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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Friday 25th March
I received a fascinating report today about a massive group of hibernating butterflies discovered in a barn-conversion house in Hertfordshire. The owner found a very large gathering of overwintering Nymphalids in the roof beams where they must have entered through an opening underneath the guttering. Before they all took to the wing today ( warmest day of the year so far ), the owner was able to make a count - which included 120 Peacocks, 50 Red admirals and 10 Small Tortoiseshells !
Wednesday 23rd March
The first Orange tip of the season was recorded today at Cadnam in Hampshire.
Monday 21st March
The first Holly Blue of the season was recorded yesterday at Arundel, West Sussex; and another was seen today at Ryde on the Isle of Wight.
Saturday 12th March
Reports continue to arrive on an almost daily basis, of sightings of Brimstones, Commas, Peacocks, Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells seen flying in Hampshire, Dorset, Sussex and the Thames valley. The first Small White of 2011 was recorded today at Winchester, Hants.
Far more exciting however was the news of several sightings of Large Tortoiseshell last week at a woodland on the Isle of Wight. The regular occurrence of overwintered specimens there for the last 3-4 years, and occasional records of freshly emerged adults in July, would appear to indicate that there is a small breeding population on the island. It is equally possible however that someone may be breeding continental livestock in captivity and attempting an unofficial introduction.
Friday 11th March
The first Large White of the year was reported today from Winchester, Hants.
Friday 4th March
The first Speckled Wood of the season was reported from near Southampton today.
Thursday 24th February
The warmest day of the year so far ( 13C ) 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 Hampshire coast.
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.
Comma, Polygonia c-album, Stansted Forest, West Sussex



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