Butterfly Diary - field notes by Adrian Hoskins
my earliest sightings of each brood are highlighted in bold type
Sightings policy - details of certain sites where visitor pressure or trampling may pose a threat to butterflies or alienate landowners are excluded from these pages.
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jly | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Saturday 20th December
Several changes have been made to the website in recent weeks, - the photo galleries have been given a new look, and there have been many additional photos and species accounts added which can be accessed via the Species Index. You may have noticed that many web pages now feature smaller fonts. This change has been instigated to reflect the much greater legibility of modern TFT monitors, and to allow more information to be presented per page. It will be extended during the next 2 months so that all pages on the website have the new smaller font.
Saturday 6th December
There are few things I enjoy more than a walk in the countryside on a bright sunny winter day, so after weeks of miserable weather it was a great pleasure to visit Stansted Forest this afternoon and spend 2 hours strolling around in glorious sunshine. It came as no surprise when after half an hour I spotted a Red Admiral basking on the trunk of a larch tree, although it was the only butterfly seen.
Friday 14th October
Rain, rain, rain. Will it ever stop ? The prospect of seeing any butterflies in the UK this weekend looks unlikely with yet more rain and wind forecast, but at least it will give me the chance to do some more work on the website. During the last month many new photographs and species accounts have been published, depicting no less than 242 of the species seen on the learnaboutbutterflies trip to Peru. For those who normally only look at the British butterfly pages on the website, here is a photograph that I hope will tempt you into exploring the Species Index :
Temenis laothoe form violetta, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru
Saturday 25th October
West Sussex experienced the first frosts of autumn earlier this week, but a few Red Admirals are still surviving - I saw one today basking on the trunk of a fir tree in Stansted Forest. The frost does seem however to have killed off the last Speckled Woods, and sent the Brimstones, Commas and Peacocks into hibernation. However there are still plenty of ivy flowers on the more sheltered oaks in the forest so further sightings of Commas and Red Admirals are quite possible if we get any warm sunny days in the next 2 or 3 weeks.
Saturday 18th October
A gorgeous warm sunny day, and I was tempted to head for the countryside and search for some end of season butterflies, but decided instead to go to the annual AES exhibition and insect trade fair at Kempton Park, London. For me the purpose of the trip was to meet friends and buy some secondhand entomological books, and I was very pleased to be able to obtain some plates of neotropical Arctiidae and Geometridae from the Seitz Macrolepidoptera of the World series. Hopefully these will enable me to identify some of the amazing Arctiid wasp mimics and emerald moths seen on my recent Peru tour. There was much else of great interest at the exhibition - new and second hand books, moth traps, rearing cages, and a huge variety of livestock including stick insects, katydids, tarantulas, millipedes, caterpillars and silkmoth cocoons.
Sunday 12th October
Yesterday I spent an hour at midday walking around Stansted Forest in warm sunshine, but only saw 1 Large White, 2 very worn Speckled Woods and 2 Commas ( one basking high on a pine trunk, the other nectaring at ivy blossom ). Today at Old Winchester Hill in similar weather conditions I saw 1 Speckled Wood, 3 fairly fresh Small Heaths, 2 very worn male Meadow Browns, 2 Large Whites, 2 male Brimstones and 4 faded Red Admirals. I also disturbed a Peacock which flew out from beneath fallen tree trunks in the deep shade of the valley bottom woodland.
Wednesday 1st October
I arrived back in the UK yesterday after an extremely successful butterfly watching trip to Peru. The diversity and abundance of butterflies seen in the Andes and Amazon was stunning, and a provisional trip report will be published within the next days. During the next 2 or 3 months there will be several new species accounts published in the Amazonia and Andes sections of the website, together with masses of new photographs. A provisional species list should be published by late October, and this will be updated as further species are identified and catalogued - this takes time because I need to contact several taxonomists in Peru, Brazil and the USA, as I like my lists to be accurate !
It seems that Britain has enjoyed a spell of fine weather while I was away, with reports received of Small Coppers, Commas, Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods, Large Whites, Small Whites and Red Admirals seen at the weekend in Hampshire and Sussex.


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