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News Archive for Jul 2022


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

Moth trap in my garden at Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on overnight in my garden from 18th July, at Leigh Park. It was an exceptional night with 62 species caught. Some of the highlights included 11 Elephant Hawk, Dark Crimson Underwing, 4 Four-spotted Footman, 6 Dingy Footman, 7 Rosy Footman, 4 Buff Arches, Garden Tiger, Tree-lichen Beauty, Gold Spot, Double Kidney, Drinker, Rosy Minor, Barred Hook-tip and 2 Double Square-spot etc. [Posted by Barry Collins]


Creech wood Brown Hairstreak. Just for your general info- I saw your group at Creech wood on Sunday 17th & was impressed by the number & variety of butterflies there. On revisiting today I saw a male Brown Hairstreak on the ground in a sunny ride. On both occasions I saw a White Admiral. I wish I’d seen a Purple Emperor- maybe next year?! [Posted by Heather Rowe]


18 Jul 2022

Deviation Line Fareham & Adjacent Field. A two hours' (1010-1210) meander up and down the old deviation railway line out of Fareham Hill Park towards its (former) juncture with today's mainline at Knowle and the adjacent (right-hand side) field nearing the end of the walk, brought sightings of 15 species. The temperature was rising mid-20s but under the canopy of the woodland trees, not at all unpleasant. The field is abundant with thistle or knapweed and much ragwort and similar yellow flowers. The grasses are tinder dry and the earthen path shows signs of cracking in places. Most of the Small Skippers were female many of which were egg-laying. Total: Peacock (1); Gatekeeper (42); Meadow Brown (38); Small White (4); Speckled Wood (18); Holly Blue (1); Large White (6); Silver-washed Fritillary (4); Brown Argus (5); Small Copper (1); Small Skipper (9); Ringlet (3); Red Admiral (1); Marbled White (M)(1); Comma(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Small Skipper egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large White female
Photo © Francis Plowman

17 Jul 2022

Browndown South, Gosport. Two recent searches on Browndown North for Silver-studded Blue were unavailing. Today's necessarily late (1530-1715) and rather cursory wander through the southern area of Browndown revealed one male Silver-studded Blue and one in fresh condition. Perhaps the specie emerges later here? The temperature was a pleasant 25 degrees Celsius with a fresh South-easterly breeze making it a really enjoyable walk. The model aeroplane club was active thus restricting access to many hedgerows and main meadow but the heather-strewn heath and 'sea' of pebbles with its 'islands' of small oaks provided the anticipated rewards of Grayling and Purple Hairstreak. Total: Meadow Brown (13); Gatekeeper (46); Large White (1); Grayling (2); Essex Skipper (2); Common Blue (M)(6); Silver-studded Blue (M)(1); Small Skipper(8); Purple Hairstreak (3); Holly Blue (1); Small White (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Silver-studded Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman

Clouded Yellow. It's always worth checking your local sites, as you never know what you might encounter. Whilst surveying a few sites around the northern edge of Southampton, it was nice to encounter a couple of fresh Painted Lady, but the highlight was a Clouded Yellow, in a small meadow on the NW edge of the city. Rather than the usual yellow form it was the pale creamy white variety 'helice'. I'm presuming these hot southerly winds may be bringing a few migrant butterflies from the continent, so well worth keeping an eye out for more Clouded Yellows over the coming weeks, especially along the south coast, and on flowery chalk downland sites. The meadow with the Clouded Yellow also produced a beautifully fresh male Brown Argus, which was an added bonus and the first one I'd recorded from the site. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Clouded Yellow (var. helice)
Photo © Andy Barker
Painted Lady
Photo © Andy Barker
Brown Argus (male)
Photo © Andy Barker

Creech Wood Field Trip. Creech Wood is a lesser known Purple Emperor wood, in the Forest of Bere complex and today we were at the weathers mercy but as it turned out the breeze in some of the rides was quite welcome. We saw a sprinkling of Silver-washed Fritillary, and one or two White Admirals, and in the more open rides there are lots of wild flowers particularly meadow and downland flowers several Brown Argus were seen, and in the wayleaves a Chalkhill Blue was spotted. I suspect these have come from nearby Portsdown Hill. Several Holly Blues were also seen along the usual fare in the rides. We didn't see the Purple Emperor in the rides, although there was a possible sighting of a female, but we did see several males at one of the Assembly Points close to the major car-park. These were rather ragged and look as if they may only have a few more days left in this oppressive heat. Many thanks for a splendid turn out in such difficult weather conditions, thank heaven for shade in the rides! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Argus in the rides
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Searching the rides for that illusive Emperor!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Assembly Point observations
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Magdalen Hill - Chalk Hill Blues +. I had a wonderful time wandering around Magdalen Hill this morning. It ended up very warm but was a bit too windy for getting good photos, that being said there was plenty to see.

Chalk Hill Blues were by far the most numerous - also seen were Brimstones, Brown Argus, a Clouded Yellow, a Comma, Common Blues, Gatekeepers, a Green-veined White, Large Whites, Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, three Painted Lady, Peacocks, a Red Admiral, Ringlets, Small Heath, Small Skippers, Small Whites and a Speckled Wood. Along with lots of Six-spot Burnets, a Shaded Broad-bar and a few Mint moths. [Posted by Nic Burns]

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Male and Female Chalk Hill Blues
Photo © Nic Burns
Brown Argus
Photo © Nic Burns
Clouded Yellow
Photo © Nic Burns

Moth trap in my garden at Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on in my garden overnight from 16th July, at Leigh Park. Some of the highlights included 7 Elephant Hawk, Privet Hawk, Poplar Hawk, Swallow Prominent, Ruby Tiger, 9 Buff Ermine, female Scalloped Hook-tip, Spectacle, Evergestis limbata etc. [Posted by Barry Collins]


16 Jul 2022

'Explosion'at Defence Munitions Gosport. Of the 145 butterflies recorded at Bedenham within Defence Munitions, 55 were Gatekeepers, inc. one pair in-cop, followed by Meadow Brown (35), Small / Essex Skippers (18), Speckled Wood (15), Large White (8), Marbled White (6), pristine male Common Blues (4) and Brown Argus (2), while the Dutch Elm coppice sported two late White-letter Hairstreaks. Moving south to the ancient Elson Wood in search of White Admirals, we were to be disappointed, and had to settle for Purple Hairstreak (3), two more Brown Argus, and a solitary Comma. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]


15 Jul 2022

Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. After visiting Abbots Wood Inclosure at Alice Holt Forest, I made my way to Straits Inclosure where the temperature had increased to 24 degrees. Here many Ringlets were in flight. No signs of any Purple Emperor activity. Totals: Brimstone 1F, Large White 2, Green-veined White 6, Gatekeeper 4, Meadow Brown 1, Ringlet 22, Peacock 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 10 and Small Skipper 4. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Abbots Wood Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. Today I paid a visit to Abbots Wood Inclosure in the morning before temperatures started to increase. The temperature was around 19 degrees. Here I searched for the Purple Emperor but was unable to locate any males. I did see a low flying Purple Hairstreak and a single White Admiral. Totals: Small White 4, Holly Blue 1, Purple Hairstreak 1, Gatekeeper 3, Meadow Brown 6, Ringlet 16, Comma 1, Peacock 2, Silver-washed Fritillary 10 and White Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Four hours from 0840 realised sightings of eighteen species. Temperature ranged from 20-24 deg C with a pleasant breeze under full sun. Total: Large White (10); Peacock (3); Gatekeeper (70); Speckled Wood (21); Small White (16); Meadow Brown (30); Small Skipper (43); Common Blue (M)(9)(F)(2); Essex Skipper (14); Brown Argus (4); Red Admiral (5); Comma (7); Ringlet (7); Marbled White (M)(1)(F)(1); Purple Hairstreak (2); Brimstone (M)(2)(F)(1); Green-veined White (3); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus with Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Essex Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Straits Inclosure. Today was far too hot to see HIM anyway it's rather past there days where they are advertising their presence in the lofty Oaks and Sallow searching for any unmated female. The star of the show was still the Silver-washed Fritillary most are looking a bit ragged, but there are still a few looking fit and able and several mating rituals were observed in the ride. White Admiral was also present, most being female and several were seen disappearing into the dense coppice to search for shady Honeysuckle. The trees are looking as if some are needing water, and I noticed that some of the sallow and their leaves are starting to turn upwards and crumple up. Most of the ditches are bone dry ...we desperately need rain. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Silver Washed Fritillary on Bramble
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Straits Inclosure
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Caprea sallow some starting to look very wilted.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Silver-Washed Fritillary - Valenzina form. Numerous Silver-washed Fritillary on transect in Micheldever Woods today including one female of the Valentina form. Unfortunately evaded my attempts to photograph her. First I have seen here and still have not seen the Purple Emperors reported here! [Posted by Paul Warren]


14 Jul 2022

Whiteley Pastures, Fareham. Sixteen species recorded this afternoon from 1250-1450 in full sunshine, light breeze and temperature around mid-20s Celsius. (We were unprepared for the re-surfacing of the main pathway with coarse granite chunks and would highly recommend future visitors to wear sturdy footwear!). Totals: Ringlet (85++); Meadow Brown (17); Large White (4); Brimstone (F)(8)(M)(5); Silver-washed Fritillary (13); Purple Hairstreak (3); Small White (9); Green-veined White (2); Small Skipper (21); White Admiral (5); Comma (2); Gatekeeper (34); Large Skipper (1); Peacock (1); Red Admiral (1); Speckled Wood (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brimstone male left & female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary female
Photo © Francis Plowman
White Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

Pamber Forest delivers!. A short stroll around Pamber Forest this morning was surprisingly productive, given the heat - with sightings of White Admiral, Silver-washed Fritillary, Peacock, Comma, Brimstone, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Small White and Large White. I was particularly pleased to find my first White Admiral larvae of the year without too much effort, although it does help to know where to look! [Posted by Pete Eeles]

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Brimstone (male)
Photo © Pete Eeles
Silver-washed Fritillary (male)
Photo © Pete Eeles
White Admiral larva (1st instar)
Photo © Pete Eeles

West Harting Down Field Trip. This field trip which hugs the Hampshire/Sussex border is really a walker's paradise with small stops along the way. In the warmth of the day it was a real test on everyone's will to get to the summit and look at the fabulous views of Queen Elizabeth Country Park and the Isle of Wight. Along the way there were small interactions with brief glimpses of the male Purple Emperor on the flatter areas of the woodland, flying around Beech trees and Oak and there is huge amounts of Sallow, in all we had around ten observations with two males on the ground, one very briefly at the summit, when we were having our lunch, a big diversion when you eating your sandwiches, and he had the nerve to come back for a second pass. Also we had a lovely encounter with a Empress which flew around us giving us a great fly past. On the way back two of us split from the main group and they encountered another male on the ground and he stayed for up to 10 minutes. Both of these male were in very good condition considering they are now reaching their peak time and I wasn't really expecting them to be grounded now. Also there were good moments with Silver-Washed Fritillaries, and Dark Green Fritillaries in the main part of the wood, and a few encounters with White Admirals. On the Buddleia bushes there were lots of Commas and on the ride floor and a single Hummingbird Hawk moth and a Scarlett Tiger Moth put in an appearance.

A great Field Trip definitely the best of the year and many thanks to everyone who braved the heat of the day. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Purple Emperor imbibing on the chalky floor.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Hummingbird Hawk Moth on Buddleia
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Scarlett Tiger Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

13 Jul 2022

Oxenbourne Down. In contrast to Chalton Down, at nearby Oxenbourne Down, the numbers of Chalkhill Blues were much greater. I waslked the main areas in temperatures of 27 degrees and recorded 9 species. Totals: Brimstone 1F, Large White 1, Small White 1, Chalkhill Blue 87M, Gatekeeper 1, Marbled White 2, Meadow Brown 15, Large Skipper 2, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Chalton Down. Today I visited Chalton Down, where in this continuing heat wave the temperature was 25 degrees. The site has been partially overgrown with tall grass following noticeable absence of rabbits in the areas where most sightings used to be made.I was pleased to see my first Chalkhill Blues this year with the once large colony here still managing to hold on. Long gone were the days when around 400 sightings were normal sadly. My totals: Chalkhill Blue 21M, Gatekeeper 2, Marbled White 13, Meadow Brown 15, Large Skipper 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Purple Emperor - Straits Enclosure. Still not quite the "perfect" photograph, but another captivating close encounter at the Straits Enclosure earlier today! Once again taken in the early evening (18:02hrs) along the main gravel track, this fine male Purple Emperor circled around for some minutes before landing briefly for just long enough for me to grab a few photos. Once again, this image doesn't do justice to his amazing purple sheen, so I'll be back tomorrow for another go! That aside, it does confirm that Purple Emperors have been quite numerous this year at Straits, as well as in the adjacent Abbot's Wood Enclosure at Alice Holt, with many still in great condition some three weeks or so after the first reported sightings from this favoured location. [Posted by Michael Jameson]

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Male Purple Emperor today at Straits Enclosure
Photo © Michael Jameson

12 Jul 2022

Purple Emperor and Drab Looper. During a morning visit to West Wood, Winchester, before the temperature got too high, Linda and I were lucky enough to have four Purple Emperor sightings, including two gliding and searching along the rides, then at the very end of the walk we spotted a female Emperor probing the ground. We had excellent views of this magnificent insect for about a minute before she rose majestically and glided down the ride and disappeared. We saw a good range of other butterflies, including two White Admirals, but the other insect of note was the Drab Looper moth. This is a rare insect the breeds on Wood Spurge in sunny clearings. It is very small and plain, so easily overlooked. Although it flies by day, it doesn't seem to settle for long, so having followed one for about 50 yards I was pleased to see it stop to nectar on Common Ragwort, allowing a photo opportunity. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Purple Emperor (female)
Photo © Andy Barker
Drab Looper
Photo © Andy Barker

West Wood Winchester. A Short lull in the heat wave today was slightly more comfortable for me and the Purple Emperor, as I did a quick look into West Wood close to Winchester. The weather was overcast and slightly breezy and was cooler, and this payed off in a walk around several of the rides from about 12:00. The first encounter was a lovely female in a ride which dominated by conifer trees, but there is a sprinkling of sallows in the ride and this was my closest encounter with an Empress in 2022 so far. I think she may have been egg-laying and was just a few feet away flying around the ride and then disappeared over the ride into the shrubbery. Shortly afterwards there was a male seen in the vicinity probably checking out the status of the female, as they do mate more than once. In Ashley's ride there were sightings, again in and around the very tall conifers. In the main ride there were no males imbibing on the dead tree, but there were several encounters with a male chasing a female, and a chase with two males in the main ride. I saw several males just ambling around oaks and beech trees not doing very much at all. In all we stayed about and hour and a half in the main ride and we saw at least 20 odd sightings. Other good numbers were very fresh Brimstones, and good numbers of Commas. On Pitt Down there was a family of Jays all on the ground which I had never seen before, all in all a good couple of hours of Emperoing. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Fresh Brimstones very common today.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
One of the rides where I see Female Purple Emperors
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Ringlets
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Browndown (North) Gosport. I had to retrace Sunday's walk today to try to find some lost kit! Still twenty species recorded although not all the same from 48 hours ago. From 1200-1400 under sultry clouds and a very humid 27.5 deg C I came across the following: Meadow Brown (6); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Small Skipper (28); Gatekeeper (25); Ringlet (3); Brimstone (M)(1); Small White (3); Speckled Wood (11); Large White (1); White Admiral (1); Comma (6); Green-veined White (2); Essex Skipper (7); Brown Argus (F)(1)(M)(1); Red Admiral (1)' Common Blue (5); Marbled White (1); Grayling (3); Small Copper (1); Purple Hairstreak (1). (And, no, I didn't find my lost item!) [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman

10 Jul 2022

Blackbush Hanger, Southleigh Forest. Today in a temperature of 24 degrees, I visited Blackbush Hanger to search for the Purple Emperor. I was unsuccessful but did record the following, Large White 1, Small White 2, Meadow Brown 1, Gatekeeper 3, Ringlet 1, Speckled Wood 1, Silver Washed Fritillary 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Pamber Forest Field Trip. A look around one of Hampshires 'lesser' known woods, however it is packed with flora and fauna interest, although today we all melted, as it was the hottest day of the year. Unfortunately we never found our quarry the Purple Emperor which is hardly surprising as it was so warm. We did see a few Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admirals, and on the Heathland there were very little flying, Silver-studded Blues put in a token presence, Small Skipper , Gatekeeper, and Meadow Brown, plus several Brown Silver-Line Moths, and a Wolf Spider in its funnel web kept a lot of us fascinated when we saw it in its burrow. Stonechats were busy on the heathland and again there was very little evidence of the Grayling butterfly just yet. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Silver Line Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Wolf spider in its burrow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Pamber Forest Assembly Point
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Browndown (North) Gosport. A circulation of the wooded and heath areas east of the River Alver (1105-1305) brought 20 species to book. Very warm sunshine (25 degrees Celsius) and gentle southerly breeze. After a long holiday I wanted to find Grayling and, if possible, Silver-studded Blue. It was probably too late for the blue but one fresh Grayling was found in the heather and tolerated a very close approach. Total: Large White (3); Small Skipper (28); Brimstone (F)(1); Gatekeeper (29); Large Skipper (3); Speckled Wood (12); Ringlet (1); Green-veined White (2); Small White (2); Meadow Brown (15); Purple Hairstreak (1); Comma (3); Red Admiral (1); Marbled White (5); Small Copper (3); Grayling (1); Brown Argus (1); Peacock (2); White Admiral (1); Common Blue (M)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Moth trap on in my Garden at Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on in my garden at Leigh Park, overnight from 9th July. and caught 36 species. Some of the goodies included 3 male Festoon, 3 Kent Black Arches, 4 Buff Arches, Beautiful Hook-tip, 4 Elephant Hawk, 2 Swallow-tailed Moths, Buff Tip, 2 Sycamore, Spectacle, and Dusky Sallow etc. [Posted by Barry Collins]


09 Jul 2022

Abbots Wood Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. After a visited to Straits Inclosure, I returned to Abbots Wood Inclosure where the temperature was 21 degrees. I saw a total of 5 Purple Emperors all in flight. Totals; Small White 3, Purple Hairstreak 2, Gatekeeper 1, Meadow Brown 2, Ringlet 9, Comma 1, Purple Emperor 5, Silver Washed Fritillary 4 and White Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. Today I paid a return to Alice Holt Forest visiting Straits Inclosure first where despite a poor variety of species, I did see my first Purple Hairstreak this year. Totals: Small White 3, Purple Hairstreak 1, Gatekeeper 1, Meadow Brown 4 and Ringlet 23. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A longish walk (0905-1415) when the temperature reached 24 degrees Celsius although cloudy at times. Eighteen species recorded: Comma (5); Gatekeeper (35); Speckled Wood (20); Meadow Brown (40); Small Skipper (45); Common Blue (M)(6); Brown Argus (1); Red Admiral (2); Marbled White (12); Ringlet (22); Peacock (2); Small White (12); Green-veined White (4); Essex Skipper (18); Large White (5); Purple Hairstreak (3); Brimstone (M)(1)(F)(1); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Distant Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

West Wood today:. Mixed fortunes at West Wood this morning as a heavy cloud bank (definitely NOT forecast!) obscured the sun for several hours, whilst at the same time, winds increased, limiting insect activity. Probably the highlights were the brilliantly coloured Scarlet Tiger moths, which were out feeding in reasonable numbers today, along with Silver-washed Fritillary (13), White Admiral (9), Red Admiral (2), Comma (24), plus Ringlet, Gatekeeper, and Meadow Brown. I had expected to see good numbers of Dark-green Fritillary too, but sightings were few and far between (5), with only the slightly damaged individual pictured below pausing for a photo. Back to the Purple Emperor search at Alice Holt again I think for the next few days, again perhaps more in hope than expectation of photographing a second grounding...but who knows? [Posted by Michael Jameson]

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Scarlet Tiger Moth at West Wood
Photo © Michael Jameson
Dark Green Fritillary at West Wood
Photo © Michael Jameson

Browndown South. A (very) early morning trip to Browndown South after it has been closed all week. As I walked across the gravel towards the stunted oaks at the eastern end I was struck by how many Gatekeepers were on top of the gorse and bracken. There were literally scores of them everywhere I looked. Most were sitting right on the top in bright sun but with wings closed. When I returned via this route 2 hours later there were more dogs to be counted that Gatekeepers - so I'm not sure if I stumbled on some sort of early morning emergence/gathering which disperses as the sun rises? Moving on to the oaks the Purple Hairstreaks were there as usual - some looking a bit worn now but plenty in good condition and one or two opening their wings. Then over to the rifle range for Grayling which I found easily enough but for anyone contemplating a visit - my hotspot used to be directly in front of the range but I found most this morning about 70-80 meters to the west of the range and directly in front of it. Also seen were Small Copper, Large Whites, Common Blue and Red Admiral. A reward for getting up early was a stunning roe deer out in the open. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Gatekeeper - Browndown South
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Purple Hairstreak - Browndown South
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Grayling - Browndown South
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

08 Jul 2022

Yew Hill. I counted 20 species in about an hour and a half at Yew Hill this morning. The mid-summer emergence of Chalk Hill Blue and Gatekeeper is well under way as well as fresh summer brood singles of Common Blue, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Brimstone and Green-veined White.

At least one Dark Green Fritillary was whizzing around a sizeable territory challenging anything else that moved and there was a fine supporting cast of Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Large White, Small White, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Marbled White, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Heath.

Amongst strong competition, my butterfly of the day award went to a single White-letter Hairstreak that I spotted standing guard on an Elm leaf in the lane at the back of the reserve. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

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White-letter Hairstreak at Yew Hill
Photo © Rupert Broadway
Peacock at Yew Hill
Photo © Rupert Broadway
Chalk Hill Blue at Yew Hill
Photo © Rupert Broadway

Micheldever Woods. I saw my first Purple Emperor of the season, mid-morning, along the main avenue of these woods. Three Comma butterflies were tucking in to some fresh dog poo on the path when down flew a purple emperor, flashing purple- blue in the bright sunshine. [Posted by Robert Bryant]


07 Jul 2022

Male Purple Emperor at Straits Enclosure. After days of leaden skies and moderate winds, conditions improved dramatically this afternoon, as I made my 11th visit to the Alice Holt Forest since mid-June, more in hope than expectation of seeing my first grounded Purple Emperor since 2020. Within minutes of entering the Straits Enclosure, a male Purple Emperor was seen flying along the main east-west gravel track at around 15:20. He landed, albeit briefly, and for just long enough for me to take this photo, and to establish that he was in excellent condition. Regrettably, this hastily taken shot failed to capture his splendid purple sheen, but the sighting certainly made up for the consistent disappointment of many fruitless visits hitherto this year. With conditions now set fair, there should be ample opportunity for further sightings in the coming week. [Posted by Michael Jameson]

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Purple Emperor at Straits Enclosure today.
Photo © Michael Jameson

06 Jul 2022

Havant Thicket. Today I visited Havant Thicket where the temperature was 21 degrees. Here i saw a total of 12 species; Brimstone 2F, Large White 1, Small White 6, Gatekeeper 5, Meadow Brown 18, Ringlet 18, Speckled Wood 1, Comma 2, Silver Washed Fritillary 7, White Admiral 3, Large Skipper 12 and Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Moth trap in my garden at Leigh Park. Had my moth trap on in my garden at Leigh Park, overnight on 5th to 6th July and caught 26 species.

Some of the highlights included 3 Elephant Hawk, Small Elephant Hawk, Waved Black, Broad-barred White, Large Emerald, Buff Tip, 2 L-album Wainscot, Blackneck, 2 Peppered Moth etc. [Posted by Barry Collins]


Southampton Common Silver-washed Fritillary. In the space of a quick 15 minute breather from the laptop..

Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Marbled White, Small White, Large White, Comma, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Silver-washed Fritillary, Purple Hairstreak

Not bad for a quick amble in the centre of town! Hadn't taken the camera - so the photo is from my phone. [Posted by Alison Vincent]

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Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Alison Vincent

Micheldever Wood. After Ashley telling me of a report he received about two Purple Emperors in the car park at Micheldever wood I decided to take a visit. I had already pinpointed a location within the wood that could be an assembly area which is the location I headed for after I arrived. The weather wasn’t ideal with 100% cloud cover but it was warm and fairly still. Not long after setting off down the main ride I encountered numbers of White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary and then caught sight of a Purple Emperor high in some oaks. Shortly after I spotted another Emperor quartering the ride ahead then land on one side in the longer grass. Sure enough its sensors had detected dog poo and so could my nose! I watched it for a good 30mins whilst it devoured its disgusting meal before it flew up into a hazel to clean up!

On the way back I checked the high point and confirmed it as an assembly area as there was a single male on patrol looking for potential opponents. Whilst waiting I also encountered a nationally scarce Hornet Beetle.

On the journey home I dropped in to Whitely where my son has recently rented offices. We walked down the main ride where I was able to show him his first Purple Emperors. In all I saw eight including my first female along with lots of fresh Comma and a pleasing number of White Admiral. This site is having a very productive year. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Yuk!
Photo © Mark Tutton
Hornet Beetle
Photo © Mark Tutton

Whiteley Pastures and Botley Wood Field trip. I was quite surprised today to see how well Whiteley Pastures and Botley Wood look with the amount of mature Oaks and Sallow content underneath the oaks, and the growth of these trees in and around the urbanisation of the Hampshire landscape here, where there are thousands of houses being built and a large shopping complex right on the woodlands doorstep. The main ride was where we walked in slow time and my whistle became rather busy as ''looking up not down'' we were frequented with males oak edging and sallow searching all the way along the ride. They came down to a reasonable height for most of the field trippers to get there 'eye in' as it were, as these magnificent beasts went about their business. In all we must have seen it about 15 or so times, but how many we saw twice or three times is hard to guesstimate, but I suspect we saw about 6-7 individuals. Along with the Purple Emperor we saw a few Silver-washed Fritillary, but the numbers seemed to be poor compared with other woods this year, and there was a sprinkling of White Admiral, along with the commoner species along the ride. We even looked at the famous Elm tree and it looks to be in good shape still but it is hard to see it from the ride for any sightings of the White-letter Hairstreak. When I first visited this site in about 1985, I could walk past it in a meadow seeing Marbled Whites etc, now it's a Sallow and Hazel jungle totally impenetrable. I was glad to see a good many 'new' faces today, and hope they all went home happy. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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White Admiral
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Field trip in Whiteley Pastures
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Ringlet resting after egg-laying.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

05 Jul 2022

Abbots Wood Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. From Straits Inclosure I visited Abbots Wood Inclosure where the temperature reached 21 degrees. Here I was lucky to identify a total of 7 Purple Emperors at several points along the track including at the main assembly point. One flew quite low past me but none actually landed on the ground. Totals: Small white 3, Meadow Brown 3, Ringlet 17, Comma 1, Purple Emperor 7, Silver Washed Fritillary 8, Small Tortoiseshell 1 and White Admiral 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. Today I visited Alice Holt Forest, where first I walked Straits Inclosurte. Here the temperature was 19 degrees and a shadow of its former self with many ride side bushes removed. My totals were: Small White 9, Meadow Brown 13, Ringlet 16, Silver Washed Fritillary 12 and White Admiral 5. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Bell's Copse. A very enjoyable walk around the Bell's Copse area between 1040-1300. Produced 4 male Purple Emperors mainly flying around high in the canopy of the oak trees some of which would occasionally descend low over the sallow. But the star of the day was a fantastic female Emperor absorbing the moisture from a muddy hole along one of the tracks we were walking on.

Other butterflies of note included 10 Silver-washed Fritillary, 4 Purple Hairstreak, 2 White Admiral, 5 Gatekeeper etc. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]


West Wood. West Wood was awash with butterflies this morning including Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Large White, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Silver-washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Marbled White and Ringlet.

Comma seems to be having a stellar year: and there were very respectable numbers of White Admiral - a species I usually struggle to see at this location.

At about 10 AM I spotted a lone Purple Emperor flying around the top of some oak trees - a few minutes later I was delighted to find it landed on the gravel path in front of me, where it posed for some minutes. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

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White Admiral - West Wood
Photo © Rupert Broadway
Purple Emperor - West Wood
Photo © Rupert Broadway
Purple Emperor - West Wood
Photo © Rupert Broadway

04 Jul 2022

Harewood forest in midsummer. Harewood in midsummer – 4.7.2022

Harewood is the largest woodland in Hampshire outside the New Forest, with large areas of ancient woodland, glades and edges, yet few people seem to watch it, which is a shame. The early morning was gloriously sunny but it clouded over just as I reached the chalk bank immediately south of the A303. I walked quickly past the line of thistles, which held double figures of Dark-green Fritillary, but by the time I entered the forest the cloud bank was complete. In the rare sunny spells the forest buzzed with fresh Silver-washed Fritillary on the bramble blossom, and Ringlets and Commas seemed to be everywhere; but when the sun went so did the action. I was grinding my teeth as I stepped onto a concrete track (they criss-cross the Forest; it was an ammunition dump in the war) - and there was a pristine female Purple Emperor! She flirted in front of me for several minutes but lost interest and flounced off. Five minutes later, a White Admiral swept through a clearing. Much of Happy Valley, the shallow valley in the south of the Forest, is now interesting dry grassland and held hundreds of Marbled Whites and other browns, hundreds of skippers and 2 bleached Small Heaths; but as the wind increased they hunkered down. Final totals (which would have been much more in reasonable weather), were Purple Emperor (1), White Admiral (1), Silver-washed Fritillary (~70), Dark Green Fritillary (20), Small Tortoiseshell (2), Red Admiral (5), Peacock (1), Comma (30), Small Skipper (20), Essex Skipper (50), Large Skipper (20),Gatekeeper (5), Meadow Brown (50), Ringlet (200+), Marbled White (150). Other interest: a total of 5 Golden-ringed Dragonflies patrolling clearings – quite a surprise; lots of Marsh Tits, increasingly scarce; 2 sleepy Tawny Owls disturbed out of a barn; and a Firecrest. I couldn’t find a single Speckled Wood, nor a single lycaenid, but a final tally of 19 spp. in poor weather isn’t so bad. [Posted by David Murdoch]


Magdalen Hill Down - new emergence. Today's butterfly transect at Magdalen Hill Down (original reserve) produced a good range of species, including my first Chalk Hill Blue of the season, plus the first of the 2022 emergence of Peacock (1), Gatekeeper (3) and Brimstone (6).

Small Skipper (62), Ringlet (41), Marbled White (49) and Meadow Brown (65) were present in particularly good numbers, as was Comma (12), which is an especially high count for this site. A Scarlet Tiger moth nectaring on Creeping Thistle was and added bonus. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Chalk Hill Blue (male)
Photo © Andy Barker
Small Skipper
Photo © Andy Barker
Scarlet Tiger moth
Photo © Andy Barker

Possible Queen of Spain Fritillary on Portchester Common. Walking Portchester Common from the small layby on Skew Road after about 50m I saw a large orange butterfly which I thought might have be a Painted Lady but realised it wasn't very quickly and was probably a Fritillary. It was quite active, moving fron napweed clump to napweed clump and when settled showed a distinctive underwing pattern of large silver spots (2-3 on hind wing) and more smaller silver spots on an orange/brown background. Viewed with binoculars from about 3m. Upper wing was orange with black cells, and what appeared to be lines of 3 black cells off the leading wing, rather like tortoiseshell. I only had a mobile phone but couldn't get any pictures at all. I don't claim to be an expert, but do have some experience of Dark Green Fritillary, and the spots on this much larger butterfly were much larger and not on a greenish background.

I have looked at Queen of Spain Fritillary in guides and certain this was what I saw. I bitterly regret not having my camera! My wife was with me but didn't have a chance to view through the bins.

Map reference: SU618066. Walked from carpark straight ahead (east) butterfly seen on right of main track about 50m from carpark. [Posted by Lyndon Hatfield]


Abbotts Wood Inclosure. Another venture into Alice , but we still cannot get that perfect weather for more than a few minutes or more. I arrived at just after 11:00 and the male Purple Emperors were flying about busy Oak edging and sallow searching and searching Ash trees as well. The males are beginning to look a bit hen pecked, with chunks starting to appear in their wings, adding to Identification, especially when you need to do a count. I viewed the males between 11:00 and 13:00. I counted upwards of 20 odd sightings, which probably equates to about 8 males, plus a female which was observed diving into a large sallow bush, and was probably ovipositing there. At one of the Assembly Points I noted several males sparring and up to three were seen chasing in a vista, but most of the time it was very breezy and conditions were not favourable for the Emperor at the tops of the trees, majority of the time. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male searching the outer branches of a Ash tree
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Round and round in and out searching an Ash
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Stormy overcast conditions at an Assembly Point most of the time
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Browndown South. An early morning trip to Browndown South hoping to see Purple Hairstreaks and my first Grayling of the year. The former were relatively easy to find in the stunted oaks and I easily reached 10+ in the first hour with a couple of obliging ones giving open wing views. The Grayling were a little harder but I eventually stumbled (literally!) on 3 in the usual area in front of the firing range. Also seen were Small Copper, Peacock and fresh Red Admiral.

PS For anyone hoping to visit this area soon (it has been closed a lot recently and the published monthly opening times are not 100% reliable) the more up to date notice on the gate shows it as being closed during the day Tues-Fri this week and also on Thursday evening. Otherwise it appears to be open Tues, Weds, Fri evenings and all day over the next weekend [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Purple Hairstreak - Browndown South
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Purple Hairstreak - Browndown South
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Grayling - Browndown South
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

03 Jul 2022

Havant Thicket. Today I visited Havant Thicket where the temperature reached 20 degrees. No sign of a Purple Emperor. Totals: Brimstone 4F, Small White 5, Gatekeeper 3, Meadow Brown 13, Ringlet 15, Speckled Wood 2, Comma 1, Silver Washed Fritillary 2 and Large Skipper 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Chalk Hill Blue and Gatekeeper at Magdalen. A lovely three-hour walk around Magdalen Sunday 3rd July in the evening golden hour saw a male Gatekeeper and a male Chalk Hill Blue; both freshly emerged. Mobile phone photos below. [Posted by Lee Hurrell]

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Chalk Hill Blue, male, Magdalen Hill Down, 3rd July 2022
Photo © Lee Hurrell
Gatekeeper, male, Magdalen Hill Down, 3rd July 2022
Photo © Lee Hurrell

West Wood, Crab Wood and Pitt Down Field Trip. It's not often I squeeze three sites into one field trip, well today was just one of those days, despite the weather not being good Purple Emperor weather, we all had good views of HIM flying around many of the Oaks and some Conifers, in West Wood. Also one was seen flying out of Crab Wood, and there were closer views of a male and a Red Admiral imbibing on tree sap on a dead Oak tree in the main ride. We also had a very short viewing of a male imbibing on the ground but there was a lot of activity around the male which spooked him and he never came back, which was a great shame, as a lot of the field trippers would have been in awe of the beauty of seeing this wonderful insect close up for the first time. I had baited some of the rides, and the flies soon got stuck in as it really did smell, but the weather was a little reluctant to be sunny all the time, so consequently the males were reluctant to fly a lot of the time. However I think we saw the males about 15 times, and consequently we probably saw 6 or 7 males, plus one in Crab Wood. There were good views of Scarlett Tiger Moths, along with White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary. In the Afternoon it was all about the Dark Green Fritillary, which on the western side of the down was literally covered in these beautiful insects, in fact I don't think I've seen so many, a good 50 plus males and several females. I like to thank all who came and made this a special field trip. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Scarlett Tiger Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dark Green Fritillary male
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Ashley's Ride West Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Havant Thicket. We arrived in the car park at Havant Thicket about 1030. The weather was not ideal for looking for Purple Emperors, although we did see good numbers of Ringlet, 2 White Admiral and several Silver-washed Fritillary. Then on our way back to the car on the main track that runs west to east the weather improved and between 1215-1250, and we saw at least 3 male Purple Emperors flying about in the canopy. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]


02 Jul 2022

Hollybank Woods, Southleigh Forest. I visited Hollybank Woods in Southleigh Forest where I recorded the following, Brimstone 1F, Small White 2, Marbled White 2 and Comma 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Blackbush Hanger, Southleigh Forest. Today I visited Blackbush Hanger, Southleigh Forest where the Purple Emperor is an annual resident. Today with the temperature at 21 degrees I searched but no sighting was made. A few butterflies were seen, Large white 1, Small White 1, Meadow Brown 3, Ringlet 1 and Silver Washed Fritillary 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Not quite lepidoptera. Violet Carpenter Bee, new immigrant apparently, seen at Longstock Park nursery today by the manager. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Violet Carpenter Bee
Photo © Andrew Brookes

Botley Wood and Whiteley Pastures. It was a bit breezy with a fair bit of cloud when I arrived at Botley Wood this morning so I wasn’t expecting to see that much but it turned out to be an excellent visit with at least five male Purple Emperors seen. The first of these was flying around the top of a small oak before gliding over a ride at Botley Wood. From the main Whiteley track I spotted two sparring males. Another was seen oak edging further on. Best of all was a male down on the track. I had further sightings of emperors flying around the canopy of the oaks in the same area which may have been different individuals. There were also several White Admirals and Silver-washed Fritillary about.

Butterflies seen: 5 Large Skipper, 1 Essex Skipper, 6 Small Skipper, 1 Purple Hairstreak, 1 Holly Blue, 2 Small White, 1 Green-veined White, 6 Purple Emperor, 1 Red Admiral, 6 White Admiral, 2 Painted Lady, 2 Peacock, 1 Comma, 20 Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Marbled White, 50 Ringlet, 30 Meadow Brown, 1 hummingbird hawk-moth. [Posted by Mark Rolfe]

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Photo © Mark RolfePhoto © Mark RolfePhoto © Mark Rolfe

White Admiral explosion at Creech. Three tatty male White Admirals seen at Creech, Apless Road end, yesterday, treble last year's top tally. No fritillaries alas, several Commas, a few browns and skippers, and a surprise Small Tortoiseshell. Rides now seriously shaded, while the wayleave is overrun with sallow, which is presumably good news for the Emperor. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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White Admiral
Photo © Andrew Brookes

01 Jul 2022

Havant Thicket. My father, Roy Symonds lack of contributions to the news over the last few months have been due to my professional commitments not being able to have time to upload his sightings, despite the fact he has been walking several times a week. I am now reporting all sightings since 1st July.

On 1st July my father, Roy Symonds visited Havant Thicket where the temperature reached 18 degrees. Here a total of 11 different species were recorded: Brimstone 2F, Large White 1, Small White 4, Marbled White 1, Meadow Brown 12, Ringlet 15, Comma 2, Silver Washed Fritillary 9, White Admiral 1, Large Skipper 2 and Essex Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]


Alice Holt Forest. Over the past two days I have been studying the male Purple Emperor in Abbotts Wood Inclosure whilst dodging some hefty showers. Yesterday was a complete wash out only having seen a male twice and that was just re-adjusting himself on a sprig of an Oak. Today was a lot better with no showers and lots of heavy leaden skies but less wind and more sunshine, especially towards mid-afternoon. It would seem this year the males are occupying different Oaks in the woods so to shelter themselves from the almighty gusts of wind that seem to hammer them at times. The males were active in small bouts of warm sunshine, and again when the sun went behind hefty areas of cloud they still would come out and engage in combat chasing each other over the ride into sallow thickets, and then reappear a bit further down the ride and complete a circuit of sallow searching and Oak edging. Several males were seen quite content on just sitting in Oak sprigs and just minding their own business, only moving when something irritated them, and they were off rather like using the Oaks in the ride like an Assembly point in the afternoon. In all I saw the Purple Emperor about 20 odd times over a period of 11:00 and 13:00. This probably equates to about 8 or 9 individual males, but I didn't see any female activity, as I dont think there are many around yet. I was only looking at an area of about 100 yards of ride space, so any other activity went unnoticed. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Purple Emperor on an Oak sprig
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Another Male takes up residence
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Alice Holt Forest from Oakhanger
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Alver Valley. A return trip to Alver Valley this morning in bright sunshine but strong wind. All the usual suspects from previous trips which I won't list again here - the notable exception being Gatekeepers which have increased significantly in numbers, I was well into double figures after a 2.5 hour walk. I went with the intention of finding White Admiral in the oak copse by Browndown North. I could only find 3 and these were very worn (see photo!) but at least its reassuring to know they are still there having seen only one previously. Peering into oaks also meant I spotted a good number of Purple Hairstreaks which I don't usually see in this area, preferring the head height trees on Browndown South. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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White Admiral - Browndown North
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Gatekeeper - Alver Valley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Marbled White - Alver Valley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff