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Butterfly Diary - field notes by Adrian Hoskins
note : earliest sightings of each brood are in bold type
2012
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jly | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
September
Friday 28th September
The painstaking but very enjoyable task of identifying the thousands of images taken by participants on our recent Peru expedition is now almost complete. A staggering 482 species of butterfly have so far been identified, and the amended Species List has just been published.
The UK butterfly season is almost over, nevertheless 10 species were recorded flying this week in the southern counties of England. There were several reports of Red Admirals gathering to nectar at ivy at sites across Hampshire and Sussex. Other species including Green-veined White, Large White, Small White, Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshell, Common Blue, Holly Blue and Small Copper were recorded from several sites, but mostly as singletons. Commas however appeared in high numbers. At this time of year they habitually gather to gorge themselves on fermenting blackberries, prior to hibernation, e.g. yesterday no less than 46 were counted feeding on blackberries at Rushbeds Wood in Buckinghamshire.
Comma Polygonia c-album Steyning, West Sussex  Adrian Hoskins
Wednesday 26th September
We've just returned from our exciting and extremely enjoyable butterfly-watching tour of Ghana, so please accept my apologies for the lack of UK sightings reports while we were away. A trip report and species list will be published soon.
Monday 3rd September
Not many butterflies are brave enough to venture into major cities, especially those in the species-poor East Midlands, but we managed to record 5 species today in Leicester city centre. We spotted a couple of Holly Blues dancing around clumps of ivy in the local cemetery, and a walk across Victoria Park produced 3 Small Whites, a Large White and 4 freshly emerged male Speckled Woods. It was great to watch them indulging in their territorial sorties, darting up from the bushes and spiralling up into the ash trees until a winner emerged and reclaimed his territory. The enthusiastic males chased after any insect that passed by, not only other Speckled Woods, but flies, wasps and beetles as well. Our final species of the day was a Red Admiral that flew over our heads as we made our way home.
Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria, Leicester  Adrian Hoskins
Saturday 1st September
The UK butterfly season may be drawing to a close, but reports from the southern counties indicate that several of the late summer species are still flying in good numbers, particularly Chalkhill Blues, Gatekeepers and Red Admirals. Other species including Peacocks, Large Whites, Brimstones, Adonis Blues and Silver-spotted Skippers can still be found in good condition although in quite low numbers. The late summer brood of Small Tortoiseshells is just starting to emerge - one lucky observer in Aylesbury saw no less than 13 nectaring in his garden today. This weekend will probably be the last opportunity we have this year to see Brown Hairstreaks - singletons were reported from Hampshire and Sussex from 27th-29th August but will not be flying for much longer. By far the most interesting records this week have been of Jersey Tiger moths, reported from several sites across southern England after many years of absence.

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