 Year trends" sub-tab. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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25-year transect trend - Brimstone
Photo © Andy Barker

24 Nov 2023

Purple Emperor larva - Whiteley Pastures. After many hours searching I finally found a Purple Emperor larva using the ‘dangly leaf’ method.

Before hibernating the larva secures its seat leaf with silk threads preventing the leaf from falling. This causes it to flutter and twirl in the breeze and indicates that a larva might be nearby. The larva is only about 5mm long but was aligned by a bud some 500mm away and waiting for spring - perhaps now I have broken my duck I might be able to find some more [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Dreaming of spring
Photo © Mark Tutton

23 Nov 2023

Brimstone between Longparish and Hurstbourne Priors. Very surprised to see a male Brimstone flying along the roadside between Longparish and Hurstbourne Priors at 1pm today. No photos as I was driving, By far the latest I've ever seen one flying in Hampshire! [Posted by Kevin Haggar]

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