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

News Archive for Sep 2018

19 Sep 2018

Fort Widley, again. Too windy and wet for butterflies, Fort Widley still surprises, with an itinerant Hummingbird Hawk larva discovered in the woodstore by Peter Burrard-Lucas and given to me for safe custody. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Highslide JS
Photo © Andrew Brookes

17 Sep 2018

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. Looking around this site today reminded me of when I used to frequent this site over a decade ago, when the target species was always the Wall Brown Butterfly, and today was no exception, although a glimpse of a Brown Hairstreak wouldn't have gone amiss! You never know what this site will turn up,as the site now is such a shadow of its former self, I mean that in a positive way. It was hard many years ago to find a wild flower, but now they are in abundance, and the tree lines and shrubbery on many the footpaths are full of wild flowers/fruits and there are many butterflies flying even today. There is a very fine line between an extinction, of a species, and a species which even the size of a Speckled Wood can be easily overlooked, and often and I'm guilty of this, you tend to give up on a species when they haven't been reported from a site for a long time. Today I saw a Wall Brown just to the south of the Churchillian Public House, flying from East to West, and it was flying down the line of the shrubs on the Northern bank. It was intercepted by several Speckled Woods, but continued on its way. This must have been another specimen from last week reported by John Goodspeed, as it was about half-a-mile from his site. I would like to say they have returned to the site, after several favourable summers,but they could well have still been here all this time but in extremely low numbers. Another species on the up here seems to be the Brown Argus, a decade ago they were very rare here, and their food plant wasn't to be found anywhere other than a small area on the transect route. Today I saw at least two around Fort Widley, which is excellent news, probably utilizing Storksbill or Cranesbill as a foodplant. There were good numbers of Common Blue many look as if they hatched yesterday, and several Clouded Yellows were rapidliy patrolling up and down the slopes. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Common Blue still good numbers and in good condition
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Part of the Fort Widley area where the Wall Brown was often seen on these chalky escarpments
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Wall Brown feeding on Dandelion
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

15 Sep 2018

Clouded Yellow at Farlington Marshes. A Clouded Yellow was present on the eastern sea wall at Farlington Marshes just after midday. It followed the sea wall south stopping frequently allowing good views. Last seen heading across the Deeps south. Also present was a Small Copper and Small Heath.

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

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Clouded Yellow
Photo © Chris Rose
Clouded Yellow
Photo © Chris Rose
Small Heath
Photo © Chris Rose

Portsdown Hill. Despite thinking I had made my last trip - after the recent sightings of both Wall and Brown Hairstreak - two of Hampshire's rarest butterflies - I again rounded the dog up - she hates winter - and made my way along Portsdown Hill. There are still good numbers of male and female Common Blue, a scattering of Meadow Brown and Brown Argus, and the usual whites, and a healthy population of third brood Small Copper but best of all were two pristine Clouded Yellows battling it out over the short turf. Autumn Ladies Tresses have also done very well this year with good numbers of spikes in five different locations. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Red Admiral
Photo © Mark Tutton
Pristine Clouded Yellow
Photo © Mark Tutton
Small Copper resting after battle
Photo © Mark Tutton

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Finally, I just couldn't resist one more circulation of the fields, woods and pathways of Monks Walk. It never disappoints. Between 1205-1430 some 8 butterfly species were noted. Before I had left the car I was pleasantly surprised to see a male Brimstone waiting by the gate to have his photograph taken; I didn't disappoint him! Final tally: Brimstone (M)(1); Small White (3); Red Admiral (2); Speckled Wood (8); Small Copper (6); Common Blue (M)(5)(F)(1); Small Heath (1); Large White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Brimstone male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Fort Brockhurst, Gosport. My first ever butterfly hunt within the confines of Fort Brockhurst (1230-1300) was an anticlimax. Access was available to the public and the Heritage Open Day was extremely popular indeed. The large number of visitors plus the squadrons of aggressive dragonflies probably contributed to the low count of just two Small Coppers being seen. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Clayhall RN Cemetery, Alverstoke. Between 1145-1220 with temperature now into the low 20s I walked the inner-perimeter of the Naval cemetery. Speckled Wood (5) and a single female Common Blue (another Fb variety at that) were the only butterflies noted. The female Common Blue was egg-laying and I think, in the centre view, one can see the emergence of the egg. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Preparing to oviposit
Photo © Francis Plowman
Egg-laying?
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. It was to be that on my last Hampshire butterfly walk for some weeks I would come across a species that I had never seen in the UK before let alone in Hampshire. Moreover, it seems most apt that I should photograph the Wall within Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub! This area is still in flower and I had hopes of finding (at last) the Clouded Yellow. Once again, that butterfly eluded my efforts to find it but I happily settle for sighting the Wall. Between 1045-1140 with blue skies and a temperature around 19 degrees, I recorded: Small White (3); Common Blue (M)(4); (F)(1) - the latter Fb variant; Wall (1); Small Copper (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Wall
Photo © Francis Plowman
Wall
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female var Fb
Photo © Francis Plowman

14 Sep 2018

Humming-bird Hawk-moth in Leigh Park. A Humming-bird Hawk-moth was nectaring on buddleia in our front garden at Leigh Park, this afternoon at 1600 in very overcast conditions. [Posted by Barry Collins]

13 Sep 2018

Monks Hill, Promenade and Seafield Park, Hill Head. An hour from 1440 under cloudy skies with SW wind, I walked the promenade, parallel scrub-land and circulated nearby Seafield Park, counting: Large White (3); Small White (6); Common Blue (M)(3); Small Copper (2). Two young foxes were sleeping outside of their den; I almost stepped on one and needed to shout to wake up the second. (I was so near to it I actually believed it was dead!) [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Foxy! Very much alive.
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. There have been few occasions this summer when, in Hampshire, I have recorded double-figures for any species of butterfly. Speckled Wood is clearly flourishing in this neck of the woods! On a two hours' ramble from 1110 under blue skies and warm sunshine nine species were recorded as follows: Small White (8); Speckled Wood (18); Comma (1); Brown Argus (2); Small Copper (8); Common Blue (M)(5); Large White (M)(1); Green-veined White (1); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down. A perfect day to see the Small Copper today and it wasn't very hard to find, with males protecting territories, and engaging in fights with other male Small Coppers, and Females trying to seek out its food-plant,which is obviously here but the Sorrel isn't very obvious not like other sites I've visited. However it seems to be doing very nicely thank you, which is pleasing to see after several lean years. Other species were just Small Heath with a mating pair , Meadow Brown, Common Blue, one Chalk Hill Blue, and Speckled Wood with a Large White off the site. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Male Small Copper on Oxford Ragwort
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
They like to rest on Bramble stems
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Heaths mating
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

11 Sep 2018

Moth trap Leigh Park. I had my moth trap on in my garden overnight and caught 21 species. The most numerous of these were Square-spot Rustic 58, Lesser Yellow Underwing 19, Large Yellow Underwing 14, Vine's Rustic 14, other moths of note: Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing 2, White Point 3, L-album Wainscot 10, Silver Y 2, Angle Shades 4, Orange Swift female, Heart and Dart 1, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing 4, Setaceous Hebrew Character 2, Large Fruit-tree Tortrix 1, plus 11 Wasps and 8 Hornets. [Posted by Barry Collins]

10 Sep 2018

Hook with Warsash Local Nature Reserve. This was a new area for me and from 1230-1400 I worked my way around the woods and fields of this enclosed yet expansive area which also takes in part of the eastern shoreline of Southampton Water. Here the strong SW blow meant a zero return for butterflies but the sheltered approach lane and earlier woods/field area produced six species: Small Copper (1); Meadow Brown (3); Comma (1); Small White (2); Holly Blue (1); Speckled Wood (9). The latter included the largest that I have ever seen, almost of Red Admiral proportions, very fresh and gorging on blackberries! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Wounded Meadow Brown
Photo © Francis Plowman
'Large' Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood usual pose
Photo © Francis Plowman

09 Sep 2018

Wall on Portsdown. I was surprised to se a Wall on the path between the burger van and Candy's Pit on Portsdown around 3.30.(SU664806375) Regret no photo - couldn't get my phone live quickly enough. I walked back along the same path half hour later but did not see it again. Did see migrant hawker dragonfly. [Posted by John Goodspeed]

Gunner Point Hayling Island Field Trip. We ventured onto the Gunner Point headland with a strong breeze blowing and ever threatening rain clouds overhead, so what we did see was very lucky I feel. We did have a certain sunny period where there were Common Blues fighting for territories, and several Small Coppers, which were Four females and two males all in immaculate condition, one of females was a variant called Caeruleopunctata, the lovely blue spotted variety, and she was a little gem, posing quite nicely in the strong wind. There wasn't a lot of the Small Coppers food-plant around but we did find some Sorrels but no eggs, and very little Birds Foot-Trefoils for the Common Blue either. We did find a Lime Speck Pug Moth and there were plenty of Yarrow plants dotted around. If it had been a better day then other species may well have turned up, but I think we all went away happy, drawing the 2018 Field Trip season to a close. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Small Copper female Caeruleopunctata
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Lime Speck Pug Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

08 Sep 2018

Alver Valley Country Park, Gosport. An hour's circulation around the various habitats of the AVCP from 1440 was rather unrewarding. The cool, cloudy conditions realised a count of just three species on the east bank of the River Alver and not one butterfly identifiable on the west bank! Common Blue (2)(M); Small Copper (1); Small White (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JS
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. From 1340-1415 under overcast skies and cool breeze I undertook a quick circuit of this small accessible site. Only four species turned-up for the camera despite the area still possessed of plenty of wild flowers and buddleia: Small White (1)(M); Brown Argus (1); Common Blue (4)(M); Holly Blue (1)(F). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue (female)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman

07 Sep 2018

Martin Down.. As it was a lovely morning, though slightly cool I decided on a visit to see what was around. Between 09.45 and 12.45 it proved very productive. Species seen were Adonis Blue 20 (males mostly worn but females still pretty fresh) including the strangely coloured one pictured below, Brown Argus 8, Common Blue 10, Small Heath 43 (they were everywhere!), Small Copper 15 (nearly all fresh), Small White 4, Large White 2, Meadow Brown 7. [Posted by Mark Pike]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Small Copper
Photo © Mark Pike
Brown Argus
Photo © Mark Pike
Adonis Blue (female)
Photo © Mark Pike

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Numbers are slowly dwindling as Autumn advances at my local butterfly haunt. Just an hour's walk from 1210 today with intermittent sunshine through white clouds uncovered just 7 species. However, the undoubted highlight was - at last - to see and photograph a Red Admiral; ok, a rather worn and shabby specimen but Vanessa atalanta nonetheless! Today's count: Holly Blue (3); Speckled Wood (4); Small White (5); Comma (1); Brown Argus (1); Small Copper (1); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White
Photo © Francis Plowman

Four Shades of Grayling; Browndown South. Taking advantage of the weather forecast which predicted early morning clear skies, I navigated Browndown South, Gosport, from 0910-1145. It was a cool 14 degrees to start with but that helped. The first butterfly seen was the target species, Grayling. This was very dormant though feeding on what appeared to be a white lichen. Very quickly I found two further Grayling both grounded and equally very tolerant of my intrusion. The fourth Grayling was seen on the wing later in the morning with the temperature at 17.5 degrees. Eight species recorded in all: Grayling (4); Small Heath (6); Holly Blue (1); Small Copper (9); Common Blue (M)(1);(F)(1); Brown Argus (4); Meadow Brown (2); Large White (1). Despite an extensive search along the coast, no sighting of Clouded Yellow today. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Grayling No 1
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling No 2
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grayling No 3 and habitat.
Photo © Francis Plowman

06 Sep 2018

VERY unusual sighting today, North Baddesley. To my surprise and amazement I saw a fresh looking cinnabar moth here on my butterfly reserve at North Baddesley today. There is a large colony of them here with hundreds of caterpillars earlier in the year but never ever seen one this late in the year. Also saw 10 Small Copper,1 Meadow Brown,2 Comma,7 Speckled Wood,5 Small White,5 very fresh looking Common Blue,2 Holly Blue,1 Red Admiral and one very fresh male Brimstone.there are hundreds of moths here at the moment but I do not have a moth trap. I would be very interested to know what is here so if anyone would like to set moth traps here please contact me on 02380 733995. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

Highslide JS
Photo © Kevin Ross

Brown Hairstreaks around Soberton. I have been finding female Brown Hairstreaks regularly this year in a hedgerow alongside a meadow adjacent to our garden to the SE of Soberton (single and up to 3 females on 13.8.18, 23.8.18, 25.8.18, 3.9.18, and 4.9.18), having come upon a single female in the garden last year (27.8.17) and 30+ eggs in this hedgerow and others within a km or so of our garden over last winter. The recent records of single females from Portsdown Hill (30.8.18) and near Creech Woods, Denmead (3.9.18) seem to be encouraging evidence that there is a significant population - new, or newly discovered - in this part of Hampshire. There is some evidence of a tall sycamore here being used as an assembly tree from observations in mid-August, although not certain and no sign of recent tree-top activity. It may be that a more systematic egg hunt in the winter will enable the range of this population to be better mapped. [Posted by Angus McCullough]

Highslide JS
Female Brown Hairstreak
Photo © Angus McCullough

05 Sep 2018

Old Winchester Hill NNR. A lovely day all be it a bit breezy, I decided to look around the southern slope of the Fort on the Old Winchester Hill, a bit of real estate I tend to ignore on most trips to this site. However today it was quite a revelation, despite the grasses being well over waist height along the footpath, it is quite closely cropped on the bank of the Fort itself. Here the Adonis Blue reigned supreme,counting (30+) on the fort area and the southern slope, with excellent counts of Small Copper and Small Heath as well. I did walk down to the bottom of the southern slope but there was just two Silver-spotted Skippers to be seen. Several female Adonis Blues were laying eggs on the Horseshoe Vetch. The Chalk Hill Blue has almost finished, I didn't manage to reach double figures for this species today. The Kestrels were not flying today, whether it was too windy at times or not I don't know. I then went around to Westbury Park and noted that the area is covered in Wych Elm and many very mature Elms as well, especially along the roadside from the village of West Meon.... so it would be worth looking in the summer for the WLH in this area. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Male Adonis Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Heath
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

04 Sep 2018

Vanishing vanessids in Longstock. A brief tour of the Longstock buddleja collection, enjoying its final flush, found nothing but a female Small Copper taking nectar. Returning home to Portsmouth at 7pm, we were greeted by a Hummingbird Hawkmoth feasting on the 'Border Beauty' buddleja in the front garden. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Eastney Beach (Part 11). Another look along the stretch of Eastney Beach with the 'bank' now looking very green. The Sorrel is now coming on quite nicely and today I had my biggest Small Copper Count to date here (8). Two Females and (6) males, all were in very good condition except the tatty one noted on the 3rd September. Two females were laying eggs on the regenerating Sorrel, one was on the beach where its growing on the pebbles which makes these areas quite vulnerable, the other female was laying on the area which had been cut by the council, and this area is obviously re-generating as well, although this area was just cut and not burnt. There was a lovely wandering Clouded Yellow feeding on the Purple Milk-Vetch which is regrowing after having a hard time throughout the summer months through lack of rain. Good counts of Small White as well and a Painted Lady along with Common Blue were also part of the tally. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Small Whites mating
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Small Copper on Centuary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Clouded Yellow on Purple Milk Vetch
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

03 Sep 2018

Brown Hairstreak in Denmead. Brown Hairstreak seen on a garden mixed native hedgerow.Close to Creech Woods Denmead. [Posted by Caroline Bainbridge]

Highslide JSHighslide JS
Brown Hairstreak female in Denmead
Photo © Caroline Bainbridge
Photo © Caroline Bainbridge

Eastney Beach. A welcome return today as I espied two Small Coppers on Eastney Beach with one rather tatty male feeding on Purple Milk Vetch, which is what the Common Blues are laying eggs on at this site, as I've never found any Birds Foot Tre-foil here.There was also a splendid Female in pristine condition, she was laying eggs on Sorrel which is just regenerating on the slopes of the 'bank' after the fire. There were plenty Small Whites, Common Blues, and a Red Admiral.It will be interesting if the site comes back like last year with several generations of Small Copper throughout August through to October. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Tattty Male Small Copper feeding on Purple Milk Vetch
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Small Copper laying on Sorell
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Blue male
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

01 Sep 2018

Portsdown Hill. Today encouraged by reports of a Brown Hairstreak sighting, like Mark Tutton, I visited Portsdown Hill (SU657063) walking the area I usually visit but paying close attention for my target species. No sign of the Brown Hairstreak but several Whites, Common Blues and worn Meadow Browns. Totals: Large White 4, Small White 8, Common Blue 4M 2F, Meadow Brown 6. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Portsdown Hill. I took advantage of the beautiful start to the month and decided to make what is probably the last venture after adult butterflies of the year. I started well in my garden in Farlington with a Red Admiral, Large White and a Speckled Wood.

I shackled the dog up and let her pull me up the hill to the 'meadow field' at the top of Farlington Avenue. This revealed Meadow Browns several male and female Common Blues and a Brown Argus. On getting to the George I checked the 'island' opposite which revealed quite a few more Common Blues. I then decided to walk down the London Road to Cliffdale Caravan Park when I spotted a Hummingbird Hawk Moth come to rest and gave an infrequent opportunity to view it in non-buzzing mode. I then walked along the lower slopes toward QA hospital in the shrub line hoping for the recently spotted Brown Hairstreak but no such luck for me - though there were numbers of Common Blues, some very fresh 3rd brood Small Coppers, late male and female Chalk Hill Blue and the first Clouded Yellow of the year for me. Back along the top of the hill to the Churchillian for a well earned drink for myself and the dog, I spotted a good crop of Autumn Ladies Tresses and one more species in the shape of a male Holly Blue which posed nicely. A fabulous walk and a nice checklist of species for late in the year. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Male Holly Blue
Photo © Mark Tutton
Small Copper
Photo © Mark Tutton
Chalk Hill Blue
Photo © Mark Tutton

Old Winchester Hill NNR Field Trip. The penultimate field trip of 2018 and it turned out rather well, with everybody gathering in the car-park at 1030. I had already been on site since 0830 and had counted (20) Adonis Blues with their wings open sitting on the dewy grasses like little badges such beauty, they look a lot better very early on in the morning. We walked around to the south side of the hill-fort and counted very good numbers of Adonis Blues again flying frenziedly in the warm sunshine.We had a quick glimpse of a Clouded Yellow, but it went over towards the farmland, and we never saw it again. The Hill fort vegetation also had good counts of Silver-Spotted Skippers, and several rather splendid Small Coppers one a lovely female feeding on many of the flowers adorning the slopes. We had (11) species in total today a great success, with all target species being seen.

Many thanks for all who came and look forward to seeing some of you next year. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Male Adonis Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Silver-Spotted Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Old Winchester Hill. A couple of hours this morning circulating the steeps and woods of Old Winchester Hill realised a pleasing count of 12 butterflies. The sought after blues were recorded and a lone Silver-spotted Skipper was a nice bonus. Those recorded: Comma (2); Speckled Wood (7); Small White (10); Meadow Brown (38); Small Heath (21); Common Blue (8); M(5); Chalk Hill Blue (5); Adonis Blue (21); M(11); Silver-spotted Skipper (1); Large White (2); Brown Argus (1); Green-veined White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Highslide JSHighslide JSHighslide JS
Adonis Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-spotted Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma at lunch!
Photo © Francis Plowman

Copyright © Butterfly Conservation Hampshire and Isle of Wight Branch
Privacy and Copyright Statement
Butterfly Conservation: Company limited by guarantee, registered in England (2206468)
Registered Office: Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QP, Tel: 01929 400 209
Charity registered in England & Wales (254937) and in Scotland (SCO39268)
Administrator Login