Monday 31 October 2011

Purple Hairstreak.

The Purple Hairstreak is the only British butterfly that is solely reliant on the oak tree to complete its life cycle.It feeds mainly on honeydew produced by aphids normally high up in an oak or ash tree.Visits to flowers are not common.It is a handsome insect with flashes of purple on the uppersurface of the wings and an underside of silvery grey.

Monday 24 October 2011

The Two-tailed Pasha

The Two-tailed Pasha is one of the largest butterflies resident in Europe. Found in Greece and all along the coast of the Mediterranean to Portugal,it is a spectacular butterfly with brown and orange marked upperside and a colourful underside.These photographs were taken on the island of Alonissos in the western Aegean,where this Pasha was defending the ripe fruits of a fig tree from rival male Pashas.The laval host plant of the Pasha is the Strawberry Tree which is found in the north of this island.

Sunday 23 October 2011

Small Tortoiseshell

A very familiar butterfly locally and over most of the UK.One of the first to be seen after hibernation and also later in the year in our gardens feeding on buddleia and michaelmas-daisy.The Small Tortoiseshell lays its eggs on nettles and after several years of apparent decline is hopefully on the increase once more.

Eastern Baton Blue

The Baton Blue butterfly is widespread and common in the south of Europe.In Greece  the Eastern Baton Blue is to be seen and is just as common as its relative farther west.It is a butterfly of hot,dry,grassy and rocky places.The female is brown whereas the male is mainly blue.

Green-veined White

Here on the Isle of Wight  the Green-veined White can be seen in gardens but does prefer damper habitats like woodland rides and meadows.Therefore a walk through any local copse or forest track will hopefully turn up this attractive white butterfly.In Britain it is widespread and in warm years there may be up to three generations which appear from April  to October.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Lattice Brown

This butterfly seems to be restricted,in Europe, to Greece,southern Romania,Bulgaria, and the Dalmatian Coast.The markings tend to be bolder in the female than the male.The Lattice Brown can be seen  from late April to September and in common with some other species will aestivate in the hottest months.The upperside is rarely seen as it feeds and rests with its wings closed.

Friday 21 October 2011

Small Copper

This butterfly can be found near or on the ground in a variety of habitats.If weather conditions are right,namely hot and sunny,three or more broods may occur,lasting from April to November.The form 'caeruleopunctata' is known and common,with a row of blue spots on the hind wings.


Thursday 20 October 2011

Grass Jewel

The Grass Jewel is the smallest butterfly in Europe.Found in Eastern Greece and various Islands in the Aegean Sea, it is minute and easily overlooked.This butterfly is found in hot,dry places,often near cultivated ground.

The Peacock Butterfly

Thankfully still a common sight in our gardens and countryside.This stunningly beautiful  butterfly has a pair of staring eye-spots to flash and also produces a hissing sound by rubbing its wings together when alarmedPeacocks are normally the first butterfly to be seen in February or March after hibernating during the winterBoth sexes are similar ,however the female is slightly larger.

Silver-studded Blue

Unfortunately the Silver-studded Blue is not present on the Isle of Wight,so although it was a cloudy,damp day in July we visited a site in the New Forest,Hampshire to see this small blue butterfly.In a marshy area low down in the grass tussocks we came across several males and females.Sites for the Silver-studded are restricted in Britain,mainly in the south of England where some large colonies can be seen.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

The Ringlet

This butterfly has now become fairly common in most of England and Ireland.It is mainly found in damp woodland,although other habitats include shady hedgerows and riverbanks.The males are first seen in June,they are smaller than the females and darker in colour.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Blue-spot Hairstreak

On our holiday to Lefkada in May 2011 the Blue-spot Hairstreak and the Ilex Hairstreak were very prominent on bushes and wayside plants.However the Blue-spot was not as numerous as the Ilex at that time.  The Blue-spot Hairstreak is generally common and widespread in the Balkan countries as well as westward along the Mediterranean coast to Spain and Portugal.Flight period is late May to late July in one brood.This is a butterfly of hot,dry,grassy,and bushy places.

Grizzled Skipper,Our Smallest Skipper

The Grizzled Skipper has declined considerably in the last sixty years.Its stronghold is the southern counties of England where it requires a habitat of short,mixed sward,created by grazing.or managed woodland.On the Isle of Wight it does best on our chalk downland.Our smallest skipper can be on the wing from April and maybe seen until July.

Monday 17 October 2011

Southern White Admiral

Outside our holiday home on Lefkada in Greece there was a large stone wall covered in honeysuckle and.every day we could be sure to see this beautiful butterfly visit it. Like its northern relative the White Admiral, honeysuckle is one of its foodplants.

Saturday 15 October 2011

Small Blue

The Small Blue is Britain's smallest butterfly.It is an inconspicuous and sometimes described as a drab butterfly,but close inspection shows its dusting of silvery-blue scales,at least on the male.The females upperside is plain brown.The Small Blue is in decline,somewhat nationally,although there are small colonies scattered over the Isle of Wight.It is on the wing during May and June.

Friday 14 October 2011

Painted Lady

The Painted Lady  is well known for being a migatory butterfly.Here on the Isle of Wight it can first be seen in May,as in the photo feeding on Thrift,on the coastal clifftops.Into September and October it can still be found in near perfect condition.Unfortunately the Painted Lady does not seem to be able to survive our winters so in the spring new butterflies will spread to Britain from southern Europe

Thursday 13 October 2011

Nettle Tree Butterfly

It is always a nice surprise when out in the countryside and finding something you were not expecting or even considering that you might see.This was the case with the Nettle Tree butterfly, while wandering in the hills and olive groves on the Greek Island of Lefkada.An unusual butterfly to look at but nonetheless splendid  in its new colours.This male and female were seen at the end of May and had no doubt recently emerged.This species is on the wing to August when it then hibernates until spring.
The females under hind wing is light brown with buff or pinkish tints when fresh,whereas the males under hind wing is more  grey in colour.

Monday 10 October 2011

Graylings on Bleak Down

On the 30th July we made a visit to Bleak Down on the Isle of of the few sites,and perhaps the best site on the Island for the Grayling butterfly.The habitat is ideal for this species and good numbers were seen.The Grayling likes to lay a single egg on a grass stem on open ground as shown in the first photograph.The caterpillar will then overwinter.This butterfly is single brooded.

Grayling habitat on Bleak Down