Monday, 25 February 2019

First Butterflies of the Year as the Fine Weather Continues.

The very mild weather continues and temperatures reached nearly 20 Celsius today.A first trip of the year to Walters Copse,Newtown owned by the National Trust resulted in five Comma butterflies and at least four Brimstone.The Commas were basking in their usual spots, namely sunny and sheltered rides whereas the male Brimstone flew energetically about looking for females, pausing briefly to nectar on the few primrose flowers and enjoying a sunny location.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Mild Temperatures Bring Out the Glanvilles.

The mild temperatures of the last week have enticed  the Glanville Fritillary larvae out of their winter hibernacula to sun themselves on the south facing slopes of our Island cliffs.
The webs seen today at Shepherds Chine revealed many caterpillars out and about enjoying the warm sunshine.They are no more than one centimetre in length at present and into their fifth instar.

Monday, 17 September 2018

More Late Summer Butterflies.

At this time in late summer, the Clouded Yellow can sometimes be seen dashing around our fields and open woods.Most originate from mainland Europe,however I am sure that here on the south coast we have our own 'home grown' individuals.
In Bouldnor Forest near Yarmouth there is an open area in the woodland.Here a group of almost dried out scrape ponds are surrounded by low scrub and gorse bushes.Yellow Fleabane is prolific and a favourite for nectaring butterflies and today under sunny skies  there were no shortage of species.As well as the Clouded Yellow, Common Blue,Small Copper,Wall Brown,Red Admiral,and a Painted Lady were on show.

Friday, 14 September 2018

Late Summer Butterflies on the Landslip.

Today on the landslip beneath the coastal cliffs along the south west shore of the Isle of Wight there was a good selection of late summer butterflies.This unique area is well known for the Glanville Fritillary butterfly during May and June.A strong onshore wind blew today but in any sheltered spot,especially where yellow fleabane is flowering the butterflies congregated.Many seemed to be a excellent condition with Common Blue particularly striking.Surprisingly the Wall Brown proved to be the most numerous,as these coastal cliffs are a favourite for this species.Other butterflies on the wing were Peacock,Small Copper,Small Heath,and two flyby Clouded Yellow.

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Adonis Blue & More on Mottistone Down.

Mottistone Down is one of several National Trust areas on the Isle of Wight's south west coast that supports a range of chalkland butterflies.The scenic walk from the village of Mottistone gives panoramic views south along the Islands coastline and north to Freshwater Bay  and Tennyson Down.As I made my way up to the top of the Down today I passed the Long Stone a well known  ancient monument.Sightings on the Down were few due to the brisk wind although in any sheltered spots butterfly numbers were good with Adonis Blue,Chalk-hill Blue,and that master of camouflage,the Grayling on show.There were also several Wall Brown to be seen too.

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

High Summer Butterflies.

The scrub around the woodland ponds in Bouldnor Forest is now covered in drifts of Common Fleabane Pulicaria dysenterica. These yellow flowers are a magnet for butterflies and a stroll through this impressive and colourful floral display discovered several summer species.In addition to the common 'browns' there were a great number of Common Blue,together with a Painted Lady and a Clouded Yellow.Unfortunately the latter was quickly shooed away by the Blues.
Some of the ponds here are almost dry and it seems that they are attracting Wall Brown butterflies, as a few were observed landing on the parched earth maybe for salts.The scrub too was of interest to female Wall Browns,perhaps as a place to lay their eggs.
Among the crowd of blues near to an almost dried-up pond was a male Chalk-hill Blue.It too attracted to the pool for the salts or just a wanderer perhaps.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Back on Broughton Down.

Last years visit to Broughton Down in Hampshire was marred by  very changeable weather.However this year the sun was shining and temperatures exceeded 30 degrees celsius.Following reports that several Silver-spotted Skippers were seen recently on the Down I decided to make the trip from the Isle of Wight.My optimism was somewhat dampened however following an encounter with another Silver-spotted enthusiast who was just leaving the Down.He had only seen one skipper,so I was wondering if I had timed my visit too early this year.I am very glad to say that after some searching I managed to see three Silver-spotted Skippers,more in fact than on my trip last year which was almost two weeks later.

View of  the Down southwards from the 'Plum Pudding' tumulus

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Butterflies on New Forest Heathland.

Arguably the three major butterflies of New Forest Heathland are the Silver-studded Blue,the Grayling,and the Dark Green Fritillary.Yesterday on Beaulieu Heath I saw the first two species.The attractive Silver-studded Blue has been on the wing for a while now although many are still in excellent condition.It is also the time for the first Grayling to appear and they can be found on any bare patch of heathland in particular.

Beaulieu Heath seen from Crockford Stream

Monday, 9 July 2018

Back on the Bridleway to West High Down.

Another hot and sultry day and a return visit to the bridleway that leads up onto West High Down.Thankfully living very near to the coast a sea breeze relieved some of the heat and below the Down it became quite brisk at times.
I had better luck today in my quest to see the first Chalk-hill Blues of the year.However they had already been reported from Brook Down situated just to the south.It seems that those on Brook Down are always on the wing in advance of the Blues of West High Down.