Aldbourne Butterfly Report 2021

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We are blessed to live in a part of the country with a large number of the countries 54 butterfly species.  2021 was a bad year for butterflies with a very cold start followed by a cool wet period through spring – this had an impact on all species but particularly spring species and this impacted what was seen locally.  Despite this 29 species of butterfly were recorded in the parish.  These are outlined below along with 8 species historically recorded but not reported this year (although note that three of these records 3 were single reports some of which are quite historic).
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Large skipper Ochlodes sylvanus

Common butterfly from May to June seen in rough grass areas.  Reported this year from Palmers Field, High Clear Down, Four Barrows track and Love’s lane (Jon Beresford, Jo Day, Emily Best, Matt Best).

                                                                   Emily Best (7.1.21)

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Essex Skipper

Common butterfly (third most common skipper) in July and August again a rough grassland species.  Reported this year from Four Barrows track and Love’s Lane (Emily Best).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                Emily Best (21.7.21)

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Small Skipper
Common butterfly (second commonest skipper) seen in June, July and August. Reported this year from Palmers Field and High Clear Down (Jo Day, Jon Beresford)

                                                                Emily Best (5.7.20)

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Dingy Skipper

Downland specialist skipper species seen in May and June.  Reported this year from High Clear Down and a surprise sighting in St Michael’s Church yard, (Jon Beresford, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                   Jon Beresford (4.7.21)

Grizzled Skipper

Another downland specialist.  Not reported within the parish this year but previously reported from High Clear Down and Sugar Hill.

 

Clouded Yellow

Late summer migrant from the continent.  Number seen in the UK varies a lot from year to year.  Not reported within the parish this year but previously reported from High Clear Down and Aldbourne Village.

 

Brimstone

Familiar yellow butterfly seen any month of the year and often the first butterfly in spring.  Common and reported from throughout the parish this year (Nick Josephy, Jo Day, David Garwood, Jon Beresford, Sophie Best, Emily, Best, Matthew Best).

                                                                    Jon Beresford (3.8.21)

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Orange-tip

Common early season butterfly seen throughout the parish in early spring.  Males are conspicuous with their orange tips and while the females lack the orange they are beautiful with their intricate underwing pattern.  (Jon Beresford, Jo Day, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                  Matthew Best (18.4.21)

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Large White

Very familiar butterfly told from the smaller whites by the large side and extensive black on the wing tip.  Long season butterfly reported from April to September this year (Jon Beresford, Jo Day, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                     Emily Best (27.7.21)

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Green-veined White

The most common white butterfly in Aldbourne and easy to separate when viewed well (clear green veins under the wing) but challenging to separate on the wing.  Long flight season and frequently reported this year (Jon Beresford, Nick Josephy, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

                                                                   Emily Best (21.7.21)

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Small White

Another common butterfly in Aldbourne with a long flight season.  Widely reported this year (Jon Beresford, Jo Day, Nick Josephy, David Garwood, Emily Best, Matthew Best).

                                                                       Emily Best (25.5.21)

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Dark-green Fritillary

An impressive downland butterfly of high summer.  The only recorded fritillary in Aldbourne.  Recorded at High Clear Down this year (Jon Beresford, Matthew Best) but likely widespread.

                                                                   Jon Beresford (2.8.21)

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Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Reported on the edge of the parish in May 1987 but not verified.

White Admiral

This woodland specialist was reported in Wildings Copse on the edge of the parish on one occasion in 2006.

 

Peacock

This familiar species has a long flight period and both adults and caterpillars (on nettles) were reported from throughout the parish this year (Jon Beresford, Nick Josephy, Jo Day, David Garwood, Patrick Taylor, Nigel Payne, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                       Emily Best (30.3.21)

                                                                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                      Nigel Payne (13.7.21)

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Small Tortoiseshell

Another common and colourful butterfly with a long flight season with lots of records from across the parish this year (Jon Beresford, Jo Day, Nick Josephy, David Garwood, Patrick Taylor, Emily Best, Matthew Best).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                     Nick Josephy (25.8.21)

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Comma

This handsome butterfly is often seen along hedgerows, especially where there is bramble, and is unmistakable when seen well but even in flight the very orange colour of the wings makes them distinctive.  Seen widely in the Parish this year throughout the summer months (Jo Day, Jon Beresford, Matthew Best, Emily Best).

                                                                       Jon Beresford (2.8.21)

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Red Admiral

Many people’s favourite Red Admirals can been seen on warm days at any time of year and have been widely reported through the parish this year (Jon Beresford, Jo Day, Nick Josephy Sophie Best, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

                                                                      Emily Best (21.7.21)

                                                                      Sophie Best (10.10.21)

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Painted Lady

This large migrant butterfly is variable in number from year to year with quite good numbers present in the parish this year, especially easy to see at Four Barrows but also present on garden Buddleias (Nick Josephy, Jon Beresford, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

                                                                    Emily Best (21.7.21)

Painted Lady

Small health

This pretty butterfly is common throughout the parish but is inconspicuous and is very easily overlooked.  Size and pattern allow identification with wings always closed while landed.  Reported from several sites, but especially easy to see at High Clear Down, from May to October this year (Jon Beresford, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

          

                                                                      Matthew Best (13.6.21)

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Wall

This beautiful butterfly is likely overlooked.  Historically reported from Aldbourne, High Peaks, Lower Upham and Wildings Copse in the 1990s but not reported since 2006.

 

Speckled Wood

Common, widespread and familiar this territorial butterfly was reported at many sites from April to September this year (Jon Beresford, Joe Day, Nick Josephy, Georgia Taylor, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

                                                                   Nick Josephy (18.8.21)

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Ringlet

This dark butterfly is common during its short flight season of May to July and can be seen at many sites including the track to Four Barrows.  Reported this year by (Jo Day, Jon Beresford, Emily Best, Matthew Best).

                                                                    Emily Best (21.7.21)

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Meadow Brown

This very common butterfly is the grassland sight of summer and was reported from throughout the parish from June to August (Jon Beresford, Jo Day, Nick Josephy, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

               

                                                                      Emily Best (8.7.21)

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Gatekeeper

Smaller and brighter but similar to a Meadow Brown this late summer butterfly is often seen around hedgerows (hence the name).  Widely seen in the parish this year (Nick Josephy, Jon Beresford, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

                                                                     Emily Best (21.7.21)

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Marbled White

This very recognisable black and white butterfly is common on grassland in summer and reported from throughout the parish this year (Ros Oswald, Jo Day, Jon Beresford, Emily Best, Matthew Best).

                                                                        Ros Oswald (10.7.21)

                                                                        Emily Best (7.7.21)

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Grayling

This species was reported once in 1981 near Woodsend, sighting not confirmed.

 

Duke of Burgundy

This rare local butterfly is seen in May and June and is a local speciality.  This was historically common at High Clear Down but was not reported within the parish this year.

 

 

Small Copper

This very brightly coloured but small butterfly is easily recognised and lives on downland within the parish flying in May to July.  It was only reported from High Clear Down this year (Jon Beresford).

                                                                      Jon Beresford (3.8.21)

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Brown Argus

This beautiful chocolate-coloured member of the blue family requires careful identification.  This can be seen through summer but was only reported from High Clear Down this year (Jon Beresford).

                                                                    Jon Beresford (4.7.21)

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Holly Blue

This delicate blue butterfly has a longer flight season than the other blue butterflies and is one of the first butterflies on the wind each season.  Unlike the other blue butterflies in Aldbourne Holly Blues will commonly be seen in hedgerows and gardens.  Seen from a number of sites (Nick Josephy, Emily Best, Matthew Best).

                                                                  Emily Best (23.4.21)

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Small Blue

This tiny butterfly is more dark grey than blue and constantly on the move so patience is often required to get a good view.  Seen on High Clear Down and on the bridleway opposite Ford Farm this year (Jon Beresford, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                    Emily Best (30.6.21)

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Adonis Blue

This sparkling blue is quite a sight and is a downland specialist.  This species is well established at High Clear Down and while the first generation was very small (not recorded) it was easy to see and reported on several occasions throughout September (Jon Beresford, Emily Best, Matthew Best).

                                       

                             

                                                                                                            Jon Beresford (1.9.21)

Chalkhill Blue

This uncommon but beautiful butterfly is a very specialised species and was reported from High Clear Down this year (Jon Beresford) but has previously been reported from many other downland sites in the parish.

                                                                    Jon Beresford (9.8.21)

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Common Blue

The commonest grassland blue species which is common across the parish with sightings reported from several sites in early summer (Jo Day, Jean Farr, Jon Beresford, Emily Best, Matthew Best)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                    Jon Beresford (3.8.21)  

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Green Hairstreak

The UKs only truly green butterfly.  This flies early in the summer.  The key site for this species in the parish is High Clear Down and despite the cold spring this year one was recorded at this site in Spring (Emily and Matthew Best) and one was seen one week later at Lower Barn 12.5.21 (Jon Beresford)

                                                                     Emily Best (5.5.21)

Brown Hairstreak

One egg reported near Woodsend in 2016.  None reported apart from this record.

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