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.
Wednesday, 24 August 2016
Tuesday, 23 August 2016
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Thursday, 7 July 2016
Three first of the year sightings were made yesterday.On West High Down the Dark Green Fritillaries are on the wing and flying at great speed,not taking time it seems to stop and settle.Two other sightings were that of a male Small Skipper on the Down and a fresh Gatekeeper in Walters Copse.Other butterflies now becoming numerous are Marbled White and Meadow Brown.
Friday, 1 July 2016
Two target species today were the White Admiral and the Marbled White.The former had already been seen in Bouldnor Forest a few days ago although I was yet to find my first Marbled White of the year.At last the sun was out today following a period of wet and windy weather.However, the wind has not abated and perhaps it had an effect on the butterflies as both species were flighty.Despite seeing several White Admirals none took the opportunity to feed on the abundant bamble flowers in the forest.The two Marbled Whites I encountered were just as jittery and I was lucky to catch any at rest.
Happily the Silver-washed Fritillaries were more accommodating and I managed to get good views of these handsome woodland butterflies.This included my first female of this summer seen basking in a sunny glade