Tuesday 28 April 2015

Another Spring Skipper.

The Dingy Skipper is our second spring skipper and I saw this one at Whiteways today.It is often seen in the company of the Grizzled Skipper.However it is slightly larger than the Grizzled,and the latter has a clearly more chequered pattern on its wings, which is obvious when at rest. There are eight resident skipper species in the UK although only five are found on the Isle of Wight.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Another New Arrival.

New species seem to be emerging at a fast rate now as the warm weather continues.A visit to Whiteways this afternoon produced several Green Hairstreaks and Grizzled Skippers as well as my first sight of a Small Heath.There are still more new species to see at this site and hopefully most will be out in the next few days.

Tuesday 21 April 2015


The sunny weather is still here and a visit to Wheelers Bay was a must today.The brisk breeze of the morning abated in the afternoon warmth and I was pleased to come upon two Common Blue butterflies.The first  a very bright blue male that I had already heard was on the wing at the Bay.The second a beautiful blue variety female with orange margins, rather than the normal brown colour of most females. The undersides of both sexes are similar but the female underside is slightly browner than the male.
As usual the Clouded Yellows were evident by their swift flight along the base of the cliff and I was lucky to be treated to the sight of a female helice form briefly flitting from dandelion to dandelion, before it flew on.

There are numerous references to Wheelers Bay on my blog with photographs of this coastal stretch between the town of Ventnor and the village of Bonchurch.
It is perhaps the best spot on the Island for butterflies as many species can be seen here throughout the season.With the Bays south facing position continental species do fly in over the Channel given favourable conditions.
The piece de resistance of this site however is the presence of the Glanville Fritillary that was encouraged to colonize here in the early 1990s because of a suitable habitat in which to breed.Although numbers at the Bay have fallen over the years due to some habitat loss it is the first place to see newly emerged Glanvilles in the UK. 

Saturday 18 April 2015

A Pristine Small Copper.

Despite a stiff wind today the sun was shining and another new species was added to my springtime list at Whiteways Quarry.A pristine Small Copper was enjoying the warm at this sheltered spot along with a couple of basking Peacock butterflies and the Green Hairstreak that has been at the site for several days now.
Other species likely to be here soon are Dingy Skipper,Small Blue,Brown Argus, Wall Brown,and next month, the Glanville Fritillary.

Extensive areas of the Isle of Wight and in particular the south-west coast and the Downs  are owned by the National Trust in order to preserve the natural beauty of our Island.
Whiteways Quarry,now locally known as Afton Down Carpark or Chalkpit is part of this,located at the base of Afton Down itself.The shelter of the Down and its south-westerly position provide an ideal habitat for these spring butterflies.
My entry of the 7th April 2012 entitled More Spring Butterflies shows a photograph of this seemingly innocuous carpark Please click on the following link to known more about the Natural Trust in the area.  http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/article-1356404569197/

Thursday 16 April 2015

Closely Followed by a Green Hairstreak.

After the emergence of the first Grizzled Skipper at Whiteways last Tuesday,today it was the turn of the Green Hairstreak to make its appearance at the same spot.

Wednesday 15 April 2015

Warmest Day of the Year.

Temperatures rose to their highest of the year so far today and a visit to Wheelers Bay at Bonchurch resulted in two Clouded Yellow butterflies racing along the revetment plus two Holly Blue,one of which was a female egg laying on a small rowan tree and another taking the salts on the chalk.

Tuesday 14 April 2015

First Spring Skipper.

Once most of the lingering sea mist and fog had dispersed today I made a visit to Whiteways Quarry overlooking Freshwater Bay which is an excellent location for spring butterflies.
I was not disappointed, as my reward was a handsome Grizzled Skipper.Hopeful he will be the first of many here and closely followed by the other species that frequent this sunny spot.

Monday 13 April 2015

Slow Going.

I must say that my spring sightings of newly emerged butterflies have been poor so far with just a couple of Small Whites to date.However a stroll around my local copse at Newtown today did produce at least three Speckled Wood and a possible female Orange Tip having an aerial duel with a Brimstone, before they both flew off at speed.Of course I may have been mistaken as my 'Orange Tip' could have been just another Small White.
Still the weather this week is settled and we are hoping for some near summer temperatures.So things are set to improve.