A Gatekeeper on brambles on Royal St.George’s was the earliest to have been seen locally. The transect walk later in the morning was again very productive, with 398 butterflies made up mainly of 124 Meadow Browns, 119 small skippers and 92 Marbled Whites, though 14 Small Heaths was poor, emphasising just how arid much of the route is now looking.
A Clouded Yellow was seen on New Downs this morning.
This morning’s transect walk was outstandingly good, the total of 306 butterflies being the earliest 300+ count by two weeks. As before, the majority (120) were small skippers, aided and abetted by 59 Marbled Whites, 61 Meadow Browns and 43 Small Heaths.
The BMS transect produced 176 butterflies, notably including 94 small skippers, with a supporting cast of 30 Small Heaths, 17 Meadow Browns and 11 Marbled Whites. Although it is probably only temporary, it is a result that puts this year in top place in the 11 years of study.
The ending of several day of cool and windy weather was celebrated by a second Clouded Yellow of the form helice, nectaring on the spillway on New Downs.
Despite a fresh wind the BMS transect had 72 butterflies, none of which was remarkable except, perhaps, for a good total of 14 Small Tortoiseshells, but the result was enough to put this year in second place behind 2009 in the last 11 years of study. A Meadow Brown yesterday was the first of summer, only four days later than the earliest local record.
Small Tortoiseshell numbers have increased dramatically over the last few days with a fresh emergence across the recording area. Over 30 were seen on Worth this morning alone.
The first Marbled White and Small Skipper of summer were on the wing in the Oasis and Whitehouse, respectively. The Marbled White was the earliest SBBO record and the skipper equalled the earliest date locally.
By accident, rather than design, the main theme of the BMS transect this morning was migration, with four Painted Ladies and a pale helice Clouded yellow along the beach, together with five Hummingbird Hawk-moths and three Silver-y moths. Otherwise, numbers were probably reduced after the torrential rain of the previous week and several Common Blues looked very battered.