Monday, 18 June 2018

Plenty of Summer Butterflies on Show.

Butterfly numbers have dramatically increased now that the summer butterflies are on the wing.Today in Bouldnor Forest Marbled White and Silver-washed Fritillaries were the two new species.The White Admiral is now even more evident in the forest rides as they enjoy the bounty of bramble flowers.

Friday, 15 June 2018

White-letter Hairstreaks at Towngate.

I first noticed a White-letter Hairstreak flying near to the top of the Towngate elm tree last Tuesday the 12th June.Unfortunately none decided to investigate the lower branches at the time.I had better luck today as after a patient wait at least two hairstreaks came to eye level.The advantage of this site is a footbridge that spans the stream below.The elm is planted on the bank of the stream and therefore standing on the bridge gives access to the branches halfway up the tree.(See last years blog entry) 

Thursday, 14 June 2018

A Common Blue Outshines the First White Admirals.

Following a wet and windy morning the weather picked up this afternoon.This made a walk through Bouldnor Forest very pleasant and it was not long before I saw my first White Admiral of the year.In fact I counted a total of three  fresh individuals and all were very active in the sunshine.
It was not only these colourful summer butterflies that stood out as  there cannot be a butterfly arguably more stunning than a female Common Blue. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Silver-studded Blue in the New Forest.

An unexpected chance to spend a couple of hours in the New Forest this afternoon resulted in a visit to Latchmore Brook  close to the town of Fordingbridge.While exploring the boggy feeder streams that run into the brook for the Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly, several male Silver-studded Blue butterflies were seen along the grassy banks.No longer seen on the Isle of Wight this butterfly can be numerous on the New Forest heathland.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

A Painted Lady Drops In.

Looking out of the french doors this afternoon I saw the unmistakable sight of a Painted Lady flying in the garden.With its strong flight and near salmon pink colour it is an impressive butterfly and this is  the first I have seen this year.It was in no hurry to move on and although it was spooked a number of times by squabbling blackbirds it sunned itself on the patio and nectared on the perennial wallflower close to the back door.

Monday, 4 June 2018

A Pair of Hairstreaks.

On my trips to the hills of Lefkada in late May and early June, I have always encountered two particular species of Hairstreak both nectaring together on roadside flowers and bramble flowers.Perhaps the most attractive of the two is the Blue-spot Hairstreak with its square shaped blue 'eye' at the base of the hind wing.In Greece and the surrounding areas it is a prolific butterfly whereas in the north of its range ie extending as far as northern France it is generally in decline.
The second species is the Ilex Hiarstreak,similar to its companion but without the blue spot.In contrast to the Blue-spot it can be widespread and common especially through south and central Europe.


Ilex HS with presumably the male on the left attempting to mate

Sunday, 3 June 2018

Not Just Another White.

The Black-veined White disappeared from the UK in the 1920's but this magnificent butterfly can still be seen on the continent,sometimes in vast numbers.It is a large butterfly,as big as the Large White and graceful in flight.During a recent trip to the Greek Islands I encountered several including a female awkardly laying a batch of eggs to the underside of this leaf.


Saturday, 2 June 2018

Glanvilles Take Over the Slopes.

It is now three weeks since the first adult Glanville Fritillary was reported on the the Isle of Wight.Today on the landslip close to Compton Chine the Glanvilles were out in force despite the seafog rolling in and cooling down the temperatures.In cloudy weather the butterflies tend to snuggle down in the long grass but there were still plenty to see nectaring on the thrift and ribwort plantain.It certainly looks like another good year for this butterfly and encouraging are sightings made in the east of the Island.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Back on the Road to Paliokatouna.

The road from Nydri to the hillside village of Paliokatuna on the Greek Island of Lefkada is about 3kms.This quiet road passes olive groves and several private villas as it winds up to the village and beyond.I have made a point of exploring the groves and small meadows beside the road ever since staying at Paliokatouna some years ago. and enjoying the wildlife that inhabit the hillsides.
I was happy to see for the first time,a Large Wall Brown fluttering around the side of the road nectaring on scabious flowers.It wasn't long before an impressive Scarce Swallowtail showed up,taking an interest in the many villa garden flowers that straddle the wire fences along the road. This was followed by a Southern White Admiral with the same intention.The surrounding olive groves are home to drifts of wild flowers and consquently many small butterflies.These include skippers and Common Blues.Another butterfly attracted to this mass of nectar are Clouded Yellows and there is always one it seems to be seen in any direction.

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Colourful Cleopatras.

It is at this time of the year that I look forward to my first visit to the Greek Islands.The island of Lefkada in the Ionian Islands is always a favourite and last week I enjoyed a variety of butterflies here.
All residents and visitors around the Mediterranean must be familiar with the colourful Cleopatra butterfly Gonepteryx cleopatra. Adult Cleopatras can live up to 10 months as they hibernate over the winter,appearing again in May.The Cleopatras on Lefkada were numerous and guaranteed to be seen in high numbers on any flowering Bougainvillea.
The female is a pale greenish white,as noted in the final photograph below, displayed while seeing off a male.However the dazzling male sports bright yellow wings flushed on the forewings with orange.These upper wing colours are usually only viewed when the male is in flight,although sometimes there is an opportunity to see them while the butterfly is moving from flower to flower.