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


Wednesday 25th June

Summer butterflies are now emerging in good numbers. At Stansted Forest this afternoon I saw at least 20 Silver-washed Fritillaries, easily my highest one-day count of this species at the site for several years. The Marbled White population has also increased, with about 40 seen at the main colony and several singletons wandering around other parts of the wood. Other species included 3 White Admirals, 1 Comma, 1 Red Admiral, 80 Ringlets, 6 Speckled Woods, 50 Meadow Browns, 6 Small Skippers and 15 Large Skippers.

Sunday 22nd June

There have been a couple of sightings of Purple Emperor and Purple Hairstreak reported from sites in Hampshire and Sussex today. My local wood, Stansted Forest, is a beautiful place to visit, but is notoriously poor for butterflies. Today's count consisted of 1 Comma, 3 White Admirals, 2 Red Admirals, 1 Small Tortoiseshell, 5 fresh Silver-washed Fritillaries, 2 Dark Green Fritillaries, 10 Large Skippers, 1 Small Skipper, 10 Speckled Woods, 25 Meadow Browns, 40+ Ringlets, a dozen male Marbled Whites and 2 fully grown Orange-tip larvae.

Monday 16th June

The first Dark Green Fritillaries, Silver-washed Fritillaries and Marbled Whites of the year were reported from a number of sites in Hampshire, Sussex and Oxfordshire at the weekend. In Northamptonshire Wood Whites are currently at peak season and male Black Hairstreaks are now emerging in good numbers. Today at Stansted Forest I saw my first White Admiral of the year, together with several freshly emerged Ringlets and Meadow Browns. There were also good numbers of Orange-tip larvae to be found, resting on the seed pods of garlic mustard plants.

Wednesday 11th June

In warm, sunny, but breezy conditions today, I saw 10 fresh male Silver-studded Blues at Iping Common in Sussex. Later in the afternoon, at Cissbury Ring, I saw about 50 faded Common Blues, 1 worn Adonis Blue, 1 female Green Hairstreak, 1 very faded Brown Argus, 4 Speckled Woods, 10 freshly emerged male Meadow Browns, 15 Small Heaths, 2 Brimstones, 1 Grizzled Skipper, 15 Dingy Skippers, 6 fresh male Large Skippers, 2 batches of Peacock larvae and a pair of courting Small Tortoiseshells.

Thursday 5th June

The notorious 'June gap' has now arrived, a time when the spring butterflies have almost finished, but the summer butterflies have barely begun to emerge. It was no surprise therefore to find that numbers of all species at Cerne Abbas today were low, with only 20 worn Marsh Fritillaries, 6 or 7 Small Tortoiseshells, a dozen faded Dingy Skippers, 5 fresh female Grizzled Skippers, 3 freshly emerged male Large Skippers, 3 male Orange tips, 15 Brown Arguses, 2 fresh Adonis Blues, 2 Small Coppers, 5 Common Blues, 10 fresh Small Heaths, 3 Speckled Woods and 2 very worn Duke of Burgundies. At Hog Cliff numbers were even lower, with just a single worn Marsh Fritillary, half a dozen Dingy Skippers, 2 Grizzled Skippers, 2 Large Skippers, a Brimstone, 2 Green-veined Whites, 8 Small Tortoiseshells (and a few fully grown larvae), and 4 batches of half-grown Peacock larvae. Fun moment of the day was when a herd of 20 inquisitive bullocks came charging rapidly across the field at us, frightening the daylights out of the friend who was with me. Irate cattle can sometimes be dangerous, but I had little chance but to stand my ground and call their bluff. Luckily the bravado worked, and they trotted off in the opposite direction!

Sunday 1st June

Yesterday afternoon I visited Bentley Wood on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border. Cool and overcast conditions kept butterfly sightings minimal but I found 5 fresh Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries at roost on bracken fronds, rushes and orchids. Also a single very worn Pearl-bordered Fritillary at roost on a grass stem. Reports from Dorset indicate that fresh Marsh Fritillaries, Common Blues and Small Coppers are still being seen. Duke of Burgundies, Dingy Skippers, Grizzled Skippers and Green Hairstreaks are still flying in good numbers at Ramsdean Down and elsewhere in Hants, while Glanville Fritillaries are emerging in good numbers on the south coast of the Isle of Wight.



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