Thursday, 16 April 2015

Closely Followed by a Green Hairstreak.

After the emergence of the first Grizzled Skipper at Whiteways last Tuesday,today it was the turn of the Green Hairstreak to make its appearance at the same spot.



Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Warmest Day of the Year.

Temperatures rose to their highest of the year so far today and a visit to Wheelers Bay at Bonchurch resulted in two Clouded Yellow butterflies racing along the revetment plus two Holly Blue,one of which was a female egg laying on a small rowan tree and another taking the salts on the chalk.




Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Skipping into Spring.


Once most of the lingering sea mist and fog had dispersed today I made a visit to Whiteways Quarry overlooking Freshwater Bay which is an excellent location for spring butterflies.
I was not disappointed, as my reward was a handsome Grizzled Skipper.Hopeful he will be the first of many here and closely followed by the other species that frequent this sunny spot.




Monday, 13 April 2015

Slow Going.

I must say that my spring sightings of newly emerged butterflies have been poor so far with just a couple of Small Whites to date.However a stroll around my local copse at Newtown today did produce at least three Speckled Wood and a possible female Orange Tip having an aerial duel with a Brimstone, before they both flew off at speed.Of course I may have been mistaken as my 'Orange Tip' could have been just another Small White.
Still the weather this week is settled and we are hoping for some near summer temperatures.So things are set to improve.



Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Rounding Up the Usual Suspects.



Today was by far the warmest of the year and the butterflies responded.In particular the Brimstone proved to be very active with regular sightings this morning as I wandered around Walters Copse at Newtown. In fact as soon as I left the car to approach the entrance  to the copse a male Brimstone fluttered down and landed close by.He was happy for me to take his picture as long as I did not spoil his view of the sun.



At this time of year all the butterflies on show are hibernators from last summer although it should not be too long before newly emerged individuals are enjoying the warmer temperatures.Apart from all these Brimstone flying about today,which by the way were all males,I had my first 2015 records of a Comma and at least two Peacock.



Wednesday, 4 March 2015

It's Warming Up.

With the promise of rising temperatures over the next few days spring is almost here and  time to take a stroll through Walters Copse at Newtown. The sun was shining today and the cold wind that we have endured recently is all but gone.
It wasn't long before I came across a Red Admiral basking on the leaf litter.In fact over the two hours that I spent walking about I passed this butterfly three times in exactly the same spot.However I must say that despite the warm sunshine and almost cloudless sky this was the only butterfly I saw today.Nectar sources are scarce in the copse at the moment with only the odd primrose flower to be seen but hopefully given several days of sunny weather the plants, which carpet the wood, will burst forth in the usual springtime display.



Friday, 27 February 2015

More Very Special Little Gems.

On the Isle of Wight we can look forward to our own very special butterfly again this season when the Glanville Fritillary emerges at the end of April or early May.
The female butterfly will lay up to 200 eggs on the host food plant,Ribwort Plantain.Following the fourth moult or instar the larvae build a web in order to hibernate over the winter.After the sixth and final moult the caterpillars will disperse from their protective web and pupate





When disturbed or in inclement weather the larvae will retreat back into the undergrowth  behind their web and form into a protective ball.



Wednesday, 25 February 2015

A Little Gem.

A butterfly found mainly in the southern half of the UK but sadly not on the Isle of Wight is the Silver-studded Blue.The New Forest in particular is an excellent place to see this species, with 'explosions' occurring in some years on the Forest heathlands when thousands can be seen.Sightings of this 'blue' on the Island are rare,the last is a very dubious report of an individual in 2011.Not since the 1940's has the Silver-studded Blue colonised the Island.
 The following photographs were taken on a very dismal,grey,and wet July day in the New Forest when the butterflies were keeping deep down in the heather.As with most of the 'blues'the female is not blue like the male,but rather a chocolate brown.The silvery blue 'studs' are visible on the underside of the female in the second picture.






Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Roll on the Summer.

Spring is not too far away now and it will be hotly followed (hopefully) by early summer.Like me, a butterfly that enjoys the sun and warmth is the rather unimaginatively named Spotted Fritillary,Melitaea didyma.It can be common in Southern Europe and I have come across this handsome butterfly on the Greek Island of Lefkada where I have seen it in dry hillside meadows.The male has a bright orange- red upperside with black spots,hence its name, whereas the female is marked  much more extensively with black.The undersides of both sexes are similar







.