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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.
 
2009
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jly | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
 
February
 
Saturday 28th February
 
A cool and dull day to end the month, so no butterflies to report. There are several newly reported moth sightings however, including Yellow Horned, Common Quaker and Small Quaker, all from the New Forest, Hampshire. Pale Mottled Willow and Dark Chestnut have been reported from Berkshire.
Sunday 22nd February
 
Today was cloudy with no real chance of seeing adult butterflies, but I decided it might be worthwhile visiting a site in Wiltshire to search for caterpillars. My gamble paid off as I was able to locate 6 nests of Marsh Fritillary larvae. 5 of these nests each contained about 40 larvae, but the other contained at least 100. In each case they had abandoned the silk webs, and were clustered together basking on dry grass blades, dead bracken, or fallen oak leaves.
 
Saturday 21st February
 
The first really sunny day of Spring has been a long time coming, but well worth waiting for, so rather than taking the dog for a walk in my local wood, I decided it was worth us going a little further afield to search for butterflies in a better locality. Hence I spent much of the day enjoying the gorgeous sunshine at Crab Wood in Hampshire. Within a few minutes I found my first butterfly of 2009 - a male Brimstone seen at rest amongst dry grasses. During the course of 3 hours I counted a minimum of 19 Brimstones, all males. Most were searching actively for females among clumps of bramble and ivy. I also saw a Comma avidly nectaring at hazel catkins, and 2 Red Admirals - one basking on a path and the other on a tree trunk. You can click on the photos below to see a selection of full size photos, and to read all about the ecology and behaviour of each species.
Wednesday 18th February
 
It seems that there was some truth in my Saturday prediction that Spring is "just around the corner", as a Small Tortoiseshell was observed at Goring on 14th, and 2 Brimstones were reported from Fordingbridge on 16th. There have also been several reports of first-of-the-season moths including Small Magpie, Satellite, Chestnut, Hebrew Character, Oak Beauty, Clouded Drab, Shoulder Stripe, March moth and Dotted Border.
 
Saturday 14th February
 
Last night's hard frost was followed by a beautiful clear sunny morning so I took advantage of the sunshine and spent a couple of hours walking in Stansted Forest. There were plenty of signs that Spring is just around the corner - hazel catkins were much in evidence, bird song filled the air, and there were even a few dandelions and celandines in flower. No butterflies yet though.....
 
Sunday 8th February
 
Despite continuing cold conditions and reports of heavy snowfall over much of Britain, a few areas escaped the worst of the weather, and amazingly a report has surfaced of a Peacock butterfly, seen basking on a wall in a garden on the Isle of Wight on 5th January !  No butterfly or moth sightings have been reported in the last week.
 
For anyone interested in statistics, you might like to know that there are now no less than 681 pages of information and photographs on this website. I'm aiming to finish the text on the last of the few remaining uncompleted species accounts by late March, in preparation for a busy season ahead. Meanwhile, I've added a new section called Lepidoptera and the Evolutionary table, which shows in tabular form the relationship between butterflies and moths in evolutionary terms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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