Monday, 27 October 2014

Missed Mega Highlite of 2014.

The UK has its own sub-species of Swallowtail Butterfly,Papilio machaon britannicus, which is only found in the fen land of Norflok So when news got around that a European Swallowtail had emerged in a garden at Ventnor it was a must to go and have a look.
Sighting reports of this continental cousin of our British Swallowtail are received on a regular basis in  Southern England but a local emergence is almost unique.
This magnificent butterfly was noticed clinging to a flower pot by the house owner and as it had a deformed wing it was not expected to travel very far,if at all. By the time I reached its last known resting place which turned out to be an area of very overgrown former allotments the butterfly had moved from its spot within the last hour.I am very disappointed to say that despite an extensive search of the immediate vicinity I was unable to locate it.
Still,although I was unable to see this beauty I am glad to say that Andy Butler did and it is with his kind permission that I am able to use his excellent photographs on my blog.(Taken early July 2014)


Sunday, 26 October 2014

Best Bits of 2014.

Unlike 2012 and 2013 which were highlighted by sightings of the Large Tortoiseshell at Walters Copse,Newtown, this year the butterfly was not to be seen despite a good search in the spring.We can just hope that next season it will excite us with it's presence.
At the end of May I took a trip to Hod Hill in Dorset to get my first look at the Marsh Fritillary. This lovely butterfly is no longer resident on the Isle of Wight and I was not disappointed when at last I came across several individuals sheltering away in a grassy old hill fort moat from the inclement weather that day.
Another excellent highlight was a second brood of White Admirals in Walters Copse in September.This species had done well here in the summer but to see three pristine White Admirals  so late in the season was a treat.
Perhaps the highlight of 2014 though,had to be recording the first Glanville Fritillaries on the wing in the UK.As usual they appeared at Wheelers Bay,Bonchurch in April.This site is always the first site to produce this unique butterfly and is followed throughout May by other Island colonies on our south west coastal cliffs.
The Glanville pictured below is from Wheelers Bay,photographed on the 30th April and it can be classed as a variant partly due to it's rather dark hind wing colouring.