Saturday 27 October 2012

Red Admiral,the common autumn butterfly

For the last two weeks the sun has not shined for any prolonged time until today.Along with the sunshine came a cold wind and temperatures have fallen.Despite that, in my garden  the Red Admirals are still fluttering around in search of a warm sunny spot.This Red Admiral spent some time contesting the sunniest spot in the garden with a rival.

Saturday 13 October 2012

More Autumn Butterflies

With a bumper harvest of blackberries this year the autumn butterflies are making the most of it.Today at Clamerkin NT eight Commas still tucking in to the fruit.Along with these, a Red Admiral and a Speckled Wood joined in.A short distance away the welcome sight of two Small Copper butterflies too.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Butterflies at Horseshoe Bay

Today was another sunny late summer day and a walk along the coastal path at Horseshoe Bay,Bonchurch.With the flowering valerian and buddleia still in full bloom it is a magnet for all kinds of butterfly.
Particularly in evidence are Red Admirals,as well as many Large Whites and Small Tortoiseshells.If you are very lucky,a Monarch butterfly has been seen recently plus several Painted Ladies.The exotic Hummingbird Hawkmoth is also a regular at the Bay too.

Monday 17 September 2012

Clouded Yellow,always a welcome visitor

On the way to my local pond today across several fields at Clamerkin NT,a welcome sight was a Clouded Yellow butterfly.Seen on the Isle of Wight at various times this butterfly is not normally a common sight.It is a powerful flier and I find does not usually wait around to be viewed,so I was pleased to get a quick snap while it fed on the fleabane.

Tuesday 11 September 2012

Adonis Blue on Bonchurch Down

The second emergence of Adonis Blue butterflies has been out on Bonchurch Down, at Ventnor for  a while now.Numbers are very encouraging and I saw dozens during a short walk over a section of the Down.The period of this latest brood normally spans mid-August to the end of September.

Friday 31 August 2012

Not So Scarce Swallowtail

Despite its rather alarming title I must say that on every visit to Greece over the last few years I have always seen the Scarce Swallowtail in good numbers.In early summer or in August this impressive butterfly is a lovely sight as it visits thistles or garden plants.The only other species that have come close to matching it in quantity are the Painted Lady, and in May/June,the Clouded Yellow
These photos of the Scarce Swallowtail were taken on the Island of Thassos in the North Aegean where it seemed a lack of butterflies this time was more than offset by the range of dragonflies.A selection of the  odonata I saw here can be seen on my dragonfly website.


Saturday 28 July 2012

Many More Chalk-hill Blues

Another walk over West High Down yesterday in the continuing summery weather and many more Chalk-hill Blues to see.The females are now out and as with many 'blue' butterfly species it is brown and inconspicuous.


Tuesday 24 July 2012

A Skipper

A trip today to a West Wight stream flowing through farmland and plenty of dragonflies to see.Close by I found this small skipper which I am  confident is an Essex Skipper.

Sunday 22 July 2012

The Down in Summer

With the summer at last putting in an appearance the Downs of the Island were today a sight to behold.The blue sky,the bright blue sea , and a slight sea breeze made a wander over West High Down a pleasure.The butterflies too enjoyed  the sunshine and plenty were to be seen.Small Heath,Marbled White and Meadow Brown are abundant Small Copper together with Common Blue are to be found in the more sheltered, grassy, parts on the Down.
As mentioned in my previous entry,Dark Green Fritillaries are whizzing low over the gorse and bramble in search of mainly purple coloured flowers and now the Chalk-hill Blues have emerged. I saw only eight males today but soon the Down will be a mass of these silvery-blue butterflies.It will not be long before the brown females will join them.

Sunday 8 July 2012

Woodland Butterflies

The weather this week has continued to be wet.Woodland butterflies will no doubt suffer from this dismal time and species such as the White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary will have a disappointing season.
A visit today to Walters Copse at Newtown was a mixed one of sunshine and showers.Meadow Browns were numerous as this butterfly is a common sight.Just a single Marbled White was to be seen  together with a Red Admiral.The White Admiral and Silver-washed Fritillary were also flying.

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Isle of Wight Heathland

Ningwood Common is protected heathland just west of the village of Shalfleet.It is a breeding site for the Nightjar and until last year an area where the Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterfly was found.Unfortunately this season no sightings of this butterfly have been reported and along with the Pearl-bordered Fritillary I regret to say that both species are no longer likely to be seen on the Island.
The weather has been very wet of late but a few rays of sunshine did appear this afternnon when I was on the Common.It is edged by woodland and now Marbled Whites,Ringlets and Small Skippers can be seen flitting along the woodland edges.Out too is the summer brood of the Comma,seen above in the 'hutchinsoni' form.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Small Tortoiseshell,my first one of the year.

No doubt seen by many people this year already,this Small Tortoiseshell was my first sight of one in 2012.Now hopefully making a comeback after a steep decline over the last few years,it must be one of our most 'smartest' looking butterflies.The photograph was taken  in a National Trust owned meadow where the field is now a sea of grasses and wild flowers.

Sunday 17 June 2012

More First Sightings of 2012

Recent visits to Ningwood Common in search of the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary have led me to two first sightings of this season.This protected heathland is the only known site for the Small Pearl Bordered butterfly on the Isle of Wight,and as with many species this year they are late to emerge.
The Meadow Brown and the Large Skipper are two that can now be seen on the heath.As is normal the males are seen before the females.

Sunday 27 May 2012

A Walk on Freshwater Cliffs

Last  Friday,the 25th was the second meeting in 2012 of the Isle of Wight Group of the Hants&IOW Butterfly Conservation Branch.For the second time too this year we were blessed with glorious weather for our meeting on the Freshwater Cliffs.The eroding cliff tops just to the south of Freshwater Bay are of sandstone and backed by chalk downland.
Attendance on the day was a record 25 with a contingent of our friends from Hampshire.We soon saw Small Blue,Common Blue,Small Heath and other downland species,in particular several Glanville Fritillary which  fly on the cliff top.The walk ended at the excellent butterfly site of Afton Down Chalkpit where we noticed a brand new sign erected by the owners of this beautiful section of Island coast,the National Trust.

Tuesday 22 May 2012

More Adonis Blue on Bonchurch Down

With the summer now well and truly arrived the Adonis Blue on Bonchurch Down are emerging in greater numbers.The male Adonis are to be seen flying on the Down in pursuit of females which have now appeared.They have a more brown colouring on the underside than the males and sport a brown upperside.
At Wheelers Bay the Glanvilles are also in profusion and now, at the Glanville sites along our south-west coast they will be seen on the clifftops. too.

Sunday 20 May 2012

Orange Tip,Garden Visitor

Although the Orange Tip butterfly has been on the wing since April,it is not until well into May that it can be seen in our garden here in the West Wight.The male is an unmistakable sight with its bright orange wing tips,but in contrast the female has no hint of orange as one can see from an earlier entry on this blog.The Orange Tip must surely be one of the most elegant and beautiful of the spring butterflies.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Bonchurch Down and Wheelers Bay

Sunny weather over the last two days has brought on a spurt of activity at Bonchurch Down and  Wheelers Bay.Todays count of Glanville Fritillaries at the Bay was eleven.I have not heard of any other Glanville sightings at any of the other Isle of Wight locations to date. With drifts of valerin at the Bay it has provided a colourful display to attract the fritillaries.
Meanwhile on Bonchurch Down there is another beautiful sight of the many Adonis Blue male butterflies.