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Butterfly Diary - field notes by Adrian Hoskins
note : earliest sightings of each brood are in bold type
2014
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October

Tuesday 7th October

After the heavy overnight rain I wasn't execting to see many butterflies today at Havant Thicket, but on a sunny ride, sheltered from the cold blustery wind, I saw a Painted Lady and a fresh male Clouded Yellow (my first sightings of these species this year). Along the same 100 metre stretch of track I also saw 2 Red Admirals, 1 Comma, 6 Speckled Woods and 2 Vapourer moths.

September

Tuesday 30th September

A beautiful sunny end to September encouraged me to go on a long walk through Stansted Forest, Havant Thicket and Staunton Country Park this afternoon. I saw 10 Speckled Woods (mostly fresh females), 1 Small White, 1 Green-veined White, 1 Large White, 1 Brimstone, 2 Commas, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Peacock and 1 Small Copper.

Thursday 25th September

As October approaches and temperatures drop, butterfly populations in the UK continue to dwindle. At Havant Thicket today all I found were 12 Speckled Woods, 5 Meadow Browns, 1 Red Admiral, 3 Commas, 1 Large White and 1 female Brimstone.

Sunday 21st September

A 3 hour stroll around woodland and fields near Rowlands Castle today produced 5 Red Admirals, 3 Commas, 1 Large White, 3 very ancient female Common Blues, 34 Speckled Woods and 5 Meadow Browns - including a mating pair.

Wednesday 17th September

The beautiful wild fox that lives in my garden provided me with much entertainment this morning, as he hunted for his dinner in the warm sunshine. I watched with great interest as he stalked and killed a grey squirrel, which he played with for a few minutes before dragging it under a bramble bush. In the afternoon I visited Stansted Forest, where I found a second brood White Admiral. Despite warm sunshine and diligent searching, there were only a few other species seen i.e. about 20 Speckled Woods, 1 Meadow Brown, 1 very worn female Common Blue, 3 fresh Large Whites, 4 fresh Commas, 1 Red Admiral and a Small Copper.

Tuesday 16th September

With the exception of Speckled Woods, which are still abundant, there were very few butterflies at Havant Thicket this afternoon. Despite very warm sunshine, the only other butterflies I saw were 3 Meadow Browns, 1 Small Heath, 3 Red Admirals, 1 Peacock, 1 Comma, 2 Brimstones and a Large White.

Friday 12th September

I revisited Havant Thicket today to explore a different section of the wood. Cloud obscured the sun for much of the afternoon, but neverthless I managed to see 7 species, of which the commonest was the Speckled Wood. I counted 19 individuals, including several fresh males and females. The other species seen were 1 Brimstone, 4 Small Whites, 7 Small Heaths, 20 faded Meadow Browns, 4 Commas and 4 Common Blues, including a freshly emerged male.

Wednesday 10th September

Today at Havant Thicket I saw 6 male Brimstones, avidly nectaring at a patch of fleabane in the corner of a field. A grassy track nearby produced 9 very worn Small Heaths, 7 very faded Meadow Browns, 1 Green-veined White, 2 Small Whites and 2 Common Blues. On the opposite side of the site, I found 4 fresh Red Admirals and a Peacock, attracted by some hemp agrimony that was still flowering. The numerous tracks through the woodland produced lower than anticipated numbers of Commas - just 2 males and 1 female, feeding at fermenting blackberries. By far the commonest butterfly in the forest was the Speckled Wood, of which I counted 27, mostly in worn condition.

 

 

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