Wednesday 13 May 2015

Visiting My Favourite Island Sites.

The prospect of a warm and sunny spring day encouraged me to visit a few of my favourite locations on the Island.First stop the National Trust owned Whiteways Quarry now a Viewpoint Carpark, commanding majestic views over our south-western coast.Here at the old quarry, a fantastic assortment of spring butterflies are protected by the shelter of Afton Down and today there was another new species to see.The Small Blue is our smallest butterfly and lives in very compact colonies.The males are usually the first to emerge and can be recognized by the dusting of blue scales on their upper wings.At least three were present today.Also here were a pair of mating Wall Brown butterflies.This species has declined in the UK over the years but can still be seen in good numbers on the Isle of Wight.
Leaving the carpark for a drive south along the coast to Wheelers Bay at Bonchurch, for another look at our Glanville Fritillaries which are the first in the country to appear at this location.Although at times the cloud shaded the sun today I counted four individuals.Many more will emerge along our southern coast during May.
Finally a steep walk up to Bonchurch Down that overlooks the village of Bonchuch and  the town of Ventnor.This south facing Down is one of the prime places on the Island for the spectacular Adonis Blue butterfly and a walk along the Downs' steep sides produced a first male Adonis.

Saturday 9 May 2015

Busy in my Local Copse.

A good selection of butterflies today at my local copse,all enjoying the spring flowers.Very belatedly I have seen an Orange Tip for the first time this year.In fact they were out in good numbers although the males were always in a hurry and never seemed to settle close by.However the females had egg laying on their minds and I observed them fluttering from plant to plant getting on with the business.


Thursday 7 May 2015

Our Special One on the Wing.

Following several days of gale force winds along our Island coast,today we had just a lively breeze with plenty of sunshine.An ideal opportunity to see the newly emerged Glanville Fritillaries and an early start this morning produced one very new butterfly seeking a sheltered sunny spot away from the breeze.

Tuesday 5 May 2015

Glanville Fritillary Pupae.

The first adult Glanville Fritillary butterfly of 2015 was seen on the Isle of Wight yesterday, the 4th May and hopefully during this month many more will emerge along our southern coast.
A sight that is not normally seen however is the fritillaries' pupal stage,particularly in the wild. Of course like other species of butterfly some are reared in captivity and sadly we have collectors from the mainland visiting our Glanville sites in the early spring to take caterpillars.So to discover pupae in their natural habitat is very satisfying and uncommon.
Once the full grown caterpillars have dispersed from their communal nest in April each will find a suitable place to pupate.The three pupae or chrysalises found today were attached by their pads of silk to the underside of small stones.Pupa length 13-14mm. This stage will last about three weeks.

Monday 4 May 2015

Yet Another New Arrival.

Now that May is here new species are appearing at a fast rate and today at Whiteways a Brown Argus made a first showing.