field notes by Adrian Hoskins
sightings of each brood are in bold type
Friday 28th September
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
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.
including Green-veined White,
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.
Polygonia c-album Steyning, West
Wednesday 26th September
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
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,
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,
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.