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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.


13 Aug 2022

Browndown (South), Gosport. Given the prevailing conditions we were pleasantly surprised to be able to see seven species if not going strong, at least going! From 1250-1445 (30 deg C) we did a broad circuit of the main heath and northerly perimeter, once again restricted by the model aircraft club (one of whose aircraft had spectacularly crashed and was written off on the verge of the main Lee on the Solent road!). The heather is just about dried-out with just a patch here and there showing a little colour. Underfoot it sounded like walking on fresh snow so dry and crunchy the surface. The one Purple Hairstreak was clearly observed flying between two large oaks on the northerly perimeter path. Total: Small White (9); Meadow Brown (6); Small Heath (7); Grayling (1); Common Blue (M)(5); Purple Hairstreak (1); Holly Blue (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman
Strongly marked Holly Blue on blackberry blossom
Photo © Francis Plowman

Ackender Wood, Alton. Pretty quiet in Ackender Wood - for insects generally, not just butterflies. However two Spotted Flycatchers were notable.

There was a single well-worn Silver-washed Fritillary, but the only other vanessid was a single Red Admiral.

While trying to get to grips with hoverflies on a patch of umbellifers by the main ride, I chanced on this Brown Hairstreak.

SU7038 [Posted by Steve Mansfield]

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Brown Hairstreak, Ackender Wood
Photo © Steve Mansfield
Brown Hairstreak, Ackender Wood
Photo © Steve Mansfield

A scorching visit to Noar Hill!. Despite soaring temperatures already by 10:30 this morning, we decided to visit Noar Hill - if all else failed, there remained the prospect of a decent pub lunch in Selborne! It was 34C by the time we reached the scrapes at the top, but despite that, there were abundant signs of activity, with several fly-bys by at least 5 stunning Clouded Yellows, none of whom seemed inclined to rest up for more than a fleeting moment (hence the less than perfect photo below), whilst the Brown Hairstreaks were sensibly keeping to cover on the descending track from the road below. This one obliged by staying put for several minutes whilst nectaring. [Posted by Michael Jameson]

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Clouded Yellow at Noar Hill
Photo © Michael Jameson
Brown Hairstreak (1)
Photo © Michael Jameson
Brown Hairstreak (2)
Photo © Michael Jameson

Thirty up in City of Portsmouth. It might be ONLY a Small Heath but it is the thirtieth species I have seen within the boundaries of the City of Portsmouth. Not a bad tally for the most densely populated city outside of inner London? I targeted a number of missing species this year and this was the final one, of which I spotted a number on Farlington Marshes. Quite appropriate really as my interest in the natural world was fostered by my junior school teacher, Miss Geary, who gave up her time at weekends to take us on nature rambles to ‘the marshes.’ I owe her a deep debt of gratitude.

I have also been wandering the lanes around Southwick, Newtown and Soberton looking for Brown Hairstreak and turned up a female on this section of Blackthorn Rich hedgerow at Newtown but she was chased off by a Common Blue before I could take a snap. The Southwick estate has miles of Blackthorn hedging which seems to be reasonably sympathetically managed and I am sure these hairstreaks are fairly well distributed in this area if at low numbers. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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No 30
Photo © Mark Tutton
Brown Hairstreak territory
Photo © Mark Tutton

11 Aug 2022

Old Winchester Hill. Sixteen days ago on this site we found no sign of Silver-spotted Skipper nor Adonis Blue. Today both were easily found (though harder to photograph). From the top of the car park slope to the bottom, the SSS was present and the Adonis Blue located more towards the valley floor. From 1130-1310 with the temperature 27.5 degrees Celsius and rising some 13 species were recorded. Part of the valley side is now fenced for a few sheep to graze away although in today's heat they were making use of the wooded shade at the end of the valley path. Total: Chalk Hill Blue (M)(78)(F)(9); Meadow Brown (106); Common Blue (M)(20)(F)(7); Gatekeeper (5); Silver-spotted Skipper (13); Small Heath (6); Clouded Yellow (4); Adonis Blue (M)(14)(F)(1); Brown Argus (2); Dark Green Fritillary (1); Large White (1); Brimstone (M)(1)(F)(2); Small White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Silver-spotted Skipper possibly female in the shade
Photo © Francis Plowman
Heavily marked and fresh Adonis Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Clouded Yellow male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Convolvulus Hawk Moth Sighting, IoW. Hi there, I didn't get a picture but I saw it on my Nicotiana bush last night at 10pm in my garden in Thorley, West Isle of Wight, hovering and drinking the nectar. I immediately recognised it as a Convolvulus Hawk Moth, really big, huge proboscis, the kitchen light was on and I was sitting outside, it had only just got dark. Beautiful :) Anyway, thought I should let someone know.

Kind regards

Jessica Streeter [Posted by Jessica Streeter]


10 Aug 2022

Selbourne Hill and Noar Hill. I visited today a site I know a lot of people do not visit, one because it is a bit of a hike from the car-park in Selborne, but from Noar Hill it really is a lot easier. Selborne Hill is a large woodland owned by the National trust. There is a lot of mature Oak and Beech trees with a few mature Ash trees which at the moment seem to be ok from Ash dieback. In the height of summer would produce some good sightings of the major butterflies like Purple Emperor and White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary. I saw one Silver-washed Fritillary today feeding on some very ripe Bramble berries. There's a lot of Blackthorn in the field margins, and on Selborne Common there is also good amounts as well along with Cowslip in the Spring. I didn't see the Brown Hairstreak here today but I know it is recorded here, so is the Duke of Burgundy in the spring. Worth bearing in mind if you want a change from Noar Hill anytime. On Noar Hill today in blazing hot sunshine I kept my head in the Hazel cover whenever I could, seeing Common Blue, Small Heath, Brown Argus, Clouded Yellow, Whites, a couple of Small Skippers, and my quarry turned up just as I was leaving the site, a lovely female Brown Hairstreak. She was a hot butterfly, as she was sheltering underneath Hazel leaves when she settled down. She was a beaut, probably only a day old. I don't hear of many sightings of this butterfly here of late, but it's still here, and I suspect she had just mated, and was going off to lay eggs on many 'new' areas of fresh Blackthorn which I had seen earlier. Good Luck girl! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Hot Girl.. Female Brown Hairstreak sheltering under a Hazel leaf
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Selbourne Common Oak, Ash, Beech, and Hazel
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
One of the pits where Common Blue and Small Heath were Common
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

At Last on Portsdown Hill. Over the last few winters I have searched for, and found, a handful of Brown Hairstreak eggs on Portsdown Hill so I know they are there. Consequently I have spent many hours trying to find an adult during their flight period. Today I came up trumps with a pristine female. She was found prospecting for egg laying locations on a long Blackthorn rich hedgerow some way away from where I have previously found eggs - a very nice surprise. Now to find the male lekking tree! [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Perfect
Photo © Mark Tutton

09 Aug 2022

Scarce swallowtail in the New Forest. Only a month after watching Scarce Swallowtails at Monserat in Spain, I was amazed to see one fluttering across my garden in the New Forest, near Burley.

I’ve not seen any other migrants here this year yet, so was very surprised to get my first time ever British sighting. [Posted by Alan Hobbs]


08 Aug 2022

Shipton Bellinger & Broughton Down. A really good day out yesterday.

07:30-11:15 Shipton Bellinger for Brown Hairstreaks and Wall Browns.

I saw 6 or 7 BH's, presumably males, high up along the track up from Shipton Bellinger and this rather tatty female along the northern side of the triangular field which thankfully came down for a close up. 15-20 Walls but they were mainly settling with closed wings presumably due to the heat.

12:15-14:30 Broughton Down for Silver-spotted Skippers.

On arrival I sat down for lunch just inside the nature reserve and was immediately joined by a SSS. I saw 20+ SSS on my wanderings and was pleased to see good numbers of Common Blues (especially females), Brown Argus and Chalk Hill Blues along with a few Adonis Blues, Small Heath, Brimstone, Meadow Browns and two very worn Dark-green Fritillary. [Posted by Nic Burns]

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Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Nic Burns
Wall
Photo © Nic Burns
Silver-spotted Skipper
Photo © Nic Burns

Meon Valley Hairstreaks. In searing temperatures I paid a visit to a site in the Meon valley where I saw a female Brown Hairstreak last year and it came up trumps. Five males were active in a large Ash ‘master tree’ which has, so far, thankfully avoided Ash die-back. In addition I watched at least three females actively seeking out egg laying opportunities in the plentiful Blackthorn suckers. There was also a very late Dark Green Fritillary, somewhat worse for wear, but he was still chasing off all comers! I visited a second site on the way home that also looks promising for Brown Hairstreak, but no luck so far. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Hairstreak 1
Photo © Mark Tutton
Hairstreak 2
Photo © Mark Tutton
Tatty warrior
Photo © Mark Tutton

Fort Widley and garden. Looked around Fort Widley in very warm sunshine today to see if I could espy the Brown Hairstreak, however I was out of luck today, and I also remembered the area I walked was also good for the Wall Brown several decades ago so if the Wall is making come back it would be most welcome on my old transect route thankyou! The area is full of Blackthorn thickets and good meadows full of wildflowers albeit all dying off due to the drought. Common Blue was seen and Brown Argus, Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper, Whites, Commas and Red Admiral, but nothing to get the heart rate racing. Back in my garden I was visited by a lovely Jersey Tiger Moth feasting on the last of the Buddleia flowers. On my front door I believe was a wave moth. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Hairstreak area close to Fort Widley
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Jersey Tiger Moth on Buddleia
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Dusty Wave
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Shipton Bellinger. It must be 3 years and definitely pre covid since I visited Shipton Bellinger. I went today as much for the Wall Browns reported there as the Brown Hairstreaks. The latter were playing hard to get - plenty high up but I couldn't find any low down. The former though were a revelation! The last Hampshire Walls I saw were on the Ancient Highway near Lymington many years ago and apart from the odd singleton wanderer (including in my own Lee on Solent garden) they seem to have been few and far between in recent years. There have though been reports of them at Shipton (and the surrounding area) for a couple of years now so it was great to see them really well established here. I saw them across much of the site - starting from where the path up from the village divides into two right across to the boundary hedge. I'm hopeless at counting (birds or butterflies) but must have seen 20+ minimum - and most in good condition. So, despite not seeing a Brown Hairstreak at eye level, a wonderful day. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Gatekeeper - Shipton Bellinger
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Wall Brown- Shipton Bellinger
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Wall Brown - Shipton Bellinger
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

07 Aug 2022

St Catherine's Hill. Early evening is one of the best times to visit our south facing downland sites during this hot weather. The butterflies are often more ready to settle and the light can be better for photographs.

We managed to find a few Silver-spotted Skipper and a single Clouded Yellow, plus many Chalk Hill Blue and Meadow Brown, with smaller numbers of Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper and Small Heath. [Posted by Rupert & Sharron Broadway]

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Silver-spotted Skipper at St Catherine's Hill
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway
Silver-spotted Skipper at St Catherine's Hill
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway
Clouded Yellow at St Catehrine's Hill
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway

Unexpected sighting in North Baddesley. Seen today on my reserve at North Baddesley was Wall Brown, I saw one here 2 years ago but not a clue where they are coming from. Also seen today Clouded Yellow, Painted Lady, Chalk Hill Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath, Silver-washed Fritillary, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, 12 Common Blue, Brimstone, Holly Blue, Comma, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small White, Large White, many Gatekeeper. Does not seem too bad considering the conditions. Now seen 32 different butterfly species here so far this season. [Posted by Kevin Ross]


05 Aug 2022

Oxenbourne Down. A short trip up to one of my local chalk downland patches and the butterflies didn't disappoint. Up to 35 Silver-spotted Skippers were seen whizzing about and feeding up, laying eggs and also mating. The Chalk Hill Blue was also in enormous numbers, but everything looks very dry and barren in places. I looked in on some of 'my' Cowslip patches and they have shriveled up to almost nothing, I just hope this isn't detrimental to the Duke of Burgundy colonies on site, next year should could prove very interesting in regards to numbers. We've had dry summers before, and the Duke of Burgundy can survive on the north facing slopes better, due to the fact they are not facing towards the sun. Other species seen were one female Dark Green Fritillary, Gatekeeper, Common Blue, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Ringlet. No Brimstones were seen and the Vanessids seem to have dived into hibernation really early. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Love is in the air...............
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Little fighter Jet
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

White Admiral larvae. I had several visits to Pamber Forest over the last few weeks, where I monitor White Admiral larvae - with 48 larvae now located. With the distinctive feeding damage and constructions created by the larvae, I'm able to confirm that another 10 larvae have already disappeared - presumed predated. However, all larvae are now in either their 2nd or 3rd instar and I have high hopes that most will make it to the point where they create a hibernaculum from a Honeysuckle leaf, in which they will overwinter. A few larvae are already in the process of doing this, indicating that this is a particularly early year for this butterfly. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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A 3rd instar larva at the end of its 'pier' created from silk and frass
Photo © Pete Eeles
A 3rd instar larva sitting next to its 'aerial latrine'
Photo © Pete Eeles
A larva in the process of creating its hibernaculum
Photo © Pete Eeles

04 Aug 2022

The Wrong Hairstreak. Having put in the hard yards searching for Brown Hairstreak eggs at Stockbridge Down back in the winter, we went back to search, unsuccessfully, for adults today.

We did, instead, encounter a White-letter Hairstreak in remarkably good shape. There were phenomenal numbers of Chalk Hill Blue on the wing, together with varying counts of Brimstone, Large White, Clouded Yellow, Common Blue, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Speckled Wood: and singles of Small Copper, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell and Silver-washed Fritillary. [Posted by Rupert & Sharron Broadway]

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White-letter Hairstreak at Stockbridge Down
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway
Clouded Yellow at Stockbridge Down
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway

Bedlam Plantation. A visit to a lesser known area on the Hampshire side of the large Army ranges in and around Tidworth close to Shipton Bellinger. The weather was warm but overcast most of the time with very little breeze which to me is perfect conditions for butterfly watching. Arriving just before midday the butterflies were in full swing and the first butterflies seen were two Wall Browns both chasing each other, a territory dispute I suspect, this put me in the mood to find more. There were plenty of Brimstones, Brown Argus, Common Blues, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Small Heaths, also a couple of Silver-spotted Skippers. The Walls just kept on coming and on the edge of a farmers field where there were sufficient areas of wildflowers, these areas produced up to twenty odd Wall Brown's over a course of a couple of hours. On the way back to the car-park, I espied a female Brown Hairstreak which was fresh as a daisy, and also there were still Wall Browns to be seen and females were also seen being much larger than the males and were easy to Identify, feeding on Thistles. Probably one of the most satisfying 'mini' field trips I've ever done, a big plus for Military sites which are largely untouched by pesticides and other nasties and are full of hedgerows, with blackthorn and birds song plenty of Ravens were heard and Yellowhammers, and Long Tailed Tits, chattering in amongst the hedges. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Wall Brown and Meadow Brown
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Army range close to Tidworth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

03 Aug 2022

Stockbridge Down Part 1. Thirteen species recorded on an extended walk (1140-1420) over the western and northern ranges of the down. Under grey skies, a drop or two of rain with the temperature around 21 degrees Celsius the butterflies were in abundance. We decided to keep a full count of the Chalk Hill Blue and Meadow Brown which species were very prominent indeed. Total: Meadow Brown (178); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(839)(F)(64); Gatekeeper (20); Speckled Wood (3); Small Heath (6); Marbled White (M)(1); Green-veined White (M)(1)(F)(1); Common Blue (M)(2); Large White (3); Small White (2); Dark Green Fritillary (3); Brimstone (M)(1); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Chalk Hill Blue (female lower)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown female at left
Photo © Francis Plowman

Stockbridge Down Part 2. From 1455-1620 we covered the southern and eastern expanses of the down determining to put a 'cap' on the numbers of the predominant butterflies! There was initially some warm sunshine but it was soon replaced by grey clouds with a pleasant temperature around 23 degrees Celsius. Ten species were recorded. Total: Chalk Hill Blue (M)(60+)(F)(55+); Meadow Brown (55+); Common Blue (M)(11)(F)(1); Small White (6); Small Heath (4); Large White (3); Adonis Blue (M)(1); Gatekeeper (2); Silver-washed Fritillary (M)(1); Speckled Wood (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Chalk Hill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Adonis Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Moth trap in my garden at Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on overnight in my garden in Leigh Park. Some of the highlights included Jersey Tiger, 12 Garden Tiger, Gold Spot, 2 Tree-lichen Beauty, Marbled Green, a female Oak Eggar, 2 Rosy Rustic, Lesser Swallow Prominent, Spectacle etc. [Posted by Barry Collins]


Unusual butterfly??. This butterfly flew into and out of my conservatory door around 12.30 today and is now settled on small plant in the garden. Nearest thing on ID sites that I can find is a Scarce Swallowtail? [This has been identified as a Jersey Tiger moth - P. Eeles] [Posted by Phyllis Toms]


01 Aug 2022

North side of Portsdown. On my fifth attempt this year I managed to observe a brown hairstreak whizzing around the top of the trees shortly after 1300 before it settled about 10m up a tall ash tree. Hopefully there will be a few more in the weeks to come. A single purple hairstreak was also seen despite the lack of oaks. [Posted by Peter Gammage]


31 Jul 2022

Vanishing Vanessids. The summer census of vanessids at the Longstock Park buddleja collection produced the most dismal total yet. The buddlejas in their prime, the tally comprised just one Red Admiral and one Painted Lady, with a Large White and a Meadow Brown as the also-rans. At Great Fontley three weeks ago, the nettles hosted hundreds of Small Tortoiseshell larvae, many in their final instar, but not one imago has been seen there since. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]


30 Jul 2022

Chalk Hill Blue surprise. Arriving back home in Chandlers Ford, after a great day out in the Tidworth - Shipton Bellinger area on a BC Wiltshire Branch field meeting, I'd just sat down in the back garden to quench my thirst with a cup of tea, when to my surprise an unmistakable chalky blue butterfly alighted on our Buddleia. I immediately realised that it was a male Chalk Hill Blue, so quickly rushed inside for my camera. On my return, it had moved from the Buddleia, but posed nicely on the ground, basking in the weak sunshine. This is the first time this species has been recorded from the garden, and becomes butterfly No.26 for our all-time garden list, and the 16th species of 2022. The remarkable thing is that there's no chalk downland anywhere nearby, so clearly this individual must have wandered some distance. Looking on a map I could see that BC's Yew Hill nature reserve is the nearest breeding population. As the crow flies, we lie just 2.73 miles SSW of Yew Hill, so it shows how butterflies will explore the surrounding landscape. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Chalk Hill Blue (male)
Photo © Andy Barker

Haslar & Gilkicker, Gosport Shore. Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub

1045-1105 was long enough to determine that this parched field has just about finished with butterflies for the year. Total: Meadow Brown (3); Common Blue (M)(2); Gatekeeper (1).

Gilkicker Point and Adjacent Fields

1115-1245 (temp 23 deg C) produced sightings of just 7 species. No sign of incoming Clouded Yellow today despite the on-shore SW breeze. On the landward side the area remains boggy and huge swathes of Fleabane and similar added much colour but sadly there were few takers. Total: Gatekeeper (18); Small White (3); Common Blue (M)(4); Holly Blue (1); Meadow Brown (6); Comma (1); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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The solitary Gatekeeper of Haslar!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male at Gilkicker
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma feeding on Fleabane, Gilkicker
Photo © Francis Plowman

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. By one o'clock the sun had largely given way to high cloud and the temperature a pleasant 23.5 deg C as I circulated Monks Walk until 3.30 pm. Eleven species recorded. Summer has peaked so much earlier than 2021 and numbers are reducing sharply. However, some very fresh Speckled Wood are now appearing including two brightly marked females. Another pleasant observation was - for the third successive Summer - to find Chalk Hill Blue, a solitary and fresh male, roosting on tall grass in the butterfly meadow. After 20 minutes it was still dangling inverted from the grass not at all troubled by the Common Blue males and Brown Argus that flittered around it. Total: Small White (7); Holly Blue (7); Gatekeeper (30); Red Admiral (5); Meadow Brown (15); Large White (3); Common Blue (M)(8)(F)(2); Speckled Wood (F)(2)(M)(10); Comma (3); Brown Argus (1); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue roosting
Photo © Francis Plowman

29 Jul 2022

West Wood Farley Mount. Short walk produced lots of common stuff, Commas, Brimstone etc but managed perhaps 10+ Dark Green Fritillary and 5+ Silver-washed Fritillary and one (female I think) Purple Emperor. I've never seen them at this location before but have been told that they'd been photographed earlier this year. [Posted by Rob Sawyer]


Stockbridge Down. A wonderful couple of hours spent at Stockbridge Down, where the Chalk Hill Blue are in incredible numbers - literally 1000s all over the down, with plenty of mating pairs and, best of all, large congregations of males on recently deposited dung, and rabbit carcasses! I also saw 6 Silver-spotted Skipper which are just emerging and 2 Adonis Blue males. A few worn female Dark Green Fritillary are still around and I also saw what is probably my last Marbled White of the year. Also lots of Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and a few Small Heath and newly emerged Brimstone. [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Male Chalk Hill Blue on dung
Photo © Pete Eeles
Mating Chalk Hill Blue
Photo © Pete Eeles
Another Chalk Hill Blue congregation on a Rabbit carcass, with a male Adonis Blue (far left)
Photo © Pete Eeles

28 Jul 2022

Jersey Tiger in Fareham. Jersey Tiger sighted in Fareham Hunts pond road by the allotments First sighting for me [Posted by Alistair MacGregor]


Dessicated Hogmoor SANG. Went over yesterday with a friend to Hogmoor heathland SANG, Bordon. Spotted several Gatekeepers and it seems to be a good year for them. Some of the heather looked very brown and dried out so was concerned we might not find any Graylings. We spotted one on a sandy path on its own and then in the centre of the heath found a cluster of bell heather with 5 of them settling on the flowers. So I was very pleased to confirm their continuing presence on Hogmoor. [Posted by Jim Smith]


Jersey Tiger. Jersey Tiger sighted in Fareham Hunts pond road by the allotments First sighting for met [Posted by Alistair MacGregor]


Unusual visitor at Yew Hill. In over 30 years of regularly visiting Yew Hill, I don't think I've ever previously seen a Silver-washed Fritillary at the site, but, sure enough, there one was this morning, a rather worn male on a sheltered patch of oregano in the company of many Gatekeepers and male Chalk Hill Blues. The latter seem to be doing very well at the reserve this year and there were also one or two Clouded Yellow on the wing. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

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Silver-washed Fritillary at Yew Hill
Photo © Rupert Broadway
Silver-wahed Fritillary and Gatekeepers at Yew Hill
Photo © Rupert Broadway
Chalk Hill Blue at Yew Hill
Photo © Rupert Broadway

Broughton Down. A rare trip to Broughton Down this morning proved very successful. A good number of Chalk Hill Blues were active and several slightly-faded Dark Green Fritillary were still flying. Several fresh Small Coppers were holding territory and two nationally rare Tawny Longhorn Beetles were found by the lower path. A total of four Silver-spotted Skippers were found by the old Drove Road and on the western area of the reserve. Walking back along the upper path, a surprise find was a male Brown Hairstreak nectaring on Wild Carrot. A great end to a very pleasant morning. [Posted by Dave Pearson]

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Silver-spotted Skipper on Field Scabious
Photo © Dave Pearson
Brown Hairstreak on Wild Carrot
Photo © Dave Pearson
Tawny Longhorn Beetle and friend
Photo © Dave Pearson

27 Jul 2022

Old Winchester Hill - Part I. Something of a butterfly bonanza today with 22 species recorded on the top of the hill following the pathway towards and then around the hill fort before descending along the valley side then cutting right back to the main path (right hand one) back to the car park. From 1045-1305 there was a strong breeze from the south but often swirling and the temperature around 20-21 degrees Celsius. Total: Green-veined White (2); Gatekeeper (134); Meadow Brown (70); Small White (8); Small Skipper (11); Dark Green Fritillary (3); Marbled White (8); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(69)(F)(2); Small Tortoiseshell (4); Essex Skipper (2); Common Blue (M)(13)(F)(2); Comma (1); Ringlet (1); Peacock (7); Red Admiral (4); Small Copper (1); Large White (1); Small Heath (1); Painted Lady (1); Brimstone (M)(7)(F)(3); Clouded Yellow (6); Speckled Wood (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Gatekeeper mating (female open-winged)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Old Winchester Hill - Part II. After lunch from 1330-1445 (21 deg C) and still with plenty of warmth, I descended the car park slope to the valley floor covering one or two of the small paths as well as the main chalk path to the bottom gate. The breeze was less intrusive but fewer species were recorded. Total: Speckled Wood (1); Gatekeeper (12); Peacock (1); Meadow Brown (80); Small Tortoiseshell (3); Brimstone (F)(2)(M)(1); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(123)(F)(7); Small Skipper (9); Common Blue (M)(8)(F)(3); Dark Green Fritillary (7); Small Heath (1); Brown Argus (1); Clouded Yellow (3); Small White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Clouded Yellow on knapweed
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone male
Photo © Francis Plowman

26 Jul 2022

Garden Visitor in Four Marks. On the evening of the 26th around 18:30 I was watering the garden with a static spray. I noticed a large dark butterfly come into the garden and fly in and out of the spray several times before flying around me and finally settling on the window sill. I managed one photo with my phone, couldn't believe it a female Purple Emperor!! She then took off to the trees where she was imbibing water from the leaves, There is only one large oak close to the garden, my house being 50 metres from the A31 in Four Marks. The closest concentration of oak being in Old Down Wood about half a mile away, where there is also Sallow. But in 15 years of watching the area I have never seen sign of Purple Emperor in there. This sighting comes off the back of a Purple Hairstreak 2 weeks ago! [Posted by Chris Rose]

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

Shipton Bellinger - transect. This afternoon's butterfly transect at Shipton Bellinger produced some excellent sightings, including 3 Brown Hairstreaks low down, and no fewer than 10 Wall. Such high numbers of the latter (both males and females), is especially encouraging, for what is undoubtedly the Hampshire stronghold for the species. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brown Hairstreak (male) on bramble
Photo © Andy Barker
Brown Hairstreak (female)
Photo © Andy Barker
Wall (male)
Photo © Andy Barker

25 Jul 2022

In our garden at Leigh Park. While we were doing a few jobs in our garden in Leigh Park this afternoon. We saw at least 3 male Oak Eggars flying around the garden together. Plus another nice surprise in the form of a juvenile Marsh Tit our first this autumn feeding on a sunflower heart feeder. [Posted by Barry Collins]


24 Jul 2022

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Today I paid a visit to Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Here several second generation male Common Blues were seen. Totals: Large White 3, Small White 6, Common Blue 11m, Meadow Brown 4 and Comma 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


23 Jul 2022

Oxenbourne Down. Today I visited Oxenbourne Down where the temperature had reached 24 degrees. Here male Chalk Hill Blues were flying everywhere. Totals: Brimstone 1m 1f, Large White 1, Chalk Hill Blue 170m 6f, Gatekeeper 15, Meadow Brown 5, Small Heath 1, Peacock 1 and Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Today I visited Chalton Down where the temperature was 22 degrees. In some areas the once low turf is now shoulder high with wild grasses. Totals: Brimstone 1M 1F, Large White 2, Chalk Hill Blue 31M, Gatekeeper 2, Meadow Brown 5, Comma 1 and Silver-washed Fritillary 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Charlton Down and Barnetts Copse. My last look for the Purple Emperor today , and I was just East of the Queen Elizabeth Country Park complex close to the Hampshire/Sussex border. There were Chalk Hill Blues aplenty on Charlton Down, with a sprinkling of Common Blues, and Dark Green Fritillary were still very evident with several males and females in good condition. Marbled Whites were very low in numbers and ones seen were very tatty. Good numbers of Essex Skippers and Small Skippers flying between flowers and dry grasses. In the woodland complex on the border the male Silver-washed Fritillary were still frantically trying to mate with the last of the females. Several Dark Green Fritillary were still patrolling the rides. There wasn't much else one White Admiral, and a female Purple Emperor flying from one side of the ride onto the other at 14:30, in the heat of the day was probably ending a bout of egg-laying. This area has been a good source of Purpleling for me in 2022. Which added to the other encounters in the past seasons makes it the most Eastern of the Purple Empire in Hampshire. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
2nd Gen Dingy Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Skipper at rest
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

22 Jul 2022

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A week ago we recorded 18 species here and today 14! After the gloom and rain of the morning a walk from 1340-1700 (20.5 deg C) provided plenty of butterfly interest and six pounds of blackberries to boot! Total: Speckled Wood (19); Small White (7); Gatekeeper (81); Meadow Brown (21); Red Admiral (4); Comma (8); Large White (3); Common Blue (M)(8)(F)(1); Ringlet (2); Holly Blue (5); Small Skipper (5); Purple Hairstreak (1); Green-veined White (F)(2); Marbled White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Ringlet female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Graylings - Moonhills Car Park, New Forest. We had tickets for Exbury Gardens today - as we were arriving an hour before it opened decided to stop off at Moonhills Car Park for a bit of a wander. It was 09:00, overcast, trying to rain and gusty winds so I really wasn't expecting to see much, but took the camera just in case!

As it happens there were plenty of Gatekeepers in and around the gorse bushes and the odd Meadow Brown. And then when we were heading back towards the car I spotted my first Grayling of the year flash by in the wind. A further three more were seen and were happy to settle for their photos.

We didn't go to Exbury for the butterflies but even with the weather conditions being far from perfect there were lots of Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns around. Others seen were: Common Blues, Marbled Whites, a Small Skipper, a Painted Lady, Speckled Woods and a couple of Commas. [Posted by Nic Burns]

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Grayling
Photo © Nic Burns
Grayling
Photo © Nic Burns
Grayling
Photo © Nic Burns

21 Jul 2022

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. Fifteen species observed from 1550-1710 today on a walk around three sides of the fort when the temperature stood at a pleasant 24 degrees Celsius with very light southerly airs. The fields are, as were the southern slopes of Portsdown Hill yesterday, absolutely stunning with nature's field and hedgerow colours. But for my (long-suffering) acting (unpaid) recorder I would have walked past the one Clouded Yellow - a male - that was found seeking peace and quiet in the long grasses after a long transit no doubt. It tolerated one or two shots before disporting itself over the fence into the fort's depths. It would later reappear and was more tolerant (resigned?) to another approach. Yellow at last! Total: Holly Blue (3); Gatekeeper (30); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(3); Small White (8); Comma (3); Meadow Brown (40); Small Blue (4); Common Blue (F)(6)(M)(17); Large White (3); Small Skipper (16); Marbled White (1); Clouded Yellow (M)(1); Essex Skipper (1); Small Copper (1); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Clouded Yellow male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Gatekeeper male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

20 Jul 2022

Portsdown Hill, Portsmouth. So, if Clouded Yellow isn't on our shores, go to a flower-strewn chalk hill. Well it wasn't found there either! From 1340-1505 we covered the northern area of the main slopes, the top-path being somewhat overgrown. The sun was full-on and temperature 25 degrees Celsius. Portsdown Hill is bedecked with summer flora and the Chalk Hill Blue is predominant, the male at least. Total: Gatekeeper (12); Large White (5); Meadow Brown (27); Common Blue (M)(3); Small Blue (3); Chalk Hill Blue (M)(64)(F)(4); Small White (8); Brimstone (M)(1); Small Skipper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White mating pair
Photo © Francis Plowman
Chalk Hill Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Chilling & Brownwich Coastal Area, Titchfield. From Chilling car park we walked the small wood, then field edges towards Brownwich cliffs. Then heading west along the cliff top path towards Warsash for about 400 metres before retracing steps, passing Brownwich pond, cutting down a small path behind the houses before returning to Chilling. From 1030-1250 (temperature 22 deg C with a stiff southerly breeze which was very strong over the cliffs), we recorded 15 species. Not a sign of Clouded Yellow. (In fact, for two months in SW Germany recently where the Clouded Yellow is found everywhere, we saw not one! Is it going to be a poor year for this butterfly?) Total: Small White (68); Speckled Wood (20); Meadow Brown (70); Large White (42); Comma (4); Gatekeeper (111); Marbled White (2); Small Skipper (15); Common Blue (M)(2); Purple Hairstreak (1); Green-veined White (3); Peacock (2); Red Admiral (1); Holly Blue (2); Small Tortoiseshell (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Purple Hairstreak under surveillance!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown female
Photo © Francis Plowman

19 Jul 2022

Moth Trap - Jersey Tigers. I have a moth trap in my Lee on Solent garden, as much for my grandchildren as it is for me. They particularly like the odd Hawkmoth we find but were surprised this morning to discover 5 Jersey Tiger moths in the trap. One very obligingly settled on the rockery plants and then opened its wings briefly to show that wonderful orange colour so I couldn't resist a couple of photos on what I appreciate is predominantly a butterfly site. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Jersey Tiger - Lee on Solent
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Jersey Tiger - Lee on Solent
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

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