Friday 30 March 2012

Very Early Small Blue

The Small Blue is in fact the smallest of all British butterflies.Its flight period is normally mid-May to late June but perhaps because of the summer-like weather we are experiencing  at present in the UK early emergence is possible.Even so the 30th March is alarmingly early for this species.
On the Isle of Wight we can enjoy exceptionally mild weather and the sight today of the Small Blue at Afton Down Chalkpit proves that a very sunny location can trigger an early appearance of this inconspicuous yet beautiful little butterfly.
It can be found on calcareous grassland in very small colonies and unfortunately is thought to be in decline throughout the UK and Ireland.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Large Tortoiseshell on the Isle of Wight

Sightings of the Large Tortoiseshell butterfly have been made at Woodhouse Copse on a regular basis during March and April.This year it seems that if any butterflies were present at the Copse they may have already dispersed,as no sightings to date have been recorded.
Consequently I decided to cut the time spent in visiting the copse and turned my attention to another wood,Walters Copse at Newtown,owned by the National Trust..Not to look for the Large Tortoiseshell but to see what new species of butterfly are now on the wing.The weather has been exceptionally warm during the last weeks and newly emerged species are reported some time ahead of their normal flight times.
Therefore it came as a great surprise to me to stumble upon the elusive Large Tortoiseshell in Walters Copse yesterday the 27th March.
What a magnificent butterfly it is,larger maybe than the Peacock with a light orange upperside.This butterfly pictured is probably a female and maybe looking to lay her eggs on sallow or willow.



Tuesday 27 March 2012

The Spring Brimstone

The Brimstone butterfly is now more in evidence with the extraordinary weather we are enjoying on the Isle of Wight.The male Brimstone can be seen motoring along the woodland rides in seacrch of females.Whereas the female Brimstone seems to take a more leisurely flight,investigating the ivy covered tree trunks,feeding on the spring flowers and sunning itself in the woodland leaflitter.




Mating pair on ivy

Friday 23 March 2012

Back to Woodhouse Copse

My latest visit to Woodhouse Copse was on another sunny ,warm day.In fact probably the hottest day of the year so far.Plenty of Commas were to be seen,as well as three Speckled Wood butterflies taking up their permanent positions along the woodland ride.
Hopefully,soon the first male Orange Tip will be fluttering along the ride and perhaps the rare Large Tortoiseshell will make an appearance.

Tuesday 20 March 2012

An Early Speckled Wood

At this time of year butterflies that have hibernated through the winter are on the wing.With the weather warming up even newly emerged butterflies may be seen that are way ahead of their normal flight periods.This Speckled Wood is a case in point.At Woodhouse Copse it seems that my sighting of the 19th of March beats a current early sighting record at the copse by a couple of days.
Although no sightings of the elusive Large Tottoiseshell butterfly have yet been recorded here so far this year many Commas,the beautuful Peacock and a Red Admiral  have been seen.

Thursday 1 March 2012

Woodhouse Copse and the Large Tortoiseshell

Woodhouse Copse near to Whippingham on the Isle of Wight is a regular location for sightings of the Large Tortoiseshell butterfly.This species is only seen here at the Copse during March and April and is an exceeedingly rare sight in the UK.
Today was a beautiful sunny,warm afternoon for the first official day of spring Although butterflies are now coming out of winter hibernation todays visit to Woodhouse Copse did not look as though it would yield any sightings.Eventually however a Comma was seen,sunning itself  on the track.Half an hour later at the same spot there was a Red Admiral with the same idea in mind.
No Large Tortoiseshell today but hopefully it will be seen here as in other years.