Tuesday 25 June 2013

Still Glanvilles at Wheelers Bay

A sunny morning was followed by a build up of cloud at midday but the afternoon sun shone through and at Wheelers Bay the butterflies responded.There are still a number of Common Blues and Brown Argus and they were joined today by a fresh looking Painted Lady.
A couple of days ago a Clouded Yellow was reported  from here but I was unable to locate any today.However the Glanville Fritillaries are still out in force,some looking rather old but others fairly pristine.A sign of the lateness of the season this year.In addition I counted four Small Tortoiseshell and a couple of faded Dingy Skippers.
With the prevailing winds now coming from the south-west there will be,I hope.some not so common butterflies flying in.


Adonis Blue now on Bonchurch down.

Friday 21 June 2013

The Lady Returns

It has been over five months since I last saw a Painted Lady when on a spring like day at Wheelers Bay I saw three of them were feeding on Winter Heliotrope.That was just before the winter started here and now there are reports of this butterfly coming to our shores again.
Butterflies have been scarce this spring so it was good to see this one feeding  in a sunny spot.In addtion,along the field edge on National Trust land at Newtown I came across Large Skipper,Meadow Brown, and a Small Tortoiseshell.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

Glanvilles and more at Wheelers Bay.

With a coldest spring for fifty years it was not surprising that the appearance of the Glanvilles at Wheelers Bay,Bonchurch was much later than usual.It was not until the 25th May that the first sighting was made and happily numbers have increased steadily since.
Yesterday on a very sunny afternoon I wandered along the Bay and marvelled at the fantastic display of colourful flowers that covered the ground on and at the base of the cliffs.In addition to the Glanvilles there were good numbers of Common Blues together with Dingy Skippers,Brown Argus,and various White butterflies.

Friday 7 June 2013

Butterflies On Bonchurch Down

Bonchurch Down owned by the National Trust rises steeply over the village of Bonchurch and gives spectacular southward views out into the English Channel.At this time of year several species of downland butterfly appear on this Down.Most notably is the Adonis Blue not, it must be said common in the UK.
Today on its third outing of the year the Isle of Wight Group of the Hants&IOW Branch of Butterfly Conservation enjoyed a walk over the Down to see its many springtime species.We soon came upon numerous male Adonis,more easily noticed than the females due to the males bright blue colour.Despite a stiff breeze they were out in good numbers and we all took advantage of many photo opportunities.Mating pairs and emerging butterflies were seen.
Other species to be savoured were Brown Argus,Common Blue,Small Heath,Small Copper,Wall Brown,and a couple of Large Skippers,as well Dingy Skippers.All in all a very successful trip on a sunny afternoon.

Monday 3 June 2013

More Lefkada Butterflies

On the outskirts of Nidri, on the island of Lefkada several streams and ditches flow from the mountains into the sea.As this island is part of the Ionian Islands rainfall is high in comparison with the Greek Islands of the Aegean that can be very dry especially during the summer.
So it seemed a good place to search for odonata and happily it did not disappoint.However butterflies too were around ,in the small fields(or wasteground as we would call it) feeding on the numerous wild flowers and grasses.
Whites and  the lovely bright yellow Cleopatra seemed to be particularly common here although the sight of a Balkan Marbled White was a treat.It has some differences compared to the ordinary Marbled White.

Fluttering about in the grasses are small blue butterflies and an attractive example is perhaps a Southern Blue.Polymmatus celina,a cryptic species of the Common Blue. However it is not in the known range of this particular species and  it can only be an unusual type of Common Blue. 

Turning to the brown butterflies,another id problem a lot of the time,on a sunny wall or rock the Wall Brown can be seen.An underestimated species as its colouring and patterning are rich.This one was no exception.

Road to Paliokatouna

The beautiful Greek Island of Lefkada  is one of our favourite destinations.We last visited it two years ago at the same time of year staying just above the hillside village of Paliokatouna with spectacular views over the coastal town of Nidri,and beyond to the Geni peninsula and the offshore islands.The mountains of the Greek mainland are clearly visible in the distance.
This year we made our base on the fringes of Nidri , where yachting is the main interest due to the safe mooring waters and sailing conditions.
As my butterfly trips were so successful around Paliokatouna last time I made a point of taking the road out of Nidri towards the village some three kilometres away.The quiet road gently rises up into the hills and dusty tracks lead off at regular intervals into olive groves and wooded areas.It wasn't long before I came across several species of butterfly,the most outstanding being the Swallowtail.A fast flier I generally only see it in passing but today I was fortunate enough to see it nectaring on scabious at the roadside.A notoriously difficult butterfly to photograph due to it's constant fluttering when feeding.

Scarce Swallowtail
 As it turned out perhaps the best way to see butterflies on this very hot day was to find any wet spot along a track as they are in constant need of the moisture and salts.I was again lucky in this regard as on the same wooded track as two years ago I found again a Nettle Tree Butterfly, and amongst a recently watered flowerbed a Woodland Grayling.
One species of butterfly that in some years is abundant but others not so is the Black-veined White.I did not see more than one or two time but was happy to see one feeding on thistles at the side of the road to Paliokatouna.