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

News Archive for Apr 2019

30 Apr 2019

Noar Hill. Today was my second visit this year to Noar Hill (SU7431) following a visit earlier in the month when I recorded no butterflies. Today the weather was much more favourable with the temperature reaching 15 degrees. I arrived early in the morning and so observed the butterfly activity increasing. I recorded a total of eight different species, including twelve Duke of Burgundy's which were flying in areas where they were not usually to be found due to scrub clearance work. My totals were: Brimstone 5M 3F, Large White 2, Small White 3, Orange-tip 5M, Holly Blue 1, Speckled Wood 1, Duke of Burgundy 12, Dingy Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A later visit (1425-1600) at a comfortable 16 degrees revealed nine species with Holly Blue numbers increasing (all males). It was interesting also to watch a busy female Orange-tip egg-laying and doing so on top of flower heads rather than placing them on the stalks as indicated by most of my reference books. The census: Comma (6); Speckled Wood (10); Small White (6); Green-veined White (3); Peacock (4); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Orange-tip (M)(1); (F)(2); Holly Blue (6); Large White (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip showing egg being laid
Photo © Francis Plowman
Close-up of Orange-tip egg
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Chilling Coastal Area, Titchfield. Almost two hours were spent from 1135 walking the 'square' comprising field edges, woods, stream and cliff tops. Notwithstanding lovely sunshine the temperature of around 14 degrees resulted from a strong and fresh on-shore easterly breeze; most sightings came within in-land sheltered pathways. The hope was to find any early immigrant species eg Painted Lady and Clouded Yellow but none were seen. However, eight species were noted, namely: Comma (1); Small White (5); Orange-tip (M)(2); Speckled Wood (3); Holly Blue (M)(5); Large White (1); Peacock (3); Brimstone (M)(1). The skies reverberated to the unmistakable Merlin engine of a Spitfire operating from nearby Lee-on-the-Solent. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Peacock on Ground Ivy
Photo © Francis Plowman
Holly Blue-bell!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Spitfire
Photo © Francis Plowman

Martin Down.. Despite the promising forecast I paid a visit to Martin Down today (1100-1400) and it was more or less overcast all of that time. However a couple of fleeting sunny spells produced Green Hairstreak 7, Brown Argus 1, Peacock 4, Brimstone 22, Orange-tip 5, Grizzled Skipper 8, Dingy Skipper 4, Small Tortoiseshell 1, Small Copper 4, Cinnabar Moth 2. [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Brown Argus
Photo © Mark Pike
Frolicking Brimstones
Photo © Mark Pike
Green Hairstreak
Photo © Mark Pike

Stephens Castle Down. This is a very isolated site and was once a good Duke of Burgundy site but over the past two or three seasons the count has dwindled almost to nothing. There are scrubby areas to be seen on the site but I fear now it's becoming too managed for the species.I saw just three in 2 and half hours, but on the plus side I saw lots of Dingy Skippers and Grizzled Skippers, Small Heath, Small Copper,Green Hairstreak, and in all (13) species which is the best count I've had I think in April. A count here during peak season, it may increase in number, as it's still early days yet for the Duke, although I don't hold out much hope. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Dingy Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Female Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

29 Apr 2019

Chalton Down, Old Idsworth. Today I visited Chalton Down (SU736156) where in the sunshine the temperature reached 15 degrees. Butterfly activity is slowly increasing here with four different species recorded, Brimstone 5M 1F, Small White 2, Orange-tip 3M, Dingy Skipper 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Eleven species recorded today between 1100-1330 with sunny periods, 17.5 degrees of warmth and generally quite pleasant. Around 1pm the skies cleared of light clouds under a steady breeze which didn't interfere with the butterflies at all. Two foxes put in an appearance and one young deer shared my path until it saw me! The count: Large White (5); Orange-tip (M)(3);(F)(1); Small White (11) including another mating pair; Peacock (5); Speckled Wood (10); Comma (2); Red Admiral (2); Holly Blue (4); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Green-veined White (F)(1); Brimstone (M)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Holly Blue
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone (male)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman

Meon Valley. The Duke of Burgundy has been 'out' in Hampshire now for almost a month first noted at Noar Hill on the 1st of April, however it has certainly spluttered and stalled a few times, as April has been decidedly cool windy and damp on many occasions. Today it was very warm in parts when the sun was shining through good clumps of cloud and I was surprised that at one site the Duke is still conspicuous by its absence. I managed to count (24) on another site but the Duke is still a long way from being fully out at many sites. The Cowslips are now looking very full and advertising their presence to any passing female Duke which are still very rare, I only saw one today. I counted good amounts of other butterflies with (12) species in all which is almost double to last week. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Orange Tip and Dandelion
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Duke playing Peek-a-boo!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Good clumps of Cowslips
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

28 Apr 2019

New Forest Field Trip. The First field trip of the season and as always the leaden skies in the morning and cool winds greeted all of us as we switched car-parks yet again for this field trip. I dont know what was going on in the Forest today but it was like Piccadilly Circus, we couldn't park in Hawkhill Inclosure as it was full up by 10:00 so we all went down to Hatchet Pond, and even this was very busy.

I had brought along a pheromone trap in a net bag to hang on a tree or bush and I wasn't too hopeful this was going to work. We left it near the car park to return later to see if anything had turned up but as we had walked a fair old distance from the trap, we weren't seeing a lot excepting Lattice Heath Moths and Common Heath Moths and a few birds and an early Damselfly.I opened my camera bag to photograph something and no sooner had I done this an Emperor Moth was seen flying around us. We thought it had been attracted to the plastic bag I was still carrying in my camera bag as this probably had pheromones on the plastic. We saw two Males flying at great speed around us keeping us guessing whether they were going to land or not but they came very close but we left there feeling a bit more hopeful for the trap. We got back to the trap and there was nothing. So I took the trap back to where we had been and the same two Emperor Moths soon appeared again. In the afternoon it became a lot warmer and the wind died down and we went over to the other side of the road and I hung the trap out again and within 10 minutes up to 5 or 6 Males were frantically flying around us and settled on me and another observer, where we managed to get some photographic evidence of these wonderful moths. I was surprised just how tatty they were, having said that they are flying around Gorse all day so their wings can easily get ripped. I suppose we saw up to 8 Male Emperor Moths today and I think everybody went home really happy we had seen the target species. This was probably the only field trip where no butterflies were ever seen by myself and my group anyway. A couple of Speckled Woods were noted by some observers who joined me later. Thank you all for turning up to see a spectacular Moth it has to be said. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Emperor Moth on a shoe where it was attracted to for many minutes
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
A male which had been rescued from a spiders web
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
The Pheromone trap......nice smell!
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

26 Apr 2019

Clouded Yellow. Testwood Lakes. A single Clouded Yellow flew straight through, heading roughly north. Also many Orange-tips, Speckled Woods, Green-veined Whites, Small Whites ,4 Peacocks, 3 Brimstone, 1 Small Tortoiseshell.

Then rain showers. [Posted by Jason Claxton]

25 Apr 2019

Oxenbourne Down. Another visit to see if the Duke of Burgundy has emerged, and I'm pleased to say that it has. Two males were seen on territory, but they were hard to find as the wind and the cloudy conditions plus the terrain now is making it doubly difficult to do a reasonable count. There is only one site now left in the Meon Valley where the Duke of Burgundy hasn't emerged....'yet'.

The Small Copper was out in reasonable numbers as well with four being seen on the wing. A Peacock, a couple of Brimstones and Speckled Wood and last but not least a Dingy Skipper was all I had to count in these very cool conditions. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Gorse now is a very big threat to this small site
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Duke of Burgundy sheltering from the cool conditions
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Titchfield Haven - First Painted Lady. On a bird watching visit to Titchfield Haven this morning the small group I was with were pleasantly surprised to find a Painted Lady on the track. It may have arrived with the red (Sahara) dust I found on the car this morning? All too brief for a photo opportunity - but a first for me this year. Also seen were plenty of Speckled Wood, Large White, Small White and Green-veined Whites and a solitary Orange-tip that was far more obliging for a photo. A first Large Red Damselfly too for 2019. Considering the forecast from yesterday - an unexpectedly dry and very pleasant morning to be out. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Orange Tip - Titchfield Haven
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

23 Apr 2019

Noar Hill - PM Visit. After a fruitless morning looking for sand lizards at Studland (perfect conditions and beautiful locality - but no luck!) I decided at the last minute to head home via Noar Hill to try and 'save' my day. It didn't disappoint. Lots of Duke of Burgundy - easily into double figures in most of the hollows at the top of the site. Also plenty of Orange-tips, Holly Blue and Speckled Wood. Couldn't find a Green Hairstreak though which is unusual for me at this site - I nearly always bump into one or more here but not today. Also what I took to be a Burnet Companion moth that had me fooled until I could get my binoculars on it. I don't think I've ever seen this site so dry so early in the year - the ground looks parched in places and the cowslips seem stunted. Wonderful place to visit though - and red kites overhead! Couple of photos attached - I wish I was skilful enough to say male or female - if pushed I'd have to guess male based on behaviour. [Posted by Mark Wagstaff]

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Duke of Burgundy - Noar Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff
Duke of Burgundy - Noar Hill
Photo © Mark Wagstaff

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Double figures for a walk 1100-1245 in rather warm yet still conditions (20 deg) that favoured 10 species. A very fresh Red Admiral was a delight to see and a pair of Small White took advantage of the still conditions to mate. Nice also to see a pair of female Orange-tip so hopefully the two males won't be lonely for much longer! Numbers: Small White (4); Orange-tip (M)(2);(F)(2); Peacock (3); Large White (2); Green-veined White (3); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Red Admiral (1); Speckled Wood (14); Comma (1); Holly Blue (1) - on the wing still! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Fresh Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White (male to right)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma
Photo © Francis Plowman

Stockbridge Down butterflies. A trip to Stockbridge Down yielded plenty of butterflies - Brimstone and Orange-tip too numerous to counT plus Small Copper, Peacock(5), Grizzled Skipper, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue (2), Green-veined White (2), Comma, Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy(2). I also saw a pyralid moth, probably Pyrausta despicata (4). [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Pyralid moth
Photo © Sue Lambert
Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Sue Lambert
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Photo © Sue Lambert

Meon Valley. Probably the last day of decent weather for a few days and I was doing some rounds of lesser known Duke sites in the Meon Valley. One site the Duke was just emerging but the other site the Duke was still absent, this being well known as being a late site. The Orange-tip is flying in very good numbers as is the Speckled Wood in the wooded areas on these downland sites. Several Grizzled and Dingy Skipper were also noted, along with many many Brimstone.

The Cowslips are now looking splendid and hopefully the Duke will have a good season. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Male Duke of Burgundy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male Orange Tip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Orange Tip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

22 Apr 2019

Visit to Noar Hill 11.00 till 13.30. I spotted 10 Duke of Burgundy, 2 Dingy Skippers, 1 male Brimstone, 2 female Brimstones, 1 female Orange-tip, 2 male Orange-tips, 3 Holly Blues and 1 Speckled Wood on a visit to Noar Hill today. [Posted by Miles Attenborough]

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Dingy Skipper Noar Hill 22 April 2019
Photo © Miles Attenborough
Duke of Burgundy Noar Hill 22 April 2019
Photo © Miles Attenborough

Dukes at Stephens Castle Down. Despite not being the only observer NOT to find any Duke of Burgundy at this site during 2018, I was pleased to find x3 pristine males on the wing there today. Green Hairstreak was my target, but I could only locate a single individual and no Grizzled Skipper at all.

There was also plenty of Orange-tip, Brimstone and Peacock action with a smattering of Small Tortoiseshell, Holly Blue, Speckled Wood and Green-Veined White [Posted by Paul Harfield]

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Photo © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul HarfieldPhoto © Paul Harfield

first of the year in North Baddesley. First sighting of the year of Cinnabar Moth (3) on my butterfly reserve in North Baddesley. also seen on 30 minute walk Red Admiral (1)Small Tortoiseshell (1) Holly Blue (2) Peacock (12) Orange-tip (22) Comma (1) Brimstone (5) Speckled Wood (2)Small White 1). First Orange-tip egg found today. [Posted by Kevin Ross]

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Photo © Kevin Ross

21 Apr 2019

Dingy Skippers, Small Heath and a Duchess take wing In Rake Bottom. A walk along Rake Bottom with Butser Hill towering above, produced a decent crop of species during this afternoon’s heat, including two season firsts for me. Close to the valley floor, Dingy Skippers (5) and a Small Heath (1) had now joined the Grizzled Skippers (10), which have been out for at least a few days. Perhaps the highlight however, was saved for later - a fresh Duke of Burgundy, or more precisely a Duchess, flitted along in front of me as I neared the exit gate, briefly landing on vegetation along the way. Other species seen during my walk included Orange-tip, Brimstone, Peacock and Comma. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Dingy Skipper
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Duke of Burgundy (female)
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Small Heath
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Clouded Yellow debut in Portchester. Seen at Castle Shore Park, Portchester, at 10 am today, one Clouded Yellow flying north with customary urgency. First cuckoo later heard at Longstock. [Posted by Andrew Brookes]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. From 1250-1430 nine butterflies were found across the fields, woods and clearings of Monks Walk today. Under full sunshine with the temperature at 23.5 degrees C and barely a breeze we saw: Orange-tip (M)(2); Peacock (9); Speckled Wood (15); Holly Blue (1); Small White (5); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Brimstone (M)(1); Comma (1); Large White (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock on dandelion
Photo © Francis Plowman

Gosport - Beside the Sea!. 'Oh I do like to be beside the seaside'...... but two pretty fruitless trips to record:

Haslar Sea-Wall Car Park Scrub. (1145-1200) with the temperature at 23 degrees C: Holly Blue (1) - on the wing. That's that!

Gilkicker Point. (1205-1245). Small White (5); Small Copper (1); Peacock (1). The Small Copper was found on very dry and rubble-strewn earth but a very fresh specimen. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Oxenbourne Down. A bit of a disappointment today as the Duke was absent, although this is a slightly later site. However its breeding area is much reduced with Gorse and there is very little Cowslip of note. That unmentionable 'M' word springs to mind, and if this isn't rectified soon then we may lose it from this site. There were Grizzled Skippers on the wing, Small Copper, plenty of Brimstones and Orange-tips as well. One Green Hairstreak and one Holly Blue. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Grizzled Skipper feeding on Ground Ivy
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Brimstone making like a leaf
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Small Copper keeping territory
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

20 Apr 2019

Fresh Common Blue in Old Basing. A lovely fresh Common Blue flew low across Old Basing Recreation Ground while the Archers were practising on Saturday morning in the glorious spring sunshine. 51°16'35.2"N 1°02'33.0"W. [Posted by Andrew Hutchison]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. The hottest walk of the year so far for me (25.5C) evidently suited the butterflies and took the sightings' count into double figures for the first time in 2019. Between 1500-1645 eleven species were recorded, all the usual 'suspects' for this time of the year but nice to see them all in one walk! Peacock (9); Speckled Wood (18); Orange-tip (M)(2); Small White (7); Brimstone (M)(1)(F)(1); Holly Blue (1); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Green-veined White (2); Comma (3); Large White (2); Red Admiral (1). The Small Copper earlier recorded on 11th and 14th April appears to have gone. Two lovely foxes sighted together at rest. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Large White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

Noar Hill. The Duke of Burgundy is now well out at Noar Hill and today my wife Jackie and I counted at least (15) on the wing, all males except for one female which was hiding a top of a Cowslip. Dry conditions have made many of the Cowslips quite stunted, and the Early Purple Orchids are just starting to show. This with other Meon Valley sites makes this the earliest recorded Dukes since records began when the odd one's emerged at the end of March. Other recorded butterflies were many Orange-tips and Brimstones, many of which were pairing up, Holly Blues and Speckled Wood and Peacock.

There were plenty of Blackcaps and Warblers giving us a song as we walked around. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Female Duke of Burgundy on Cowslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
A thorny issue for this Green Hairstreak
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Male at rest after a chase in its territory
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

19 Apr 2019

Martin Down.. My first visit this year to Martin Down from 10.00-13.00 was pretty poor despite the hot sunny conditions with only a light breeze. The rather mediocre count, apart from Brimstone 27, was Grizzled Skipper 2, Orange-tip 6, Green-veined White 1, Peacock 12, Speckled Wood 8, Green Hairstreak 1, Holly Blue 1 and one Marsh Fritillary caterpillar. The Speckled Wood in the image appears to have been skewered but it took flight soon after the pic was taken so all was well! [Posted by Mark Pike]

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Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Mark Pike
Marsh Fritillary Caterpillar
Photo © Mark Pike
Skewered Speckled Wood!
Photo © Mark Pike

Wall butterfly, Steephill Cove, Ventnor. 1 seen this morning in the bright sunshine. [Posted by Daniel Moden]

18 Apr 2019

Butterflies at Lordshill. There were lots of butterflies at Cromarty Road/Bakers Drove area: 4 Brimstones, 2 Orange-tip, Comma, 4 Speckled Wood, Small White, Holly Blue, Green-veined White and 4 Peacock. [Posted by Sue Lambert]

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Comma
Photo © Sue Lambert
Holly Blue
Photo © Sue Lambert
Brimstone female
Photo © Sue Lambert

Old Winchester Hill. With the temperature around 20 degrees Celsius at lunch-time there was every prospect of an interesting walk around OWH. From 1330-1445 just five species were recorded: Brimstone (M)(29)(F)(6); Peacock 4; Small White (1); Orange-tip (M)(1);(F)(1); Red Admiral. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip female
Photo © Francis Plowman

17 Apr 2019

Noar Hill 17th April. A visit to Noar Hill this morning: Numbers of Orange-tips and Brimstones seen, plus a Holly Blue. However, the highlight was a male and a female Duke Of Burgundy seen quite close to each other. Photos attached. [Posted by Dave Miller]

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Duke of Burgundy (m) Noar Hill 17/4/19
Photo © Dave Miller
Duke of Bugundy (f) Noar Hill 17/4/19
Photo © Dave Miller

Alver Valley Country Park, Gosport. A forty-five minutes walk from just after 2pm was enough given the unfavourable conditions around the fields and paths east of the River Alver. The temperature was around 14 degrees but an ever thickening mist covered the sun and, worse, nearer to the sea the easterly breeze was very cool. Thus to the discordant accompaniment of sundry fog-horns of vessels negotiating The Solent and the hullabaloo of hardy teenagers launching themselves into Gosport's only river, the following butterflies were identified: Speckled Wood (3); Orange-tip (M)(2); Peacock (8); Small White (5); Brimstone (M)(1); Comma (2); Small Tortoiseshell (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Peacock
Photo © Francis Plowman
Orange-tip male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. The milky sunshine put the temperature up to 14 degrees Celsius for the two hours from noon when I checked-in with the local butterflies. Virtually no breeze today. Species were almost doubled from two days ago and numbers of butterflies were up. It was lovely to come across a fox sunning itself and it wasn't bothered at having its photograph taken! Had it not been for the absence of Small Copper today's count would have reached doubled figures. I wonder what's happened to him? New emergence of Speckled Wood was obvious. Here's the count of those that turned-up: Brimstone (M)(4); Small White (14); Green-veined White (M)(3);(F)(1); Speckled Wood (14); Comma (7); Peacock (4); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Red Admiral (1); Holly Blue (1). The latter my first sighting at Monks Wood this year although it was only seen on the wing. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Green-veined White female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Sleepy foxy!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Fresh Speckled Wood female
Photo © Francis Plowman

14 Apr 2019

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. An afternoon circulation from 1320-1445 was undertaken in a chill ESE wind making it mostly too unpleasant for the usual panoply of species here. The temperature was at best 9.5 degrees Celsius but felt much colder. Precious little sunshine either so a very low count today: Small Copper (1); Small Tortoiseshell (1); Speckled Wood (3); Green-veined White (2)(M); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Diminutive Small Copper & Daisy
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral (hanging-in there!)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman

11 Apr 2019

Stoke Common, Hayling Island. Visited Stoke Common, Hayling Island (SU716033) this afternoon, where the following were recorded; Brimstone 1M, Small White 4, Peacock 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

No Dukes at Noar...some other showings though. Trip to Noar Hill this afternoon. No Dukes in any of the hollows I watched. Not many butterflies but very fresh Orange-tip, Holly Blue and Green Hairstreak. Plus Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstones, Small White. [Posted by Mark Jones]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Between 1215-1430 I noted that at least nine species had survived the very cold night; the warmer the day became the more butterflies emerged into the warm sunlight. My first sighting of Small Copper was most welcome and Speckled Wood reached double figures today. Butterflies were everywhere. While taking a photograph of typical habitat here ie a woodland track lined with heavily scented Wild Garlic, the camera captured a male Brimstone and Speckled Wood tumbling down the lane! The count: Peacock (5); Small Tortoiseshell (3); Speckled Wood (10); Small White (7); Comma (4); Large White (1); Brimstone (M)(1); Small Copper (1); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman
Typical Monks Walk habitat plus butterflies!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White male
Photo © Francis Plowman

Havant Thicket. Today at Havant Thicket the weather was just warm enough, but butterfly counts were shockingly poor just three species in a space of about three hours. These were Peacock (4-5) one solitary Orange-tip and solitary Brimstone.

I went around and inspected the sallow of which is quite bountiful in this wood. They are all in flower or budding up now and the Purple Emperor caterpillars should soon be taking their first lunches for 2019.

There were good areas of Common Dog Violet and lots of Primrose in the ditches along the main ride up at the junction with Bells Copse. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Sallow
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Primrose
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Silver-Birch in Havant Thicket
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Portsdown Hill. Today on the Eastern end of Portsdown Hill (SU657063) the temperature was 12 degrees. I walked the slopes which were out of the chill wind and saw my first Holly Blue this year, which looked like it had freshly emerged. Very little else was flying except a few Small Whites. Totals were Small White 2, Holly Blue 1. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

10 Apr 2019

Stoke Common, Hayling Island. My third and last site visit today was back at home on Hayling Island at Stoke Common (SU716033) where the afternoon temperature reached 14 degrees. Here the following were recorded, Small White 1, Peacock 2, Red Admiral 2. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Huckswood Lane, Old Idsworth. My second site visit was to Chalton Down, but with nothing to be seen, I walked Huckswood Lane (SU745154) where on a path beside a copse near the old quarry, there was good activity of butterflies. Recorded were Brimstone 2M1F, Small White 1, Orange-tip 2M. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Oxenbourne Down. Today I visited three sites, starting at Oxenbourne Down (SU716183) where in the late morning sunshine the temperature reached 12 degrees. Very little was flying just two male Brimstones. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Visit to Noar Hill. I had a look around Noar Hill 1100-1400 on 10th April. Initially a bit cloudy and very cool (9-10 degrees only on arrival), but brilliant sunshine by the time I left. No DoB seen, but there were at least half a dozen Peacocks and a similar number of Orange-tips, plus at least a dozen Brimstones. However, the highpoint was the unexpected sighting of a fresh Green Hairstreak down on the grass, presumably newly emerged. Photos attached. [Posted by Dave Miller]

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Green Hairstreak Noar Hill 10/4
Photo © Dave Miller
Green Hairstreak Noar Hill 10/4
Photo © Dave Miller

Magdalen Hill Down, Winchester. Three species only seen on a 1145-1300 circulation of the reserve, the northern lower area (absolutely carpeted with Cowslip), the southern ridge line path which was nicely sheltered from the cold airs and returning via the same route later when the sunshine was more constant. The exposed fields were too windswept although that bothered not one jot the Skylarks. Sadly, the lower slopes were devoid of butterflies today. However, recorded were: Peacock (2); Speckled Wood (2); Holly Blue (1) - my first sighting of the year so happy with that! Only one Speckled Wood was in a co-operative mood! [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman

St Catherine's Hill, Winchester. A brief wander around the lower meadows and base of the hill (Garnier Road entrance) from 1320-1405 accounted for just 4 species. At best the temperature was 13 degrees Celsius but quite warm when sheltered from the cool NE breeze: Orange-tip (M)(5); Red Admiral (1); Speckled Wood (3); Brimstone (M)(3) [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Orange-tip male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Brimstone male
Photo © Francis Plowman

08 Apr 2019

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. So, later than usual because of the abortive trip to Noar Hill, between 1535-1635 with the sunshine warm and enjoyable at 16 degrees Celsius, six species were still in evidence. This included mating Speckled Wood which was a first so happy with that! Comma (9); Peacock (9); Small White (1); Small Tortoiseshell (5); Speckled Wood (7); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood. Female open-winged
Photo © Francis Plowman
Copper
Photo © Francis Plowman

Noar Hill. I wish I had read Ashley Whitlock's blog of his abortive trip to Noar Hill yesterday - before I went there today! An absolute white-wash! So don't bust-a-gut to visit especially if the sun isn't shining. Between 1400-1500 today with the temperature at 13 degrees Celsius under bright cloudy, windless conditions I saw not one butterfly. Not even a Brimstone on the wing. Plenty of cowslips, dandelions and lovely violets with bees and hover flies enjoying them but no butterflies. For sure there has been some savage "conservation" of the area with hedgerows and edges well cut down and this may have had some adverse impact. [Posted by Francis Plowman]

07 Apr 2019

Havant Thicket. Today I walked around Havant Thicket (SU7110) where the temperature reached 14 degrees. Plenty of Brimstones were flying, with four different species recorded. Totals: Brimstone 17M 1F, Small White 1, Speckled Wood 1, Peacock 3. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Butser. Had a lovely walk down into Rake Bottom at Butser, if somewhat breezy at times. But on the sheltered south facing slopes the butterflies were taking advantage of the warm sun including Orange-tip, Brimstone, Peacock, a pristine Small Tortoisehell and my first Grizzled Skipper. The walk back up was a bit more strenuous! [Posted by Mark Tutton]

Season Kicks Off At Magdalen Hill Down. A walk along the lower slopes of Magdalen Hill Down in hazy sunshine this afternoon, produced 3 season firsts for me: singletons of Grizzled Skipper and Green Hairstreak as well as 3 Orange-tips (2M, 1F). The female Orange-tip was briefly courting one of the males but to no avail! Hibernators in evidence included several Brimstones and Peacocks, plus a single Comma. So, a good result despite relatively few butterflies on the wing. [Posted by Alan Thornbury]

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Green Hairstreak
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Orange Tip
Photo © Alan Thornbury
Grizzled Skipper
Photo © Alan Thornbury

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Non-forecast sunshine from 12:20 lured me again around the local butterfly haunt for a productive couple of hours. Same temperature as yesterday (14.5 deg Celsius) but less wind and rather more warmth especially in the sheltered glades and closed habitats. A pleasing eight species responded to the weather's invitation. Brimstone (6); (M)(4); (F)(2); Small White (10); Comma (13); Peacock (7); Small Tortoiseshell (2); Green-veined White (2); Speckled Wood (4); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Brimstone female
Photo © Francis Plowman
Green-veined White male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White female (missing antenna)
Photo © Francis Plowman

Noar Hill / Milton Foreshore. I spent over 4 hours at Noar Hill in the morning and part of the afternoon today, and I didn't see a bean. The sun came out in fits and starts but it wasn't enough to motivate anything into action.I spent sometime looking at the wildflowers and this year the Dog-Violets look rather good, plenty out on the hedge-banks and in the ditches and gullies. The Cowslips don't look very good at the moment but I suspect they haven't fully grown yet. There was a wonderful Oxslip growing on the western edge of the reserve, in full bloom. Disappointed I went home and the sun was out from the time I got into the car until I reached Southsea, where it was very pleasant and warm. In a space of 5 minutes on my local patch I saw 5 species! What a contrast. (1)Speckled Wood (1) Green-Veined White (1) Small White (5) Small Tortoiseshells (2) Peacocks. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Common Dog Violet
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Oxslip
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Speckled Wood
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

06 Apr 2019

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Six species have survived the last four days of seriously inclement weather although, with the exception of Small Tortoiseshell, numbers were down. A couple of hours from 12:40 with the temperature at 14.5 Celsius, cool easterly breeze off the harbour's high tide yet with warm sunny intervals I recorded: Speckled Wood (4); Peacock (4); Comma (6); Small Tortoiseshell (4); Red Admiral (1); Small White (3); (2)(M); l(F). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small Tortoiseshell (1 of 4)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small White, male with damaged wing
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

01 Apr 2019

Havant Thicket. At Havant Thicket (SU7110) today the temperature reached 15 degrees. Here in the sunshine many Brimstones were flying along with half a dozen Orange-tips, including a female. Totals: Brimstone 18M 1F, Orange-tipo 5M 1F, Comma 1, Peacock 8. [Posted by Roy Symonds]

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Seven species in an hour circulation of this small area from 1430 with the temperature a pleasant 17 degrees Celsius. Small White (9); Peacock (7); Comma (10); Small Tortoiseshell (3); Brimstone (M)(1); Speckled Wood (4); Red Admiral (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Small White mating pair
Photo © Francis Plowman
Small Tortoiseshell
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

Havant Thicket. From 1235-1355, temperature of 14 degrees Celsius and cool breeze I walked a couple of miles around the woodland paths. For the area covered the number of species recorded was, for me, a surprise at only five. Brimstone (M)(23);(F)(1); Peacock (10); Orange-tip (M)(7); Small White (1); Comma (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Male Brimstone
Photo © Francis Plowman
Copper sunbathing
Photo © Francis Plowman

Dukes are out on Noar Hill!. No fooling - Dukes out on Noar Hill - same date as last year. [Posted by Pauline Richards]

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Photo © Pauline RichardsPhoto © Pauline Richards

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