Butterfly Conservation
Saving butterflies, moths and our environment
Hampshire and
Isle of Wight Branch

Important Message (8 May 2021)

The next date in the Government's road map to tackle the coronavirus is 17 May 2021. From this date, if confirmed, groups of up to 30 people can assemble outside. This means that Butterfly Walks are likely to go ahead from 17 May. Please consult the Events > Butterfly Walks tab for further details.

Butterfly Conservation and the UKBMS have decided that transect walking can take place in 2021. More details will be available shortly on the Transect News page.

News

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

22 Jun 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Only five species seen today on a walk from noon until 2.30pm under grey skies, fairly strong northerly breeze and hint of rain (15.5 - 17.5 deg C). A pleasant surprise was my year's first sighting of Essex Skipper seen in the butterfly meadow. Also in this location was three pristine Red Admiral and a further two recorded elsewhere; possibly all males but certainly very new butterflies. Two foxes also seen and, for the first time in my life, a mating pair of bumble bees! Whatever next? Total: Meadow Brown (10); Red Admiral (5); Common Blue (F - Variant Fb)(1); Essex Skipper (1); Holly Blue (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female Var Fb
Photo © Francis Plowman
Essex Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Essex Skipper (antennae tips)
Photo © Francis Plowman

20 Jun 2021

IBM Lake, Cosham. A quick look early afternoon in the elms along northern perimeter of site west of the entrance roundabout and a single White-letter Hairstreak seen. My first Marbled Whites of year and a couple of Meadow Browns. [Posted by Tim Doran]

Beaulieu Rd Station Area. Paid a visit to this area from 1300-1430 in almost total cloud cover with just a few tiny glints of the sunshine now and then. It really didn't matter as it became quite easy to disturb Silver-studded Blues in amongst the heather. Not a lot else about though! Totals seen were Silver-studded Blue 16 (all males and super fresh), Small Heath 4, Meadow Brown 2, Common Heath 2, Clouded Buff 1. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Silver Studded Blue
Photo © Mark Pike
Silver Studded Blue
Photo © Mark Pike
Clouded Buff (female)
Photo © Mark Pike

White-Letter Hairstreak, Cosham. I finally managed to locate my first White-letter Hairstreak of the year today. Just a single individual (no photo) at Lakeside Cosham. That is nearly 2 weeks later than last year, the weather having had a significant impact on both emergence and sightings. None were seen at any other locations.

I also managed to locate a pupa last weekend at another site near Portsmouth. As of today it has yet to emerge. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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White Letter Hairstreak Pupa
Photo © Paul Harfield

Browndown (North) Gosport. With the grey skies lifting it was a quick dash around the Browndown North sector of the Alver Valley Country Park, ie west of the River Meon. With a temperature range of 17-21 degrees Celsius my walk (1225-1430) primarily aimed at checking for any early White Admiral, Silver-studded Blue and Grayling. None of the above seen which tells its own story. However, there is plenty of honeysuckle about and the heather is coming along very nicely. Sadly the indigenous community of morons have once again torched some of the heath but fortunately the lower area was spared or more likely saved by the fire service. Nine species were recorded mostly in very low numbers but after the last two days' weather it was a joy to see so many. Total: Meadow Brown (21); Common Blue (M)(2); Large Skipper (1); Speckled Wood (F)(2)(M)(1); Small Heath (7 including a mating pair); Small Copper (1); Marbled White (M)(1); Red Admiral (2); Small White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath - female at right
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

17 Jun 2021

First Portsdown Marbled White. Saw my first Marbled White today on the grassy traffic island opposite The George pub. I think this was the earliest site on Portsdown last year. [Posted by John Goodspeed]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. From 1150-1420 in overcast and humid conditions (23 deg C) I quartered the site to good effect. Ten butterfly species were seen and a Greater-Spotted Woodpecker! In the southern area I came across a virtually pristine Painted Lady; it was stunning in coloration and condition but was not acting anything like a Painted Lady should! It was still and languid and if a butterfly can ever be described as 'confused' this appeared it! It even came on to my offered finger. I am thus fairly confident that it was probably a very recent release. Later I would come across two further and obviously 'wild' Painted Lady butterflies and can make a photographic comparison below. The second example landed in the butterfly meadow and was much smaller than the first seen. A first summer emergence of Comma was stunning but very shy while numbers of Meadow Brown continue to build. Total: Common Blue (M)(4); Speckled Wood (M)(2); Red Admiral (3); Comma (1); Meadow Brown (M)(12); Painted Lady (3); Small White (M)(3)(F)(1); Small Heath (1); Large White (1); Holly Blue (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Painted Lady - probably a release
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady confronts green beetle!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Same Painted Lady side-on
Photo © Francis Plowman

Monks Walk, Gosport - Additional Photos. Some further photos from today's visit. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma summer brood
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman

Early Silver Studded Blues in New Forest?. At noon today in warm cloudy conditions, I saw two male Silver-studded Blues on the heathland border of Pig Bush Car Park, (not far from Beaulieu road). Because of the early date, I hesitate over the identification, but attach the photos that I took. [Posted by Ashley Ailes]

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Silver studded blue at Pig Bush 17/6/21
Photo © Ashley Ailes
Silver studded blue at Pig Bush 17/6/21
Photo © Ashley Ailes

Eastern Clearing Bentley Wood. Went to Bentley Wood in the late afternoon about 16:00 when it was cooler and there was nobody there, and it was quite pleasant walking around. However the site is so dry now, and the butterfly count was very disappointing. I managed just one brief glimpse of a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary on the ground and he took off never to be seen again. Gone are the days when you didn't have to look for them, they came to you.As somebody has put in the car-park log book about the amount of wild flowers there are there now, and the coppicing being taken over by ferns, the butterflies are really struggling. Butterflies and moths seen were Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood, Small Heath, Painted Lady and the one Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary. Many Six Spotted Burnet Moths, Burnet Companions, Treble Bar Moths, and Common Carpet. Alas no Argent and Sable Moths. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Orgy of Six Spotted Burnet Moths
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

16 Jun 2021

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. A very speculative circulation of the scrubby field from 1600-1625 under cloudy skies, warm breeze and temperature of 22 deg C realised three species and introduced debut 2021 season appearances for Marbled White and Meadow Brown. Both field butterflies were in the tall grasses on the eastern perimeter being sheltered there from the breeze. The Common Blue colony is diminished somewhat but both sexes represented still. Total: Marbled White (M)(1); Meadow Brown (M)(1); Common Blue (M)(2)(F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Marbled White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Male Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

15 Jun 2021

Havant Thicket, Rowlands Castle. Our first visit this year to the thicket (1030-1215) provided a very pleasant outing with a temperature rising from 21 through to 24 degrees Celsius. Overall butterfly numbers were quite low and comparatively lagging (8 species noted). For example, the northern and eastern perimeter paths provided just one Holly Blue! (That's a lot of walking for little sport.....) However, the highlight was our first 2021 sighting of Dark Green Fritillary which was very fresh and tolerant of photography. Total: Speckled Wood (8); Red Admiral (2); Large Skipper (3); Brimstone (F)(7)(M)(3); Dark Green Fritillary (1); Meadow Brown (1); Small Heath (1); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brimstone male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Portsdown Hill, Paulsgrove. From 1300-1450 in a warm temperature range of 23-25 deg Celsius we walked the top of the hill, down past the chalk cliff face and then back up towards the eastern hill area before returning to the 'roundabout' car park. The top path ie parallel to the main road is now virtually impassable with overgrown vegetation so we entered the hilly area earlier than usual. Nine species were seen the highlight being our first sighting this year of Marbled White, a male very fresh and fidgety! Total: Meadow Brown (22); Common Blue (M)(12); Small Heath (2); Small Blue (6 incl 1 female); Holly Blue (8 incl 1 female); Brimstone (M)(5)(F)(2); Marbled White (M)(1); Speckled Wood (2); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman

Alver Valley. Another reptile survey today this time in the Alver Valley and another opportunity to spot butterflies. I seem to be a long way behind with my sightings this year so a couple of firsts for me today - Meadow Brown and Large Skipper. Plenty of the former (although playing hard to get in the heat) - just 3 of the latter. The early emergers always surprise me each year with their strong colours - the Large Skipper in particular was a beautiful bright orange. Apart from these, masses of Small Heaths, plenty of Common Blues and a few Speckled Woods. Also saw my first Emperor dragonfly of the year. No Marbled White yet - but can't be long hopefully. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Large Skipper - Alver Valley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Meadow Brown - Alver Valley
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

14 Jun 2021

Chilling Coastal Area, Titchfield. A walk from the car park towards the Brownwich shore and cliffs from 1210-1415 produced just eight species and - Meadow Brown excepted - a low count. The aim was to check along the cliffs for Clouded Yellow or Painted Lady but only one of the latter seen. Probably the warmest day of the year so far (25-26 deg C) with a graceful and warm breeze from the south making it a very pleasant wander. Highlight was first Summer sighting of Small Tortoiseshell and later a beautiful fresh Peacock floated down to alight on my shoulder! Total: Speckled Wood (M)(2)(F)(2); Meadow Brown (38); Painted Lady (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Small White (1); Peacock (1); Small Copper (1); Common Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Meadow Brown male & bee
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman

12 Jun 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. 1000-1245 with temperature range 20-23 deg C with gentle warm breeze. Nine butterfly species noted. A male Common Blue with distinctive scratched wings is still about sixteen days after first recording it. Total: Holly Blue (8); Brown Argus (2); Common Blue (M)(8)(F)(2); Meadow Brown (M)(3); Small White (M)(1); Small Heath (2); Speckled Wood (9); Orange-tip (F)(1); Red Admiral (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Orange-tip egg-laying posture
Photo © Francis Plowman
Meadow Brown male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Great Fontley highlights. Very fresh Grizzled Skipper, first of the year, seen at Great Fontley plantation, while an immaculate Small Tortoiseshell favoured the Phuopsis stylosa outside the farmhouse. Also seen were one tired female Red Admiral testing the nettles, several Small Heath, a tatty male Common Blue, and an irrepressible female Brimstone still doing the rounds. Brimstone larvae on the buckthorns now approaching maturity. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Andrew Brookes
Small Tortoiseshell taking it easy
Photo © Andrew Brookes
Female Brimstone taking refreshment
Photo © Andrew Brookes

Winchester Garden Small Blue. We had a Small Blue in our Winchester garden today nectaring briefly on bird's-foot trefoil - only the 2nd in 28 years (last was way back in the late 90s or early 2000s). Unfortunately it took one look at the camera and was off!

Common Blue (female - blue form) present at the same time plus visits from Red Admiral and Brimstone today. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

Oxenbourne Down NNR. Visited Oxenbourne Down NNR for the last time for the adult Duke of Burgundy of which I saw (5) all in a woeful condition, which isn't surprising really. Today was a good day for invertebrates, and the butterfly count was as follows : Small Heath(7)Common Blue (45) Brimstone (10) Large White (1) Speckled Wood (3) Dingy Skipper (5) Grizzled Skipper (8) a mating pair, Dark Green Fritillary flying at great speed over the down, Comma, Red Admiral, Large Skipper(3) Meadow Brown (2) Green Hairstreak (2) Moths were quite good as well with countless Speckled Yellows, the most I've ever seen I think. Common Carpet, Burnet Companion, Six spot and five spot Burnet Moths, and Cinnabar Moths [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Duke of Burgundy still on patrol
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

11 Jun 2021

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. Today I walked Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill, where the temperature reached 19 degrees. Here I saw the following: Brimstone 11M, Common Blue 2M 1F, Holly Blue 2, Speckled Wood 1, Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. Four species only on a 70 minutes' wander around the old Palmerston-folly-fort from noon today. Only 20 deg C with occasional sunny periods but with a fairly intrusive southerly breeze which swept the hillside. Without the one Large White it would again have been an all-blue affair (suitably appropriate for a Portsmouth site!) and I am gaining great pleasure in noting the variety of female Common Blue this year. Today provided a particularly striking example. On the wing it appeared to be a male but opening its wings once settled revealed a magical array of soft colours. The Small Blue numbers are growing and both sexes were noted. Total: Holly Blue (9) incl 1 female egg-laying; Common Blue (M)(5)(F)(2); Small Blue (17) incl at least 1 female; Large White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Blue female on Horseshoe Vetch
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Blue male with Blow fly for comparison
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue another female variety
Photo © Francis Plowman

Friday Foray at Yew Hill. Very enjoyable Friday foray at Yew Hill today with Fiona Scully, augmented by members of the Wild Winchester Facebook Group. A respectable 10 species of butterfly seen including Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Brimstone, Small White, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral (outside the reserve), Small Heath, Speckled Wood and last and least in terms of dimensions, but not significance, a single Small Blue on the abundant kidney vetch.

A few day-flying moths including Cinnabar, 5-spot Burnet and (?) Mother Shipton, a profusion of orchids and other flora and downland birds including Common Whitehroat, Blackcap, Yellowhammer, Skylark and a Peregrine that turned out to be a Kestrel! [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

10 Jun 2021

Cowley's Copse, Bentley Wood (West Dean). We undertook HIOW Butterfly Walks No 11 for the first time this afternoon (1400-1520) under grey clouds and a humid temperature of around 22 degrees Celsius. Entering the Eastern Clearing two strongly coloured fritillaries cavorted around themselves while another rather faded specimen floated off down the meadow. It would be an hour and ten minutes before we came across a settled fritillary! Sadly, this was the faded individual which turned out to be a Pearl-bordered variety. Whether the two more vibrantly coloured butterflies were the Small Pear-bordered variety we shall never know. Our first sighting this year of Large Skipper was most welcome. Total: Small White (1); Brimstone (M)(1)(F)(1); Large Skipper (1); Pearl-bordered Fritillary (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman

08 Jun 2021

Old Winchester Hill. Today I paid a visit to Old Winchester Hill where the temperature was 20 degrees. Descending the West facing car park slope I saw 5 male Adonis Blues then walked the top path circling the hill fort. Totals: Brimstone 4M 4F, Small White 2, Adonis Blue 5M, Common Blue 8M,Small Heath 9, Painted Lady 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Afton Down and Compton Chine Isle of Wight. A beautiful day greeted me today as I set off on my annual pilgrimage to the Isle of Wight.Compton Chine looked splendid with all the wildflowers in bloom like Thrift, Horseshoe and Kidney Vetch and Birds-foot Trefoil sprawled all over the site. The butterflies were equally impressive with well over (50) odd Glanville Fritillary seen on the wing. many of them still in excellent condition, and others a little worn. There were Large Skippers, Common Blue, Small Blue, Meadow Brown, Dingy Skipper, Red Admiral, Small Heath, White Plume Moth, Cinnabar Moth, Stonechats, Rock Pipits, Skylarks, Broad Bordered Chasers, Blue Damselflies, and Bee Orchids all at Compton Chine keeping me rather busy for many hours. At Afton Down there were at least a dozen or so more Glanville Fritillary to be seen especially close to the main road, and also good numbers of Adonis Blues, which looked in good condition as well, Green Hairstreak and the usual Dingy Skipper, Small Heath, Common Blue and last but not least Brown Argus. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Adonis Blue at Afton Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Glanville Fritillary Compton Chine
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
White Plume Moth Compton Chine
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Small Pearls make appearance in the Eastern Clearing. An early afternoon visit to the Eastern Clearing in Bentley Wood produced two Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (both males), found in the central area after half an hour of searching, when very few butterflies were seen. In the end, as well as the Small Pearls, I recorded 7 Pearl-bordered Fritillary (fading) and 5 Brimstones. In view of the paucity of butterflies, I mention the two juvenile Common Lizards also seen! It is noticeable that the clearing is becoming very dry compared to a few years ago, despite the heavy rainfall during May. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Old Winchester Hill - Part I. Our last visit on 25 May had been a complete wash-out. Try again! With 20 degrees Celsius of warmth yet with a fairly strong southerly breeze from 1100 we descended the car park slope towards the valley floor. The first butterfly seen was a female Adonis Blue which augured well. Eventually 10 species were noted before returning to the car park at 1230. However, the eastern slope was quartered as well as the valley floor. The noblest deed of the day was extracting a hapless male Brimstone from a strong spider's web; satisfying to record Brimstone 1 Spider 0! Total: Adonis Blue (M)(10)(F)(3); Common Blue (M)(19)(F)(4); Brown Argus (2); Brimstone (M)(11)(F)(2); Small Heath (22); Grizzled Skipper (4); Dingy Skipper (3); Holly Blue (1); Red Admiral (1); Large White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Adonis Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Adonis Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Stockbridge Down. A warm afternoon on the down produced ten species, notably Common Blue and Adonis Blue, Small Heath, Green Hairstreak, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Orange-tip, Duke of Burgundy, Grizzled Skipper and Dingy Skipper; none of which would stay still long enough for a decent photograph! [Posted by Dave Pearson]

Old Winchester Hill - Part II. After lunch the second wander commenced (1240-1420) at 20 deg C with a refreshing wind from the south. We set out heading south-east along the top path towards the hill fort, then a clockwise circulation of the monument before descending along the valley path but then turning right and up to the top path once more. (We did not want to face the car park slope twice in one day!) Nine species recorded with Small Copper and Speckled Wood leading to a site total for the day of 12 species. Total: Red Admiral (2); Common Blue (M)(36)(F)(4); Small Heath (20); Brown Argus (1); Brimstone (M)(13)(F)(8); Small Copper (3); Adonis Blue (M)(3)(F)(1); Speckled Wood (2); Small White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue (female at right)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Adonis Blue female & Common Blue - stand-off!
Photo © Francis Plowman

07 Jun 2021

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. Four outings this afternoon began with a couple of circulations of the flower-strewn scrub beside the sea wall car park. From 1300-1335 (17.5 deg C) with full sun and some on shore breeze I recorded just four species. That included an unusually marked Common Blue female which sadly prevented a close approach and decent photograph. No Painted Lady noted today. Total: Holly Blue (2); Common Blue (M)(3)(F)(2); Brown Argus (1); Small White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female variety [?]
Photo © Francis Plowman

Gilkicker Point, Gosport. From 1340 to 1420 I tried my luck around Gilkicker Point. The sea breezes were strong but with full sun (circa 18 deg C) I was optimistic! That soon faded as very little on the wing. The Small Copper is conspicuous by its absence and today no sign either of Painted Lady. In fact only two species to report. Total: Common Blue (M)(3); Small White (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Monks Hill, Promenade Field & Seafield Park, Hill Head. It was still 19 degrees Celsius along the promenade though felt cooler due to the sea breezes. The wander from 1430-1505 was disappointing generally. No sign of Painted Lady or Clouded Yellow in an area where sightings in previous years have been good. Seafield Park itself is virtually devoid of butterflies as a result of previously noted desecration of the whole scrub area. Wonderful display of wild flowers but except bees precious little, in fact, just one Common Blue male and a disinterested Small White in transit. Total: Small White (2); Common Blue (M)(2); Peacock (1); Red Admiral (1) [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. My afternoon searches concluded with a brief walk (1520-1640) on my 'home' patch when the sun was shining and temperature around 19 degrees Celsius. Very pleasant. However, sightings and numbers were generally below average although Common Blue numbers are rising across the fields with two females seen in the large field adjoining DM Gosport's boundary. Total: Speckled Wood (3); Common Blue (M)(9)(F)(2); Brown Argus (1); Holly Blue (F)(1); Small Heath (1); Orange-tip (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female Var Fb
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue female 1st brood
Photo © Francis Plowman

06 Jun 2021

Painted Ladies near Cheesefoot Head, Winchester. On a walk south of Cheesefoot Head this afternoon in generally warm and sunny conditions we saw 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 5 Painted Lady. The Painted Ladies occurred over 1 km along the path that passes Oakclose Plantation. The only one that stopped long enough for a photo was slightly tatty and faded. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

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Photo © Bob Whitmarsh

Portsdown Hill Field Trip. The day started with rain and the sky was a heavy lead colour so things didn't look too promising from the word go. However even at Portsdown Hill we decided to give it a go even though the threat of even more rain looked almost certain, we set around Fort Widley and saw Small Blues, Common Blues, Holly Blues, Burnet Companion Moths, Common Carpet Moths, Pyramidal Spotted Orchids, Common Spotted Orchids, Early Purple Orchids and all of the Vetches were in bloom looking like a yellow carpet all over Portsdown Hill. Some of us attempted to go down into the large chalk pit to see the varied bird life, but our main quarry was absent from being on the wing, probably too cold. We did see some more Small Blue and Common Blues, and Bee Orchids, but three butterfly species was the grand total. I'd like to thank all those who were brave enough to come along despite the weather. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Holly Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

05 Jun 2021

Stockbridge Down excels. Saturday 5 June on Stockbridge Down was a hot summer’s day with early spring species still flying – and often in good condition. We had a family picnic, so I couldn’t go very far, but luckily butterflies (unlike birds) are not put off by the sound of loud small boys. 45 minutes on one side of the road was disappointing, with a single Large Pearl-bordered Fritillary sweeping through the best sighting. But the first meadow west from the eastern car park was outstanding: estimating numbers was guesswork as many individuals were highly mobile, but there were conservatively several fresh Adonis Blues (3), two males and at least one female; an ovipositing Green Hairstreak (1) seen well; Grizzled Skippers (2) and Brown Argus (2), both fresh and tatty specimens; plenty of Brimstones (15+) and Small Heaths (5+); and a pristine male Small Blue (1). Add in the backdrop of 5 spp warbler singing, including Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat, and it was a very enjoyable day: quality, if not quantity. We had 15 species from such a small area, so I think 20 species would have been possible easy if we had checked the main down. [Posted by David Murdoch]

Grizzled Skippers, Nursling Substation. Very pleased to see two Grizzled Skippers now at Nursling Substation. Unaware of previous sightings here, even pre-crash. Hope it's a sign of the species increasing. [Posted by Jason Claxton]

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Photo © Jason ClaxtonPhoto © Jason Claxton

Meon Valley. In near perfect conditions today in the Meon Valley and the butterflies are becoming greater in numbers, especially the Small Blue and Small Heath, and Common Blue. On the wane now is the Duke of Burgundy with several seen in worn condition, although there are still some specimens in very good condition Dingy Skippers are looking ragged as well, but it was good to see more moth species today like 5 spot burnet moth, Mother Shipton, Burnet Companion, and Common Carpet. There are some lovely wildflowers starting to come into blossom most of the vetches and Orchids, Common Hemp Nettle, Vipers Bugloss, Twayblade, Germander Speedwell. Mother Roe Deer were seen in meadows tending their Calf’s. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Mother Shipton Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
5 Spot Burnet Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Carpet
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Martin Down. Paid a visit from 0830 to 1300 and plenty of species on the wing on a super morning. The thing that really stood out for me though was the amount of Small Blue and Brown Argus, especially along the Bokerley Ditch area. Also plenty of day flying moths around. Species seen were Brown Argus 40+, Small Blue 70+, Adonis Blue 22, Common Blue 30, Marsh Fritillary 14, Green Hairstreak 4, Small Copper 18, Small Heath 28, Brimstone 10, Large White 1, Peacock 2, Large Skipper 1, Grizzled Skipper 16, Dingy Skipper 22, Orange-tip 1, Common Heath 1, Wood Tiger 1, Yellow Shell 8, Silver Y 2, Cinnabar 1, Mother Shipton 2, Burnet Companion 5. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Common Heath
Photo © Mark Pike
Large Skipper
Photo © Mark Pike
Wood Tiger
Photo © Mark Pike

04 Jun 2021

St Catherine's Hill, Winchester. A visit to three sites in Winchester started at noon for an hour at St Catherine's Hill. With the temperature around 14 degrees Celsius under grey skies and with recent rain, we were not expecting to see much; so we were not unduly disappointed by noting just three species! Total: Speckled Wood (M)(1); Brown Argus (2); Common Blue (M)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman

Yew Hill, Winchester. After lunch we set out around the main meadow from 1330-1500. Still cloudy but brighter and temperature of just 17 deg C. Six species were recorded: Painted Lady (1); Common Blue (M)(10)(F)(1); Small Heath (4); Dingy Skipper (1); Brimstone (M)(1); Green-veined White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Painted Lady (strong colours)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Common Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Magdalen Hill Down, Winchester. Our final brief walk was the main pathways of MHD when just an hour was enough from 1515 as grey skies prevailed with a temperature 17-18 deg C. Late in the day, cool and without sunshine we were lucky to see: Small Heath (10); Common Blue (M)(5); Dingy Skipper (1); Brown Argus (2); Brimstone (M)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

03 Jun 2021

Southampton Common. Top (north end) small wildflower meadow areas near the reservoir; intermittent sunshine, around 12:00 - 13:00: Small Copper (4), Common Blue (4), Holly Blue (1), Small Heath (1), Brimstone male (3), and Mother Shipton (1), Silver Y (1) moths. [Posted by Jon HD]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Eleven species noted today from noon for 2.5 hours wander mostly in sunshine (18 deg C) but with fairly prominent breezes. The solitary male Meadow Brown remains in the butterfly meadow. Common Blue numbers are rising slowly and three fresh specimens (two males and a female) were photographed in the large field adjacent to DM Gosport. Tall grasses and patches of Birds-foot Trefoil provide good habitat and the Watermint nearby is doing nicely too. Total: Small White (8); Green-veined White (M)(1)(F)(1); Small Heath (2); Common Blue (M)(7)(F)(1); Holly Blue (9); Brown Argus (1); Red Admiral (1); Meadow Brown (M)(1); Peacock (2); Large White (M)(3); Speckled Wood (7). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock on Clover
Photo © Francis Plowman

Magdalen Hill - East. I carried out a reptile survey at Magdalen Hill today so naturally took the opportunity to look out for some butterflies too. The survey took me to the Eastern side of Magdalen Hill which is an area I haven't visited before. The butterflies seen included Common Blue, Small Heath, Brown Argus, Small Blue and Painted Lady. I could only manage a single Brown Argus on this side of the hill but the surprise (for me at least) was the number of Small Blues. I can usually find a small number in the chalk pit at the top of the hill but at the bottom of the eastern side of the hill, quite close to the main road and in tall, thick vegetation there were Small Blues at every step - well into double figures. The Painted Lady was well worn. Common Blues lived up their name and were everywhere. For anyone interested - reptiles were hard to come by with the exception of Slow Worms (12 seen) [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Small Blue - Magdalen Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Small Blue - Magdalen Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Small Heath - Magdalen Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

02 Jun 2021

Moth trap in my garden at Leigh Park. Had my moth trap on in my garden overnight and caught 31 species. Some of the highlights were Small Elephant Hawk, Iron Prominent, White Point, Orange Footman, Four-dotted Footman, Poplar Lutestring, Light Brocade and L-album Wainscot. [Posted by Barry Collins]

In our garden at Leigh Park. There were two very fresh looking Painted Lady, nectaring on the Pyracantha flowers in our front garden this morning. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

Havant Thicket. A walk today around the main track at Havant Thicket where the temperature reached 19 degrees. Totals: Brimstone 10M 5F, Small White 2, Orange-tip 2M, Speckled Wood 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Blues Galore - Farlington to above QA Hospital. A long walk along Portsdown from Farlington to above QA Hospital and home via Fort Purbrook revealed a plethora of butterflies. Lots of Common Blues, several female Holly Blue egg laying on Dogwood, fresh Brown Argus and best of all 20+ Small Blue on the land in front of the George showing the colony is thriving despite the traffic! A number of Speckled Wood were spotted in shady areas along with a rapid fly past of Clouded Yellow and a couple of Painted Lady hints that a migration might be underway. All very pleasing given the dire weather up until recently. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

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Male Common Blue
Photo © Mark Tutton
Female Common Blue
Photo © Mark Tutton
Female HollyBlue
Photo © Mark Tutton

Moth trap in our garden at Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on overnight in my garden. Some of the highlights were a Great Prominent, Eyed Hawk-moth, Green Carpet, White Point etc. [Posted by Barry Collins]

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