Butterfly Diary - field notes by Adrian Hoskins
my earliest sightings of each brood are highlighted in bold type
Sightings policy - details of certain sites where visitor pressure or trampling may pose a threat to butterflies or alienate landowners are excluded from these pages.
Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jly | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov | Dec
Friday 30th January
Sporadic sightings of Red Admirals are still being reported from Hampshire, Buckinghamshire and East Sussex despite the severe frosts that hit Britain a few days ago. Amazingly there have also been reports of Red Admiral and Large White caterpillars surviving frosts along the coast of East Sussex !
You might be interested to read about the Monarchs which overwinter in the freezing arid Mojave Desert of California here.
Saturday 24th January
Despite mild and sunny conditions this afternoon at Stansted Forest I failed to see any butterflies, indicating that survival of Red Admirals this year has been extremely low compared to previous years ( see chart ). Brimstones and Commas are still in hibernation, but I have received reports of early emergence of several moths - Spring Usher, Mottled Umber, Pale Brindled Beauty, and Early moth, as well as the expected Winter moth, which may be a sign that we can expect an early start to the butterfly season.
Saturday 17th January
There have been reports from other observers of Red Admirals in different parts of Hampshire on 13th and 14th January, but I haven't personally seen a butterfly since 6th December when I saw a Red Admiral in Stansted Forest. Today however I can report my first moth of the year - a fresh Alucita hexadactyla, commonly known as the Many-plumed moth. This odd looking species is a member of the Alucitidae, a small family with 186 known species worldwide, many of which have only recently been discovered. Unlike most butterflies and moths their wings have no membranes. Instead their fore and hind wings each consist of 6 feathery plumes - each comprising of a rigid spine from which branch dozens of long thin plume-like scales.
Thursday 1st January
Many changes have been made to the website in recent weeks, - the photo galleries have been given a new look, providing instant access to full sized images and lengthy articles about each species. New galleries of moths, caterpillars and Amazonian insects have also been added, bringing the total number of pages to over 600, and the number of images now well in excess of 1500. During 2009 it is planned to expand the site further to include many more species from around the world, and to further improve the presentation and content throughout the website. I hope you enjoy all the changes and additional material, and wish all visitors a Happy New Year !



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