Sunday 18 July 2021

Silver-washed Fritillary on the Wing at Yarmouth.

It was a first sight today of another summer butterfly. A male Silver-washed Fritillary was observed at Bouldnor Forest, as he picked himself  a sunny position on an overhanging leaf. Another individual was seen later, this time a female, along with White Admiral, several Small Skippers and what seems to be an Essex Skipper (pictured below).


Wednesday 30 June 2021

More Summer Butterflies on the Wing.

Despite cloudy conditions this afternoon, the warm weather encouraged the butterflies out and new species were to be seen in Bouldnor Forest. In particular, the  Dark Green Fritillary was prominent with at least six individuals. These were seen mainly around a stand of Giant Thistles  and also along a quiet woodland ride packed with flowering plants like clover. In addition  Marbled White and Ringlet are now on the wing and in the company of White Admiral and Large Skipper.

Wednesday 23 June 2021

First Summer Butterfly on the Wing.

In Bouldnor Forest today two first of the season butterflies were recorded. I enjoyed a brief glimpse of a White Admiral as it rested on the upper branches of a small tree before disappearing into the woodland. This was followed by sight of a Gatekeeper. Other species included a courting pair of Common Blue and  mating Meadow Brown butterflies. The latter species is now building in numbers since my first sighting on the 12th June.


Wednesday 26 May 2021

Back on the Landslip.

Today's visit to the landslip at Compton Chine was again greeted with a very brisk wind on the clifftop. Several Glanville Fritillaries were encountered straight away and descending onto the landslip I discovered more individuals. These were mainly seen  when disturbed  from the long grass as they tend to shelter there when the wind blows strongly.


Monday 17 May 2021

A Painted Lady Drops In.

 Back in 2019 we enjoyed a Painted Lady invasion here on the Isle of Wight and all over the UK. Last year not one to be seen except on the very rare occasion. Anyway 2021 has started on a positive note with sight of this species in my garden today. We are very near to the coast and by the way it was busily nectaring on Lilac and Wallflower 'Bowles Mauve' this individual probably has just arrived on these shores.

Tuesday 11 May 2021

Glanvilles Begin to Appear on the Landslip.

I was greeted by a brisk wind on the clifftop close to Compton Chine today. Almost immediately the unmistakeable colour tones of a fast moving butterfly confirmed that the Glanville Fritillary is now back on the  slopes. It disappeared at once blown away in the breeze. Descending onto the landslip it took some time to locate another individual, but find a sheltered spot preferably with a good quantity of flowering thrift and others were seen. This included a butterfly  which I hope was a new emergent rather than an unfortunate.


Friday 7 May 2021

The Cool Weather Persists.

Despite the sun today, temperatures were disappointing with a persistent cold wind that has prevailed for over a month. However some butterflies were to be seen in my local forest with several Brimstone and the occasional Orange Tip. Other  butterflies on the wing were a Green-veined White, a Red Admiral, one Speckled Wood, and a few Large White.

Saturday 1 May 2021

More New Spring Sightings

The month of  April was very dry with cold winds from the north and east and temperatures well below average for the time of year. However things are due to change as May begins with  rain and wind in the forecast  after the weekend. Hopefully warmer weather will soon be on the way. Today continued the April theme and when the sun shone it was very pleasant as I returned to the landslip. Descending the steps onto the landslip I at once saw a male Wall Brown on the cliff slope and that was quickly followed by two more. Unfortunately the sun then disappeared behind shower clouds and the only other species seen were a Dingy Skipper, Small Copper, and a Peacock.

Returning to the foot of Afton Down, it was pleasing to record the first Small Blue of the year with four individuals. Green Hairstreak were again present along with a very pristine male Common Blue.


Friday 23 April 2021

A Promise of Spring on our Coastal Cliffs.

 A walk along a very breezy clifftop today allowed me to access a section of the landslip close to Compton Bay. The coastline all along the south west of the Isle of Wight suffers from coastal slump as the cliffs periodically slide towards the sea. In fact evidence of recent slippages are for all to see along the path taken today.

It seems that only Small Copper butterflies were on show in this area of landslip this afternoon as I recorded at least six individuals. They were particularly fond of the odd clump of thrift, as just a few early flowers were to be seen dotted around. All too soon the cliffs will be covered in their bright pink blooms which are a favourite of the Glanville Fritillary which is due to make an imminent appearance.


Sunday 18 April 2021

Another Spring Species.

Now that we are enjoying a period of settled sunny weather following the cold of early April, spring is now catching up with the new emerging butterfly species. Green Hairstreak numbers have today increased to three at the site I have visited during  the last few days and now at least two Grizzled Skippers are present.


Thursday 15 April 2021

Back for Another Look.

There was no increase in butterfly numbers when I returned to the site visited yesterday. Just one Green Hairstreak and a Small Copper. Green Hairstreak should  become more numerous during the next week and we can look forward to other spring species appearing at this location.

Wednesday 14 April 2021

A First Sight of the Spring Emergents.

The warm weather of early April gave way to a very cold north to north-east wind  resulting in low temperatures for the last week  or so and consequently hardly any butterfly activity. However with  some sunshine and lighter winds today I was pleased to see two spring emergent species in the West Wight. A first Green Hairstreak of the season and likewise a Small Copper. Both enjoying the warm sunshine in the sheltered spot they had chosen.

Thursday 1 April 2021

A Walk in the Woods.

Although not as warm as the last few days, it was nevertheless a lovely early spring day and the butterflies responded to the sunshine at Bouldnor. I was disappointed not to see any new emergent butterflies but the hibernators were on show with numerous sightings of Peacock, five Comma, three Red Admiral, and  two male Brimstone. One of the latter spent some time flitting from flower to flower enjoying the many primrose plants along the track.

Monday 29 March 2021

Lockdown Eases and Spring Arrives.

The sun was shining today and a morning walk on the landslip near to Compton was rewarded with warm sunshine and light winds. Here on our south-western coast the cliff tops are now displaying early spring flowering plants and in addition, the beautiful song of  the male Skylark that filled the air.. 

My hope of a first butterfly of the season  was  premature, but the larvae webs of the Glanville Fritillary did not disappoint as several were found. In a few weeks the adult butterfly will grace these cliff slopes and add to the glorious colour that is to be seen on this coast. The caterpillars seen today varied in size, depending on their location. Those where the webs were more sheltered tendered to be less developed than individuals in more open and sunny spots.

I was pleased to record my first butterfly of the year on my return home ,as the always dependable Peacock was seen in my garden.