Thursday 31 May 2018

Back on the Road to Paliokatouna.

The road from Nydri to the hillside village of Paliokatuna on the Greek Island of Lefkada is about 3kms.This quiet road passes olive groves and several private villas as it winds up to the village and beyond.I have made a point of exploring the groves and small meadows beside the road ever since staying at Paliokatouna some years ago. and enjoying the wildlife that inhabit the hillsides.
I was happy to see for the first time,a Large Wall Brown fluttering around the side of the road nectaring on scabious flowers.It wasn't long before an impressive Scarce Swallowtail showed up,taking an interest in the many villa garden flowers that straddle the wire fences along the road. This was followed by a Southern White Admiral with the same intention.The surrounding olive groves are home to drifts of wild flowers and consquently many small butterflies.These include skippers and Common Blues.Another butterfly attracted to this mass of nectar are Clouded Yellows and there is always one it seems to be seen in any direction.

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Colourful Cleopatras.

It is at this time of the year that I look forward to my first visit to the Greek Islands.The island of Lefkada in the Ionian Islands is always a favourite and last week I enjoyed a variety of butterflies here.
All residents and visitors around the Mediterranean must be familiar with the colourful Cleopatra butterfly Gonepteryx cleopatra. Adult Cleopatras can live up to 10 months as they hibernate over the winter,appearing again in May.The Cleopatras on Lefkada were numerous and guaranteed to be seen in high numbers on any flowering Bougainvillea.
The female is a pale greenish white,as noted in the final photograph below, displayed while seeing off a male.However the dazzling male sports bright yellow wings flushed on the forewings with orange.These upper wing colours are usually only viewed when the male is in flight,although sometimes there is an opportunity to see them while the butterfly is moving from flower to flower.

Monday 14 May 2018

Another Spring Blue.

The Adonis Blue is the latest 'blue' to appear this year and without doubt the most magnificent.The male is splendid with its vivid turquoise wing colour and is in fact our rarest blue in the UK.
Today on Bonchurch Down only three males were seen but hopefully many more will grace our chalk downland in the coming weeks.In addition,there was a first of the year sighting of Small Heath and Wall Brown and a good number of Common Blue,Brown Argus,and Dingy Skipper.Several Small Copper and 'Whites' were evident too.

Common Blues

Tuesday 8 May 2018

Bonchurch Down Delivers a Bevy of Butterflies.

The south facing slopes of Bonchurch Down look out over the English Channel.The Down is well known for the Adonis Blue Butterfly as well as a selection of other butterfly species.The Adonis is not yet on the wing but a walk along the slopes this morning produced a bevy of butterflies.
It was the first sighting this year of Common Blue,Brown Argus,Dingy Skipper,and a Clouded Yellow.The latter is known to breed just a short distance away around Wheelers Bay where adults are observed regularly in April.More than likely the individual seen today was a migrant as we have been  enjoying a very warm southerly wind recently.

Monday 7 May 2018

Summer Temperatures Bring Out the Small Blues.

Following a report of Small Blues now on the wing, a visit to a favourite location discovered three individuals.A mating pair was observed in addition to another male.The latter tried to muscle in on the bonded pair without too much success.

Friday 4 May 2018

Grizzled Skipper Takes a Bow.

Following a brief glimpse of a Grizzled Skipper at Afton Down yesterday in the late afternoon,I made an earlier visit to Whiteways this morning.My luck was in as it appeared straight away catching the rays in a sunny spot.Green Hairstreaks were again prominent and a Small Copper too.   

Thursday 3 May 2018

Blue On Blue.

A walk in the countryside today saw an array of spring butterflies.The only first of the year new species was a Large White seen feeding on a bountiful  crop of dandelions.However the highlight was a Holly Blue investigating a drift of bluebells.

Wednesday 2 May 2018

A First Small Copper of the Year.

Another butterfly species joined the growing number of Green Hairstreaks at Whiteways today.After a morning of torrential rain and strong winds the sun appeared just after midday and despite a stiff breeze it developed into a warm and bright afternoon.Just what this new arrival needed.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

Green Hairstreaks Take The Stage.

A  favoured site for spring emergent butterflies produced its first residents this morning.Following several days of very cool and unsettled weather, today dawned bright,sunny and mild.The Whiteways Quarry site is now a National Trust car park and is situated at the base of Afton Down.It's south west aspect overlooking the sea is a good location for several spring butterfly species and soon Small Blue,Grizzled and Dingy Skipper,and Glanville Fritillary will be seen here.