Thursday, 15 March 2018

Springlike Temperatures Encourage First Butterflies of the Season.

A soggy walk through my local copse today produced my first butterflies of the season.The cold wind had abated and the sun was shining with a temperature of 13 degrees centigrade.There were at least five Comma together with two Peacock and a bright male Brimstone. 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Glanville Fritillary Larvae Out in the Sunshine.

Now that the days are slowly lengthening and the sun's rays becoming warmer the Glanville Fritillary larvae are starting to move in and around their communal webs.Today on the slopes of the crumbling cliffs along the Island's  south-west coast several webs showed signs of activity as the caterpillars enjoyed the sunshine, although due to the cold breeze they mostly remained huddled together.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Rain Dampens Down Activity On Broughton Down

Despite the sunshine on my journey to Broughton Down in Hampshire yesterday,the heavens opened as soon as I stepped onto this area of chalk grassland.This chalk ridge with fringing woodland is maintained by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and is one of the few places in England for the Silver-spotted Skipper.Happily the rain cleared although for the duration of my visit only the occasional sunny spell gave any chance of seeing this rare butterfly.I had to be satisfied with only three sightings,two just brief and one prolonged as a male sat in the grass hoping that the sun would stay out for a while.Sadly I was not treated to an underside view of the silver spots which gives the species its name. 

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Not Many Silver-studded Blues on Show.

Yesterday on a day trip to see the special damselflies of Crockford Stream in the New Forest I walked an area of heathland which was close by.I expected to see good numbers of Silver-studded Blue here, but numbers were low and all were faded and worn.Perhaps this is a result of early emergence as has occurred with many species this year. However, I did find a Blue in very reasonable condition near to the stream.
Other butterflies on show were Gatekeepers in abundance and a few Grayling on the heath.

New Forest Heathland,habitat for Silver-studded Blue & Grayling

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

White-letter Hairsreaks Still Busy.

Yesterday as I observed the elm that has been home to White-letter Hairstreaks for the last three seasons I was fortunate to see a female wandering along a branch in search of  buds on which to lay her eggs.This carried on for some time as she fluttered onto other branches in pursuit of more buds.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Last of the Summer Blues Now on the Wing.

There were plenty of Chalk-hill Blues on the bridleway leading to West High Down today.Not surprisingly all are males but it will not be long before both males and females are on our chalk downland in their hundreds.Apart from the Adonis Blue perhaps, this must be one of our most colourful blues.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Good Season for Silver-washed.

It seems to be an excellent season for the Silver-washed Fritillary. Good numbers are to be seen in our woodlands and if lucky the odd female Valezina form could turn up.It is estimated that one in seven females have this attractive appearance.


Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Summer Butterflies Enjoy the Bumper Bramble Bounty.

There were a prolific number of butterflies at Walters Copse today.The most impressive were the Silver-washed Fritillaries and the White Admirals.These and many other species were busily feeding on the bramble flowers that seem to be abundant in the copse this year.Although male and female Silver-washed were on show I was not lucky enough to see the female Valezina. In the south of England it is estimated that up to 15% of the females are of this beautiful form.

Monday, 26 June 2017

Dark Green Fritillaries On Speed.

With the season generally over two weeks early this year I made a first visit to West High Down in the hope of seeing a Chalk-hill Blue.I have not yet recorded this blue earlier than in the month of July and I was optimistic of a June sighting.Alas no Chalk-hill Blue today and with an unsettled and rainy forecast for the rest of the week I think that it will be July again for this last remaining blue of the season. 
Nevertheless another butterfly of our downland is on the wing now,the Dark Green Fritillary. These large fritillaries spent most of their time flying at high speed across our downs,only briefly stopping it seems, for a quick top up on the Giant Thistle flowers that are scattered about.In fact at the moment there seems to be very few Giant Thistle flowers in bloom so getting any sort of view of this butterfly is limited.

Friday, 23 June 2017

All Change.

After a prolonged spell of hot  and sunny weather, yesterday began fresher,windy,and cloudy.These conditions lasted all day so the prospect of seeing any butterflies in my local wood seemed to be limited.Thankfully the temperature was  up at around 20C so activity was moderate despite the lack of sunshine.Marbled White numbers have increased dramatically since last week as too Meadow Brown and Ringlet.I was very pleased to see several White Admiral and also a first sight this season of Small Skipper.