Butterfly Diary - field notes by Adrian Hoskins
note : earliest sightings of each brood are in bold type
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jly | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec


Sunday 29th September

There was a report of a very late Brown Hairstreak ovipositing in a garden at Ashington in Sussex today, and a few scattered reports of Clouded Yellows, Small Whites, Large Whites, Green-veined Whites, Brimstones, Small Coppers, Common Blues, Holly Blues, Commas, Red Admirals, Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Small Heaths and Speckled Woods from sites across southern England.

Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus, Cissbury Ring, Sussex  Adrian Hoskins

Monday 23rd September

Summer is coming to an end, so butterflies are generally scarce now, but in warm sunny conditions this afternoon at Cissbury Ring I counted 12 Meadow Browns, 2 Small Heaths, 4 Speckled Woods, 2 Commas, 2 Peacocks, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Small Whites, 2 Brimstones, 10 Small Coppers, 1 Common Blue, 1 Chalkhill Blue and 6 Adonis Blues - not a bad haul for late September!

Friday 20th September

Following an influx of Long-tailed Blues in early August, several apparently UK bred adults have been reported this week - e.g. fresh females at Kingsdown Leas in Dover on 18th and again today, and a fresh female at Newhaven Tidemills today.

Long-tailed Blue Lampides boeticus female, Kingsdown Leas, Kent  Neil Hulme

Wednesday 4th September

Clouded Yellows were reported from several sites in Hampshire today, e.g. 4 were seen at Beacon Hill, 3 at Magdalen Hill Down, 8 at Old Winchester Hill, 1 at St Catherine's Hill, 2 at Portsdown Hill, and 5 at Noar Hill. The latter site also produced 3 Brown Hairstreaks, 2 Silver-washed Fritillaries and 7 Brimstones.

Tuesday 3rd September

Today at Old Winchester Hill in Hampshire sightings included 25 Meadow Browns, 23 Small Heaths, 20 Common Blues, 4 Adonis Blues, 10 Chalkhill Blues, 2 Silver-spotted Skippers, 3 Clouded Yellows and singletons of Red Admiral, Comma, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.


Thursday 15th August - Monday 2nd September

During this period I led a butterfly-watching group tour in Colombia, visiting several excellent sites in the Andes including Otun-Quimbaya, Tatama national park, Arrierito reserve, Rio Claro and sites near Medellin. The weather was less than ideal, but nevertheless we saw and photographed about 300 butterfly species and had an extremely enjoyable tour of this beautiful country. A full trip report and species list will be published in the near future. Further tours to Colombia are planned for 2014 and 2015, so please contact me for details.

Monday 12th August

Sightings reported at the weekend included Brown Hairstreaks at Bernwood meadows, Whitecross Green Wood, Otmoor, Abingdon and Merton Wood in Oxon. Clouded Yellows have been reported mostly as singletons at sites including Otmoor and South Weston in Oxon, Quainton Hill in Bucks and Greenham Common in Berks. A small Painted Lady migration has resulted in reports from Quainton Hill, Abingdon and Aston Rowant in Oxon, Rowland Wood in Sussex, and Hungerford in Berks. The most interesting reports however were of ovipositing Long-tailed Blues seen at Arundel and Rye in Sussex. Other notable records included 9 Wall Browns seen at Lymington and an amazing 58 Peacocks at Noar Hill, both in Hants. Also of interest were the many reports of stray Silver-washed Fritillaries and Chalkhill Blues seen well away from known breeding sites, and there is the promise of a large 3rd brood emergence of Small Tortoiseshells in September judging by the 30 webs of 1st instar larvae I found at Bedwyn in Wilts on Sunday.

Thursday 8th August

Butterflies are fussy about where they breed and are typically associated with well established wild habitats, so experienced enthusiasts tend to mainly look for them on chalk grasslands, heathlands and old woodlands. It pays however to sometimes investigate less obvious habitats such as disused railway tracks, field headlands and wasteland, where the commoner species can often be abundant. This afternoon I visited a site on the outskirts of Hungerford - an abandoned industrial estate which has reverted to a grassy wasteland, and I was rewarded with sightings including 14 Common Blues, 2 Small Coppers, 1 Brimstone, 15 Small Whites, 5 Large Whites, 4 Green-veined Whites, 60 Meadow Browns, 3 Ringlets, 80 Gatekeepers, 7 Peacocks, 2 Small Tortoiseshells and 5 Small Skippers.

Aglais urticae 2nd brood, Hungerford, Berkshire  Adrian Hoskins

Peacock Inachis io, Hungerford, Berkshire  Adrian Hoskins

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