- field notes by Adrian Hoskins
sightings of each brood are highlighted in bold type
Adrian and Emily's BLOG
Thursday 24th February
The warmest day of the year so far ( 13°C ) produced many
reports from across southern England of Brimstones, Peacocks and
Commas; a few sightings of Red Admiral; and even a very early
migrant Hummingbird Hawkmoth seen hovering over flowers on the
Thursday 17th February
The first Small Tortoiseshell of the year was seen
flying today at Carter's Copse, Hampshire, as reported on the
Butterfly Conservation Hampshire branch website.
Monday 14th February
Two Painted Lady sightings were reported today, one
seen at Posbrook, and the other at Gosport. Both sites are in
Hampshire. It seems likely therefore that a mini-migration of
this species has very recently arrived from France, probably
having flown across the English Channel from Cherbourg.
Saturday 12th February
A beautiful sunny early spring day produced my first butterfly
sightings of the year - a Peacock and a Comma, both seen
basking on footpaths in Stansted Forest, West Sussex.
Polygonia c-album, Stansted Forest, West Sussex
Tuesday 8th February
Unfortunately I was at work today, but several lucky people in
West Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire and Oxfordshire reported
sightings of Brimstones, Peacocks and Red Admirals flying in the
Despite the colder than usual winter, Red Admirals have been
recorded on virtually every sunny day so far this year. Almost all
sightings have been from Hampshire or Sussex, and usually from
sites within 5 miles of the coast. The lack of inland sightings
would seem to rule out any likelihood of these butterflies being
early migrants, because migrating butterflies tend to spread
inland within a few days of arriving in the UK.
There was a southward migration towards the end of last year,
with some individuals seen flying south across the English
Channel, but it seems that others elected to overwinter in the
relatively warm and sheltered woodlands along the south coast.
This happened in the warm winters of 2006-2008 when hundreds of
Red Admirals were flying in mid-winter in certain Sussex
woodlands. It is very surprising however that the butterflies have
so far survived the current harsh winter, and it remains to be
seen how they will cope with the heavy frosts predicted for
Another Brimstone was reported today,
feeding at ivy blossom at Cuckfield in Sussex, so it seems that
despite the recent very cold weather, there is still a chance of
an early spring !
The first Brimstone of the year ( a
male ) was reported today from the Meon valley.
Admiral was reported today from Eastbourne in East Sussex, and
also from Sussex came a report on the branch Butterfly
Conservation website of a Peacock at Cuckmere Haven. Further west,
in Hampshire another 2 Red Admirals were seen, at Fareham and
Friday 7th January
Hampshire branch of Butterfly Conservation reported on it's
website the first UK butterfly sighting of the year - a Peacock
seen flying in a garden in Cadnam.
policy - details of certain sites where visitor pressure
or trampling may pose a threat to butterflies or alienate
landowners are excluded from these pages.