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News Archive for Nov 2021


30 Nov 2021

Brown Hairstreak egg search at BSM. Following his recent success with finding Brown Hairstreak eggs at Butterfly Conservation's Bentley Station Meadow nature reserve, on the edge of Alice Holt Forest, Steve Luckett (Volunteer Reserve Officer) led a further egg-search and practical work party today. I was not able to attend the morning, but came at lunchtime to find the practical management task in full swing, after a successful egg-search at the start of the day. Steve said a total of around 30 Brown Hairstreak eggs had been found at the site. I had a brief search myself, and found a further four, including a pair side by side. I also came across a distinctive and very small pupal case of an unknown insect near the very tip of one of the blackthorn spikes. The exit hole is clear to see, and if anyone has any idea of the species it might relate to I'd be interested to know. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Suckering blackthorn and bramble
Photo © Andy Barker
Pair of Brown Hairstreak eggs
Photo © Andy Barker
Unknown pupal case
Photo © Andy Barker

Brown Hairstreak egg hunt in Botley Wood. Today in stodgy gloomy weather I and a few Brown Hairstreak patrons looked for eggs on Blackthorn just south of Botley Wood where the females had been seen in and amongst Blackthorn thickets in September this year. We managed to find (13) eggs well distributed around several fields where some of the Blackthorn is in need of some trimming. However there were several areas where the Blackthorn was growing in good positions and was at the right height for females to lay their eggs. Several eggs were seen quite high up so it is worth looking above head height when doing these egg hunts. The theory maybe is that Brown Hairstreak females must wander good distances to find suitable spots to lay their eggs. We never found a good concentration of eggs so the females here must have just been passing through, and observation of the females was probably just a matter of chance, in good weather. However observations in these spots could prove otherwise over a period of seasons. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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One of the eggs seen today
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
One in a typical position in the fork of Blackthorn
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

25 Nov 2021

Red Admirals at Hillier Gardens. Despite the chilly north wind, a few sheltered spots were pleasantly warm in today's winter sunshine at Hillier Gardens, Romsey. In the 'Winter Garden' we came across three Red Admirals nectaring on Colletia. This is a South American genus of spiky autumn and winter-flowering shrubs in the Rhamnaceae family, so related to buckthorns. At this time of year, when there are few nectar sources on offer, these prove highly attractive for any butterflies or other insects that are about. Today we found two Red Admirals and a bumblebee (Bombus terrestris, queen) taking nectar from Colletia paradoxa, and another Red Admiral on Colletia hystrix 'Rosea'. The former originates from Brazil and Uruguay, whilst the latter is from Chile. [Posted by Andy Barker]

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Red Admiral on Colletia paradoxa
Photo © Andy Barker
Red Admiral on Colletia hystrix 'rosea'
Photo © Andy Barker

23 Nov 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Some 10 days later than my last 2020 sighting at Monks Walk (or anywhere for that matter), two Red Admiral were still found basking in the sunshine. An 80 minutes' circulation from 11 o'clock this morning (temperature range 8.5 - 9.5 deg C) found many areas now hidden from the very low and oblique sunlight. However, nearer the shore and the ivy-clad trees and bushes these two hardy butterflies were still holding-on. Grey Squirrels, Buzzard and scores of wading birds added to the interest as the season ends. Total: Red Admiral (2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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In an oak tree Red Admiral with broken antennae tip (right)
Photo © Francis Plowman
Second Red Admiral basks on low nettles
Photo © Francis Plowman

Speckled Wood in Warblington. A pristine Speckled Wood seen in Warblington Cemetery. My latest ever. [Posted by Alan Wingrove]


17 Nov 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Having ventured out in yesterday morning's fleeting sunshine and returned without seeing any butterflies I concluded that the season had finally ended. The extended period of warm sunshine today during my walk (1120-1300, 12 deg C) proved the lie to my assumption of 16th November. Three species were encouraged to put in appearances. All the Red Admiral butterflies were very agitated and dispersed quickly on close approach. Conversely the two Comma seen were basking in the sunshine and one was near to the field edge and tolerated my intrusion. The last butterfly seen, admittedly on the wing, was a Holly Blue! That I did not expect. It was a very fresh specimen, lit up dramatically by the midday sunshine and it flew for 4-5 seconds around the ivy-clad trees by the sea shore, a sheltered habitat where earlier this month Red Admiral and Speckled Wood were recorded. I waited for its reappearance sadly in vain but a bright blue butterfly on a mid-November day was uplifting. Total: Red Admiral (4); Comma (2); Holly Blue (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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A bashful Red Admiral with wing damage
Photo © Francis Plowman
Close Comma No 1
Photo © Francis Plowman
Distant Comma No 2
Photo © Francis Plowman

12 Nov 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Just before noon the skies cleared to cloudless azure after a terrific downpour earlier so a swift if soggy circulation (1150-1250) was in order. The sunshine and 16 degrees Celsius temperature coaxed two Red Admiral (photographed) and one Speckled Wood (on the wing) to put in fleeting appearances! Both photographed insects were in pretty fine fettle for the time of the year and certainly brightened my day. However, the grey clouds quickly accumulated and the fun ended. Total: Red Admiral (M)(2); Speckled Wood (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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No 1 Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
No 2 Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

05 Nov 2021

Milton Lock Allotments and Foreshore. A warm day and a look around my local patch to see if there were any butterflies still flying and I was pleasantly surprised to see at least 5-6 Small Whites which looked like new hatchings. These were sunning themselves on a Buddleia facing south. Also there was a Painted Lady which was still in good condition, still on these shores, maybe he or she was taking a chance and going to hibernate here, which some have done in the past. Also flying in across the creek after watching the Brent Geese and a fishing White Egret I saw a Small Tortoiseshell on the wing. [Posted by Ashley Whitlock]

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Small White sunning itself
Photo © Ashley Whitlock
Painted Lady
Photo © Ashley Whitlock

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. An hour long wander from 1245 saw - even at that time of the day - lengthening shadows and only two species were observed. The temperature hovered around 10 deg C and with no wind meant that in the sunshine the trees and bushes provided sufficient warmth for Red Admiral and Speckled Wood. Both species were seen on ivy floret by the shore line. It still enthuses me to record butterflies on Bonfire Night! Total: Red Admiral (F)(2)(M)(1); Speckled Wood (M)(2). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Female Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman
Male Speckled Wood
Photo © Francis Plowman

02 Nov 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. Monitoring the season's finale at Monks Walk this afternoon saw the fourth species added to my November's record; Speckled Wood initially competed with Red Admiral for numbers but was soon overtaken by the latter. From 1210-1400 in full sunshine, nil wind but a cool temperature of just 12 degrees Celsius the ground was extremely wet and some fields even under water. Fallen fruit was the food preference for one Red Admiral but my approach disturbed its messing. Total: Speckled Wood (F)(1)(M)(2); Red Admiral (7). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Speckled Wood male
Photo © Francis Plowman
Speckled Wood female with left wing adhesion and damage
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral male with bi-lateral bird attack damage
Photo © Francis Plowman

01 Nov 2021

Monks Walk, Frater Fields & Woods, Gosport. A brief circulation of the main areas was made even shorter by a near-biblical rain deluge that sent us scurrying for cover under the trees! From 1310-1405 with the temperature at 14.5C two species were noted in the sunshine and after the rain had stopped a Peacock flew around me numerous times without landing. Clearly the area provides thick undergrowth, small woodlands with many places well protected from the prevailing wind. Ivy-clad trees abound and the field of fern is slowly flattening down and probably provides good winter roosting particularly for Peacock. Total: Comma (1); Red Admiral (6); Peacock (1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Basking Comma in the southern area
Photo © Francis Plowman
Comma with comma!
Photo © Francis Plowman
Red Admiral
Photo © Francis Plowman

Chilling & Brownwich Coastal Area, Titchfield. From 1130-1245 just one Red Admiral (a female) was recorded on a walk in a fresh SW wind but with plenty of sunshine, temperature around 14 degrees Celsius. Another walker said that he had seen Comma and Red Admiral but just the latter for me today here. Total: Red Admiral (F)(1). [Posted by Francis Plowman]

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Red Admiral female on the farm track
Photo © Francis Plowman