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

News Archive for May 2021

31 May 2021

Portsdown Hill. After a visit to Paulsgrove Chalk Pits, I walked around Fort Widley where I saw Brimstone 1M, Holly Blue 1 and Red Admiral 1.

Crossing the road and walking the path parallel to Queen Alexandra Hospital towards the car park I saw Brimstone 1M, Common Blue 1M 1F and Holly Blue 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Today I paid my third visit this year to Paulsgrove Chalk Pits to search for the Small Blue. Today with temperatures reaching 24 degrees, I finally saw 3 males - my first for the year. Totals: Brimstone 4M 2F, Large White 2, Small White 5, Orange-tip 1M, Common Blue 7M, Small Blue 3, Speckled Wood 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Portsdown Hill, Paulsgrove. Eight species accounted for on a brief walk along the top path of Portsdown Hill from below Fort Widley to approximately opposite the radars. Then into the hill proper and through the upper dips and dells back to the car park (1440-1555) (24 degrees C). However, the southerly wind was very strong and most sightings were made along the sheltered pathway. Thus ends May's outings and satisfying tally of 22 species. But where's Meadow Brown got to? Total: Painted Lady (1); Common Blue (M)(15); Holly Blue (4); Small Heath (1); Small Blue (M)(5)(F)(1); Brimstone (M)(8)(F)(1); Speckled Wood (2); Large White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Windswept Painted Lady on Portsdown Hill
Photo © Francis Plowman

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. At last, Blues at Fort Widley! From 1315-1410 (23 degrees in full sunshine but with warm southerly breeze) we circulated the fort environs to the west, south and east and found both Common and Small Blue were on the wing. The Small Blue were all found in and around the ditch that borders the lane (Widley Walk) and meadow. Total: Large White (M)(2); Brimstone (M)(3)(F)(1); Common Blue (M)(9)(F)(2); Small Blue (M)(3)(F)(1); Orange-tip (M)(1)(F)(1); Holly Blue (3) including 1 female. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Beacon Hill NNR, Warnford (1pm-2pm). I had just an hour today to make the most of the fine weather and take a hasty one-way walk along the lowest contours of this reserve – hardly time to do justice to a site benefiting from Natural England’s improving grazing regime. Of the 13 species seen, male Common Blues (71) were the most abundant, while Grizzled Skippers (4) were surprisingly scarce and Green Hairstreak and Small Copper noted by their absence today. Other species seen were Dingy Skipper (26), Brimstone (31), Large White (1), Small White (8), Orange-tip (1), Holly Blue (1), Small Blue (11), Brown Argus (20+), Duke of Burgundy (5), Speckled Wood (1) and Small Heath (16). [Posted by David Mills]

30 May 2021

Small Heath return to Horsea. Arriving to find the new elms all horribly salt-scorched by the storm of 21 May, it was some small consolation to see Small Heath back on the main meadow after a 10-year absence. The current management seems very successful, butterfly flora aplenty, with fresh male Common Blues also on the wing. Several male Brimstones completed the tally. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. By all accounts it has been a good year for Dingy Skipper with strong numbers seen on and around the chalk hills of Hampshire. I had never seen a Dingy Skipper at Monks Walk, until this afternoon. So what with last year's sightings here of Chalkhill Blue a pattern seems to be developing, yet we have no chalk! However, we do have a butterfly meadow which is where this insect was found basking. My walk from 1245-1530 was warm with a temperature range of 18.5 - 22 degrees Celsius. Total: Large White (M)(2); Speckled Wood (13)(incl 1 F); Common Blue (M)(6); Small Heath (3); Small White (M)(3); Orange-tip (M)(1)(F)(1); Holly Blue (4); Brown Argus (1); Peacock (3); Dingy Skipper (1); Comma (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dingy Skipper ? male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Martin Down NNR Field Trip. Where do you start on a day like today, perfect weather, perfect company, and glorious scenery and butterflies,moths,and birds to boot. We started off at Sillens Lane but it was a bit crowded, and there were lots of people about however we branched off into the wilderness, and soon got into our stride with butterflies being seen in the grasses like Small Heath many Small Blues, and Small Copper, with the Skylarks overhead. In fact by the time we had got to Bockerly Ditch the Small Blue was the most numerous butterfly, and I had soon counted well over a hundred, along with Grizzled Skipper, and Dingy Skipper which just as numerous. The surprise was on a scrubby bank with lots of Cowslips was a male Duke of Burgundy. What a triumph, it has been seen at this site over the past few weeks, and I was just lucky enough to see it sat on a leaf for a quick photo, but I've been here for 30 odd years and always left with nothing. Other butterflies with good numbers were Adonis Blue although they were only just really emerging along with the enigmatic Marsh Fritillary, we saw up to 17 (or more), Brown Argus were about and Common Blue, and the most Green Hairstreak I've ever seen in one day (9). There were a few Moths like Mother shipton Moth, Cinnabar Moth, Yellow Shell, Common Carpet,Burnet Companion, and Speckled Yellow. In the Hedgerows there were Yellow Hammers, Redpoll, Linnets, Blackcap, Skylarks, Whitethroat, Corn Bunting, and the odd Roe Deer on the grassy plain. I want to thank everyone for coming along today, to make it such a magical day. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Marsh Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mating Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

29 May 2021

Hayling Billy Cycle Trail. Today I walked the Hayling Billy Cycle Trail from Saltmarsh Lane to the site of the former station at West Town, Hayling island. The temperature was 20 degrees. Totals: Brimstone 1M 1F, Small White 3, Green-veined White 1, Holly Blue 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Duke of Burgundy and others on Stockbridge Down. Visited Stockbridge down on 29th May between about 1:30 and 3:30 pm. Warm but cloudy skies. Saw many Brimstones, Holly Blue, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small Heath, Orange-tip, Common Blue, Small Blue and one beautifully fresh Duke of Burgundy. One Grizzled skipper was very friendly ! [Posted by Dr Alison Vincent]

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Photo © Dr Alison Vincent

Martin Down National Nature Reserve North. After an al fresco lunch it was a quick dash over the A354 to the northern borders of the NNR. Just 45 minutes from 1345 accounted for 11 butterfly species. Once again Brimstone held pole position closely followed by Common Blue. We saw no female Common Blue on our southerly sojourn but two were recorded in the more sheltered environs of the northern sector. A Common Blue mating pair were immediately seen on the path into the area. (But it was the 'one that got away' that I will remember. Having seen Large Tortoiseshell in Germany and Belgium I am fairly certain (but cannot be sure) that one was on the wing. Twice I approached it only for it to fly off rapidly in a blur of bright orange; a very large and fast flyer. Hopefully someone else may be luckier and well worth looking out for). Total: Brimstone (M)(9)(F)(3); Common Blue (M)(8)(F)(2); Small Heath (5); Small Copper (1); Grizzled Skipper (1); Brown Argus (1); Dingy Skipper (5); Adonis Blue (1); Painted Lady (1); Orange-tip (F)(1); Speckled Wood (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue (female lower)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Adonis Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Martin Down National Nature Reserve South. The BBC website forecast of a day of cloud was miscast completely as temperatures rose throughout the day to 22 degrees Celsius. The cooling breeze hardly bothered the butterflies. From 1030-1310 we covered Butterfly Walk 19 and the long walk was rewarded with 13 species. This included - as hoped - our first 2021 sightings of Marsh Fritillary and Adonis Blue. The Marsh Fritillary was prominent in and around the Bokerley Ditch and the Adonis Blue in sheltered pockets at the southern valley. The female fritillary was languid if not sedentary compared to the frisky males. The comparative photographs illustrate clearly the different markings and the extra girth of the female's abdomen is striking. But the day belonged to Brimstone which were busy everywhere from start to finish! Total: Small Copper (2); Small Heath (32); Common Blue (M)(14); Dingy Skipper (26); Brimstone (M)(28)(F)(21); Marsh Fritillary (20); Small Blue (5); Brown Argus (7); Grizzled Skipper (4); Green Hairstreak (1); Large White (M)(1); Small White (1); Adonis Blue (8). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Marsh Fritillary male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marsh Fritillary female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brown Argus (unrequited love!)
Photo © Francis Plowman

Butser Hill NNR. Today I concentrated on Butser Hill having a look at some scrubby areas I've never really looked at for the Duke of Burgundy. The species has had a bad spring and consequently numbers have been extremely low at all sites visited. So I thought I would look at the best site in East Hampshire, the weather was a thin veil of cloud, very warm and sunny at times, which really boosted the temperature. I looked at West Butser Hill which is a scrubby escarpment , which is usually good for the Duke when its out in good numbers, but alas today I only saw (2) here both females. I then went to a SSSI close-by and here there weren't any Dukes to be seen which is normally an overspill from the main colonies. I then looked at the scrubby escapement behind the large copse of Beech trees in the coombe. Here I found the scrub was ideal for the species, and I saw (7) here including a mating rejection.From there I was down in the valley floor, the 'coombe' is where I see most of the specimens. It didn't disappoint, here there were (25) which doesn't sound a lot, but when the species is having a poor season then this is a triumph. So all together there were (32) Dukes, and they were all in remarkably good condition. Ramsdean Down has a good reputation for a good count so I could have easily have had twice to three times as many counts of Dukes today.

Other species seen were, Dingy Skipper(65) Grizzled Skipper(25) including a mating pair, Small Heath (25) Common Blue (58) Small Blue (1) first one of these I've seen at this site, Small Copper (1) Brimstone (20) Brown Argus (20) Green Hairstreak (3) Orange-tip (2) Large White (1) Speckled Wood (2) Common Carpet Moth(2) Silver-'Y'Moth (1) Cinnabar Moth (2) Mother Shipton Moth (1). All in all a very satisfactory day. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Mating pair of Grizzled Skippers
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Common Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

28 May 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A later walk (1515-1700) realised sightings of 10 butterfly species but all ones and twos except Common Blue. Temperature was a balmy 19 degrees Celsius throughout with warm sunshine and just a light breeze from the south-east. Sadly my fears for the meadow were realised as yesterday lawn-mowers cut swathes of 'paths' including one diagonally across the butterfly meadow! Hardly surprising that numbers were lower and no signs of the two female Common Blue seen earlier in the week on grasses now cut down. (Incidentally, none of the photographs were taken in the butterfly meadow). Total: Speckled Wood (M)(1); Large White (M)(1); Common Blue (M)(5); Comma (2); Brown Argus (1); Orange-tip (M)(1); Small Heath (2); Small White (M)(2); Peacock (1); Green-veined White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue male roosting
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock, wing damaged but feisty!
Photo © Francis Plowman

Yew Hill comes alive with butterflies. On a short trip to Yew Hill Reserve in the late afternoon yesterday the clouds cleared away and we had unbroken sunshine. There were numerous Brimstones, Small Heaths and Dingy Skippers. Eight species were seen in all which also included small numbers of Holly Blue, Common Blue, Grizzled Skipper, Orange-tip and Green Hairstreak. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Bob Whitmarsh
Common Blue
Photo © Bob Whitmarsh
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Bob Whitmarsh

27 May 2021

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Following a visit to Havant Thicket I made my way towards the West Sussex border at Chalton Down, where the temperature was 18 degrees. Several Common Blues were seen with only a single Dingy Skipper on the wing. Totals: Brimstone 5M 1F, Small White 2, Orange-tip 3M, Common Blue 6M, Dingy Skipper 1 [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Havant Thicket. Walked the main path around Havant Thicket today where the temperature reached 17 degrees. Totals: Brimstone 7M 8F, Small White 1, Orange-tip 2M, Speckled Wood 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Dukes at West Wood. It's been a long wait for the emergence of Duke of Burgundy in a woodland setting, but the wait is finally over. A visit to West Wood around noon today produced seven Dukes, as well as a single Pearl-bordered Fritillary, and five Grizzled Skippers. Two of the Dukes were seen in a new area, which is particularly encouraging. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Andy Barker
Pearl-bordered Fritillary (female)
Photo © Andy Barker
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Andy Barker

Marsh Fritillary starting to emerge in numbers at Martin Down. Beautiful day at Martin Down. Lots of Small Blue and Green Hairstreaks ten to the bush. Adonis Blue increasing in number around the lower area of the Bokerley ditch later in the afternoon. Also Marsh Fritillary emerging in this area too, although up to late afternoon the Marsh Fritillary were only to be found higher up the ditch - best near the mounds - nearer the car park. 10 in all seen in the ditch. But I bet this is much higher by the weekend. Bank holiday Monday should be excellent.

Also of note, Small Heath, Common Blue, lots of Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Orange-tips, Brimstone - with a good number of females egg laying. I don't know what the farmer sprayed on the field but truly stunk - leaving a metallic taste in the mouth which blew from field adjacent into the ditch area and over the site. I'm sure all okay - I hope. Photos on Facebook. [Posted by Mark Jones]

Dukes at Stockbridge Down. During a brief visit to Stockbridge Down at 09.30 in bright sunshine I saw 4 Duke of Burgundy as well as Grizzled Skipper (6), Dingy Skipper (4), Brimstone (10) Orange-tip (8) Small Heath (4 including a mating pair), Brown Argus (2) and Small Copper (1). [Posted by Chris Backwell]

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Duke (m)
Photo © Chris Backwell
Small Heaths
Photo © Chris Backwell

CONFIDENTIAL _ Marsh Fritillary in Micheldever Wood. Very odd. I was looking round the southern part of Micheldever Wood today which was almost devoid of interest – birds and butterflies – and then, on a very average track, there was a smallish fritillary nectaring. LPBF, I thought! No, wrong underside. Then I saw the upper side - fresh Marsh Fritillary!!!!! (Seen well for ~10 seconds, sadly wouldn’t stay to get photographed). Completely the wrong habitat, thickets more suited to Nightingale, will be dry as a bone in a week.

Four possibilities come to mind: an undetected local colony – very very unlikely. Dispersing from NE Hampshire or the far west – a long way to fly across the ecodesert of mid-Hampshire. Released – sounds the least unlikely. Comments welcome! [Posted by David Murdoch]

Dukes emerging, Harewood Forest. Yes - it's finally, really, spring in this part of mid-Hampshire! The hawthorn is at its best (yes, this really is 27 May) and the Arctic monsoons seem finally to have stopped. Today we made a rapid visit to a patch of high-quality chalk grass on the edge of Harewood Forest and were rewarded with 2 male Duke of Burgundy on territory and 2 Grizzled Skippers - all pristine, probably fresh out today. The only other butterflies were single Brimstone and battered Peacock.

I have hardly seen a butterfly for over a week but today there are several fresh-looking male Orange-tips zipping along the lanes. It seems that there has been a clear-out of many species and now a late burst of emergence of the classic mid-spring species. [Posted by David Murdoch]

Noar Hill. Thirteen species sighted during 160 minutes' perambulation from 10 o'clock. Mostly warm sunny periods interspersed with light overcast and temperature range of 15 - 18 deg C. Wind from SW increased around noon. Spectacular display of wild flowers everywhere including many unknown orchids with Pyramidal Orchids breaking through. First sighting for us this year of Small Blue and Painted Lady also seen. Duke of Burgundy seems to be fading out. Total: Small White (5); Orange-tip (M)(4)(F)(3); Brimstone (M)(3)(F)(3); Dingy Skipper (9); Duke of Burgundy (3); Green Hairstreak (1); Small Heath (6); Peacock (1); Small Blue (3); Painted Lady (); Green-veined White (F)(1); Holly Blue (3); Large White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Dingy Skipper (female at left)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Francis Plowman

Martin Down Blues. What a difference from my previous visit. Warm sun, no rain, no wind. Sadly, no Marsh Fritillary either. I hope my failure to find them is down to me and not a problem for the colony here. Conditions could hardly have been better. Lots to compensate though with butterflies on the wing everywhere. Just about every species you could hope to find at this time of year - Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Small Blue, Brown Argus, Small Heath, Green Hairstreak, Brimstone, Orange-tip and skippers in abundance. Some of the Adonis Blues were showing signs of wear so must have been around for a while. I wish I could have stayed longer but had to be back by lunchtime - just in time to see my first Holly Blue in the garden! A wonderful (half) day out [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Small Blue - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Adonis Blue - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Common Blue - Martin Down
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

26 May 2021

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Paid a return visit to Paulsgrove Chalk Pits where the temperature was 16 degrees. Again there was a disappointing number of butterflies, Brimstone 1M, Large White 1, Small White 4 and Common Blue 5M. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. At last a good walk around the site blessed by warm sunshine (1000-1230) with a temperature range of 16-18 degrees Celsius with a light SW breeze. The butterfly meadow lived up to his name with Common Blue (of both sexes) and Brown Argus feeding on Clover, Buttercup, Dwarf Mallow, Birds Foot Trefoil and Common Vetch. Holly Blue and whites darting over and around the field. The female Common Blue was the Fb variant usually recorded here but the many males were focused either on fighting each other or feeding! Total: Small White (7) (incl 1 female); Holly Blue (2); Common Blue (M)(7)(F)(2); Brown Argus (2); Peacock (1); Large White (3) (incl 2 male); Red Admiral (1); Orange-tip (F)(1); Speckled Wood (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Holly Blue on Woody Nightshade
Photo © Francis Plowman
A tiny Brown Argus on Buttercup
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female Variant Fb
Photo © Francis Plowman

Bentley Wood Field Trip. It seems an awful long time since I've written 'Field Trip' in my notes but today was really the first official one which was allowed more than 6 people. We went to Bentley Wood in pleasant sunshine to start the trip with, but alas it soon clouded over with short intervals of sunshine. Only one of the target species was seen due to the weather having delaying many species this year. (15) Pearl-Bordered Fritillary were seen, along with several Grizzled Skippers, Small Heaths, Marsh Fritillary (1) Brimstones, Treble Bar Moths, Speckled Yellow moths, Mother Shipton Moths along with several Slow Worms, Common Lizards, Broad Bordered Chasers, and I heard the Cuckoo for a lengthy time at last. In the book at the car park there wasn't any mention of the Duke of Burgundy being seen, probably still too early, even at this late date, and certainly no Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries, if they are seen at all this year here. The wood was alive with bird song which is so pleasing in itself, but it is very wet underfoot, almost like it was in the 1980's. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Portsdown Hill. Apologies if this appears twice - had great difficulty in uploading today. The target species at Portsdown today was Small Blue. It must be 4-5 years since I visited the site at this time of year so I'm not sure how the colony there is faring (by 'colony' I mean those I've seen before at the west end of the hill on the rough chalk strewn ground under the chalk cliff). Sadly, after an hours searching I found none today which could of course be my being in the wrong area or even just a few days early in this cold, wet spring. There were however plenty of Common Blues to keep me occupied along with Orange-tips and the odd Brimstone. I decided to walk back to the car along the bottom path and by sheer good luck bumped into a male Small Blue - about a km from where I had been looking earlier! There may have been 2 or 3 here but as soon as I'd photographed the obliging male the clouds came over and everything disappeared. Also managed my first dragonfly of the year - a beautiful female broad bodied chaser. To see my first in the last week of May probably shows what a poor year it has been to date. Thankful for small mercies though - it wasn't blowing a gale today and there was no hail or driving rain! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Common Blue - Portsdown Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Small Blue - Portsdown Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Female Orange-tip - Portsdown Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Martin Down.. A brighter day at last. Visited between 10.00-13.00 and things really seemed to be starting to pick up with plenty on the wing. Species seen were Marsh Fritillary 18 (most in the perimeter ditch where it is a bit more sheltered from the breeze), Small Blue 8, Common Blue 5, Brown Argus 4, Grizzled Skipper 21, Dingy Skipper 23, Brimstone 5, Green Hairstreak 4, Peacock 2, Small Copper 12, Small White 2. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Mark Pike
Small Blue
Photo © Mark Pike
Marsh Fritillary
Photo © Mark Pike

25 May 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A late afternoon (1600-1630) dive into the butterfly meadow (14.5 deg C, windy, cool and overcast) produced sighting of one species only, Common Blue. A solitary female was roosting within 10 feet of a similarly hunkered-down male. Further into the meadow a second pair were settled on a grass with the male trying for all he was worth to encourage his lady. Probably too late and cold in the day? Maybe they'll be there first thing tomorrow morning when hopefully there will be some warm sunshine? Anyway, this was a surprising and enjoyable moment especially since earlier in the afternoon we had walked down and back up the car park slope at Old Winchester Hill and saw absolutely nothing! Total: Common Blue (M)(2);(F)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female roosting
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue NOT mating pair!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Sadly she was unimpressed!
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down. It's been well over a week since I ventured out which goes to show how bad May has been, but today there were small pockets of sunshine between the heavy leaded clouds, which gave me some views of some species, mostly of which were roosting and were just waiting for the sun to shine long enough to warm them up. I saw (5) Duke of Burgundy's, all of which were in very good condition, Small Heath (6) Brimstone (8) Small Copper (3) Common Blue (2) Small White (2) Dingy Skipper (7) Grizzled Skipper (2) Speckled Yellow Moth (3) Cinnabar Moth (1) Treble Bar Moth (3). The weather is looking better in the next week so watch this space.... [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Common Blue roosting
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Heath
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Duchess of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Northington Down. Hummingbird Hawk-moth zooming around front garden in bright and breezy conditions at midday. My first sighting of the season. [Posted by Robert Bryant]

24 May 2021

A tick at Martin Down. There was a short period between 10 and 11 when it wasn’t raining or hailing. During that we found 2 Marsh Fritillary, 2 Brown Argus, 1 Small Copper, 1 Grizzled Skipper and 1 Dingy Skipper (+ turtle dove, corn bunting, spotted flycatcher, cuckoo, burn’t tip orchid and a tick (found later)! [Posted by Adam Fulton]

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Marsh Fritillary
Photo © Adam Fulton

22 May 2021

Bentley Wood. Against my better judgement with a very iffy forecast in prospect I bit the bullet and paid a visit from 1330-1600 this afternoon. In that time were just two very brief sunny spells of no more that an few minutes but luckily it brought out some lovely fresh Pearl-bordered Fritillary including a threesome that was flying around together for some while before one finally gave up, with the pair landing amazingly on one of the few white Bluebells in the area! Sightings of anything else were very poor. Species seen were Pearl-bordered Fritillary 6, Brimstone 2, Green-veined White 1, Speckled Yellow Moth 2. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Mark Pike
Pearl Bordered Fritillary Pair
Photo © Mark Pike
Speckled Yellow
Photo © Mark Pike

Wall on a wall. Despite the rather cool, cloudy and showery conditions, we decided to explore an area near Thruxton, NW Hampshire. It was only 13oC, but the sun did eventually start to break through from about 1.00pm. We only saw one butterfly the whole time we were out, but amazingly, it was a Wall, which was our target species, and a real rarity in Hampshire. It was initially taking nectar, then as the sunshine became hazy it settled on a wall to warm up. As you can see, it was a bit ragged around the edges, but we weren't complaining, it was just nice to see! [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Wall (male)
Photo © Andy Barker

Back to Martin Down. Back to Martin Down today despite the weather forecast. Pockets of sunshine delivered though with two Marsh Fritillary, several Small Blues, Common Blue, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Orange-tip, Dingy Skipper and Grizzled Skipper and the surprise of all, a pristine Duke of Burgundy. All were along the Bokerley Ditch once more

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

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Marsh Fritillary
Photo © Chris Rose
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Chris Rose
Common Blue
Photo © Chris Rose

Cream spot tiger at Budds Farm. Found on vegetation on the top of the beach at Budds farm, Havant a.m. on 22nd. [Posted by John Goodspeed]

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Photo © John Goodspeed

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Today it was more about finding out what had not survived the last three days and nights of typhoon! However, there was a hint of a diffused ray of sunshine around 1220 when I made an hour's brief circulation of the area before yet more rain stopped play. Four species only were seen, viz: Speckled Wood (M)(1); Small White (M)(4); Large White (M)(2); Common Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male on ambush alert
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White male on sunny Dandelion
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue on Dwarf Mallow
Photo © Francis Plowman

20 May 2021

Small Tortoiseshell larvae. Great surprise to find Small Tortoiseshell larvae at Boarhunt today, not least because I've yet to see the butterfly this year. Larvae on isolated nettles in grass, rather odd. [Posted by Andrew Harvey Brookes]

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Small Tortoiseshell larvae
Photo © Andrew Harvey Brookes

Small Tortoiseshell larvae. Great surprise to find Small Tortoiseshell larvae at Boarhunt today, not least because I've yet to see the butterfly this year. Larvae on isolated nettles in grass, rather odd. [Posted by Andrew Harvey Brookes]

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Small Tortoiseshell larvae
Photo © Andrew Harvey Brookes

19 May 2021

Paulsgrove Chalk Pits. Visited Paulsgrove Chalk Pits today where the temperature reached 17 degrees. I was hoping to spot any Small Blues but instead found Common Blues. Totals: Brimstone 1M 1F, Small White 2, Common Blue 3M. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Dingy Butser. Walk from Butser into Rake Bottom at 1600 - 1800. Plenty of Dingy Skipper (c. 15) and Grizzled Skipper (c.10) also 2 Brimstone, 1 Peacock, 1 Orange-tip and 4 Small Heath. [Posted by Adam Fulton]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Adam Fulton
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Adam Fulton

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. From 1120-1315 we had weather from four seasons and, surprisingly, 10 species of butterfly. The temperature ranged from 16-17 deg C but felt much cooler under occasional dark clouds and light rain. First Small Heath here did not stop for a photograph but within the butterfly meadow Common Blue and Brown Argus are on the wing. The field is covered in flora and grasses and the nearby hedgerow shows bramble blossom erupting. So, unless the council mowers strike, the field looks set fair for summer. Total: Small White (M)(6)(F)(3); Small Heath (1); Large White (M)(3)(F)(1); Orange-tip (M)(1); Green-veined White (M)(1); Common Blue (M)(2); Holly Blue (2); Brown Argus (1); Peacock (1); Speckled Wood (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman

18 May 2021

Fort Widley, Portsdown Hill. From 1400-1430 (15 deg C) the sun was shining but the strong SW breeze was magnified on the hill. However, the northern side was somewhat more protected. We wanted to see if Small Blue had emerged but they have not, nor Common Blue for that matter. Total: Red Admiral (1); Brimstone (M)(1); (F)(3); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

New Forest Pearl Bordered Fritillary. We undertook Butterfly Walk 20 this morning starting-out from the Standing Hat car park. Between 1115-1225 we recorded seven Pearl-bordered Fritillary. We didn't have to walk or look very far from the main path either! We noted the butterflies feeding on dandelion, bluebells and violets. The weather was cool, little direct sunlight and the breeze fresh. Only one other butterfly seen, a male Speckled Wood. Total: Pearl-bordered Fritillary (7); Speckled Wood (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Photo © Francis PlowmanPhoto © Francis PlowmanPhoto © Francis Plowman

Stormy Noar Hill. The weather was not very conducive for butterfly watching as I headed to Noar Hill in thunder lightning and hail but I thought at least I could catch up with the Orchids. However as I parked the car the sun came out and a male and female Orange-tip quickly took advantage. On entering the first pit a Duke of Burgundy was basking in the all too rare spell of warmth, and the sun lasted as I made my way through the reserve spying Dingy Skipper, Small Blue, Small Heath and a dozen more Dukes. Then the heavens opened again but I could see blue sky in the distance so I sat on an anthill in full waterproofs and waited. Within moment of the sun breaking through a delightfully fresh Small Blue landed on the path and opened its wings to soak up the sun amid a sea of Early Purple Orchids - a nice respite in what has been a pretty dire spring. [Posted by Mark tutton]

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Female Orange Tip
Photo © Mark tutton
Small Blue
Photo © Mark tutton
His Grace
Photo © Mark tutton

17 May 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Eleven species recorded this afternoon (1500-1610). Mostly sunshine (17 deg C) but with strong SW wind, the butterflies were found in sheltered fields. This included my first sighting here this year of Small Copper, a female Orange-tip and a welcome return of a Comma! The single male Common Blue has changed fields but remains in immaculate condition even if somewhat lonely. Total: Red Admiral (1); Small White (8) incl (F)(1); Large White (4) incl (M)(2); Orange-tip (M)(1); (F)(1); Comma (1); Holly Blue (2); Small Copper (1); Peacock (1); Speckled Wood (3); Green-veined White (1); Common Blue (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down. There are very few little windows of opportunity at the moment when the sun is out when out and about, that you really have to grasp the nettle and take a risk of being soaked for about 10-20 minutes of butterflying. On Oxenbourne Down today, it was obvious is was going to rain so I had to risk just going up to the top of the down so I wouldn't be too far from some form of shelter.But taking that risk was certainly worth it, as I saw in about twenty minutes, and only ten minutes of actual sunshine, there were, (6) Duke of Burgundy's, (4) Small Coppers, one female looking to lay eggs, (5) Dingy Skippers, (1) Grizzled Skipper (2) Peacock's (1) Small Heath and several treble bar moths. I got back to the car just in time when the heavens opened up. I could hear a pub lunch calling! [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Peacock
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

15 May 2021

More From Martin Down. A few more photos from the ditch.

Butterflies seen: Dingy Skipper 30+; Grizzled Skipper 16; Small Heath 2; Small Blue 4; Brimstone 20+; Peacock 1: Brown Argus 3; Green Hairstreak: Small Copper 6; Painted Lady 1; Silver Y 2.

Adder - female, beware!

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

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Brown Argus
Photo © Chris Rose
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Chris Rose
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Chris Rose

Martin Down. A walk along Bokerly ditch at Martin Down on Saturday produced some great butterflies and an adder which made me a little cautious for the rest of the walk. There were showers but the ditch has its own micro climate when the sun comes out. This time last year we counted over 50 Marsh Fritillaries, not one was seen this trip. The one that got away from the camera was a Painted Lady, however much to enjoy.

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

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Chris Rose
Small Blue
Photo © Chris Rose
Small Copper
Photo © Chris Rose

14 May 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. It hardly seemed worth the effort; just 14 degrees Celsius, heavily overcast, slight rain spotting but fortunately, windless. So it would be just a quick saunter! However, from 1315-1500 I saw seven species, low numbers for sure, but two first of the year for me here or anywhere: Brown Argus and Common Blue. Both were photographed on adjacent tall grasses and both were very fresh. I suppose that butterflies have to go somewhere even on gloomy days; might as well go look for 'em! Totals: Common Blue (M)(1); Brown Argus (1); Small White (M)(2)(F)(2); Large White (2); Red Admiral (1); Peacock (1); Speckled Wood (M)(3)(F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Fresh Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Speckled Wood with unusual right wing markings
Photo © Francis Plowman

13 May 2021

Browndown (South) Gosport. Four Gosport coastal sites now seen with Painted Lady. From 1345-1500 into a strong and cool easterly wind the unpromising weather led inexorably to an unpromising outcome. There was some sunshine but few places found in the lee of the wind. Only three species (all singletons) seen and my photographs too poor to post! Pity because the Green Hairstreak was on bluebells - but not for long, sadly. Totals: Green Hairstreak (1); Painted Lady (1); Small Copper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

12 May 2021

Numerous sightings on Magdalen Down Hill. Main viewings on the lower parts of the Down. Saw Green Hairstreaks, Brown Argus, Holly Blue, Brimstones, Green-veined White, Dingy Skippers, Grizzled Skippers, Small Heath and a Peacock. Between 11:30 - and 12:30. [Posted by Alison Vincent]

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Around midday I visited Chalton Down, Old Idsworth (SU736156) where the temperature reached 15 degrees. Here I was pleased to see my first Skippers of the year, with both Dingy Skippers and Grizzled Skippers on the wing. Totals: Brimstone 7M, Small White 1, Orange-tip 2M, Small Heath 6, Peacock 1, Dingy Skipper 6, Grizzled Skipper 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Havant Thicket. Today I walked the main circular path around Havant Thicket where the temperature reached 14 degrees. Here several Brimstones and Orange-tips were on the wing. Totals: Brimstone 4M 2F, Large White 1, Small White 2, Orange-tip 6M 1F, Speckled Wood 1, Peacock 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Beacon Hill NNR, Warnford (3.30pm-4.50pm). Enveloping cloud and the swing of a southerly wind to a brisk easterly put paid to any decent butterfly numbers during my walk along the lowest slopes of Beacon Hill this afternoon. However, Painted Lady (5), Peacock (6), Small Tortoiseshell (1), Dingy Skipper (8), Grizzled Skipper (1), Small Heath (3), Common Blue (1), Brown Argus (1), Orange-tip (3) and Small White (1) provided reasonable variety given mainly overcast conditions. [Posted by David Mills]

New Forest - Parkhill Area. Clear blue sky and wall to wall sunshine when I set off for the NF this morning - 10 minutes later wipers on full blast as I hit the M27! Thankfully it relented by the time I parked up just outside Brockenhurst. Too early as usual - nothing moving until after 1000 then at last some Pearl-bordered Fritillary. Having missed seeing them entirely last year it's easy to forget what a stunning butterfly this is. I could only manage one in the main ride through Pignal/Parkhill Inclosures but there were double figures at the far end of Frowhawk Ride which was a bit of a sun trap. The only other butterfly I saw was a Speckled Wood. Did manage a wonderful Raft Spider in one of the small pools - only my 3rd in many attempts to find one. Hope you don't mind the photo on what is principally a butterfly site

Detoured to Martin Down on the way back home - not my wisest decision. Full cloud for most of the visit. When the sun emerged (as I was leaving, naturally) there were lots of Dingy Skippers and Grizzled Skippers, Brimstone and even a Painted Lady (they seem to be everywhere). No sign of a Marsh Fritillary though - but I left others looking so fingers crossed - perhaps just a little early in this cold Spring? For anyone visiting via Sellens Lane please look out for some very large potholes on the way up to the parking area! [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Pearl Bordered Fritillary - NF
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Pearl Bordered Fritillary - NF
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Raft Spider - NF
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

11 May 2021

Immigration - Painted Lady at Ashford Hill NNR, nr. Tadley. A Painted Lady greeted me in the garden when I arrived home from work today, rapidly followed by a Hummingbird Hawkmoth. One PL also seen in Ashford Hill meadows today, so it's looking promising 😊 [Posted by Andy Bolton]

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. I just had to pop back to Haslar for a 5 minute circulation of the car park field, leading to the sea-wall proper. Just before 4pm under gloomy skies, strong winds and imminent light rain, I soon found one Painted Lady. It was lying low and tolerated a close approach which identified right wing-tip damage. So the only butterfly I've seen here so far this season is Painted Lady! Given its adjacency to the Isle of Wight and a field with plenty of flowers it is hoped that more of this species will top-up here on their way north. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Painted Lady resting at Haslar
Photo © Francis Plowman

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Eight species again today but no Painted Lady! A longish walk (1120-1350) with bright sunny periods (15 deg C) but still very windy saw - at last - my first sighting here of an Orange-tip. Peacock confound me at the moment! Four seen today including one pristine insect so was that a late Spring emergence or a very early Summer brood? (I suppose the former as I have yet to see any larva on nettles so far). Total: Red Admiral (1); Green-veined White (F)(1); Large White (8) incl (F)(2); Small White (11) incl (F)(1); Peacock (4); Orange-tip (M)(1); Holly Blue (M)(2); Speckled Wood (M)(3)(M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip male on common vetch
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Fresh Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down NNR. The weather turned out better than I thought today, still lots of cloud and heavy rain in the distance, but I managed to avoid it and saw plenty to keep me satisfied. On top of Oxenbourne Down I saw (7) Duke of Burgundy's these were in two areas where I hadn't seen them before both look good scrub wise and there is a lot of cowslips now growing up there. Two were also seen in the Gorse strewn area which is becoming almost impossible to get through now in places, but still two Dukes braved the terrain. All the Dukes seen were almost certainly males very fresh even today or yesterday emergence. Peak won't be until 20th May or later at some sites. Other species seen were Orange-tip (1) Dingy Skipper (20) Small Copper (4) Silver'y'moth (1) Small Heath (11) Grizzled Skipper (11) Brimstone (10) Speckled Wood (1) Painted Lady (2) Peacock (3) Small White (1) [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male feeding on Wild Strawberry
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dingy Skipper on Bugle
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Stormy horizon at Oxenbourne Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

10 May 2021

MHD pt.3 Unexpected finds. As well as the skippers and Lycaenids described in separate entries, my walk around Magdalen Hill Down also produced a few surprises. A strongly marked fresh Green-veined White wasn't particularly unusual, but gave a nice photo, but encountering a fresh Painted Lady was completely unexpected. The final highlight was finding two flowers of Meadow Saxifrage (Saxifraga granulata). This is a scarce species in Hampshire, but is occasionally seen at Magdalen Hill Down. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Green-veined White
Photo © Andy Barker
Painted Lady
Photo © Andy Barker
Meadow Saxifrage
Photo © Andy Barker

MHD pt.2 Lycaenids. As well as the skippers, my walk along the warm and sheltered lower slopes of Magdalen Hill Down also yielded 10 Brown Argus, 4 Small Coppers and 2 Green Hairstreaks. One of the Green Hairstreaks had seen better days, but its tatty wings allowed a view of part of the brown upperside as a contrast to the beautiful green underside. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Brown Argus (male)
Photo © Andy Barker
Small Copper
Photo © Andy Barker
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Andy Barker

MHD pt.1 Skippers. Despite the blustery winds, the warm and sheltered lower slopes of Magdalen Hill Down proved very productive. When doing the butterfly transect I saw 13 Grizzled Skippers and 6 Dingy Skippers. Plenty of other butterflies as well, which I'll describe and illustrate in a separate entry. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Grizzled Skipper (underside)
Photo © Andy Barker
Grizzled Skipper (upperside)
Photo © Andy Barker
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Andy Barker

Painted Lady on Horsea Island. Blow the wind southerly... Painted Lady today on Horsea Island in Portsmouth Harbour, basking in glade out of the wind. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Hardly the weather for successful butterfly spotting but it turned out to be my year's highest count so far (8)! In a very strong W-SW wind I walked the area between 1340-1515 when the temperature ranged from 14-15.5 deg Celsius. Out of the wind conditions were very warm and butterflies were quickly found. Once again Painted Lady turned-up here so the year's migration is clearly well underway. Also seen were my first sighting here this year of Holly Blue and a really new Red Admiral was a joy to see. Totals: Speckled Wood (7) incl. (F)(2); Small White (11) incl. (F)(3); Painted Lady (2); Red Admiral (1); Peacock (1); Large White (M)(1); Green-veined White (M)(1); Holly Blue (M)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Fresh Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady on dandelion
Photo © Francis Plowman

09 May 2021

Early Painted Ladies at Cheriton. Walking the Civil War battlefield site between Hinton Ampner and Cheriton produced three separate Painted Ladies, despite clouds and some wind at about 4pm. No other butterflies seen except one distant flyer which was unidentified, which may well have been another Painted Lady. Did not expect to find any butterflies, as it wasn't butterfly weather, and so, alas, no camera. Also St Marks flies in abundance, and about a dozen oil beetles on the track. [Posted by Ashley Ailes]

Painted Lady Arrives at Gosport!. With the temperature showing improvement under the impetus of a strong southerly breeze, I looked for early Painted Lady/Clouded Yellow at three Gosport shore sites. Painted Lady was found at two of the three locations.

Haslar Sea-Wall Car Park Scrubland. 1240-1300 circa 16 deg C with strong breeze two Painted Lady both seen feeding on low vetch/trefoil (?). Totals: Painted Lady (2).

Gilkicker Point. 1305-1345 still around 16 deg C but clearly stronger breeze and less sunshine. Totals: Painted Lady (2); Small White (3).

Browndown South (Elmore gate entrance) 1400-1515, 17 deg C but breeze now cool under grey skies. Totals: Small White (2); Small Copper (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Painted Lady at Haslar Sea-Wall Car Park Scrub
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady feeding at Haslar
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady resting at Gilkicker
Photo © Francis Plowman

07 May 2021

Noar Hill. Today I visited Noar Hill, arriving just before midday, the temperature reached 13 degrees with some sunny spells in between overcast skies. Due to the conditions only a handful of butterflies were seen. My quarry was the Duke of Burgundy, which after some time of searching, some fellow lepidopterists located a single male which I managed to photograph. My totals: Brimstone 5M, Small White 2, Orange-tip 2M 1F, Holly Blue 1, Peacock 2, Small Tortoiseshell 1 and Duke of Burgundy 1M. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Magdalen Hill Down, Winchester. Seven species recorded today (1100-1345) for a total of 31 butterflies. The cool westerly wind (temperature 12-14 deg C) kept numbers down in the morning but with more consistent sunny spells the afternoon brought some improvement. Totals: Brimstone (M)(10);(F)(7); Green Hairstreak (2); Holly Blue (M)(2); Small Heath (2); Small White (1); Dingy Skipper (6); Orange-tip (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Heath
Photo © Francis Plowman
Orange-tip eggs x 4 on Garlic Mustard
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Orange-tip prior to egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman

06 May 2021

Meon Shore & Brownwich Cliff Top Path. The briefest of weather windows opened (1235-1400) to allow a walk from the Meon Shore, along the cliff path towards Brownwich and back. Cloudy with a few sunny glimpses (circa 12 deg C) but with a cool breeze from the West so only five species recorded. Totals: Holly Blue (M)(2); Large White (1); Red Admiral (1); Peacock (2); Orange-tip (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Holly Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down. A chance with the weather, but for an hour the sky was just a blanket of cloud but the magical time of about 11:00 seems to be the time when the weather changes for the better, and today it became quite warm and at Oxenbourne Down with very little wind I was on the hunt for the Duke of Burgundy again. I managed to find it in a new area, in a very scrubby area, with some good cowslips stands. Two males and two females were observed, and they seemed to be enjoying the sunshine once it broke through the veil of cloud. Other species weren't great in number, but the following were observed: Small Copper (3) Common Blue (1) Dingy Skipper (6) Grizzled Skipper (3) and of course the Duke of Burgundy (4). The top of Oxenbourne Down was once covered in a Conifer tree plantation,it was clear felled and twenty years on there are numerous areas of Cowslips generating and last year I discovered females laying eggs in a new area, and this year another area is looking good for the species. There is probably now at least 5-6 areas on site all well separated from each other so this species looks well established on site. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Common Blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Oxenbourne Down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

05 May 2021

Beacon Hill Exton. Another very cool day with ever threatening rain clouds marching over the sky, drenching Bishops Waltham in the distance as I took in the magnificent scenery that is the Meon Valley. I never saw any butterflies until I got around to the southern part of the Hill Fort where there are some sun traps and this is where I saw all of the following species, which to be honest for May is very poor to say the least. Small Heath (3) Peacock (3) Duke of Burgundy (1) Brimstone (2) Small White (2) Orange-tip (3) Green Hairstreak (1) Small Copper (1) Brown Argus (1) Dingy Skipper (12) Grizzled Skipper (8).

The main part of the down the scrubby northern part is shut off with grazing so any Duke of Burgundy's there are off limits, but the Cowslip count is very good here, in fact all over the downland. Once all of the Ash dieback trees are eventually cut down this landscape around the site will look totally different. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Heath
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Rain stopped play at noon after an hour's circulation in temperature of 12 deg C and brief sunny intervals. A mature tree has come down and precluded access to one wooded area but evidently very little to see anyway in these cool and windy days. Five 'usual suspects' obliged as follows: Speckled Wood (M)(2); Large White (M)(1); Small White (M)(7); Peacock (1); Green-veined White (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Green-veined White
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman

04 May 2021

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Today with the sunshine increasing the temperature to a recent high of 14 degrees, I visited Chalton Down. Here the Easterly facing slopes were exposed to a chill wind, while in the sheltered spots I recorded my first Dingy Skippers this year. I saw a total of 6 including a mating pair. My totals were: Brimstone 1M, Large White 2, Orange-tip 1M, Dingy Skipper 6. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

03 May 2021

Portsdown Hill. Hopeful optimism or sheer folly took me to Portsdown Hill yesterday morning (1120-1230) where the wind from the southwest was horrendous. Cloudy and cool I followed the sheltered top footpath and was amazed/encouraged to find three species sharing my level of optimism and/or stupidity! Totals: Orange-tip (M)(1); Speckled Wood (1); Green Hairstreak (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Francis Plowman

02 May 2021

Pearl Bordered Fritillaries at Bentley Wood. Early afternoon at the Eastern Enclosures in alternate cloud and sunshine. Three Pearl-bordered Fritillary at least in the lower part of the bracken area by the seat, and at least one more nearer the car park end, but they were disappearing during the cloudy patches and a little slow to come out in the sunshine. Other visitors saw one or two more in the other fields. Also 1 Grizzled Skipper, and a few Orange-tips and Brimstones and a Speckled Wood. [Posted by Ashley Ailes]

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Pearl Bordered Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Ailes
Pearl Bordered Fritillary underwing
Photo © Ashley Ailes
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Ashley Ailes

Butser Hill NNR. Another day of good periods of warm sunshine interspersed with cloud cover when the temperature dropped by several degrees. Butser Hill was quite busy but once down in the scrubby coombes the butterflies were out in moderate numbers. It's still very cold at night I think this is hampering emerging butterflies especially Duke of Burgundies. Butterfly count was as follows: Grizzled Skipper (18) Dingy Skipper (16) Duke of Burgundy (9) including a mating pair Small Copper (2) Orange-tip (1) Small Heath (3) Brimstone (2) Peacock (2). I heard and saw the cuckoo several times which is better than in 2020 as I never heard it last year. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Kama Sutra Duke of Burgundies
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Grizzled Skipper on Ground Ivy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Brownwich + Posbrook. Just 7 Centigrade when I started a circular walk around Brownwich cliffs and Posbrook fields at 0900 this morning. Looking more for migrant birds than butterflies. After 2 hours and true to recent form - I hadn't seen a single butterfly then just after 1100 I spotted a Small White and in approaching it managed to spook a Small Copper, which then promptly found a mate! Thereafter in the space of 10-15 minutes I saw 4 Orange-tips, a Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Speckled Wood. Even with these, butterflies this year seem very sparse - the cold is presumably affecting them as I seem to see nothing until at least late morning. Hope it warms up soon. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Speckled Wood - Posbrook
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Orange Tip - Titchfield Canal Path
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Small Copper - Posbrook
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

01 May 2021

Isle of Wight Sightings.. Very pleasant weather when the sun was out at the foot of Afton Down and on the Landslip in the West Wight today. Several Green Hairstreak to be seen together with four Small Blue, a male Common Blue, and three Wall Brown on the landslip slopes. [Posted by Peter Hunt]

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Photo © Peter HuntPhoto © Peter HuntPhoto © Peter Hunt

Browndown (South) Gosport. An early start to try and beat the inevitable dark clouds, I quickly circulated Browndown (South) accessing the site from the Elmore gate (1030-1200). Temperature at best around 11 deg C with diffuse sunlight and with cool airs off the sea. Target butterfly was the recently sighted Small Copper which soon appeared along the edges of the main (eastwards) track. The local model aircraft club were 'flying today' so a large area of field edge was unavailable. However, Bee Orchids are once again growing up in one patch although not yet in flower. Totals: Small Copper (3); Large White (F)(1); Small White (M)(1). Pretty poor fare for 1st May! Heavy rain and hail curtailed further searches elsewhere. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper atop gorse
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper posing on a stone
Photo © Francis Plowman
Large White female
Photo © Francis Plowman

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