- field notes by
earliest sightings of
each brood are in bold type
Friday 29th June
The first Purple
Emperor of the season was seen today at Bookham Common in
Tuesday 26th June
Fritillaries, White Admirals and Purple Hairstreaks are now
emerging at their usual sites in Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey. The
first Ringlets of 2012 were seen yesterday at Bentley Wood on
the Hants / Wilts border. Currently I have received no reports of
Purple Emperors, Large Heaths or High Brown Fritillaries from any of
their sites, although all are due to emerge very soon.
Wednesday 20th June
Sunny days have
been rare in Britain this summer, so a second consecutive day of
clear blue skies provided me with a good
excuse to extend my mini-tour of eastern England. My target this
time was to visit Hockley and Belfairs woods in Essex. Both sites
support small introduced colonies of the rare Heath Fritillary.
In the morning dozens of males could be seen patrolling back and
forth along the trails, investigating any object that could
potentially have been a female. Often I found groups of 4 or 5 males
frenetically buzzing around copulating pairs. At the end of the
afternoon as temperatures dropped the butterflies basked for a while
on bramble, hornbeam and sweet chestnut leaves before finally
settling on grass-heads, sedges and willowherbs to roost for the
Mellicta athalia, Belfairs Wood, Essex ©
Other sightings for
today include the first White Admiral of the year seen at
Park Corner Heath in Sussex, and 2 Black Hairstreaks seen at
Whitecross Green Wood in Oxon.
Tuesday 19th June
I spent a very
enjoyable day today in sleepy Norfolk, where I visited Strumpshaw
Fen and How Hill in search of the beautiful and elusive Swallowtail.
Sightings were fairly infrequent and in most cases were of fly-pasts
by males flying over the reed beds, searching for females.
Nevertheless I saw at least 20 Swallowtails during the course
of the day, and struck lucky when a beautiful fresh female alighted
momentarily to nectar at a marsh thistle, giving me a couple of
seconds to snatch the photo below. Other species seen included 2
fresh Small Tortoiseshells, 2 Peacocks, 3 Speckled Woods, 1 Meadow
Brown, 2 Holly Blues, 3 Brimstones, 6 Small Whites and 2 Large
Skippers. Caterpillars seen included a 1st instar Peacock larval
web, and fully grown larvae of Vapourer and Drinker moths.
Papilio machaon, River Bure, Norfolk ©
Aglais urticae, River Bure, Norfolk ©
Sunday 17th June
Hairstreak was seen today near Cosham in Hants. In Sussex a
Ringlet was seen at Lancing Ring, and the first Silver-washed
Fritillary of the year was seen at Rewell Wood.
Wednesday 13th June
poor weather the mid-summer species are beginning to emerge, albeit
in small numbers, with Silver-studded Blues, Marbled Whites, Meadow
Browns and Small Skippers being reported from several sites
in the south. There has also been a report of Dark Green
Fritillary, seen today at Friston Forest on the Sussex coast.
Currently there have been no records of Black Hairstreak or Heath
Fritillary, although both should be expected within a few days.
Sunday 10th June
Almost all of the
UK suffered another dull, cold and wet weekend again, but in Sussex
a brief sunny spell yesterday was enough to encourage a Marbled
White to put in an appearance at Bevendean Down. Also from
Sussex came a report of the first Meadow Brown of the year,
seen yesterday at Levin Down, and the first Silver-studded
Blue, seen today at Iping Common. The first summer generation
Small Tortoiseshells were also reported from Hampshire and
Sussex this weekend.
Friday 8th June
it's raining again, so here to hopefully cheer you up are a few
photos taken when I visited the sunny south a couple of weeks ago:
Aricia agestis male, Cerne Abbas,
Lycaena phlaeas, Cissbury Ring, Sussex ©
Erynnis tages, male, Cerne Abbas,
Sunday 3rd June
A Meadow Brown
was reported today from Newtown meadows on the Isle of Wight. There
have also been several reports of Glanville Fritillaries from
Compton Chine and other sites on the Island, but indications are
that the butterfly is currently only emerging in very low numbers.
Friday 1st June
The first Large
Skippers of the year were reported a couple of days ago from
sites in Hampshire, Dorset and Sussex, and Swallowtails have
now begun to emerge on the Norfolk Broads.