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
Monday 31st January
Despite the colder than usual winter, Red Admirals have been recorded on virtually every sunny day so far this year. Almost all sightings have been from Hampshire or Sussex, and usually from sites within 5 miles of the coast. The lack of inland sightings would seem to rule out any likelihood of these butterflies being early migrants, because migrating butterflies tend to spread inland within a few days of arriving in the UK.
There was a southward migration towards the end of last year, with some individuals seen flying south across the English Channel, but it seems that others elected to overwinter in the relatively warm and sheltered woodlands along the south coast. This happened in the warm winters of 2006-2008 when hundreds of Red Admirals were flying in mid-winter in certain Sussex woodlands. It is very surprising however that the butterflies have so far survived the current harsh winter, and it remains to be seen how they will cope with the heavy frosts predicted for February.
Monday 17th January
Another Brimstone was reported today, feeding at ivy blossom at Cuckfield in Sussex, so it seems that despite the recent very cold weather, there is still a chance of an early spring !
Saturday 15th January
The first Brimstone of the year ( a male ) was reported today from the Meon valley.
Sunday 9th January
A Red Admiral was reported today from Eastbourne in East Sussex, and also from Sussex came a report on the branch Butterfly Conservation website of a Peacock at Cuckmere Haven. Further west, in Hampshire another 2 Red Admirals were seen, at Fareham and Emsworth respectively.
Friday 7th January
Today the Hampshire branch of Butterfly Conservation reported on it's website the first UK butterfly sighting of the year - a Peacock seen flying in a garden in Cadnam.



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