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

News Archive for Jun 2021

30 Jun 2021

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. 1550-1640. Temp 20 deg C. Seven species seen and a resurgence of Common Blue apparent. One Pyramidal and numerous Bee Orchids in the scrubby field. Total: Small Heath (2); Marbled White (M)(12); Essex Skipper (10); Meadow Brown (M)(5); Small Skipper (9); Common Blue (M)(3)(F)(2); Large White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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

Alice Holt Forest. With gloomy dark clouds over head I went to Alice Holt Forest on the off chance of seeing HIM but to no avail. I did get some sunny periods but the butterflies were very scarce, with just a handful of Silver-Washed Fritillaries imbibing on the Bramble blossom, Ringlets doing battle with the Meadow Browns in the ride side grasses, the odd Common Blue and Small and Large Skippers going around like little doodle-bugs. The Purple Emperor is quite late this year, although it used to appear around about this time in the 1990's and 1980's when I used to frequent the woods in the northern part of Hampshire. I've got so used to it being well out by the end of June now, it seems very strange, and just hoping for some summer sun, which does not seem to be on the horizon at the moment. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Silver-Washed Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Caterpillar of the Yellow Tail Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Ringlet
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

White-letter Hairstreak debut at Fontley. First White-letter Hairstreak of the year seen at Great Fontley today at 1300 hrs, perched atop an ACCOLADE elm. Ringlets and Marbled Whites on the wing too, but still nowhere near as numerous as Meadow Browns. One Small Skipper completed the tally. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

29 Jun 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A temperature of nineteen degrees Celsius with grey and threatening skies did not augur well for my circulation (1300-1530). Nevertheless, seven species were about and the general stillness and gloom allowed for close photography when butterflies were found. My first Ringlet of the year was a nice surprise found appropriately enough in the butterfly meadow. A distant sighting of a summer emergence Comma was another bright moment of an otherwise dull afternoon. Numbers of both Small and Essex skippers are building-up nicely and both species are found in close proximity in all the areas visited. No sign yet of White-letter Hairstreak. Total: Meadow Brown (21 incl 1 female); Marbled White (M)(9); Small Skipper (11); Comma (1); Ringlet (2); Essex Skipper (7); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
Ringlet
Photo © Francis Plowman
Marbled White male
Photo © Francis Plowman

28 Jun 2021

Browndown (Again!). With the sun out this afternoon and Browndown South open unusually on a weekday I couldn't resist another trip. This time with a little more luck. First up at the entrance were 2 Painted Ladies - probably the tattiest I've seen, at that stage where you wonder what keeps them airborne. Next 2 Red Admirals that couldn't have been more of a contrast - very fresh. Then over to the stunted oaks and my first 2 Purple Hairstreaks of the year. Not the best photos but a bright sun didn't help and they were both very active (that's my excuse!). Other than that the usual suspects - Marbled Whites, Large Skippers, Small Heath, Speckled Wood and a Small Copper. A lovely and unexpected afternoon (and avoided the tennis!) [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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

26 Jun 2021

Lordswood Garden. I have seen an increase in butterflies this week..many liking the buddleia now fully in bloom. Today saw 4 Small Whites 2 Large Whites..1 Brimstone (m) 1 Peacock 2 Gatekeeper 1 Comma and 1 Large Skipper. [Posted by David Lobb]

Browndown North & South. Despite the warm sunny weather we were only able to find one Purple Hairstreak on the oaks at Browndown South. In fact butterflies were in short supply across both north and south sites, the highlight being the newly emerged Marbled Whites and a very showy Holly Blue. Other butterflies seen were Small, Essex and Large Skippers and a single Small Heath.

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

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Purple Hairstreak
Photo © Chris Rose
Holly Blue
Photo © Chris Rose
Marbled White
Photo © Chris Rose

Whiteley Woods and Pasture, Fareham. Having seen recent reports of Silver-washed Fritillary in Whiteley Woods we walked through the pasture then on northwards up the main path to the pylons in Botley Wood. Four species only seen. No SWF or early White Admiral, in fact, precious little was about save Large Skipper. Indeed, north of the bridge to the pylons and back saw not one butterfly which was very strange (1310-1500 18 degrees C, overcast skies). The only highlight was sighting two very large and brightly marked female Speckled Wood; they literally stood out as they basked open-winged on brambles. Total: Speckled Wood (M)(1)(F)(2); Large Skipper (19); Meadow Brown (3); Small Skipper (3). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman
For comparison, Speckled Wood female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Browndown (South) Gosport. Finally the gate was opened on Saturday and from 1025-1200 Browndown South was visited. The intention was to check on Grayling and Purple Hairstreak. Although the heath is bedecked with purple heather there was no sign of Grayling nor, at the low oaks, any glimpse of the Purple Hairstreak. The model aircraft were flying so the main field was out of bounds. Every picture tells a story but this was not a good day! Only three butterflies (3 species) seen as follows: Small Heath (1); Small Skipper (1); Meadow Brown (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Butser Hill NNR. Today I defied orders, which were off to the woods you go!....however I thought I would give the scrubby areas on Butser Hill to look for any evidence of Duke of Burgundy caterpillars and eaten cowslip leaves before I bury myself in the Purple Empire. Today I was lucky, Cowslips are very hard to find now most of the scrubby areas are now covered in layers of grasses and an abundance of wild flowers. I found several gunshot scattered leaves and one solitary caterpillar, in its first Instar. I shall endeavour to have another look again after the Purple Empire has quietened down. On the wing today were Dark Green Fritillary (15) Small Heaths were everywhere, Meadow Brown (20) Common Blue (40) Brown Argus(3) Large Skipper (8) Dingy Skipper (2) Red Admiral (1) Brimstone (2) Green Hairstreak (2) Yellow Shells were quite common 6-and 5 Spotted Burnet Moths and the odd Silver Y Moth. The Downs look a picture with Orchids, and other wild flowers like Horseshoe Vetch and Wild Strawberry, Buttercups and Hawkbit, Common Thistles, Greater Knapweed and Vipers Bugloss all coming into flower. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Duke of Burgundy caterpillar on cowslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Yellow Shell Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Heath very common today
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Browndown (South). After a never to be repeated round trip in search of rare fritillaries and Large Blues earlier in the week it was an absolute pleasure to step out of the house and make my way to Browndown on foot this morning. No car, no traffic, no near vertical hills to climb and no tick infested waist high bracken to negotiate! I wish I could report seeing some of the mid summer butterflies that surely must be about to emerge any day - but alas no sign of an early Purple Hairstreak or Grayling for example. Regarding Purple Hairstreak - I should perhaps just mention some of the stunted oaks are looking distinctly worse for wear this year. I'm not sure if its a disease or more likely lack of water earlier in the year - the shingle base must mean water retention is very difficult here? Suffice to say - some oaks look very threadbare and lots have sparse leaf cover and curling leaves. I was probably too early in both time of year and time of day (very early to avoid the crush)to spot anything out of the ordinary. That said, a perfect morning for a walk and I can hardly complain about seeing my first Marbled White of the year, plus lots of Meadow Browns and Large Skippers. Also a pristine Small Copper that I had in the viewfinder - but then vanished just as I pressed the shutter - a familiar tale for most reading this I'm sure. A lovely morning to be out and the promise of better things just round the corner [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Meadow Brown - Browndown
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Marbled White - Browndown
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Large Skipper - Browndown
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

25 Jun 2021

Goat moth on drive by my house this evening. My neighbour spotted the moth on the road by our houses in Paultons Park so I re located it to a safer bush nearby…although it was reluctant to leave my finger and was an obliging subject …I was interested to discover the adult moths don’t feed,nor do they have the musky,goaty smell of their caterpillar….and are so named the Goat Moth. [Posted by Ruth Paley]

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Very happy to stay attached
Photo © Ruth Paley
Stunning underside
Photo © Ruth Paley
Very accommodating of all angles shot
Photo © Ruth Paley

Dark Green Fritillary on Ports Down. An immaculate male Dark Green Fritillary seen at Nelson (covered) Reservoir on Ports Down late this afternoon, a personal first for the site. Also seen were dozens of Meadow Brown, a few Common Blue, various Skippers, and a Red Admiral. The quest was White-letter Hairstreak on the many elms on the periphery, but none obliged. Also noticeable by its absence was the Marbled White, not one. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. When the rain stopped and the sun appeared I caught up with butterfly life from 1415-1645 when the temperature stood at 22 degrees Celsius with a SW breeze. Ten species were seen this afternoon with both Essex and Small Skipper recorded. Recent rain has raised the stream level so access to one field adjacent to DM Gosport was denied. Having already noted a Summer brood Comma, today two worn and damaged specimens were found sunning themselves. Total: Red Admiral (4); Marbled White (M)(3); Meadow Brown (M)(26)(F)(2); Comma (2); Common Blue (F)(1); Small Skipper (6); Speckled Wood (3); Large White (1); Essex Skipper (1); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Skipper showing brown antennae tips
Photo © Francis Plowman
Essex Skipper showing black underside antennae tips
Photo © Francis Plowman

first sighting. first sighting this year of white admiral by my reserve in north baddesley.you were right ashley! [Posted by Kevin Ross]

24 Jun 2021

White-Letter Hairstreak. There were about half a dozen or so White-Letter Hairstreaks flying at Southwick this morning. One male was seen nectaring on Oxeye Daisy. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul Harfield

Vanishing Tortoiseshells at Great Fontley. From six Small Tortoiseshells to just one in under 24 hours at Great Fontley. Whither away,.... and what thy quest? However, armed with camera on this occasion, the singleton could be recorded for posterity, taking refreshment from Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve'. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

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Small Tortoiseshell on Bowles Mauve
Photo © Andrew Brookes

New Forest Sites - In Search of Silver-studded Blue. Four New Forest sites visited today to find Silver-studded Blue.

Dibden Bottom - 1315-1355 (22 deg C, overcast and breezy). Total: Silver-studded Blue (M)(118)(F)(9). We covered probably just a third of the main field - the middle area quite boggy - and the butterflies were in view continually.

Marchwood Inclosure - 1415-1437 (22 deg C, still cloudy but humid). The hillside is quite boggy and very little heather to see. Total: Meadow Brown (M)(1); Silver-studded Blue (M)(1).

Pig Bush - 1448-1600 - 20.5 deg C, stronger SW wind but still no sunshine. No sign of Grayling here yet. Total: Small Heath (3); Silver-studded Blue (M)(54)(F)(6); Meadow Brown (M)(1).

Beaulieu Heath - 1620-1700 - 19 deg C, stronger SW wind, cool, cloudy. Total: Silver-studded Blue (M)(3).

The butterflies were predominately fresh with most busy feeding on heather. Females and males cavorted but sex clearly wasn't a priority today! A female seen in egg-laying posture at Pig Bush sadly was found to be deceased but with no obvious sign of the cause. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Silver-studded Blue female Dibden Bottom
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-studded Blue male Pig Bush
Photo © Francis Plowman
Silver-studded Blue male Pig Bush
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down. Made the most of the bright morning today and ventured up to Oxenbourne Down to see if there was any leaf damage to the cowslips by Duke of Burgundy caterpillars.I found some damage on the leaves but alas no caterpillars probably wasn't warm enough. I was sidetracked most of the time by the amount of Dark Green Fritillary flying about. If I saw 50 then that's no lie, I gave up counting after this figure, there were many more. A mating pair and several at rest on buttercups gave me a chance to observe their fantastic patterning underneath their wings. Oxenbourne Down was a picture with so many wild flowers out, and many different Orchids. I saw twelve species of butterflies, and several species of Moth, 6 spotted Burnet Moth and Silver-Y moth to name a few. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Six-Spotted Burnet Moth
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

23 Jun 2021

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Today I visited Chalton Down where the temperature was 18 degrees. Here I recorded my first sightings of the Marbled White with fresh specimens flying among the long grassy areas. A total of 4 Dark Green Fritillarys were also recorded, which settled long enough for photos. Totals: Brimstone 2M, Common Blue 9M, Marbled White 7, Meadow Brown 17, Small Haeth 4, Dark Green Fritillary 4, Small Tortoiseshell 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Silver-washed Fritillaries at Whiteley Pastures. Today I walked the main track from NATS in Whiteley up towards Botley Wood at 11am, mostly in sunshine. Two, or probably three Silver-washed Fritillary flying along the western (sunny) side of the track, beyond the bridge over the stream. Two flying strongly, but one feeding on bramble flowers, allowing the attached photo. Also 3 fresh Red Admirals, two Meadow Browns and three+ Large Skippers, a female Brimstone and a Speckled Wood. For those who like other stuff, two ravens calling and lots of Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies. [Posted by Ashley Ailes]

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Silver-washed Fritillary, Whiteley Pastures 23 June 2021
Photo © Ashley Ailes

Stockbridge Down. A nice selection of butterflies were seen on a warm and sunny afternoon at Stockbridge Down. The highlights were at least ten Dark Green Fritillaries, several Marbled Whites and a Ringlet. Other species that put in a showing were Brimstone, Grizzled Skipper, Small Heath, Common Blue and Meadow Brown. [Posted by Dave Pearson]

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Knapweed flower heads at a premium!
Photo © Dave Pearson
Dark Green Fritillary nectaring on Wild Privet
Photo © Dave Pearson

Abbotstone Down Field Trip. I certainly picked a good day today with perfect weather, and the invertebrates were flying around in very good numbers in the many meadows at this little Gem of a site. (17) species of butterfly were seen on the wing and at least 9 moth species with several caterpillars seen eating their way through their foodplants. The highlight of the day were the Dark Green Fritillary of which we saw at least (10) all males on the wing, but they were flying fast and purposeful, stopping to refuel at the many Hawkbit flower heads in the meadows.Other delights were many Green Hairstreaks buzzing around the Hawthorn bushes and alighting on the Ant Hills and imbibing on the Wild Thyme flowers. There were good numbers of Small Tortoiseshells as well which is encouraging as in the spring I saw very few on the wing.Three Silver-washed Fritillary were also seen in the wooded glades in the car-park area whilst we were having lunch. But obviously we were too early for HIM as its roughly the second week of July when the Purple Emperor will allow us his presence.

I'd like to thank everyone for coming on this lovely field trip which has to be one of the best of the season. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Dark Green Fritillary
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Mullein Moth caterpillar eating
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. After yesterday's first sighting of Essex Skipper at Monks Walk, Gosport, it was Small Skipper that made its 2021 debut (for me at least) here. There were at least three Small/Essex Skippers which were not positively identified and two Small Skippers that were! The extended walk allowed two very slow circulations (1040-1150, 18.5 deg C with sunshine and a sea breeze) amidst flower bedecked scrub with numerous Bee Orchids just going off with others coming on (Pyramidal?). Two male Marbled White were seen including one that was newly emerged with well-wrinkled wings. It was later seen flying very strongly along with the other male. No Clouded Yellow (yet) but one more Painted Lady was passing through and was topping-up on white clover. Total: Common Blue (M)(1)(F)(1); u/i Essex/Small Skipper (3); Small Skipper (2); Meadow Brown (1); Painted Lady (1); Small Heath (1); Marbled White (M)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Marbled White male basking
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Skipper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Newly emerged Marbled White
Photo © Francis Plowman

More Tortoiseshells at Great Fontley. A total of six Small Tortoiseshells seen at Great Fontley, five squabbling with the bees on two Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve', at last justifying their exorbitant price, and another on Phuopsis. Meadow Browns now seen in dozens, and a first sighting of a Ringlet. A few Small Heath and Common Blue still on the wing. Orange Tip larvae have disappeared, hopefully to pupate, while good numbers of Brimstone larvae are now in their final instar.

A brief call at Portchester Castle found one Painted Lady, one Marbled White, one male Small White, and several Speckled Wood. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

22 Jun 2021

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

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

20 Jun 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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White Letter Hairstreak Pupa
Photo © Paul Harfield

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

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

17 Jun 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16 Jun 2021

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Returning to Chalton Down following a visit yesterday, the temperature was 24 degrees. Many more butterflies were recorded, a total of 7 species including a Dark Green Fritillary (a first sighting for me this year). Totals: Brimstone 1M 3F, Small White 1, Common Blue 15M 5F, Meadow Brown 10, Small Heath 11, Dark Green Fritillary 1, Small Tortoiseshell 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

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

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

15 Jun 2021

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Today I visited Chalton Down, where the temperature was 23 degrees. As you enter the site from the railway bridge, the turf was short and most butterflies were seen on the left hand side. The right hand side had long grass due to the rabbit population being low here. Totals: Brimstone 3F, Common Blue 10M, Meadow Brown 3, Small Heath 6, Small Tortoiseshell 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

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

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

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

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

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

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

14 Jun 2021

Portsdown Hill Sites. Today in hot weather I visited Portsdown Hill. Walking the track running parallel with Fort Widley the temperature reached 23 degrees where I recorded Brimstone 1M 1F, Holly Blue 1, Small Blue 1, Meadow Brown 1 (my first sighting this year).

Crossing the road to Fort Widley, Brimstone 1F, Holly Blue 3, Speckled Wood 3, Red Admiral 1.

Finally a short drive to Paulsgrove Chalk Pits, the inclosed area recorded a temperature of 26 degrees, with only a few butterflies on the wing, probably due to the temperature they were resting. Totals: Brimstone 1M 1F, Small Blue 1, Red Admiral 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

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

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

13 Jun 2021

Havant Thicket. Walked the main track around Havant Thicket today. Despite the sun few butterflies were on the wing. Totals: Brimstone 9M 2F, Small White 1, Holly Blue 1, Speckled Wood 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

12 Jun 2021

Hayling Island Cycle Trail. Today walked a section of the Hayling Billy Cycle Trail from Saltmarsh Lane to the site of the former railway station, where I saw the following: Large White 1, Small White 1, Holly Blue 1, Speckled Wood 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11 Jun 2021

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

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

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

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

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

10 Jun 2021

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

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

08 Jun 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

07 Jun 2021

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

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Common Blue female variety [?]
Photo © Francis Plowman

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

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

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

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

06 Jun 2021

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

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Photo © Bob Whitmarsh

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

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

05 Jun 2021

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

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

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Photo © Jason ClaxtonPhoto © Jason Claxton

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

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

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

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

04 Jun 2021

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

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

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

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

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

03 Jun 2021

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

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

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

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

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

02 Jun 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Winchester Hill NNR. Another visit to the last Meon Valley site which now completes all of these Duke of Burgundy sites in 2021. Old Winchester Hill is not well known as a Duke of Burgundy site, but it had small pockets of the insect and if you know where to look then they will turn up but not in great numbers just (7) today but it's a tick in the box. Today I found the area where they are breeding on the Eastern slope, where there is plenty of Cowslip in amongst the scrub. It is not for the faint hearted, as some of the slopes almost go up vertically. Anyway I found the Duke and surprise surprise, they were all in pristine condition... I've been looking and studying this butterfly now for 25 odd years and this year really takes the biscuit. One male was probably new today, and the butterfly has obviously been emerging, as I met a Natural England ranger, who was doing a transect and he had seen at least two in a copse about a fortnight ago..so they then stopped because of adverse weather conditions, and then the warm weather comes along and they start to re-emerge. Other butterflies seen were (25) Adonis Blues including several females, Small Heath, Small Coppers, Grizzled and Dingy Skipper, Brimstone, Small Blue, and Common Blue was really living up to its name. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Duke of Burgundy still emerging on OWH
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Part of the Eastern slope with scrub and Cowslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Adonis Blue feeding on Herdwick sheep poo
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

01 Jun 2021

Old Winchester Hill. Following reports of Adonis Blues emerging in the West of the County, I paid a visit to Old Winchester Hill. When I arrived the temperature was 21 degrees which increased to 23 degrees when I left. Despite taking time to search the car park slope there were no signs of Adonis Blues with only a handful of Common Blues recorded. Totals: Brimstone 3M 3F, Large White 1, Small White 4, Orange-tip 1M, Common Blue 4M 1F, Small Heath 7. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Grizzled Skipper, Nursling Substation. A pleasant surprise to see a Grizzled Skipper at Nursling Substation, also three Brown Argus . [Posted by Jason Claxton]

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Grizzled Skipper,Nursling Substation
Photo © Jason Claxton

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. An earlier start today (1030-1230, 23.5 deg C and very warm) realised a count of 10 species. Yesterday's rhetorical question about the apparent absence of Meadow Brown was answered with the appearance today of a very fresh male in the butterfly meadow around 1115. It was climbing slowly up from long grass but quickly returned when it saw me! No further sighting of the Dingy Skipper nor, for that matter, the two female Common Blue that were photographed here the day before the mowers struck! Total: Speckled Wood (M)(9); Holly Blue (6 incl 1 female); Small Heath (2); Common Blue (M)(3); Small White (M)(4); Brown Argus (1); Meadow Brown (M)(1); Peacock (1); Large White (M)(1); Small Copper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Meadow Brown male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Same Holly Blue egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. Hoping to find Painted Lady again (1310-1330) but only a few Common Blues were found and they were struggling with the strong on-shore easterly breeze (about 22 degrees C but felt a lot chillier). The field is liberally covered with Birds-foot Trefoil, vetches, dandelions, tall grasses etc. Total: Common Blue (M)(4)(F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman

Alver Valley Country Park, Gosport. A brief reconnaissance west of the River Alver (1345-1515, 21 degrees Celsius with hefty easterly breeze) was generally poor both in terms of species and numbers. Clearly the transitional 'dip' between Spring and Summer has begun. By way of evidencing that we did come across an egg-laying Green Hairstreak. We noted very little heather in flower on the heath so no early sign of Grayling or Silver-studded Blue. The oak corner is well-covered with Honeysuckle this year but it's not yet in flower so White Admiral probably some way off too. Total: Speckled Wood (4); Small Heath (1); Common Blue (M)(1); Green Hairstreak (F)(1); Small Copper (1); Small White (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Green Hairstreak egg-laying
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
An unknown orchid
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down/Wascoombe Bottom. They say mad dogs and englishmen, go out in the midday sun, today about 12:00 I had just about melted so I stepped into Oxenbourne Down at about 08:30 this morning with a much cooler atmosphere and it was delightfully pleasant. The butterflies were on the wing and my quarry the Duke of Burgundy had its best count of the season, (16) were seen most of them were quite fresh females, but some of the males were quite worn now, a few days of warm weather and they soon become tatty. I dont know whether it was the heat of the moment or what but it was quite bizarre seeing a female laying eggs on Wild Strawberry.! Yes you did read that right, there were plenty of cowslip leaves about but she opted for the Strawberry leaves. Also a female was seen imbibing on Hawthorn blossom, another oddity, although I usually see them on Hawkbit or Wild Strawberry flowers. Other butterflies seen were Small Heath(40) Common Blue(50) Brimstone(22) Peacock(2) Red Admiral (2) Green Hairstreak (6) Grizzled Skipper (10) Dingy Skipper (25) Small Copper (4) Speckled Wood (1) Brown Argus (1), Treble Bar Moth(2), Cinnabar Moth (1), Mother Shipton(1), Burnet Companion(1), but the Speckled Yellow Moth was very numerous. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Duke of Burgundy female imbibing on Hawthorn
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Duke laying eggs on Wild Strawberry
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Common Blue mating
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

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