Thursday, 8 September 2016

Late Summer Colours.

Not too far from Wheelers Bay is Bonchurch Down, well known for its downland butterflies.This south facing Down has a good population of Adonis Blues and now the second brood of the year is on the wing.Many of the stunningly coloured males are now showing signs of wear but they are still strikingly impressive.
Among other butterflies seen on the Down yesterday are Common Blue,Brown Argus,Meadow Brown, and I am very glad to say,Small Copper.These quarrelsome and restless little butterflies have suffered a decline recently,perhaps due to poor summer weather,so it is good to encounter them now.



 

The Red Devil.

Red Valerian is known by numerous other names one of which is Devil's Beard.So on a long overdue visit ot Wheelers Bay yesterday it was a treat to see drifts of these red flowers along the banks and cliffs of the Bay.The flower is a magnet for butterflies and insects here, particularly as a nectar source for any new arrivals coming in off the sea.
Among the regular visitors to the Bay at this time of year is the Painted Lady ,which like Clouded Yellow, also seen at this time here too,are sometimes out  in good numbers.The latter in particular can be observed flying continuously up and down the revetement only occasionally stopping to nectar from the valerian.








Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A Common Skipper.

Skipper butterflies can be very insignificant mainly due to their small size and also because of their fast and low flight.While on the Greek Island of Thassos recently I saw several skippers all of which were the Mallow Skipper.This particular skipper is common in central and southern Europe perhaps due to the diverse range of habitat it is found in.



Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Wight Downland Blues.

Three of our four Isle of Wight downland blues were on show today.On West  High Down reasonable numbers of Chalkhill Blue roamed over the chalk hills together with some Common Blues that kept to the more sheltered spots.Nearby at  Brook Down this year's second generation of Adonis Blue are now on the wing.




Friday, 12 August 2016

A Busy Blue.

August is the month for a holiday to the Greek Islands and it was back to the Aegean Island of Thassos.Near to the resort of Scala Panagia there are many tracks that lead towards the mountains and along them plenty of chances to come across butterflies. One of the smallest but no less beautiful is the busy and sometimes elusive Lang's Short-tailed Blue.An African species and now resident in some parts of Greece.






Wednesday, 27 July 2016

An Unexpected Treat.

After several visits to the Greek Islands and encountering the butterflies that are in the vicinity of our holiday homes,I have learnt to be aware that a 'blue' may not be just another Common Blue or a 'skipper'.just another Large or Small Skipper. This proved so following a trip to Lefkada at the end of May this year.In  a nearby olive grove dispersed with wild flowers and long scrubby grasses there were many skippers busily buzzing about.If the opportunity presents itself, it is a good idea to take some photos just in case I have stumbled upon something more interesting than 'just another skipper'.
That is where I left it until thankfully a fellow butterfly enthusiast advised me that my skippers were Thymelicus acteon or the Lulworth Skipper as it is commonly called in the UK.This species is not widespread in Britain,in fact it only occurs along the south facing grassy cliffs of Dorset.In continental Euorpe however it is found  throughout and tends to be more common in the south including the Balkans.




Friday, 22 July 2016

Small Blue Join the Summer Blues.

With very recent reports of a second generation  of Small Blues on the mainland,I was very pleased to see several  at Whiteways Quarry today. They  were in the company of increasing numbers of Chalk-hill Blues,Common Blues,and Brown Argus.All were very active in the warm sunshine.






Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Back In Town.

The White-letter Hairstreak colony discovered last year on a disease resistant elm in Newport is still going strong. The first individual was spotted about two weeks ago and today several females were seen on the lower branches.This particular elm was planted around the time of the millennium and last season was the first time that any hairstreaks were recorded on the tree.




Sunday, 17 July 2016

Summertime Blues.

This typical British 'on-off' summer  is perhaps on again, with my first sighting of a Chalk-hill Blue on West High Down today.In fact three males were spotted,two beside the track leading up to the Down and one actually on it.Of course this species can be very numerous here and I am sure that over the next few weeks hundreds,if not thousands,of this striking butterfly will be flying on our downland.





Thursday, 14 July 2016

A Repeat Performance.

While in my local copse today I encountered this Meadow Brown aberration.Funnily enough it was in the exact same location as another similar aberration of the same species from last year.An offspring perhaps.
The 2015 aberration can be viewed here.