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

News Archive for Jul 2018

31 Jul 2018

Brown Hairstreaks At Shipton Bellinger More Cooperative Than a Week Ago!. I returned to Shipton Bellinger this morning, to see if its Brown Hairstreaks were being little more cooperative than my first visit in sweltering heat, just over a week ago. I met up with some familiar faces too, all with the same target species in mind.

Whilst there was male activity in Ash trees along the track from the village, all my low level sightings were in the county boundary hedge. Six males and one female were recorded there during late morning. The condition of the males ranged from good (but not excellent) to quite faded. The only female I saw had slight tears in her hind wings - perhaps from brambles.

Brown Hairstreaks have been on the wing at this site for about two weeks now, which is consistent with their flight period approaching peak (and it's still July!), possibly with few if any males yet to emerge. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Brown Hairstreak (Female)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Brown Hairstreak (Male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Brown Hairstreak (Male)
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Shipton Bellinger. The last day of July and an in promptu field trip with some of my regulars. I arrived at 0630 and at once went on the walk to find any Brown Hairstreak that may have risen early, and walking past several Ash trees and Maples, there were fights galore with bust ups with several rival male Brown Hairstreaks and at 0711 two males came spiraling down and one settled on a shrub, with its wings open. I wanted three things today a male, in pristine condition, and one with its wings open. I've never seen this before, I certainly haven't seen any pictures of them, always with their wings closed, in quite tatty condition, so this was a great plus for me.Its certainly worth getting up at the crack of dawn! Anyway the field trip revealed that the Brown Hairstreak is almost a common insect, and I counted for myself a record number.....(25). Other butterflies of interest were, Brown Argus (8) Small Heath (30) Holly Blue (12) and a Silver-washed Fritillary. We saw a grand total of (17) species on a much cooler fresher day, but more comfortable observations. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

28 Jul 2018

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Today I visited Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. The temperature was 20 degrees, but with a very strong wind and light showers, conditions were not ideal for my visit to see Small Blues. Very little was on the wing. Totals: Small White 2, Common Blue 4M, Meadow Brown 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Migrant arrivals in Cosham; Commas at Longstock. A Painted Lady and a Clouded Yellow, on Buddleja davidii 'Border Beauty' and Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' resp., seen in our Cosham, Portsmouth, garden this morning. An inspection yesterday afternoon of elms planted last winter in the Test valley at Longstock found dozens of Comma larvae in various instars. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Parkhurst Forest I.of W.. Seen on a morning walk through Parkhurst.

7 Speckled Wood,22 Ringlets,1 Large White, 5 Gatekeepers, 2 Silver-washed Fritillary, 2 Common Blues, 1 Brown Argus, 1 Meadow Brown and 2 Purple Hairstreak. [Posted by Mick Sivell]

27 Jul 2018

Oxenbourne Down. Visited Oxenbourne Down today to find the Silver-spotted Skipper. Sadly I did not record any, but the numbers of Meadow Browns and fresh Chalk Hill Blues were in their hundreds. A few worn Marbled Whites were seen along with some fresh Small Heaths. Totals: Brimstone 1M, Large White 1, Small White 3, Chalk Hill Blue 100+, Holly Blue 1, Gatekeeper 18, Marbled White 2, Meadow Brown 100+, Small Heath 7. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Purple Emperor at Morgaston Wood. Whilst enjoying a picnic at Morgaston Wood near Basingstoke with friends, a well worn male Purple Emperor landed on my son's leg and settled there for several seconds before flying back to the trees. It returned again a short while later for another fly by. [Posted by Chris Worgan]

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Photo © Chris Worgan

26 Jul 2018

Shipton Bellinger. Despite others reporting lack of Brown Hairstreak action at Shipton Bellinger, I had quite a memorable day there today. Early on 5-6 males around the 2 Walnut trees along the secondary track that runs alongside the main track up from the school. Later on several males came down to nectar at the far southwest corner of the main field including one which stayed down for a couple of hours flitting between 2 thistles and shaded positions. Later another male nectaring and 2 fresh females were seen low down in shaded positions out of the heat. Other species seen included Wall Brown, 2nd brood Dingy Skipper, Small Copper, Common Blue as well as other common species and a few familiar faces. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldCommon Blues enjoying something tasty in the main field!
Photo © Paul Harfield
Photo © Paul Harfield

Grayling at Hawkhill Inclosure. Quick walk near entrance to Hawkhill Inclosure New Forest produced 32 Grayling and 5 Silver-studded Blue, few Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper. Also quick walk southern side of Beaulieu Heath car park only produced 3 Grayling and 1 Silver-studded Blue. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin Ross

Harewood Forest. Uncountable numbers of Purple Hairstreaks today in Harewood Forest, including the odd camera friendly one. Also a camera shy White Admiral flitting in front of us along a track. [Posted by Brian Shorter]

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Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Brian Shorter
Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Brian Shorter

Oxenbourne Down. In sweltering heat the butterflies were flying around like the clappers, especially my quarry the Silver-spotted Skipper, which I managed to count at least (20) on the wing.These were alighting on Scabious, Hemp Agrimony, Oxford Ragwart, Stemless Thistles and shrubs, but they would not keep still for 5 seconds. Other delights were Silver-washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Brown Argus and of course the ever growing population of Chalk Hill Blues. The grass is a light creamy colour now, but that didn't put off several Female Small Skippers which I found at the top of the down laying their eggs, on Yorkshire Fog. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small Skipper laying eggs on Yorkshire Fog
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

25 Jul 2018

Silver-spotted Skipper at St Catherine's Hill. today I spent some time looking for Silver-spotted Skipper. I spent almost a hour looking until one was seen also seen second brood Adonis Blue? very good number of Chalk Hill Blues, Meadow Browns and Common Blues. In the restored land Brown Argus and one Hummingbird-Hawkmoth [Posted by chris piatkiewicz]

Dark Green Fritillary. Cromarty Road Pond Field Area. Only the second Dark Green Fritillary I've had today in the garden, ever today, briefly nectaring on a Buddleia. Had one here last year. But not before then.

Both wanderers ,I think. Only occasional in the Southampton area that I know of.

Usually it's Silver-washed Fritillary in my garden, as I have many sites where they are present near me.

Also this morning only the second Painted Lady I've seen in the garden so far this year. [Posted by Jason Claxton]

24 Jul 2018

Brown Hairstreaks avoiding the heat at Shipton Bellinger. I was lucky to see 3 male Brown Hairstreaks at Shipton Bellinger down on bramble today. This was around 11.30, after this I could only see one at the top of an ash, and it went quiet as the temperature went up. Others saw them elsewhere in the area including a female. [Posted by Mike Gibbons]

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Male Brown Hairstreak on bramble.
Photo © Mike Gibbons

Another garden visitor in Winchester. The procession of different species to the oregano in our Winchester garden continues, with a fine Brown Argus this afternoon, in company with up to 3 Common Blue (of both sexes), a couple of Gatekeeper and a Meadow Brown. [Posted by Rupert & Sharron Broadway]

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Brown Argus in the garden
Photo © Rupert & Sharron Broadway

latest sightings in North Baddesley. The following were seen today in a half hour walk on my own butterfly reserve in North Baddesley.4 Small Skipper, 1 Essex Skipper,48 Meadow Brown,1 White Admiral,1 Red Admiral,5 Silver-washed Fritillary,75 Gatekeeper,30 Small White,5 Large White,3 Green-veined White,7 Brimstone,7 Peacock,3 Small Copper,18 Ringlet,1 Purple Hairstreak,9 Speckled Wood,17 silver y moth.also several dragonflies and many slow worms. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

23 Jul 2018

Hayling Island Cycle Trail. In the high temperatures of 25 degrees, I decided to explore on my doorstep, so walked the length of the Hayling Island Cycle Trail (SU7110) from the old railway bridge to West Town Theatre. The extreme heat, was I believe was too hot for some species resulting in surprisingly low counts for some of the common butterflies.

Totals: Large White 14, Small White 45, Common Blue 2M, Holly Blue 3, Gatekeeper 3, Meadow Brown 10, Ringlet 1, Speckled Wood 9, Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Oxenbourne Down. We spent a couple of hours at Oxenbourne Down this morning and had 6+ Silver-spotted Skippers on the wing and about 30 Chalk Hill Blue. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

22 Jul 2018

Portsdown Hill (East). Today I walked the Eastern end of Portsdown Hill (SU65063) where the temperature reached 25 degrees. The large Buddelia bushes beside the roadside track was an attraction for many butterflies. Totals: Brimstone 1M 1F, Large White 7, Small White 24, Common Blue 5M, Gatekeeper 1, Meadow Brown 8, Speckled Wood 4, Painted Lady 1, Peacock 1.

Afterwards I walked around Fort Widley (SU657066) where the grass in some areas was waist height and where the following were recorded, Small White 9, Common Blue 5M, Gatekeeper 4, Marbled White 1, Meadow Brown 4, Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Good weekend for garden butterflies in Winchester. Oregano is once again proving the main attraction for the summer species. Small Heath was the first we have recorded in the garden since 2010: and the 20th species of the year so far. [Posted by Rupert & Sharron Broadway]

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Photo © Rupert & Sharron BroadwayPhoto © Rupert & Sharron BroadwayPhoto © Rupert & Sharron Broadway

Ampfield Wood Field Trip. Today again another warm day and I had over 25 people from the Romsey Hants and Isle of Wight Trust on the trip so I decided to divide the groups up. Today wasn't a day to look for the Emperor as it's now over, but the group in the rides which are full of very good sallow stands and Oak, which look very good vistas for observing his majesty. It was a good 'teach in' on what to look for when you enter a wood at the end of June and the first week of July, and I now have some willing volunteers to go and have a look at a wood which is very under-recorded for this species. We had many species to see despite this: the Silver-washed Fritillary was still in good condition, as many look as if they are ignoring the Bramble as the flowers have all gone and the fruits are so small due to lack of rain. Hence this species is still in fine shape and we saw many females and some good looking males. Other butterflies of note were Essex Skipper, Comma, Peacock, and Common Blues male and female, feeding off the Fleabane in the rides. Many thanks to the Romsey: Hants and Isle of Wight Naturalists Group for their patience listening to me and hope they went away having learnt something and wanting more! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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The only way is Essex
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Ampfield Wood and field trippers.
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Clouded Yellows at Soberton today. I was in the Soberton area this morning having a look round. Amongst other things there were 2 Clouded Yellows flying including at least one female. Other things of note were my first Small Coppers of the year! and a tiny Small White not much bigger than a Common Blue. No photos I am afraid. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

21 Jul 2018

Chalton Down. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156) today where the temperature reached 23.5 degrees. Here good numbers of fresh Chalk Hill Blues are now emerging, with the Marbled Whites almost gone with just a single specimen recorded. Totals: Brimstone 3M, Large White 6, Small White 10, Chalk Hill Blue 56M, Common Blue 12M 1F, Gatekeeper 24, Marbled White 1, Meadow Brown 35, Small Heath 3, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Old Winchester Hill. In partially sunny weather I spent the early afternoon at Old Winchester Hill, the main target was Chalk Hill Blue, of which there were many, and Silver-spotted Skipper of which, unfortunately there was none! Of note was a battle between a Chalk Hill Blue and a Silver Y moth, the Chalkhill pursuing the moth intensely, not allowing the moth to escape, this went on for a good five minutes! Other species present were Brimstone, many Meadow Brown and Gatekeepers, Common Blue and Brown Argus.

https://awayfromfourmarks.blogspot.com/ [Posted by Chris Rose]

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Chalkhill Blue & Silver Y
Photo © Chris Rose
Brown Argus
Photo © Chris Rose
Common Blue
Photo © Chris Rose

20 Jul 2018

Moth trap Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on last night in my garden at Leigh Park and caught 58 species. Some of the highlights were Large Emerald, Maidens Blush 2, Dingy Footman 16, Scarce Footman 6, Dun-bar 4, Ruby Tiger 5, Blood-vein 3, Garden Tiger 5, Silver Y 3, Gold Spot 2, Pebble Prominent, Sharp-angled Peacock 2, Dusky Sallow 3, Scallop Shell, Blackneck 2, Rosy Minor, Rosy Footman 2. [Posted by Barry Collins]

19 Jul 2018

Brown hairstreaks at Shipton. A trip to Shipton in cloudy but very warm conditions produced 7 Brown Hairstreak. Some had been out a few days but the others looked fresh out. Plenty of Holly Blues. [Posted by Mark swann]

More fires today at North Browndown. North Browndown MoD Gosport

More fires this afternoon ; fire appliances from six stations controlled the fires.

I did find four Graylings but I fear many have perished. [Posted by Geoff Jones]

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one of the fire damaged areas
Photo © Geoff Jones

Silver-spotted Skipper at Broughton Down. After three attempts, finally caught up with Silver-spotted Skippers at Broughton Down today. I saw 5 but others saw more. Apparently the first was recorded here on 11th July. There were also Chalk Hill Blues, Common Blues, Dark Green Fritillary and Silver-washed Fritillary, Marbled Whites, Clouded Yellow, Peacock among the supporting cast. [Posted by Mike Gibbons]

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Silver-spotted Skipper at rest.
Photo © Mike Gibbons
Silver-spotted Skipper nectaring.
Photo © Mike Gibbons

West Harting Down Field Trip. This is quite an exercise in walking over 10,000 steps according to my mobile phone, but well worth the species count and the view from the top of the downland. We started off with good views of female Silver-washed Fritillary, which there were a good number on the wing, with the odd male, but on the way back we did see several courting rituals going up and down one of the rides. We got to the top of the downland at about 1145, after stopping at the numerous Buddleia bushes along the way where there were Peacocks and Red Admirals. We stopped for lunch where there is a lovely Buddleia, Deep Purple in colour and the smell I wish I could bottle it! Here we noted again the same as last year there were several Hummingbird Hawk Moths and these were very tricky to get photos of. However we did and there was also a Valezina Silver-washed Fritillary in the vicinity, as well as Common Blue and Brown Argus. On the way down we also saw several tatty White Admirals, and the best was yet to come. On the ground totally exhausted was a female Purple Emperor, this was about 1415 and she had obviously been egg-laying, and had come down to feed herself. But she was too tired to fly away, so we stuck around, but she looked rather exposed in her state, so I put her on the side of the ride in a Hazel Bush. Here she gave us some good views of her very tired wings, looking more like a regal Comma. In the area I had noticed some good Sallow stands, and it wasn't too far from a female I'd seen in the vicinity a few seasons before.

We got back to the cars totally spent, well I was anyway, and I'd like to thank all who came and we managed to tally up all the target species...again! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Hummingbird Hawk Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Purple Emperor
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Charlton Down. Before the scheduled Field tip to West Harting Down I wandered over to Charlton Down at 0730 and caught the hundreds of Chalk Hill Blue roosting with their wings open in the rising sunshine. It was a lovely sight with other butterflies like Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, and Common Blues, with the odd Marbled White flying at such an early hour. There were also Brown Argus, and Small Heaths, but I didn't see any Dark Green Fritillaries. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Chalkhill Blue roosting
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

18 Jul 2018

North Browndown, Gosport. Another mindless act of vandalism in my area .... arson!

Two youngsters were seen starting what became a conflagration that has destroyed an area of heath where a few days ago I was enjoying observing and photographing Grayling, a declining species.

Mindless destruction - how sad that members of our population have such little regard for the natural world. I despair; we appear to be failing our youngsters big time! [Posted by Geoff Jones]

Clouded Yellow on Stockbridge Down. Brief visit to Stockbridge Down, not much flying except a fine male Clouded Yellow - flighty and didn't want to be photographed. [Posted by David Murdoch]

My first Brown Hairstreaks of 2018 at Shipton Bellinger. I saw my first 2 male Brown Hairstreaks of 2018 at Shipton Bellinger today. They were flying and occasionally landing at the top of an ash tree. Also seen were Common Blues, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Dark Green Fritillary and Silver-washed Fritillary, not bad considering it was such a cloudy day. [Posted by Mike Gibbons]

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Brown Hairstreak at the top of an ash tree.
Photo © Mike Gibbons

16 Jul 2018

First Clouded Yellow at Winnall Moors. While walking the Winnall Moors transect this morning I spotted two Clouded Yellows. They flew fast, low and straight across two recently cut meadows. I couldn't possibly run that fast so no photos but the deep orange-yellow colour was unmistakable. The weather was hot (about 25 degC) and it was mostly cloudy at the time. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

Purple Hairstreaks on Waterlillies. Cromarty Road Pond. At Least 5 Purple Hairstreaks were coming down to drink/take evaporites from Waterlily pads this morning at Cromarty Pond, Lord's Hill, Southampton. Easy to see them fluttering around the pond, but only got record shots right out on the Lily pads today.

I've seen them do this several times and at other locations too. It might surprise some though. [Posted by Jason Claxton]

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Time for a dip
Photo © Jason Claxton
Most refreshing
Photo © Jason Claxton

Oxenbourne Down. Another hot day and by mid-day many of the butterflies on the down were seeking shade. There were plenty to see on the down today with the winner being the Large White If I saw one I must have seen hundreds, probably the best count today I've ever had along with Small White as well. One Silver-spotted Skipper was seen but he was flying so fast and never stopped but the dark green sheen on its wings and abdomen gave it away. Also there were good counts of Dark-green Fritillary , many feeding off of the Thistles were there has been a lot of scrub bashing. Also it was pleasing to see several newly hatched Small Copper. Other excellent counts were Small Skipper, probably in the hundreds, Marbled White is still a presence although not nearly as common as it was a few weeks ago. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Large White today there were literally hundreds on the Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dark Green Fritillary are now looking past their best
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Skipper seen in good numbers today
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

15 Jul 2018

Another new visitor in our Chandlers Ford garden. After planting lots of Birdsfoot Trefoil in the garden and having some in the lawn anyway, it attracted a lone Common Blue female today. She was so small Dave thought it was a Small Blue at first. She was about the same size as one! She laid eggs on the large plants in my wild flower garden, in the lawn and along the path! We will have to watch where we walk from now on!

Also seen in the garden today, Male and female Brimstone, 2 Holly Blues, 2 Commas, 2 Speckled Woods, Meadow Brown, Peacock, Green-veined White, Several Large Whites ans Small Whites, Red Admiral and 2 Gatekeepers [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Common Blue female with tiny passenger!
Photo © Tracy Piper
Laying eggs on the edge of our path
Photo © Tracy Piper
One of many eggs deposited!
Photo © Tracy Piper

big butterfly count. If anyone would like to carry out the big butterfly count on my butterfly reserve in North Baddesley they would be very welcome. 26 species here so far this year including Purple Emperor. Just let me know when. I can be contacted on 02380 733995 or spark.ky@hotmail.co.uk Hope to see you soon. kevin [Posted by Kevin Ross]

14 Jul 2018

Clouded Yellows at Headbourne Worthy. I was out in a wild flower meadow at Headbourne Worthy near Winchester between 6 and 7pm on Saturday evening. There were at least 2 and possibly 3 male Clouded Yellows playing hard to get in typical form, but I did manage a couple of poor photos. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul Harfield

Swanwick Nature Reserve Field Trip. Today has been a revelation I had never been to this site, but it's a little Goldmine stuck in the backwaters of southern Hampshire, close to a Motorway, large housing complexes, and of course the NATS headquarters, which engage every flight that enters British Airspace now.But to walk around this site, I didn't believe how big it was, I thought it was a quick 20 minute stroll around, but it took a good two hours of superb Oak stands, lots of Broad leaved Sallow stands, a lovely meadow, where we saw Marbled White, Brown Argus, Small Skippers where females were laying their eggs. In the woodland where there good clearing of Bramble, and here there were Silver-washed Fritillary, and only one White Admiral seen. There were large lakes and ponds, where there were countless Dragonflies, Damselflies,and when we got back to the car-park for lunch a Kingfisher was seen flying and settling on a Ivy stand overhanging one of the large ponds. We saw (18) species of butterflies, 4-5 species of Dragonflies and Damselflies, and many birds. Unfortunately because of the warm weather the date of this field trip meant that a lot of the species were well over, especially the Purple Emperor, but it has been seen here and I can see why it has a the potential to be an excellent site for it.

I'd like to thank all those who came and engaged in this lovely walk, a field trip to do again next year! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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One of the lakes with superb flora and fauna
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Broad Bordered Chaser
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

13 Jul 2018

Ranvilles Lane and Newlands Farm, Fareham. A circuit of my local patch produced a nice selection of butterflies with 19 species seen and the highlights being quite a few Small Copper, some Purple Hairstreak, plus a couple of Painted Lady. The Ringlet and the single Large Skipper which were seen were looking a bit worn now. Butterflies recorded:

Essex Skipper 2; Small Skipper 4; Large Skipper 1; Large White 20; Small White 30; Green-veined White 3; Purple Hairstreak 3; Small Copper 8; Common Blue 12; Holly Blue 3; Painted Lady 2; Red Admiral 1; Peacock 10; Comma 1; Speckled Wood 9; Gatekeeper 30; Marbled White 5; Meadow Brown c60; Ringlet 5.

Also 1 Silver Y; 1 Beautiful Demoiselle; 3 Black-tailed Skimmer; 2 Golden-ringed Dragonfly; 2 Southern Hawker; 1 Emperor Dragonfly. [Posted by Mark Rolfe]

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Small Copper
Photo © Mark Rolfe
Marbled White
Photo © Mark Rolfe
Purple Hairstreak (poor record shot)
Photo © Mark Rolfe

12 Jul 2018

Oxenbourne Down. In the afternoon, my father Roy Symonds and I visited Oxenbourne Down (SU716183) where the weather was warm with sunny spells, the temperature 22 degrees. This was my first visit to this site, which had a mixture of short down land turf but with areas of rapidly encroaching scrub in the lower slope areas we walked. Gatekeepers were the dominant species here, while Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites were in nearly equal numbers, along with some fresh male Chalk Hill Blues. I was examining closely any Small Skipper in order to find an Essex Skipper and was lucky in finding two, which had landed on separate Field Scabious flowers.

Totals: Brimstone 1M, Large White 4, Small White 8, Green-veined White 1, Chalk Hill Blue 7, Common Blue 1F, Gatekeeper 40, Marbled White 8, Meadow Brown 11, Ringlet 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 1F, Essex Skipper 2, Small Skipper 10. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Chalton Down. This morning my father, Roy Symonds and I visited Chalton Down (SU736156) where the weather was overcast but very warm and humid, the temperature reaching 22.5 degrees. I was surprised at the height of the grass, which in some areas reached just above waist height. This proved popular for the Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers but is bad news for the Chalkhill Blue population here. A total of eleven different species were recorded, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers were everywhere, with several Marbled Whites all in very good condition. Fresh male Chalk Hill Blues were seen favouring the higher slopes where the grass cover was lowest. I noticed a Meadow Brown which had a deformed upper right forewing which had folded over on top of itself, which did not seem to hind its flight at all.

Totals: Large White 14, Small White 19, Chalkhill Blue 13M, Gatekeeper 128, Marbled White 11, Meadow Brown 79, Ringlet 11, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 1, Silver-washed Fritillary 1M, Small Skipper 11. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Whiteley Pastures Field Trip. A smaller turn out today but with the time restraints in the car-park we set off at a brisk pace to maximize the time. There were plenty of Silver-washed Fritillary on offer including two Valesinas, one which had very torn wings and one in quite good condition which was a treat to see. One male Purple Emperor was espied by Dave Pearson in a small vista quite close to the bridges over the streams close to the area where the Forestry Commission is extracting timber. However on the down side the rides have many mature Ash trees which are succumbing to 'Ash Die-back'. This is a sad sight to see, however the ever proud single Elm tree just inside the entrance of the wood, still supports a small colony of White-Letter Hairstreak however today we didn't see any. The other butterflies of note were Small Skipper, Comma, and Peacocks on the Buddleia bushes in the rides.

I'd like to thank all who joined me today all be it very short in duration. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Silver-Washed Fritillary in good numbers in the wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Ash die back
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

11 Jul 2018

Alice Holt. Spent the day on the tracks at Straits and Abbotts wood yesterday. Purple Emperors did not emerge until late morning when I spotted five different males at Straits who looked a little bit lost, and worn, now all females have emerged. Good numbers of Silver-washed Fritillary were bombing up and down the rides and a few White Admirals were still flitting in the shadows. Purple Hairstreak numbers have boomed and I counted 45 during the morning, most a bit lower down than i would normally expect.

During the afternoon I made a determined effort to locate female Purple Emperors stopping for five minutes at every likely looking sallow and straining my eyes to see if I could see a 'bat' flying around the innermost branches. It was pretty successful too - I saw four different individuals - following one for a couple of minutes as she visited five quite small sallows - resting briefly as she went. I couldn't confirm if she laid any eggs but I will return later in the year to check. For what is Britain's second largest butterfly - the females are nearly one third bigger than males - they are incredibly cryptic when flying inside sallows and very hard to follow - you have to decide whether to photograph or watch. If you you take your eye off 'herself' she will disappear into thin air!!! [Posted by Mark tutton]

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The Empress herself resting
Photo © Mark tutton

Abbots Wood Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. The third and final site that my father and I visited in Alice Holt Forest was Abbots Wood Inclosure. Arriving at 12:30, there was a lot of sunshine but after 14:00 there were sunny spells with a lot of heavy cloud. Here numbers of butterflies are always lower than in Straits Inclosure, but still retain the same variety of species. Once more Meadow Browns and Ringlets were in good numbers, but less Gatekeepers as the Meadow Browns were flying in the more grassy areas found here. Several Purple Hairstreaks could still be found whizzing around towards the top of the Oaks, while fresh second brood Holly Blues were also seen.

At 13:05 a Purple Emperor flew across the track from some sallows half way before the first cross roads from the entrance gate, at approx OS Grid ref SU81428984. Then at 13:15 a male was seen flying around an Oak near to the cross roads at SU81413993 and landing on an outer branch facing us with its wings flat. As the sun got stronger and after sitting for 5 minutes, he raised his wings up allowing for some good photos before flying off. At 13.33 one of my best Purple Emperor experiences happened as HER Imperial Majesty appeared from some sallows on the side track at SU81473998 landing on the ground and imbibing moisture from the grass. She stopped for about a minute before flying further along, as we followed her taking photos as she landed on 4 different occasions. At one point she was settled almost next to my father's foot and open her wings wide for another Royal exclusive photo. She eventually took flight disappearing into some sallows. As cloud cover built up, we were walking back when the sun appeared for around 5 minutes, during which time I disturbed a Peacock and a few Meadow Browns in a grassy area in front of some sallows at approx SU81423986, where at 14:26 a female Purple Emperor appeared. She flew circling me several times and then looked like she was going to settle on a low sallow branch, but instead took off deep into the sallows once more. I managed a blurred photo of her as she circled, which showed her wing markings and characteristic yellow tongue. A wonderful end to a Purple day!

Totals: Brimstone 3M 1F, Large White 10, Small White 7, Holly Blue 5, Purple Hairstreak 17, Gatekeeper 6, Meadow Brown 33, Ringlet 27, Speckled Wood 1, Comma 3, Peacock 4, Purple Emperor 2M 2F, Silver-washed Fritillary 9M 6F, White Admiral 3, Large Skipper 3, Small Skipper 5. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Goose Green Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. The second site my father and I visited in Alice Holt Forest was Goose Green Inclosure, which in the past was always a good place to view the aerial antics of the Purple Emperor. In the vista the grass was very tall between areas of bracken. Totals of those butterflies recorded were: Brimstone 1M, Large White 4, Small White 1, Green-veined White 1, Ringlet 10, Silver-washed Fritillary 1M 1F, [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Straits Inclosure, Alice Holt Forest. While on a short break visiting my father, Roy Symonds, we paid a visit to three sites in Alice Holt Forest to see His Imperial Majesty (Purple Emperor).Starting early at Straits Inclosure, we arrived just after 09:30 were there was a lot of early cloud. After a short walk along the main track we retraced our steps back to the car once the sun appeared, where the hiding butterflies emerged. Good numbers of Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Ringlets were recorded, mixed with Large Whites and Silver-washed Fritillary. Numbers of White Admirals were very poor, with only 6 recorded. Several of the younger Oaks had Purple Hairstreaks resident, where on one tree, one individual caused a further 6 to take flight in a kind of Mexican Wave. Past the first wooden deer tower, a Comma was seen feeding which had the lower half of its upper hind wings bleached slightly pale, possibly pathological in origin rather than a true aberration.

Walking back the length of the main track at 11:45, a male Purple Emperor flew from an Oak before the dip in the track where a generator hut is situated. It flew around the tree before landing around the rear, and then reappeared at 11:48. At 11:51 another male appeared around the top of an Oak, sited two trees along as almost immediately the other male flew around his tree, without any form of territorial confrontation.

Total counts were: Large White 23, Small White 11, Green-veined White 12, Holly Blue 1, Purple Hairstreak 30, Gatekeeper 56, Meadow Brown 26, Ringlet 140, Comma 1, Purple Emperor 2, Silver-washed Fritillary 25M 16F, White Admiral 6, Large Skipper 8, Small Skipper 20. [Posted by Richard Symonds]

Silver-Studs Joined By Grayling At Hazeley Heath. I visited the HCC/RSPB reserve at Hazeley Heath near Hook around lunchtime today, hoping to find Silver-studded Blue still on the wing there, as well as Grayling. It was my first visit to this site and it did not disappoint. The reserve consists of lowland heath, with areas of scrub, gorse and woodland.

Silver-studded Blue are indeed still on the wing in small numbers. I recorded a total of 8 in 3 different areas of less dense heathery heathland, their condition ranging from very worn to, surprisingly, one very fresh male! I did not have time to explore many areas of the reserve, but came across Grayling in one area (9 seen). This location was close to heathland, where there is a predominance of bare ground, following scrub clearance. In addition to common species, 2 Silver-washed Fritillary were seen near one of the wooded areas. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Grayling
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Grayling
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Silver-studded Blue
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Grayling at Browndown North. On transect today I recorded 17 Graylings. A Boom year for this Transect week No15. This compared with the average of only 2 sightings per year in this same week over the last 5 years. Albeit in 2016 a heath fire had burnt one section down to ground level, 1/3 of the sightings today were in this area which has made a good recovery since 2017. [Posted by Chris Cobb]

10 Jul 2018

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun........and see butterflies! My last 2018 high-summer Hampshire butterfly walk was the local haunt from 1205-1530 when 19 species were on hand. Many were enjoying the clumps of wild buddleia and the last of the bramble blossom. The temperature was mid-20s with a fresh NE breeze which bothered the butterflies not one jot. A mating pair of Brown Argus clung-on in the breeze and immediately after breaking the female flew to a nearby straw of grass and seemed to squash her hind-quarters along the surface of it. So, the census today: Marbled White (13); Gatekeeper (37); Essex Skipper (16); Small White (15); Red Admiral (2); Brown Argus (10); Common Blue (M)(6); Meadow Brown (26); Large White (4); Peacock (6); Small Copper (2); Small Skipper (4); Comma (5); Purple Hairstreak (5); Brimstone (F)(2)(M)(2); Green-veined White (4); Holly Blue (2); Speckled Wood (10); Ringlet (10). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brown Argus female after mating
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Alice's last hurrah, Abbots Wood Inclosure. Spent some time in the morning looking around Abbotts Wood Inclosure...'him' is not getting out of bed now until the afternoons, and then he is not that energetic. Went to two Assembly Points spent two hours at one, and nothing was seen , quite breezy atop of the Fir trees, and then in the Abbotts Wood car-park it took another 45 minutes before his majesty graced himself with his presence. I espied three, males but only two had anything like any energy to trudge around a vista making small talk. Two were seen in a vista and quite close to each other and they just exchanged pleasantries, and then totally ignored each other.One male was seen sitting in the Fir Tree mind his own business, and went on a quick ramble around the vista and then sat there again for 10-15 minutes. So that is the last hurrah for the Purple Emperor I can say it's been a fascinating and glorious two-three weeks, here in Alice.

Other impressive butterflies are the Silver-washed Fritillary, and one male came down and imbibed on somebody's wheel arch in the small car-park. The White Admiral is clinging on but its almost spent like its cousin. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Silver-Washed Fritillary finding something yummie on a wheel arch
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Purple Emperor on territory
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

09 Jul 2018

Purple Hairstreak and mating Silver-washed Fritillary, Havant Thicket. On a brief walk around Havant Thicket this morning with the dogs, we saw several Purple Hairstreaks, including two resting on low sallow. Also of interest were mating Silver-washed Fritillary, with the active female flying around with a passive male attached. 6 pairs were seen in flight, along with numerous individuals. [Posted by Pete jones]

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Photo © Pete jonesPhoto © Pete jonesPhoto © Pete jones

Monks Walk, Frater Lane disused car park & Woods, Gosport. An early start brought anticipated reward with - finally - a confirmed sighting (for me) of a White-letter Hairstreak; this was in the disused car park at Frater Lane just a stone's throw across Heritage Way from Monks Walk. At first the butterfly was high up in the elm sat on a leaf with a Small Copper for company. Suddenly it flew off and literally zipped in front of me landing on a bramble twig. It flew away as suddenly as it arrived and was quickly replaced by a Purple Hairstreak from the adjacent oaks! Two fresh male Common Blues were seen in the fields despite the very high grasses this year. From 0700-0920 with temperature reaching 26 degrees the following butterflies were recorded: Gatekeeper (20); Meadow Brown (14); Small White (16); Green-veined White (2); White-letter Hairstreak (1); Purple Hairstreak (1); Marbled White (8); Essex Skipper (8); Comma (1); Ringlet (8); Brown Argus (4); Red Admiral (1); Common Blue (M)(2); Small Copper (3); Speckled Wood (4); Small Skipper (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
White-letter Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Whiteley Pastures & Botley Wood. A return to woodland species today - with mixed results. I was perhaps a little early (trying to beat the heat) but in a circular walk taking in Whiteley Pastures and Botley Wood I could only manage a single White Admiral and even then I could only be 90% sure. Much like last year - they seem to have got off to an early flying start and then in the prolonged heat, diminished rapidly. Hopefully it was just being there too early that accounted for their disappearance and there might still be a late flurry. Other species made up for the loss though with lots of Silver-washed Fritillary (settling well before it got really hot), Gatekeepers in abundance (and at last one that opened its wings!) fresh Peacocks in double figures as well as similar numbers of fresh Brimstones in the more sheltered glades. Just a single Common Blue in the pasture which I presume is second generation but very few Marbled Whites. Last but not least - the Ruddy Darters which were my main target were there too! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Silver Washed Fritillary - Botley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Peacock - Botley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Gatekeeper - Botley Wood
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Straits Inclosure - Alice Holt Forest. A lovely couple of hours in ideal weather c26C and little wind. Highlights included 2 male Purple Emperor's,one on third fire tower and one on ground halfway along the main track. No sign of any females amongst the Sallows. Lots of Browns around and all the common Whites seen. Single Large Skipper, many Small Skipper and a few Essex Skippers. One fresh Peacock, single Red Admiral and two Comma. Over 20 Silver-washed Fritillary also seen. A total of 19 species recorded in less than 2 hours. Other wildlife included calling Marsh Tit, Red Kite, Green Woodpecker. Brown, Southern Hawker and Emperor Dragonflies seen along with several Hornets. An excellent site in great weather. Regards Steve Graham Visiting Lancs & Cumbria BC member. [Posted by Steve Graham]

08 Jul 2018

Grayling at Browndown North, Gosport. The temperature reached 31 degrees C between 1430-1650 this afternoon as I circulated Browndown North. The intention was to check on any further development of the earlier sighting of a pair of Silver-studded Blue on the moor/heath area. Before this area was reached two White Admiral were seen and my first ever sighting of Grayling in the northern sector of the former MOD training area. Two Grayling were on the gravel pathway (SZ582998) with not a sign of heather anywhere! In fact they seemed to prefer the shade provided by the nearby trees. They were the most passive Grayling I have ever seen and entertained inordinately close approach; one even landed on my trousers for 20 seconds (probably quite long enough!). Sadly no further sightings of the Silver-studded Blue was made although two young and inquisitive deer watched me closely. Today was the highest number of species recorded by me this year (18) but no Common Blue or Small Tortoiseshell seen. However, those noted were: Small White (8); Meadow Brown (29); Gatekeeper (21); Peacock (4); White Admiral (2); Speckled Wood (6); Large White (5); Purple Hairstreak (4); Essex Skipper (9); Grayling (2); Marbled White (12); Brown Argus (1); Comma (5); Brimstone (M)(1); Small Skipper (2); Green-veined White (2); Holly Blue (1); Ringlet (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Grayling No 1
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling No 2
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone & Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

West Wood Field Trip. Another hot day in the life of the ever ageing Purple Emperor, today I thought we were going to struggle with seeing it, but as it turned out we had a most successful day. (9) Purple Emperor's were seen in several rides,and we started off with a lovely female down on the ground at the start of the trip. She had come to imbibe on the ground where she stayed for several minutes, and flew off further up the ride. We had some good action on an Oak tree for many minutes where a male was coming onto what looked like a sap run on a branch on an Oak in the main ride. He then flew off and round and round the oak, before descending again into the oak to feed, giving everybody excellent views of his majesty. One came down on the ground for a few seconds and then hopped into a Hazel thicket, and stayed there for about ten minutes. As we started to eat our lunch back at the car-park we saw another flying over the high Hazel and Beech thickets, where I had seen one last week making this another point for Pitt Down. Other excellent Counts came from the Comma Butterfly where we saw upwards of twenty, with many being the 'Hutchinsoni' fresh creamy colouration of this special butterfly. Other good counts of Silver-washed Fritillary were seen with several mating pairs. We saw several Dark Green Fritillary on Pitt Down as we crossed this site to get to West Wood. But it was just too hot to go looking for this species in the afternoon, just too exhausting. Other special mentions should be for the Scarlet Tiger Moth of which we saw several in the rides. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Purple Emperor at rest on Hazel where we saw several males hiding
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Comma 'Hutchinsoni' feeding on Bramble
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Scarlett Tiger Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Oxenbourne Down. We went to Oxenbourne Down this morning from 0920-1120 where we recorded 18 species. Some of the highlights included Chalk Hill Blue 2, Silver-washed Fritillary 2, Dark Green Fritillary 8, Brimstone 25, Large White 18, Small White 150, Red Admiral 1, plus good numbers of Gatekeeper etc and a Humming-bird Hawk-moth. It was also pleasing to see that some management work is being carried out at Wascoombe Bottom. I first started visiting these sites 42 years ago way back in 1976 I can't believe the years have gone by so fast. (They say life is like a toilet roll the nearer you get to the end the faster it goes) [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

Browndown South. A repeat walk from this time last week - with much the same results, perhaps even a little better. The main improvement was with Grayling sightings. I entered from the west side and found 3 in the walk over towards the Purple Hairstreaks. Then, as last week, none to be found directly in front of the firing range at the eastern end - but just 30 metres or so north back along the main track found a large group of 20+ in the gravel on both sides of the track. Here there were 3 or 4 in the air at regular intervals chasing each other. Plenty of Purple Hairstreaks in the oaks nearby - some starting to show some wear and tear. Aside from the usual suspects other butterflies of note were plenty of fresh Comma and Peacocks and a single fresh Brimstone which I surmise must be second generation [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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

Southampton. Purple Hairstreak taking salts/minerals from stones on garden pond.. Today it was the turn of Purple Hairstreak to take salts, minerals , from rocks surrounding my garden pond. This worn one just kept crawling over and over the rocks,whilst probing them. Must be salts/minerals I'm thinking. Then almost went into a rock crevice this morning. Difficult to photograph, but got some record shots.

A White-letter Hairstreak was crawling over the same rocks yesterday, again probing for salts, minerals maybe.

Both near the Cromarty Road Pond Field Area. [Posted by Jason Claxton]

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Photo © Jason ClaxtonPhoto © Jason ClaxtonPhoto © Jason Claxton

07 Jul 2018

Skippers and Admirals Canal Boat Trip. A field trip with a difference, the John Pinkerton Canal Boat took us down the Basingstoke canal on a relaxing look at the wildlife along the canal. We saw 17 species of butterflies, with excellent Oak and sallow stands, and many good stands of Wych Elm. We had many excellent views of Dragonflies and Damselflies, being seen at eye level. We also went to the Greywell tunnel on foot to see where the largest Bat Colony is in Hampshire, and also saw Odiham Castle. A highly recommended trip in quiet backwater in North Hampshire. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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The Basingstoke Canal with good Oak and Sallow stands
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Basingstoke Canal Class of July 2018
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The John Pinkerton
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

50+Purple Hairstreaks at Browndown South. At Browndown South saw at least 50 Purple Hairstreaks between about 8-9 in the evening, chasing each other around the tops of the oak trees in an area to the SW of the rifle range. [Posted by Gerard Fordham]

Chilling, Titchfield. Two hours (1200-1400) in sweltering temperature the woods, field edges, cliff tops and paths at Chilling were covered. The intention was to see whether Clouded Yellow had arrived on this flower-edged coastline of southern Hampshire in an area of frequent sightings, albeit later in the summer. None was seen today. The fields are again planted with brassica and whites were everywhere seen! Some sixteen species were recorded as follows: Large White (15); Small White (40+); Meadow Brown (40+); Green-veined White (3); Peacock (4); Brimstone (M)(1); Gatekeeper (40+); Marbled White (28); Comma (4); Purple Hairstreak (4); Essex Skipper (20); Small Copper (2); Ringlet (5); Large Skipper (1); Red Admiral (1); White Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White
Photo © Francis Plowman
White Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

Botley Wood/Whiteley Pastures. Twenty species of butterfly were seen on a circular walk around Botley Wood and Whiteley Pastures this morning. There were good numbers of newly emerged Gatekeepers and quite a few Peacocks around. There were also still several White Admirals and plenty of Silver-washed Fritillary. Butterflies seen:

Essex Skipper 2 (identified); Small Skipper 20; Large Skipper 8; Brimstone 12; Large White 7; Small White 5; Green-veined White 6; Purple Hairstreak 2; Common Blue 2; Holly Blue 3; White Admiral 8; Red Admiral 1; Peacock 12; Comma 3; Silver-washed Fritillary 30; Speckled Wood 3; Gatekeeper 40; Marbled White 14; Meadow Brown c150; Ringlet c80. Also 8 Beautiful Demoiselle; 40 Azure Damselfly; 2 Large-red Damselfly; 12 Ruddy Darter; 4 Common Darter; 2 Four-spotted Chaser; 4 Broad-bodied Chaser; 1 Golden -ringed Dragonfly; 4 Emperor Dragonfly; 1 Southern Hawker and 1 Migrant Hawker. [Posted by Mark Rolfe]

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Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Mark Rolfe
Large Skipper
Photo © Mark Rolfe
White Admiral
Photo © Mark Rolfe

06 Jul 2018

Purple emperor in North Baddesley. First (confirmed)Purple Emperor seen today on my butterfly reserve at North Baddesley. 2 possible sightings in last few weeks now confirms they are here. Could only get one photo which is attached. Also saw hundreds of other butterflies of 18 different species. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin Ross

White-letter Hairstreak, Cromarty Rd Pond Fields area, Southampton. This morning one popped onto a rock on my garden pond. It looked like it may have been taking minerals, but maybe was just being curious.

Also well done Tracey and Dave on finding their own Hairstreak species site! They listened well, and showed a bit of patience and commitment to get past that initial hurdle, and now they will have the belief that there are many more to be found out there. It is heart warming that it's helped make their day.They've probably got some better shots than me already as well. Ha Ha . [Posted by Jason Claxton]

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White-letter Hairstreak on Garden pond rock
Photo © Jason Claxton

Grayling at Browndown South, Gosport. Entering the MOD training area by the westernmost gate at Elmore at 0930, I spent three long and hot hours (24-29 degrees C) covering the area of heath, oaks in the 'sea of stones', northern meadows and the track back to the starting point. This was hard-going and I needed 2 litres of water but the effort was well rewarded with some fifteen sightings! Most sought after species was Grayling and this was soon encountered in low heather-strewn scrub and thereafter in two similar areas for the seven recorded. Purple Hairstreak reached double-figures and are easily found on the low oaks at accessible height. Common Blues are definitely scarce here this year and only one male was noted. A later surprise was finding Silver-washed Fritillary (more accurately Silver-washed-out Fritillary) and I cannot ever recall seeing one in the southern wastes of Browndown. Altogether numbers were: Marbled White (6); Small White (14); Essex Skipper (14); Gatekeeper (40+); Meadow Brown (23); Large White (6); Small Copper (5); Common Blue (M)(1); Grayling (7); Small Skipper (4); Purple Hairstreak (10); Peacock (2); Ringlet (4); Silver-washed Fritillary (1); Small Heath (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman

Silver-studded Blue in Winchester. With reference to Bob Whitmarsh's July 3rd news, attached are three poor, I'm afraid, photos that I, the friend, took on 29 June. I think these are of a Silver-studded Blue, so there are some on South Winchester golf course. [Posted by Brian Shorter]

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Silver-studded blue?
Photo © Brian Shorter
Silver-studded blue?
Photo © Brian Shorter
Silver-studded blue?
Photo © Brian Shorter

05 Jul 2018

St Catherine's Hill, Winchester. From 1120-1320 I covered the lower meadow slopes and paths of St Catherine's Hill from the Garnier Road car park gate. The sought after Chalk Hill Blue soon appeared all eight specimens being male. Brimstone in double figures was a pleasant surprise as was my first Brown Argus of the summer. Totals: Red Admiral (3); Comma (12); Green-veined White (6); Ringlet (11); Marbled White (7); Meadow Brown (18); Small White (6); Large White (3); Small Skipper (10); Essex Skipper (2); Brown Argus (1); Chalk Hill Blue (M) (8); Brimstone (M)(7)(F)(3); Gatekeeper (3); Holly Blue (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Chalk Hill Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral enjoying budlea
Photo © Francis Plowman

Bell's Copse. I walked around Bell's Copse area this morning from 0900-1140 mainly looking for Purple Emperors and saw at least 8 but very flighty high up in the canopy of oak trees etc. Also 30+ Silver-washed Fritillary, 8 Purple Hairstreak and 6 White Admiral. [Posted by Barry Collins]

Abbotts Wood Inclosure Field Trip. A lovely day greeted everybody in the car-park, although myself had been in the wood since 0730 and was greeted by his majesty at 0825, which is the earliest I've seen an Emperor. At 0930 we set off on another Purple Emperor adventure although today it was just going to be the Emperor Oak Edging, Sallow Searching, and at the Assembly Points, giving chase to its opponents for territories. We saw (7) males in the rides from the car-park down the main ride and at the Assembly point in the car-park we saw initially just two doing battle, but they were joined by another singleton. And then after about 30 minutes of gazing upwards I saw another two higher giving chase, which in all made it (12).Good counts of Silver-washed Fritillary, a few White Admiral's were gliding along the rides and alighting on the ground. Commas, Red Admirals, Holly Blue, Essex Skippers, all added to the interest.

I thank everybody for coming and made this a very rewarding walk. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Purple Emperor on Scots Pine in the car-park Assembly Point
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Silver-Washed Fritilary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Comma on Bramble
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

New Visitors in our Chandlers Ford garden! Grid ref. SU434199. The Small Blue a couple of weeks ago was great, but today, two new visitors! One staying in the garden and one passing through. As Iíve said before we try and garden to attract butterflies so itís a huge thrill when your efforts get rewarded.

I will just mention first, that on Sunday the 1st of July we had a Small Skipper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Holly Blues, Large Whites and Small Whites and a Comma in the garden and yesterday Gatekeeper and Red Admiral. Only small numbers but the species count is rising.

Back to the point. While having an early morning cuppa out in the garden I spotted a butterfly flitting around our Goat Willow. This tree was felled a few years ago in a storm but it now grows out of the side of the trunk to form a nice hedge feature. At first I thought it was a Holly Blue but on closer inspection, realised it was dark on top and more grey underneath. It was a fast flyer but it did land on the Willow. To my surprise it was a Purple Hairstreak! Not rare, I know, but Iíve never seen one for sure so to get one in the garden was brilliant! I quickly despatched Dave to grab the cameras while I kept an eye on it. Of course it took off before he came back but didnít go far. It landed on a dog rose quite high up and stayed there for over an hour! It was on the top of the leaf at first but got too warm I think, and moved underneath. By climbing on the Willow and using a ladder we managed to get a few average shots. It finally moved again and landed back on the Willow where it started drinking from the surface of the leaves. The tree seems to exude some sort of liquid from the leaves and the Hairstreak, which I think is a female, seems to love it. I don't think it's just honeydew as there are not many aphids on the tree. The leaves just seem to 'sweat' in the heat. I managed to get a few closer shots at this point before she flew off up into our very large Oak tree! I hope she, if it is a female, is up there now laying plenty of eggs!!

I have to put a thank you in here to Jason Claxton who we bumped in to a few days ago at Rownhams. He said about the Purple Hairstreaks that were there and told us how to look out for them. I said weíve never seen one before but we do have a large Oak in the garden. He said keep an eye on because you may have Purple Hairstreaks in it. How right he was!

While reviewing our photos on the camera a Marbled White fluttered past us! Weíve never seen one of those in the garden before either! What a great day! :) [Posted by Tracy Piper]

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Purple Hairstreak female
Photo © Tracy Piper
Purple Hairstreak 'drinking' from the Willow leaves
Photo © Tracy Piper
....still thirsty!
Photo © Tracy Piper

04 Jul 2018

Chalton Down. Visited Chalton Down (SU736156) today where the temperature reached 23 degrees. Here they was almopst equal numbers of Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns flying in the long grassy areas with several Small Skippers. No sign of any Chalkhill Blues here yet. A total of 9 different species were recorded. Totals: Brimstone 1M 1F, Large White 4, Small White 4, Common Blue 1M, Gatekeeper 8, Marbled White 30, Meadow Brown 35, Ringlet 8, Small Skipper 13. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Purple Emperor sighting, Havant Thicket. I was at Havant Thicket this morning at around 11am, where I saw a male Purple Emperor flying along the footpath. It alighted on dog faeces where it fed for around 15 minutes, allowing me to take some nice close up photos. [Posted by Pete Jones]

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Photo © Pete JonesPhoto © Pete JonesPhoto © Pete Jones

Symphony in White! in Gosport. Much white activity today in my garden cabbage patch! This small area dedicated to our hard-pushed whites have not been slow in coming forward to destroy it. But it has given me the chance to observe butterfly activity at really close quarters and learn much by doing so. The Large White chrysalis first noticed and photographed (posted on 23 June) hatched today. This morning the chrysalis had clearly changed to a more waxy and see-through character. I have now learned that this must be the final stage for around 3.30pm today - while my back was turned of course - the butterfly emerged and at 4pm I found it on the cabbage just above its vacated case. Given the size of the chrysalis and butterfly I think it is a male. It flew away at 5 pm. Earlier a female Large White landed upon Nasturtium and laid 21 eggs in the 20 minutes she was there. Three Small Whites and one Green-veined White have also been busy laying eggs today so at some time there's going to be free-for-all for the brassica! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White final stage chrysalis
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large White emerges
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White resting following egglaying
Photo © Francis Plowman

Wednesday Wander at MHD. There were 10 people at the walk at MHD today. We all saw a lot of butterflies and moths. Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites were too numerous to count as were 6-spot Burnet Moths. Also seen were 3 Gatekeepers, 5 Ringlets, 5 Essex Skippers, 3 Small Skippers, 2 Large Skippers, a Red Admiral, 2 Peacocks, 5 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Brimstones, Green-veined White, Small Whites and a single Chalk Hill Blue. We also saw a silver-Y moth, Pyrausta purpuralis(mint moth) and a Yponomeuta species - a probable spindle ermine micro moth and an unidentified moth caterpillar. Thanks to Jenny and Jane and all who attended. [Posted by Sue Lamberts]

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Chalk-hill Blue
Photo © Sue Lamberts
Essex Skipper
Photo © Sue Lamberts
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Sue Lamberts

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. An early (0650-1015) and patient walk around this area including the disused car park at the top of Frater Lane - in order to see White-letter Hairstreak (for the second time here). Nothing doing with this butterfly at this time so continued with the rest of the walk. Cool conditions initially under cloudy sky led to numerous sightings of freshly emerged butterflies. By the end of the walk at least 15 confirmed species were identified plus a distant Hairstreak back at the car park area with its elms and recent record of their habitation by the White-letter Hairstreak; I might have been lucky but the only photograph was distant and inconclusive. Some you lose!

Those counted today: Ringlet (10); Meadow Brown (12); Comma (5); Marbled White (22); Essex Skipper (10); Gatekeeper (8); Speckled Wood (3); Small Copper (2); Small White (9); Small Skipper (4); Green-veined White (8); Red Admiral (1); Peacock (1); Large White (2); Purple Hairstreak (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman
Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman

Chalkhill Blue at Magdalen Hill Down. First Chalk Hill Blue of the year at Magdalen Hill Down spotted on the Wednesday Wander [Posted by Steve Easter]

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Chalkhill Blue
Photo © Steve Easter

03 Jul 2018

North Harbour Complex, Cosham. Today I visited North Harbour, Cosham (SU6404) walking a path that I was shown by someone who had previously seen the White Letter Hairstreak, a species which has still evaded me. Again this time no luck, although maybe a pair of binoculars may come in useful! My totals were: Large White 4, Small White 13, Holly Blue 1, Marbled White 5, Meadow Brown 1, Large Skipper 1, Small Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Clouded Yellow debut? Lee on the Solent. A Clouded Yellow was reported to me by Barrie Jay from Lee on the Solent seafront, near The Shack cafe. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Silver-studded Blue in Winchester. After a friend had sent me a photo of a hard to identify butterfly I visited the place myself this morning (0900-1000). It's on a public footpath through the South Winchester Golf Club. There was a single Blue sitting still (it was still a bit cool for it perhaps) and easy to photograph. It looks like a Silver-studded Blue. A rare visitor to these parts. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

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Silver-studded Blue
Photo © Bob Whitmarsh

Creech Wood. Another blustery day in the mighty Oak tree tops, and today was not a good Emperor day. I managed to see one magnificent male Oak edging and looking through some sallow stands, in an area where I normally see a few males at least. This was quite late by standards over the past few weeks at 1110, where they have been active from about 0800 onwards. Today it was a lot cooler when the sun went in and when the wind got up it was decidedly fresh. Creech Wood has had a blitzing from the Forest Harvesters, and there are large areas left to grow over as grassland. Many Sallow stands have been taken out but there is still a lot in here, in fact as sallow stands go this is one of the best sites I visit. In the wayleaves the sallows are starting to re-generate and in 5 years time will be a prime target for a female. Other disappointing counts were Silver-washed Fritillary, and White Admiral. Marbled White were in good number under the wayleaves, but the Skipper count was also poor. I did see a Dark-green Fritillary which was very present here a few years ago, but the wayleaves became very overgrown, so I think it died out, but the Fritillary obviously coming from Portsdown Hill is looking to make a comeback! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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White Admiral looking decidedly middle aged now....
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Silver-Washed Fritillary now reaching its peak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The wayleaves area where there is good sallow content
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

02 Jul 2018

Nursling Butterflies.. Had a quick walk through Home Covert, where I saw one White Admiral, two Silver-washed Fritillarys, and further on my walk 5 White-letter Hairstreaks and 7 Purple Hairstreaks and a few more Silver-washed Fritillarys. Only managed record shots. [Posted by Jason Claxton]

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Purple Hairstreak record shot
Photo © Jason Claxton
Weee. Got to be White-letter.
Photo © Jason Claxton
'Ere get back on the Elms !
Photo © Jason Claxton

close encounter at North Baddesley. A couple who came to see my butterfly reserve at North Baddesley today had a lucky unexpected surprise. A White Admiral was flying very close around us and landed on the ladies hand!. Also saw hundreds of butterflies including fresh Gatekeeper and Brimstone. Species total here this year now 23. Just to clear up questions I have been asked,I do not charge to visit my reserve it is free to anyone interested. My contact details spark.ky@hotmail.co.uk or 02380 733995. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin Ross

Havant Thicket. We went to Havant Thicket this morning from 0930 to 1100 and spent most of the time looking around the tracks adjacent to the main car park and saw at least 6 Purple Emperors. [Posted by Barry and Margaret Collins]

Leigh Park moth trap in my garden. Last night I had the mercury vapour moth trap on in my garden and caught 40 species of moth. Some of the highlights were Elephant Hawk 3, Rosy Footman 2, Kent Black Arches 1, Buff-tip 1, Double Kidney 1, Festoon 2 males, Maiden's Blush 1 and Short-cloaked Moth etc. [Posted by Barry Collins]

Silver-spotted skipper in New Forest. Seen yesterday Pignal and Ramnor enclosure NE of Brockenhurst. I have photo but technophope regarding posting. [Posted by Stella Cox]

Bizarre Purple Emperor record in Portsmouth. On the bizarre front A Male Purple Emperor has been reported to me today being seen at Gunwharf Quays shopping centre in Portsmouth on the 24th June. I have thought they may well be breeding at Hilsea Lines and the IBM centre at North Harbour. This just makes me think they probably are. As one was seen on a wheelie bin in Paulsgrove in 2017, which isn't far from these sites as the crow flies....This one was probably caught in somebody's car, and managed to escape at some point. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Havant Thicket. I think it was the hottest day of the year today with the temperature gauge reaching 90f (sorry I still work in old money!) anyway it sounds hotter! I visited my local patch today Havant Thicket and today I managed to count (7) males and a possible female, as I never saw it. The males were patrolling up and down the oak stands and sallow searching at 0900 this morning when it was a lot cooler. Many of the males towards the latter part of the morning were seeking shelter and the photo I took was male hiding from the excessive heat. By the time I got back to the car at 1200 all activity had stopped and it was very breezy in the oak and sallow stands, and they dont particularly like strong windy weather. The Silver-washed Fritillary was the star of the show with over (50) being noted, but on the reverse side of the coin the White Admiral was very poor. Other species were Comma, Peacock, Gatekeeper, Marbled White and lots of Skippers. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Purple Emperor resting up from the excessive heat
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Gatekeeper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Monks Walk & Frater Lane Disused Car Park. Thanks to Chris Rose clarifying the location adjacent to Monks Walk where he has seen and photographed White-letter Hairstreak, I set-out today between 0645-0815 to try my luck. Sadly, in this regard it was not in. However, a fresh new-brood Peacock was seen together with another 13 species in this area. This included a nice Silver-washed Fritillary nectaring on bramble blossom - only my second sighting ever of this large butterfly at Monks Walk. Totals early today: Meadow Brown (11); Painted Lady (1); Small White (5); Red Admiral (1); Essex Skipper (7); Marbled White (9); Purple Hairstreak (4); Silver-washed Fritillary (1); Green-veined White (4); Ringlet (3); Gatekeeper (4); Large White (1); Small Skipper (1); Peacock (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-washed Fritillary
Photo © Francis Plowman

01 Jul 2018

White Letter Hairstreak Sites in Hampshire. Over the last few years I have been searching out the White Letter Hairstreak in Hampshire. I am being quite choosy about the sites I check and some require more patience than others but I am finding that more often than not I find what I am looking for. I have been wondering how best to pass on this information and thought I should just list them with accurate grid references. Some of these sites are NOT very user friendly, some are easy to get to and some are not and I don't guarantee that you will be able to get great low down views of the butterflies. There is not the space for lots of detail here, but hopefully this will help somebody find the butterfly nearby. This list is where I have confirmed presence of the butterfly this year. Good Luck

SU55170755 Hilson Drive, Fareham

SU63075017 Jays Close, Basingstoke

SU52181316 nr The Railway Pub, Botley

SU52601365 Curdridge nr Botley

SU539156 Curdridge nr Bishops Waltham

SU48771418 Manaton Way, Hedge End

SU467146 Hatch Grange, West End. several ornamental Elms all with the butterfly present

SU45691521 nr Cutbush Lane, West End roadside

SU45001735 Alongside o/flow carpark University Playing Fields,Wide Lane, Southampton

SU440167 Monks Brook/Stoneham Lane, Southampton

SU429055 Hardley Lane, Butts Ash nr Fawley

SU365159 Dairy Lane, Nursling, Southampton nr Tesco distribution centre

SU427247 Main Road, Hursley nr John Keble School roadside

SU444242/445243 Silkstead Lane between Poles lane and Silkstead Stables roadside

SU69780576 A3/A27 intersection at Broadmarsh roadside

SU64530101 Church Street, Portsmouth opposite All Saints Church

SU61962218 A32 Warnford roadside trees

SU64202369 West Meon site of old station next to carpark

SU70403337 A32 Between East Tisted & Farringdon roadside trees

SU705363-4 A32 Chawton Park between Chawton and Faringdon roadside trees [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul Harfield

West Wood/Crab Wood/Pitt Down. First Purple Emperor in West Wood was seen on the ground at 0915 again very early, very skittish and by the end of my walk around West Wood at 12:00 I had seen (10) males and one female egg laying in 'Ashleys Ride'. I had seen at least (6) on the ground and had met many people dog walking who had no idea that this magnificent beast was just flying above their heads!It was a good recruitment drive as I think several will be coming on the West Wood Field Trip on Sunday week! I also walked through Crab Wood for about two three hundred yards along a very insignificant track and 'copped'(5) males all oak edging or flying in and around the Hazel stands. Two fresh males probably out today were clashing in the ride and one settled just above my head.I then moved on into Pitt Down and 'copped' and lovely male coming in from the downland area, where he settled in a Hazel Tree just above my head, then he just flew off and went in over the high Oaks into West Wood. In the Spindle Tree Car-Park one Male was seen flying in and around the smaller Oaks and Hazel Stands. So this is the best count in this area by a long -long way (22) so Matthews prediction of this being one of the best seasons is certainly true. On Pitt Down it was very disappointing I only managed to count just (10) Dark-green Fritillary, the middle section of the reserve looks like a billiard table. Good counts today were Silver-washed Fritillary, Marbled White, saw my first Gatekeeper of the season. But standing tall and proud is the magnificent Purple Emperor. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Purple Emperor looking not so very fresh!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Scarlet Tiger Moth quite common in West Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Large Emerald Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Browndown South. The first of the month today and appropriately enough a number of firsts for me having spent the last week or so in search of more 'exotic' butterflies and probably missing out on the more common species. So, in a long circular walk from home down to Stokes Bay via Browndown and back I managed firsts for me (in Hampshire at least) of Small Skipper + Essex Skippers, Grayling, Purple Hairstreaks and Gatekeepers. Numbers were good for all except Grayling where I could only find 3 on the Browndown site - none in my usual hotspot near the firing range at the eastern end but those I did find were very near the entrance on the west side. Very 'skittish' in the heat - as were most butterflies. Nice to catch up though and even nicer to not get in the car! Photos attached - fingers crossed I've got the Essex Skipper correct (please get back if not) [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Gatekeeper - Browndown South
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Purple Hairstreak - Browndown South
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Essex Skipper - Browndown South
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

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