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.
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Tuesday 30th September
I arrived back in the UK this evening 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 full trip report will be published within the next few weeks, together with many new species accounts and photographs. The full species list will take at least several weeks to prepare however, as several scientists around the world need to be consulted to ensure accuracy.
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.
Wednesday 10th September
The recent downpours have depleted the already low numbers of butterflies at Stansted Forest, but in overcast and damp conditions this afternoon there were still a few flying, including 4 Large Whites, 2 Small Whites, 1 Red Admiral, and no less than 31 Speckled Woods.
Sunday 7th September
Amazing as it may seem, a male Large white has been basking on a bramble leaf all afternoon in my garden. It appeared as soon as the rain stopped at 1pm, and is still sitting on the same leaf with wings outspread now at 4.30pm ! Other Large and Small Whites have flown through during this period, but the male just does not want to move !
Friday 5th September
After the awful weather experienced in August most of us had been hoping for some sign of sunshine in September, but the wet and windy conditions show little sign of easing. The mid-range forecasts seem to indicate that we can expect another miserable month. Butterflies are opportunists however, and even the briefest break in the weather spurs them into activity. Yesterday for example, at 6pm in blustery overcast conditions a Red Admiral and 2 Small Whites were flying in my Havant garden. A friend also reported finding good numbers of Brown Hairstreak eggs at several sites in East Sussex and Hampshire yesterday despite the overcast weather during it's flight period. The females tend to fly very little, but spend most of their time walking about, laying their eggs in forks on the twigs of sheltered blackthorn bushes, and seem to have been little affected by the lack of sunshine.
Today in my garden, after 6 hours of incessant rain the sky cleared, and within minutes a Large White flew down from it's roosting place in a Buddleia bush, and began to bask on low foliage. Seconds later 3 more appeared, and as I write there are now 6 Large Whites, a Speckled Wood and a Comma all making the most of what will undoubtedly turn out to be a very brief respite from the rains !

Brimstone, Noar Hill



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