Tuesday 31 July 2018

High Summer Butterflies.

The scrub around the woodland ponds in Bouldnor Forest is now covered in drifts of Common Fleabane Pulicaria dysenterica. These yellow flowers are a magnet for butterflies and a stroll through this impressive and colourful floral display discovered several summer species.In addition to the common 'browns' there were a great number of Common Blue,together with a Painted Lady and a Clouded Yellow.Unfortunately the latter was quickly shooed away by the Blues.
Some of the ponds here are almost dry and it seems that they are attracting Wall Brown butterflies, as a few were observed landing on the parched earth maybe for salts.The scrub too was of interest to female Wall Browns,perhaps as a place to lay their eggs.
Among the crowd of blues near to an almost dried-up pond was a male Chalk-hill Blue.It too attracted to the pool for the salts or just a wanderer perhaps.

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Back on Broughton Down.

Last years visit to Broughton Down in Hampshire was marred by  very changeable weather.However this year the sun was shining and temperatures exceeded 30 degrees celsius.Following reports that several Silver-spotted Skippers were seen recently on the Down I decided to make the trip from the Isle of Wight.My optimism was somewhat dampened however following an encounter with another Silver-spotted enthusiast who was just leaving the Down.He had only seen one skipper,so I was wondering if I had timed my visit too early this year.I am very glad to say that after some searching I managed to see three Silver-spotted Skippers,more in fact than on my trip last year which was almost two weeks later.

View of  the Down southwards from the 'Plum Pudding' tumulus

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Butterflies on New Forest Heathland.

Arguably the three major butterflies of New Forest Heathland are the Silver-studded Blue,the Grayling,and the Dark Green Fritillary.Yesterday on Beaulieu Heath I saw the first two species.The attractive Silver-studded Blue has been on the wing for a while now although many are still in excellent condition.It is also the time for the first Grayling to appear and they can be found on any bare patch of heathland in particular.

Beaulieu Heath seen from Crockford Stream

Monday 9 July 2018

Back on the Bridleway to West High Down.

Another hot and sultry day and a return visit to the bridleway that leads up onto West High Down.Thankfully living very near to the coast a sea breeze relieved some of the heat and below the Down it became quite brisk at times.
I had better luck today in my quest to see the first Chalk-hill Blues of the year.However they had already been reported from Brook Down situated just to the south.It seems that those on Brook Down are always on the wing in advance of the Blues of West High Down.

Friday 6 July 2018

Butterflies After Water in our Drought-like Weather.

In Bouldnor Forest there is a collection of scrape-like ponds which are a remnant of oil exploration.They have become home for several species of dragonfly and now a water source for butterflies in this prolonged dry spell.It is maybe not unusual to see butterflies at damp patches in order to access salts, but it is always good to see a species that is not easily seen on the ground.This Purple Hairstreak seems to be a regular visitor at this water source at present as one was seen at the same location a week ago.
The nearest oak trees are just a stones throw away,as can be noted in the photograph below.Other butterflies after moisture at the same time were a White Admiral and a Small White. 

Thursday 5 July 2018

Bridleway to West High Down.

From a small car park at the foot of the Down a bridleway leads up to West High Down where views of the spectacular Island coastline can be enjoyed to the south.To the north there is a panorama across to the village of Totland and beyond to the mainland.
It is on this path that I normally see my first Chalk-hill Blue of the summer, sheltered in the lee of the Down.However it seems that I am just too early as no Chalk-hills were seen here today. My visit did produce a first of the year sighting though.A Dark Green  Fritillary had  descended from its usual place on top of the Down to enjoy the many chalk loving flowers.

Sunday 1 July 2018

A Good Season for the White Admiral.

This year seems to be a good time for the White Admiral.My visits to Bouldnor Forest during the last couple of weeks has seen a steady increase in their numbers and yesterday I encountered  several alighting on the tracks. This elegant butterfly of our woodland loves to glide in and out of the sunny glades nectaring on bramble flowers and resting on a shaded leaf.