field notes by Adrian Hoskins
sightings of each brood are in bold type
Monday 30th April
weather forecast tempted me to travel south again today to one
of my favourite places, Rowlands Castle in West Sussex. On the
train journey I spotted several Brimstones flying along the
railway line at Leicester, Kettering, Luton and Guildford.
When I arrived at Rowlands Castle I had a short walk to get to
the entrance to Stansted Forest, and immediately found myself
surrounded by butterflies. During my 4 hours in the forest I
counted 5 Speckled Woods, 2 Green-veined Whites, 2 Small
Whites, about 20 Orange tips, 10 Brimstones, 1 Holly Blue and
10 Commas. I also saw over 30 Peacocks basking on herbage
along the edges of the grass avenue that runs through the
Anthocharis cardamines Stansted
Anthocharis cardamines Stansted
Pieris napi Stansted Forest ©
Saturday 28th April
this April has been depressingly cool damp and windy. Green
Hairstreak and Grizzled Skipper males both emerged early but
the poor weather has delayed the emergence of females so
consequently few eggs have been laid. Orange tips and
Pearl-bordered Fritillaries are now emerging in quite good
numbers in southern England, and there have been sporadic
Small Blue, Holly Blue,
Small Heath, Dingy Skipper and Duke of Burgundy, but despite
these early records overall numbers of all species have been
low. Fingers are crossed, hoping for a major improvement in
the weather next month!
Monday 16th April
first Pearl-bordered Fritillary of the year was
reported today from Rewell Wood in Sussex.
Sunday 15th April
weather forecast promised clear blue skies today so I headed
south in the hope of seeing some butterflies. My first
sighting of the day was a Holly Blue seen from the train
window at Byfleet. Half an hour later I spotted a Green-veined
White as we approached Basingstoke station. Unfortunately by
the time I arrived at Magdalen Hill Down at Winchester, the
sky had become overcast and there was a cold breeze blowing,
so butterfly activity was minimal. I was however rewarded with
several sightings of Grizzled Skippers which appeared during
the short sunny intervals, and I was delighted when a Green
Hairstreak suddenly appeared out of nowhere and settled on a
dandelion with its jade green underside glittering in the sun.
Callophrys rubi, Magdalen Hill Down, Hampshire ©
Pyrgus malvae, Magdalen Hill Down, Hampshire ©
Friday 13th April
first Duke of Burgundy of the year was reported today
from Noar Hill in Hampshire. Speckled Woods, Holly Blues,
Orange tips, Green Hairstreaks, Small Coppers and Grizzled
Skippers are now being seen in good numbers at most of their
sites in Hampshire, Sussex, Surrey and Dorset.
Friday 6th April
A return to
colder damper weather has dramatically reduced butterfly
sightings, nevertheless a few lucky people managed to see some
butterflies today e.g. 8 Grizzled Skippers, 5 Green
Hairstreaks and 2
Green-veined Whites were seen at Magdalen Hill Down in
Hampshire this morning. At Mill Hill near Brighton several
Dingy Skippers were seen, along with the first 2 Small
Heaths of the year.
Tuesday 3rd April
Two Small Coppers
were reported from Barton-on-Sea in Hampshire today.
Monday 2nd April
A Wall Brown
was seen today at Frog Firle on the Sussex coast. There has been
another report of Large Tortoiseshells from the Isle of Wight,
where 2 individuals were observed at Walter's Copse.
Sunday 1st April
Here in Leicester
butterfly diversity and abundance is considerably lower than in
southern England. Butterflies also emerge a week or so later here
compared to in the south. We decided nevertheless to take full
advantage of today's sunshine and go for a walk around the local
cemetery in the hope of seeing a Holly Blue or a Comma.
Unfortunately we saw neither, but we were delighted to see our
first Orange tip of the year, which we watched basking on nettles
and nectaring at daisies.