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

News

Please note that any sightings mentioned in news items do not automatically go into our records database. Sightings should be submitted using one of the mechanisms listed on the Recording page.

15 Feb 2019

Brimstone in Winchester. Saw my first Brimstone of the year in our garden in Winchester at lunchtime today when it was 10degC. [Posted by Bob Whitmarsh]

Buddleja bounty in Cosham. One male Brimstone, and 2 Red Admirals seen in Theo Roberts' Cosham, Portsmouth, garden this morning, the Admirals (and many bees) freely imbibing from the pale mauve honey-scented flowers of Buddleja officinalis, a rare and only semi-hardy species from western China. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Brimstone in Holybourne. A single Brimstone seen on south facing bushes in fields from Church Lane [Posted by Chris Rose]

14 Feb 2019

Male brimstone in Portsdown. One flew through Portsdown gardens in the sun this morning. [Posted by John Goodspeed]

first sightings in North Baddesley. At long last first butterfly of the year (male Brimstone) on my butterfly reserve at North Baddesley. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

Brimstone at North Baddesley. Driving along Castle Lane, North Baddesley had my first butterfly - a male Brimstone flying strongly along the verge. [Posted by Sue Lambert]

Brimstone activity in Axmansford. A male Brimstone seen flying through the Axmansford garden at lunchtime today, then another later on crossing the Baughurst road. [Posted by Andy Bolton]

13 Feb 2019

Monks Wood, Elson, Gosport. At long last my first sighting on my 'home' patch for 2019. Around 1130 at about 11 C in sunshine I disturbed a Red Admiral which flew off. It can only get better but a start nonetheless. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

10 Feb 2019

Transect 25-year trends. The latest 25-year transect trend graphs, including 2018 data for Hampshire and Isle of Wight butterflies, are now available. To see these just click on the "Transect" tab of this web site, then the "25 year trends" sub-tab. Also available is a tabulated 2018 summary comparing 2018 transect performance with 2017. This can be found by clicking on the "Annual Trend Tables" sub-tab. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Andy Barker

09 Feb 2019

First butterfly of the year for me today in East Meon. Male Brimstone in a sheltered spot at East Meon today. Took me by surprise. First butterfly I've spotted while out wearing thick gloves and fleece lined trousers!! [Posted by John Bogle]

03 Feb 2019

Success, north of Portsdown Hill. After yesterday’s failure I turned my attention to a site on the north of Portsdown Hill where I had spotted some decent Blackthorn whilst walking the dog - I spent an hour searching and eventually located a single egg on some suckering shoots.

I will return to search some more likely areas in the vicinity [Posted by Mark Tutton]

Portsdown Hill. After Angus’ fruitful search for Brown Hairstreak eggs at Southwick I thought I would take the challenge and have a look on Portsdown Hill where a female was seen last year. I spent 90mins searching the area above the hospital where there are some excellent stands of Blackthorn - but no joy this time. The area has just had some necessary scrub cutting but looks good if they are there. I have also earmarked some other areas in the vicinity which I will check before the buds burst. [Posted by Mark Tutton]

02 Feb 2019

Another Brown Hairstreak egg site - Creech Woods. Following up the sighting of a female Brown Hairstreak (reported by Caroline Bainbridge on these pages) in a garden in Denmead on 3 September 2018, I had a look around Creech Woods on Saturday morning (2.2.19) to see if I could find any eggs. I followed the lane and then footpath that runs roughly along the south western boundary of the woods. The hedges have been typically heavily flailed, but I found 6 Brown Hairstreak eggs (2 pairs and 2 singles) in a short stretch of hedgerow at the start of the footpath at the far southwestern corner of the wood, where there is some suckering blackthorn that has been spared the most severe cutting. I also found a single egg further south, where some suckering growth had been slightly protected from the flail by the ditch (SU635108). These egg finds, and the adult sighting from last year, suggest that there may be a Brown Hairstreak colony centred on Creech Woods - worth a look for adults next summer. The population could be hugely boosted by some more sympathetic hedgerow management. [Posted by Angus McCullough]

29 Jan 2019

New Brown Hairstreak egg site, nr Southwick. Having found good numbers of Brown Hairstreak eggs to the north and south of Soberton this winter (including on Ashley Whitlock's team egg hunt on 20.1.19 reported below), today I explored a few kms to the south of Soberton, just north of Southwick. An adult female had been reported as having been seen here in 2010. Last year the hedgerow had been heavily flailed and I found nothing. This winter it had been flailed again, but a bit less savagely along one stretch in which I found a total of 15 eggs in about 15 metres of suckering blackthorn along the main hedge, not searching very thoroughly. [Photos with phone, so apologies for poor quality] Given the sightings of adults last summer in this area (Denmead and Portsdown Hill), I am sure that further egg searches would be fruitful in suitable blackthorn in SE Hants - and maybe further afield? [Posted by Angus McCullough]

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A lucky pair of eggs that dodged the flail (sorry - blurry snap, rotated 90 degrees)
Photo © Angus McCullough
Egg - typical site on sucker
Photo © Angus McCullough

20 Jan 2019

Brown Hairstreak Egg hunt in Soberton. Today was a great success with 10 of us searching for the elusive egg of the Brown Hairstreak. We managed to find upwards of about thirty odd eggs adding to the total of about a hundred which had already been counted in a local area. There are certain areas where the female Brown Hairstreak favours, typically south facing Blackthorn hedges with young shoots. We discovered it on a new site on a nature reserve in the Meon Valley right by the River Meon close to the old railway line. This was probably the first time they have ever been recorded here.I'd like to thank our host Angus and all that came and enjoyed a day in the winter sunshine. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Brown Hairstreak egg on Blackthorn twig
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Searching Blackthorn thickets
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Part of the Meon Valley and the River Meon
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Red Admiral basking at Netley Abbey. A sunny but cold winter's day produced our first butterfly of the year; a Red Admiral at Netley Abbey, near Southampton. It was only 5oC in the shade, but there was no wind and it was pleasantly warm in the sunshine. I noticed a butterfly making brief flight, before settling high up on the stonework of the ruined Abbey wall. I managed a couple of photos with my compact camera at full zoom. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Red Admiral basking
Photo © Andy Barker

14 Jan 2019

Red Admiral at Hardway, Gosport (2). Our resident Red Admiral re-appeared today at 11 am when it was found checking-out our winter pansies in a hanging basket. In full sunshine around 10 deg C sadly it didn't wait for the camera - but this time I did actually see it and the game's afoot! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Red Admiral joins Nordic Walk, QE Country Park. The sun brought out a Red Admiral this morning at Queen Elizabeth Country Park. [Posted by Michael Berry]

11 Jan 2019

Red Admiral at Hardway, Gosport. The first sighting of a 2019 butterfly goes to my wife! At 1440 this afternoon as she was gardening a Red Admiral flew along the conservatory windows and over the wall! The weather was around 7 deg C with dewy sunshine and no breeze. This is 19 days earlier than first sighting last year! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

05 Jan 2019

Red Admiral activity in Axmansford. Likewise to Kevin, a Red Admiral flying during a sunny spell in the garden at Axmansford on New Year's day. [Posted by Andy Bolton]

01 Jan 2019

First butterfly sighting of 2019: Chilworth to Valley Park. A Red Admiral seen on a very mild and sunny New Year's Day, on a woodland path between Chilworth and Valley Park. Happy New Year! [Posted by Kevin FREEBORN]

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Sunbathing Red Admiral
Photo © Kevin FREEBORN

08 Dec 2018

Plenty of Brown Hairstreak eggs, Soberton. I haven't finished surveying the hedges that I found Brown Hairstreak eggs in last year (south of Soberton), but initial search indicates higher densities. There were 25 eggs counted in the patch of suckering blackthorn shown in the second photo (a particular 'hot spot'). [Posted by Angus McCullough]

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Brown Hairstreak egg
Photo © Angus McCullough
Tagged BHS eggs
Photo © Angus McCullough

02 Dec 2018

Red Admiral activity in Axmansford. One Red Admiral flying in the garden at Axmansford today in mild conditions with slight drizzle. [Posted by Andy Bolton]

30 Nov 2018

Spotted today in Havant. Female Brimstone flying in the early afternoon sun at Denvilles, Havant. [Posted by Mick Langridge]

29 Nov 2018

Red Admirals out in all conditions. Despite the stormy conditions today I spotted a Red Admiral flying in Gilbert White Way, Alton. It had no doubt been disturbed from its roost by the weather. On Monday 26th November I spotted a Red Admiral basking in much more pleasant sunny conditions at about 1pm in Locksway Road, Portsmouth. No photos. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

05 Nov 2018

Northington Down. A Red Admiral was flying around my apple tree in warm sunshine at lunchtime [Posted by Robert Bryant]

Holly Blue in Shirley. Very fresh looking late Holly Blue today at Lordsdale Greenway, Shirley, Southampton. [Posted by Andrew Collins]

03 Nov 2018

Peacock, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood in Knowle. During a sunny but rather breezy walk between 12.30 and 1.30 today at Knowle Village butterflies were few and far between. I was pleasantly surprised to see a Peacock as well as a couple of Red Admirals and Speckled Wood all doing their best in the breezy conditions. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldRed Admiral doing its best to avoid the wind and my camera lens!
Photo © Paul Harfield

Titchfield Haven foreshore & Brownwich Cliffs. The lone (male) Clouded Yellow found at the bottom of the cliffs today. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Between 1144-1215 two male Speckled Woods were found in a sheltered glade tumbling and spiralling into the trees. Both eventually descended into the sunshine and photographs of each taken. The second one showing signs of damage to wing and antennae. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood No 1 (and friend)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood No 2 with some damage
Photo © Francis Plowman

Titchfield Haven foreshore & Brownwich Cliffs. The temperature was 14.5 deg C between 1230-1330 today but with a very strong southerly wind it felt much cooler. In blissful optimism I walked the cliff-top path then descended to the beach at the western end by Brownwich. Nothing. I decided to walk back on the shingle beach and after just half-dozen steps or so put up a male Clouded Yellow. He didn't want to fly far in that gale so an opportunity was gained to photograph it. Nothing ventured nothing gained! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

02 Nov 2018

Eastney Beach keeps on trucking Part 3. After such a deluge yesterday and very cold nights over the past few days I didn't give much hope for any activity on the 'Clouded Copper Bank. But they really are so resilient little beauties. A rather bedraggled female Small Copper was still sunning itself on the shorter turf. And further along on bare patches I saw at least three Clouded Yellows...but nothing else. What more do you need into the first week of November? [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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A rather bedraggled looking Clouded Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Copper still sunning itself
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

27 Oct 2018

Red Admiral. Despite the change in weather conditions this weekend, I was pleased to see a Red Admiral in my garden on Saturday lunch time. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul Harfield

26 Oct 2018

Eastney Beach keeps on trucking Part 2. Eastney Beach was a lot cooler today with a sharp northerly wind blowing, and hence the butterflies today were less active, which made counting Clouded Yellows a lot easier. Today there were four, and they all at some point hunkered down into the grasses trying to escape the cool air. But once the sun shone and the temperature went up again they were off. I also saw another Small Copper with blue spots which was different from the one on the previous day. She was in far better condition, and was at one point looking for some Sorrel on which to lay her eggs. Small Whites were still active along with Common Blue as well. The fat lady still hasn't sung. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Clouded Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Clouded Yellow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
small copper female
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

25 Oct 2018

It ain't over till the fat lady sings.....Eastney Beach. Just a wander over to one of my favourite patches as the sun broke through this afternoon on the beach and as soon as I got to the small slope I saw at least (5) Clouded Yellows three were interacting with each other, and I think one must have been a female, they were quite active as they didn't settle for long.I was surprised to see further to the eastern side of the slope that there was a lovely female Small Copper very fresh looking with 'blue' spots. Also there was several Male Common Blues still in good condition as well, and several small whites added to the mix....so it isn't over just yet. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Clouded Yellow at least five on the beach today
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Copper blue spot female
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
male common blue
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

24 Oct 2018

Extraordinary Speckled Wood, Ports Down. Seen on Ports Down, top meadow, at midday: a pristine Speckled Wood, very dark brown with small cream spots. A 4th brood specimen? No other butterflies on the wing, alas. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

22 Oct 2018

Portsdown Hill (East). Today in sunshine, temperature 13 degrees I visited the East end of Portsdown Hill, where, following many recent reports of Clouded Yellows I also spotted a single individual in flight. My only other sightings were of a male Brimstone and a Speckled Wood.

ERRATA: My report from Portsdown Hill dated 27th October should read 27th September. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

21 Oct 2018

Clouded Yellows Nr Hill Head. The were at least 2 Clouded Yellows as well as Small Copper, Red Admiral and Several Small Whites flying in the small area of scrub between Seafield Park and the beach Nr. Hill Head on Sunday lunch time. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul Harfield

Bembridge downs (N.T.) I.o W.. A warm afternoon on the downs, with 3 Clouded Yellows, 1Speckled Wood,

1 Meadow Brown and 2 Red Admirals. [Posted by Mick Sivell]

Gosport. Between 1200-1310 (16.5 deg C) I walked from the Stokes Bay lifeboat station car park to Gilkicker Point and back using the paths, beach and fields. Four butterfly species were on the wing today: Red Admiral (3); Small White (5); Clouded Yellow (3); Small Copper (1).

At the Haslar Sea-Wall Car Park Scrub area (1315-1350) another four species were recorded: Red Admiral (1); Speckled Wood (1); Clouded Yellow (F)(1); Small White (1).

Finally, Monks Walk, Elson between 1400-1430 where the temperature had reached 17.5 deg C but the oblique rays of the sun introduced many shadows, I counted: Small Copper (1); Small White (2); Speckled Wood (5). Altogether a great weekend for butterflies and their observers alike! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Clouded Yellow believed male, Gilkicker
Photo © Francis Plowman
Clouded Yellow, female, Haslar
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood, Monks Walk
Photo © Francis Plowman

20 Oct 2018

Southwick Butterflies. I did not find any Clouded Yellows at Southwick on Saturday, but I counted 8 Red Admirals and 7 Speckled Woods including egglaying females of both species. Also seen male and female Brimstone, Small White and Common Blue. [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul Harfield

Clouded Yellow at Weston. At least one, probably two Clouded Yellow seen close to Weston Shore, moving from dandelion to dandelion in the adjoining parkland. Single Brimstone and several Small White and Red Admiral also seen between Weston and the Royal Victoria Country park. [Posted by Rupert Broadway]

Titchfield Haven foreshore & Brownwich Cliffs. Yesterday afternoon I walked the clifftops from Brownwich to the Meon Shore Chalets and back to Chilling. The base of the cliffs looked interesting so today I reversed course. Setting out at 1310 from the Meon Shore Chalets (17C) I walked the beach along the cliff base towards the Brownwich shore where a small brook divides the beach on its course to the sea. Nearing this juncture where the cliffs smooth down towards the shingle a small patch of south facing ground proved a warm and flowery butterfly reserve. No less than 7 butterfly species were recorded in this small area as follows: Small Copper (3); Small White (6); Red Admiral (1); Clouded Yellow (5); Common Blue 1(M); 1(F); Brown Argus (1); Wall (1); Small Copper (3). On returning to the chalets at 1430 another Small Copper and a Peacock were noted. The Wall was involved in a tussle with Small Whites and was last seen chasing them along the clifftop! The female Clouded Yellow (photographed (poorly) in flight) was in obvious difficulties as it crashed into and out of the undergrowth, extremely agitated. I think she was egg-laying and it may be that one egg was stuck as something is protruding from her abdomen. This was my first walk along the base of the cliffs and although hard work with the shingle may next summer prove a useful site to re-investigate. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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A late Brown Argus
Photo © Francis Plowman
Common Blue female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Female Clouded Yellow in flight
Photo © Francis Plowman

Browndown Coastal Area, Elmore. Once again the red flag flying at Browndown South's western gate enforced a change of direction. The adjacent Browndown Coastal Area was circulated between 1215-1250 with the temperature at 15C and in full sunshine. Four butterfly species were recorded: Red Admiral (2); Small White (6); Clouded Yellow (1); Small Copper (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

19 Oct 2018

Chilling Woods, Clifftops, paths & Haven Beach. Between 1340-1530 we walked the path through Chilling Woods towards the sea, climbing the cliffs and ending up at the beach bungalows towards Titchfield Haven. The temperature was 17C with hardly a breath of wind and the target was Clouded Yellow. These lovely butterflies were in evidence including, almost on the beach, a mating pair. The fields are replete with brassicae and this undoubtedly contributed towards the high number of Small Whites recorded. We finished the day resting on a bench at the Monks Hill promenade where another Clouded Yellow came up the beach and settled on the stones seaward of the promenade. Species seen today: Small White (22); Speckled Wood (1); Small Copper (1); Clouded Yellow (6); Red Admiral (1) [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper on the clifftops
Photo © Francis Plowman
Clouded Yellow haven beach area
Photo © Francis Plowman
Clouded Yellow on the beach at Monks Hill
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down. Despite excellent weather today Oxenbourne Down was devoid of any invertebrates, except one lonesome female Small Copper. She was well past her best but nice to see she was clinging on. There is a lot of sallow growing on top of the down, and if its left it would hopefully be a good area for a female Purple Emperor to have a look at from over the other side of the A3. There is a lot of woodland species here so an addition here would be a boon. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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A Sad looking female Small Copper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Just waiting for the suns rays
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Good Sallow growth on top of the down
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

18 Oct 2018

Monks Hill, Promenade Scrub & Seafield Park. The sighting of Clouded Yellow back at Gilkicker encouraged me to check-out the flower bedecked field beside the Monks Hill promenade, Hill Head. From 1320-1410 this site provided great interest and rewarded the sacrifice of deferring lunch! The temperature was now a balmy 17 degrees C and the raised ground to the north protected the field from the cool breeze. So it was that five species were recorded: Large White (1); Small White (2); Clouded Yellow (3); Painted Lady (1); Red Admiral (1). All these butterflies were seen in and around the field beside the promenade. Seafield Park itself was devoid of butterflies. The resident fox was still to be seen. The circuit and landing at Lee on the Solent by a Spitfire trainer was simply icing on the cake. (With a 'free' car park, WC and nearby cafe, this site is recommended). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Clouded Yellow
Photo © Francis Plowman
Clouded Yellow female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Painted Lady
Photo © Francis Plowman

Gilkicker Point, Gosport. With the red warning flag flying at Browndown it was back to Gilkicker to try my luck around the building site that largely this area has become. While the project to convert the old fort to millionaire's houses has foundered, work was still ongoing to secure the area. One can still circulate around the fort's high-fence perimeter but much of the scrub in the area has been disturbed significantly. Nevertheless, butterflies were obviously not. Red Admiral (4); Clouded Yellow (1); Common Blue (Female)(1); Small White (1) made up the interest between 1210-1300 with the temperature still at 15 deg C and a noticeably cool northerly breeze. Things looking up then. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Clouded Yellow
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

Haslar Sea Wall Car Park Scrub - Gosport. With the temperature now at 15 degrees Celsius I circulated through the scrub which is still in flower to find just one hardy Common Blue (male). Not going very well this is it? [Posted by Francis Plowman]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. From 1040-1130 I picked-up from where, four weeks ago, I had left off to find just one species. Perhaps the early dews and damps played a part (only 14.5 deg C at best) but for four Speckled Wood it would have been a washout. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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