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Butterfly Diary - field notes by Adrian Hoskins
note : earliest sightings of each brood are in bold type
2013
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May

Monday 27th May

Sunny weather is rare on public holidays in Britain, but this year we have been fortunate, and many people have enjoyed a spectacular weekend of butterfly-watching. Reports indicate that Glanville Fritillaries are just beginning to emerge on the Isle of Wight, with 2 males seen at Wheelers Bay. Also from the Island came a report of the first Adonis Blues of the year, seen at Bonchurch Down, along with 6 Wall Browns, 10 Dingy Skippers and 16 Brown Argus. Green Hairstreaks were reported from many Hampshire sites including Greenham Common, Stockbridge Down and Barton on Sea. A very impressive count of 77 Duke of Burgundies was made at a site in the Meon valley in Hants, and a mass emergence of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries resulted in a count of over 60 in a young plantation near Brockenhurst in the New Forest.

Adonis Blue Polyommatus bellargus Adrian Hoskins

Sunday 26th May

Two Meadow Browns were recorded at Runcton in Sussex today.

Saturday 25th May

A warm sunny weekend saw lots of butterfly-watchers heading into the countryside, and resulted in numerous reports. It seems that most species are still in quite low numbers, in fact many sightings were of singletons, but there were a few exceptions e.g. 15 Duke of Burgundy were reported from Ivinghoe Beacon in Bucks, an impressive 23 were seen at Noar Hill in Hants, and 12 were recorded at Heyshott Escarpment in Sussex. Pearl-bordered Fritillaries are still in low numbers although they have been reported from several sites e.g. Bentley Wood and Brockenhurst in Hants, and Houghton Forest in Sussex.

Saturday 18th May

Most of the early spring butterflies appear to be having a good season, with Grizzled Skipper, Duke of Burgundy, Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Green Hairstreak all doing particularly well. One obsever was fortunate enough to find 8 Green Hairstreaks nectaring at a single small clump of bluebells at Afton Down on the Isle of Wight.

Thursday 16th May

A gorgeous warm sunny day. Pearl-bordered Fritillaries are now flying in good numbers in Sussex, with over 40 seen at Rewell Wood and about 20 at Abbotts Wood. In Hampshire's New Forest about 20 were seen at a site near Brockenhurst. Grizzled Skippers, Dingy Skippers and Duke of Burgundy all continue to be reported in excellent numbers at their sites in Hants and Sussex, and there have been many reports of Orange tips from across the country. The only new species reported this week was a Small Blue, seen at Pitstone in Buckinghamshire.

Pearl-bordered Fritillary Clossiana euphrosyne Adrian Hoskins

Sunday 12th May

Dingy Skippers, Grizzled Skippers, Green Hairstreaks and Duke of Burgundies are all now flying in good numbers in Hampshire, Sussex and Berkshire. Pearl-bordered Fritillaries are also now on the wing at most of their sites. Suprisingly a new colony of the latter has appeared at a chalk grassland site in the Meon valley in Hampshire, presumably having spread from an established but previously unknown population in nearby woodland. Yesterday the first Small Heath of 2013 was recorded at Ballard Down in Dorset, and the first Wall Brown of the year was reported from Wheelers Bay on the Isle of Wight.

Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi Adrian Hoskins

Monday 6th May

Since returning from a very exciting trip to India 2 weeks ago I've had little opportunity to look at British butterflies, so it was nice to have fine sunny weather today, and spend a relaxing afternoon at Evington meadows in Leicester. Spring has arrived late here and Leicester is far from the best place in Britain to see butterflies - nevertheless I saw half a dozen Orange tips, a few Green-veined Whites, a Brimstone, a Large White, a Holly Blue, a Comma, 4 Peacocks and 4 Small Tortoiseshells.

Elsewhere in the UK the first Dingy Skippers of the year were seen yesterday at Mill Hill in Sussex and at Butler's Hangings in Bucks, the first Small Copper of the year was reported from Cholsey in Oxon, and an early Common Blue was observed at Ivinghoe Beacon in Bucks. Duke of Burgundy numbers are slowly building, with 3 or 4 reported from most of this butterfly's sites, although as many as 9 were seen at Noar Hill in Hants. Green Hairstreaks and Grizzled Skippers are also being reported in low numbers from several sites in the southern counties of England.

Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae Adrian Hoskins

Wednesday 1st May

The first Duke of Burgundy of 2013 was reported from Noar Hill in Hampshire yesterday. Green Hairstreaks have now been reported from several sites including Levin Down in Sussex, Sands Bank in Bucks, Ballard Down in Dorset and Magdalen Hill Down in Hampshire. Grizzled Skippers are also on the wing at Magdalen Hill Down, and at Mill Hill in Sussex. Orange tip numbers are building slowly at most sites, with the first females just beginning to emerge in Hampshire and Sussex.

Orange tip Anthocharis cardamines Adrian Hoskins

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