Butterfly Diary - field notes by Adrian Hoskins
my earliest sightings of each brood are highlighted in bold type
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Sunday 27th November
Red Admirals seem unwilling to recognise the arrival of winter, as sporadic sightings continue to be reported from Hampshire, Sussex, Dorset and Oxfordshire. Brimstones also occasionally awaken on sunny days during early winter, so it was unsurprising to hear about a female being seen in flight at Wootton in the New Forest today.
Tuesday 22nd November
Red Admirals were reported from numerous sites in Hampshire and Sussex today.
Sunday 20th November
There were several reports of butterflies today, including a Comma at Wield Wood in Hampshire, and a Brimstone at Porchfield on the Isle of Wight.
Saturday 19th November
Red Admirals were reported from several sites in Sussex today, and singletons have continued to be reported on an almost daily basis from sites in Hampshire and Dorset. Other species reported in the past few days include a Comma on 16th at Wiston in Sussex, and a couple of Speckled Wood males seen on 17th in the Mude valley in Hampshire. Sadly there have been no recent sightings up here in the east Midlands, although we have not yet given up hope of seeing a late Red Admiral!
Saturday 12th November
Occasional mild days are still bringing in sporadic reports of Red Admirals, which don't seem to know the meaning of hibernation, e.g. 2 were seen on 10th at Froxfield in Hampshire, and 2 more on chalk grasslands near Amberley in Sussex yesterday. A Clouded Yellow was reported today from Southbourne undercliff on the west Hampshire coast.
Sunday 6th November
After several days of dull damp weather here in Leicester the sun briefly reappeared today. We took a stroll in Victoria Park expecting to see only a few ladybirds, but were delighted to find a freshly emerged male Speckled Wood - an extremely late sighting for a site this far north. Emily dashed back to the house to fetch a camera, and when she returned a few moments later a Red Admiral appeared. It circled around our heads a few times before eventually flying up into a tree to roost.
Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria, male, Leicester ( photo Emily Halsey )
Other records include a fresh Painted Lady seen today at Southsea, a male Brimstone yesterday at Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, and a Small White on 4th November at Gosport. Other than these, the only records are of Red Admirals, invariably singletons, from sites in the southern counties.
Tuesday 1st November
Temperatures are still quite mild across most of England, so it comes as no surprise that a few late butterflies are still being reported. The majority of records are coming from Hampshire and Sussex, and include a pristine Clouded Yellow and a Painted Lady, both seen today at Cissbury Ring. There are still a few Speckled Woods flying e.g. at Crab Wood, and several reports of Red Admirals from sites across both counties. Other reports include Brimstones in the Forest of Bere and at Ropley, and a Small Copper seen on the coast at Gosport.
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta


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