Thursday 26 June 2014

The Dark Greens.

Quite a common butterfly on Isle of Wight downland is the Dark Green Fritillary.It is also found in our woodlands too.One of the areas I like to visit in order to see this handsome butterfly is West High Down situated between the Needles and Tennyson Down.Perhaps its favourite nectar flower is the Giant Thistle and one can almost be guaranteed a sighting of the butterfly amidst a drift of these plants I was not disappointed today as despite a stiff wind and mainly cloudy conditions I managed to see four,all feeding at one time or another on the thistle.


Wednesday 25 June 2014

A Walk in Walters.

This National Trust copse  at Newtown village boasts a good selection of  flora and fauna and I took an extended wander through it today.
White Admiral numbers continue to grow with the Silver-washed Fritillary numbering just three at the moment with two males and a female.Ringlets are very numerous,as are Meadow Browns but Marbled Whites are scarce at present.A few more Small Skippers are out now together with a couple of Commas.With the weather continuing settled,in the main,butterfly numbers and species are set to increase.

Tuesday 24 June 2014

Small But New.

After seeing a first of the season Small Skipper last week,today while walking along the cliff top at Whale Chine I came across another male in the long grass close to the cliff edge.This stretch of coastline has an allocated strip of land several metres in depth from the edge of the cliff which is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)
Details of which are;
 On the south west coast of the Island, cliff top arable fields border parts of the Compton Chine
to Steephill Cove SSSI. In these locations a buffer zone has been established by Natural England
between the arable field and the cliff top. Management of this has been undertaken through a
Wildlife Enhancement Scheme (WES) agreement between Natural England and the landowners.
These agreements are now mostly about 10 years old and are currently being re-negotiated
through the Environmental Stewardship Scheme (ESS) as Higher Level Stewardship (HLS)

Management of the buffer under WES agreements required:-

• No cultivation within 20m of cliff or chine edge
• No application of fertilisers, herbicide or pesticide within 20m of cliff or chine edge
• Scrub management
• Control of ‘weed’ species is required by WES/HLS – to include ragwort, thistle, dock and
nettle. This appears to be achieved through annual topping in late summer.

Friday 20 June 2014

Summer Hots Up.

We are enjoying a settled period of hot, early summer weather and butterflies are certainly responding to the conditions by emerging a little head of time than one would expect.In Walters Copse today I saw my first Small Skipper of the year and the first Marbled Whites are now flying with the ever increasing numbers of Meadow Browns and Ringlets.With the White Admirals now in the copse they have been joined by Silver-washed Fritillaries and with their strong flight they seem to rush from one nectar source to the other.
Of the several types of orchid now to be seen in our woods and copse is the beautiful Bee Orchid as discovered today in Walters Copse.

Thursday 19 June 2014

Back to Wheelers.

I do not think that I have wandered along the revetment at Wheelers Bay since first seeing the Glanvilles at the end of April.So on a hot,sunny morning I made a point of visiting to see what butterflies were to be seen.As the Glanvilles have been on the wing here for over six weeks I was not surprised to come across several well worn butterflies,although one or two were in excellent condition.Apart from the numerous Common Blues,I also saw Small Blue,Painted Lady,and Marbled White.Still very much worth a trip as one can never tell what other continental species will arrive.


Tuesday 17 June 2014

Wight Elegance.

A quick visit to Walters Copse today in the hope of seeing some new species for this year.It was a very sunny late morning with a light breeze.I soon came upon numerous Meadow Brown butterflies together with some Speckled Wood.However a butterfly flitting around the tree tops at about thirty feet up took my eye and it was my first White Admiral of the season.Eventually with that very elegant flight,it made its way down  to feed on the ample crop of bramble flowers that are dotted along the ride edges.This individual was quickly joined by another and despite a few encounters with the resident Speckled Woods they remained on the bramble for a time.
A little later I had two further White Admiral sightings in the copse plus a well traveled Painted Lady.

Friday 13 June 2014

First Ringlet.

Hearing that a Silver-washed Fritillary had been spotted  in Bouldnor Forest,Yarmouth yesterday  I was hopeful for  a sight of one when I arrived at the forest this afternoon.It may well have been the hottest day of the year so far and it was not long before I counted several Meadow Browns busily nectaring on the ample crop of bramble flowers.Despite sometime spent searching I did not manage to find a Silver-washed.However I was lucky enough to see one Ringlet,the first of season.

Wednesday 11 June 2014

An Encouraging Sight.

While visiting a local area of marshland yesterday I came across a nest of Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars on a Water Dropwort plant.Always encouraging to see that this butterfly is on the increase.


Tuesday 3 June 2014

A Nice Surprise.

To the north of the village of Niton are the hamlets of Southford and Roud and between them flows the River Yar which at this point is no more than a stream.Here at this time of year I like to see the Banded Demoiselle damselflies along the riverbank and also to keep a lookout for any butterflies too.Today I was pleased to see several butterfly species which included my first sight this season of a Large Skipper


Sunday 1 June 2014

Marsh Fritillary.

There are butterflies that can no longer be seen on the Isle of Wight and the Marsh Fritillary is one of them..As a breeding species it disappeared some years ago, so in order to see it now I took a trip to Dorset where it can still be found at several locations
I chose Hod Hill situated north of the town of Blandford Forum,at a site and owned by the National Trust.Here is a vast Iron Age hill fort comprised of ditches where lush vegetation and wooded banks are home to numerous species of butterfly.The Marsh Fritillary is resident at Hod Hill so a wander around would hopefully produce a sighting.I  soon came across Small Blue ,Dingy & Grizzled Skipper,Common Blue,and Speckled Wood.The weather was not as good as predicted and it could only be described as bright but cloudy.After an hour and a half of searching  the first Marsh Fritillary was seen in a sheltered grassy ditch away from the brisk breeze