Speckled Wood

       
          Speckled Wood

                          (Pararge aegeria)

 

 

 


Wingspan: 47-50 mm

Usually perches with wings open when creamy-yellow patches on dark brown background are distinctive, the patches more extensive on the females. Three spots with black eyes on the patches on the hindwing and another on a patch near the wingtip. Underwings resemble dead leaves. Tolerant of shady places , often frequenting  under-managed woods devoid of other species, where it flies in and out of sunny areas, and often two or more spiral around each other.
 

Your Photos
 

Flight Period

Triple-brooded, from end-March – mid-May,  June, & Aug – early Oct.

Larval Food plants
Various common grasses, including,

False Broom (Brachypodium sylvaticum)
Cocksfoot (Dactylis glomerata)
Yorkshire Fog ( Holcus lanatus)
Common Couch (Elytrigia repens)

Habitat
Woods, broad-leaved and mixed
Mature hedgerows with plenty of trees to provide shade
prefers damp areas where the grass grows tall


Wiltshire Status
Resident: common & widespread


Wiltshire Sites

Anywhere with sufficient tree growth – all over the county.
 

Earliest sightings
Earliest county Record 24th January 1998
 

 

Early Sightings
       
2012 19th March Bentley Wood Via David Lambert
2011 3rd April Bentley Wood Via David Lambert
2010 10th April Kac
Clattinger Farm
Whaddon near Trowbridge 
Mike Fuller
Wayne Clinch
Mike Hamzij
2009 30th March Waterhay CWP Tom & Jean Smith
2008 31st March Bradford-on-Avon Mike Fuller
2007 26th March  Tinney's Firs, Woodfalls  Hazel & Malcolm Lewis

 

Latest county Record

17th November 2011 Corsham (Alan Carpenter)

Wall

      
            
Wall Brown

                   (Lasiommata megera)

 

 

 

 

Wingspan:
Male 44mm, Female 46mm
 

Description

The uppersides, which are easily seen as the butterfly often basks open winged in a sunny spot are orange with darker brown borders. The apex of the forewing sports a white-pupilled black eye-spot. The hindwings also has similar but smaller eye-spots on the lower edge. The underside is a paler orange with an intricate zigzag pattern of greys and browns. The outer edge also shows six eye-spots.

Your Photos

Flight Period
Double sometimes triple brooded. May – mid June, late July – Early September & Early October
 

Larval Food plants

Tor-grass              (Brachypodium pinnatum)
False Brome         (Brachypodium sylvaticum)
Wavy Hair-grass   (Deschampsia flexuosa)
Yorkshire-fog         (Holcus lanatus)
 

Habitat Requirements
Unimproved open grassland
 

Wiltshire Status
Resident: Locally scarce to frequent, widespread

Wiltshire Sites

Pewsey Down
Bratton Camp
Morgan’s Hill
Upton Cow Down
 

Earliest sightings
Earliest county record
20th April 2007  Throope Down    Lord Head
 

 

Early Sightings
2013      
2012 11th May Bratton Castle Mike Fuller
2011 24th April Pewsey Down Stuart Gough
2010 15th May Bratton Castle Various Recorders
2009 5th May Cotley Hill Nick Wynn
2008 26th april Beacon Hill Bruce Maxfield
2007 20th April Throope Down Lord Head

 

Latest county record
4th November 1990

 

Marbled White

Marbled White
Melanargia galathea

 

 

 

Description

Wingspan: 53 - 58 mm

The black and white chequered wing pattern makes this butterfly very distinctive, quite different from all other Browns and with far more black than on any White butterfly. Characteristic black eyespots near the outer edges of the underwings show the family affinity to the Browns. Normally flies slowly low above the ground, though occasionally can fly high and fast when going longer distances.

Your Photos

 
Flight Period

The flight period is from mid June – mid- August.

Larval Food plants
Red Fescue (Festuca rubra) is the main food plant
Sheep's Fescue (Festuca ovina) .

Yorkshire-fog (Holcus lanatus)
Tor-grass (Brachypodium pinnatum)

Habitat
Tall unimproved grassland on a variety of soils, mainly calcareous or neutral
where a sward of tall grasses including Red Fescue is not grazed or cut frequently

Wiltshire Status
Resident: common & widespread


Wiltshire Sites

All over the county but especially the downs, the Plain and other open grassland areas.

Earliest sightings
Earliest county Record 1st June 2007 Boscombe Down (Tony Horner)
 
 
Early Sightings
2013      
2012 15th June West Yatton Down Maurice Avent
2011 2nd June Boscombe Down Tim Frawley
2010 10th June Boscombe Down Tim Frawley, David Widgington
2009 3rd June Oliver's Castle, Devizes Philip Cleverly
2008 4th June Boscombe Down Tony Horner
2007 1st June Boscombe Down Tony Horner


Latest county Record
5th September 1985

Grayling

       

                 Grayling

                        (Hipparchia semele)

 

 

 

Wingspan:
Male 55mm, Female 60mm
 

Description

The cryptic camouflage of our largest brown butterfly can make the Grayling invisible once it has settled on bare ground or a tree trunk. This butterfly always rests with its wings closed so the upperwings are rarely observed. The underside of the hind wings are a smoky mottled brown with grey. The underside of the forewings are a mix of warm browns with white centred black eye-spot at the apex. Shortly after settling the forewing will be slid behind the hindwing hiding the eye-spot making it even less conspicuous.

Flight Period
Mid-July, through to early September
 

Larval Food plants

Bristle Bent (Agrostis curtisii)
Early Hair-grass (Aira praecox)
Red Fescue (Festuca rubra)
Sheep's-fescue (Festuca ovina)
Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)
 

Habitat Requirements:
Heathland, and other dry sites with sparse vegetation
 

Wiltshire Status
Resident: Rare and very local

Wiltshire Sites
Enford Down   DTE (C) (Normally Closed to the Public)
DTE = Defence Training Estate (Salisbury Plain)

Earliest sightings
Earliest county record: 10th July 1984

 


Early Sightings
2013      
2012   None Reported  
2011   None Reported  
2010 19th July Pound Bottom Gordon Mackie
2009 25th July Enford Down  ATE SP (C) Stephen Edwards
2008 30th July Pound Bottom, Hamptworth Gordon Mackie
2007 29th July Enford Down  ATE SP (C) Stephen Edwards


Latest county record
27th September 1950

Gatekeeper

Gatekeeper
Pyronia tythonus

 




Wingspan: 40-47 mm
 
Description


This species, also called Hedge Brown, is most often confused with the larger Meadow Brown, but its wings have a much larger area of orange, with broad grey-brown borders, and a diagnostic eyespot with two white pupils near the tip of the forewings above and below (Meadow Brown's only has one pupil). Flits about hedges and scrub and also grassland in their vicinity, often in very large numbers at the peak of its flight period.

Your Photos

 
Flight Period

The flight period is from early July – August, not often seen in September.

Larval Food plants
A wide range of wild grasses, eg. Bents (Agrostis spp.), Fescues (Festuca spp.), Meadow Grasses (Poa spp.), and Couch (Agropyron repens).

Habitat
Hedgerows, scrub, country lanes, woodland rides etc.

 
Wiltshire Status
Resident: Common & Widespread

 
Wiltshire Sites

All over the county, even in urban areas where there are some overgrown wild places.

Earliest Sightings

Earliest county record
11th June 2011 Hazelbury Common (Alan Carpenter)



Early Sightings
2013      
2012 17th June Westbury Jennifer Yeadon
2011 11th June Hazelbury Common Alan Carpenter
2010 2nd July Swindon Geoff Bown
2009 13th July Throop Hill Viscount Head
2008 3rd July Biss Wood Audrey Brown
2007 19th June Biss Wood Audrey Brown


Earliest county record
21 September  1986

Meadow Brown


                  Meadow Brown

                                      (Maniola jurtina)

 

 

  

Description 

Wingspan: 50 -55 mm

A dark brown butterfly which quickly fades to become much paler. A black eye spot with single white pupil is near the forewing tip, surrounded by an orange patch which is more extensive in the female. The underwings are similar, but the eye spot and its orange surround are often hidden behind the hindwing when the butterfly is resting with wings closed – then an angled boundary separates the darker inner wing from the brighter outer part. There are also some small black dots on the underwing, where the Gatekeeper has white dots. Abundant in summer, usually flitting quite slowly over the grass, although can fly more rapidly when changing location – or crossing suburban streets!

Your Photos
 

Flight Period

The flight period is from mid June – early, sometimes mid, September .

Larval Food plants
Several native species of grass, especially Smooth Meadow Grass (Poa pratensis)

Habitat
Grassland almost anywhere
 

Wiltshire Status
Resident: Common & Widespread

Wiltshire Sites

All over the county, even in urban areas where grass has been allowed to grow undisturbed


Earliest Sightings
Earliest County Sighting, 30th April 1921
 

 

Early Sightings
2013      
2012 2nd June Distillery Meadows, Minety Paul Darby
2011 23rd May Castlefields (Calne) Terry Sparks
2010 21st May Bratton Castle Rob Turner
2009 2nd June Great Cheverell Hill Nick Wynn
2008 18th May Imber Ranges Rob Turner
2007 17th May South Tidworth Ian Gray


Latest County Sighting
1st November 1972
 

Ringlet

                                         Ringlet

                                                              (Aphantopus hyperantus)

 

 


 



Your Photos

Description

Wingspan: 48 - 52 mm

In fresh plumage very distinctive with almost black velvety wings with a clear white fringe – however as with other browns the wings soon fade to a dark brown. The underwings, which are usually all that is seen when settled, are crossed by seven black eyespots with white pupils and yellow “halos” - unique in British butterflies. Very slow weak flight, when the butterfly looks black.
 

Flight Period

The flight period is from mid-June -  July – the butterflies rapidly disappear and few are seen after early August.

Larval Food plants
Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia caespitosa), Couch (Agropyron repens), Annual Meadow-Grass (Poa pratensis)

Habitat
Woodland glades, edges and rides, country lanes with dense hedgerows, scrubby rank grassland.

Wiltshire Status
Resident: Common & Widespread

Wiltshire Sites

All over the county in suitable habitat, even in urban areas.


Earliest Sightings

Earliest County Sighting

1st June 2007, Whitesheet Hill Quarry (Brian Shotter)




Early Sightings
2013      
2012 16th June Porton Down Stuart Corbett
2011 7th June Bently Wood Steve Button
2010 13th June Red Lodge wood Frank and Paula Train
2009 4th June Orcheston Down Sally Walker
2008 4th June Normanton Down Tim Mann
2007 7th June Whitesheet Hill Quarry Brian Shotter


Latest County Sighting
29th August 2009 (Tony Horner)

 

Small Heath

Small Heath

(Coenonympha pamphilus)

 

 
 Your photos

Description

Wingspan: 34-38 mm            

A light brown butterfly, smaller than any other Brown, but nearest to Gatekeeper, which is a deeper orange colour, but can look similar and sometimes shares its habitat in late summer.  Always settles with wings closed, when forewings show the light brown, with a single black spot with white pupil. Blotchy grey-brown hindwing covers over forewing particularly in cloudy weather. Flight weak and slow.
 

Flight Period

Double-brooded, with slight overlap between generations: first generation from early May to mid-July, second from mid-July to mid-September, so a few can be found at any time through the summer.

Larval Food plants
Fescues (Festuca spp.) and Bents (Agrostis spp.)

Habitat
Grassland, especially on lighter soils, less often found in marginal habitats as numbers decline.

Wiltshire Status
Resident: Locally frequent to common, widespread

Wiltshire Sites
Still found in many parts of the county, but most numerous on the downland sites.

Barbury Castle
Cley Hill
Blakehill
Martinsell Hill
Haxton Down

Earliest sightings
Earliest county record: 16th April 2007 & 2012 


Early sightings
2013      
2012 16th April West Yatton Down Maurice Avent
2011 21st April Sidbury Hill Steve Covey & Marc Taylor
2010 6th May Boscombe Down Tony Horner
2010 6th May Martinsell Hill Terry & Gaynor Dabner
2009 19th April West Yatton Down Maurice Avent
2008 4th May Normanton Down Trace Williams
2007 16th April West Yatton Down Hugo Brook


Latest county record
1st November 2010

 

 

First Sightings 2014

CR = County Record

 

 

Common Name Date Location Recorders
       
 Small Skipper  6 June  Cotley Hill, Heytesbury  Frank & Christine Crosier
 Essex Skipper  15 June  DTE SP(C), The Bustard area  Steve Button
 Silver-spotted Skipper  15 July  Porton Down  Stuart Corbett, Charlie Hobbs
 Large Skipper  21 May  Cotley Hill  Steve Button
 Dingy Skipper  18 April  Boscombe Down railway cutting   Jane Martin
 Grizzled Skipper  15 April  Cotley Hill and Boscombe Down railway cutting  Brian Seaman, Sue Walker & Tony Goddard
 Clouded Yellow  11 June  Stonehenge, Cursus & Maddington Down  Keith Steggell, Peter Ridout
 Brimstone  16 February  Various localities  5 recorders
 Large White  9 April  Nettleton Shrub  Pam & David Rutter
 Small White  9 March  Holt and Trowbridge  Alan Carpenter, Brian Seaman
 Green-veined White  2 April  Bradford-on-Avon  Doreen Ellis
 Orange-tip  21 March  Charlton All Saints  Steve & Liz Oakes
 Green Hairstreak  11 April  Cotley Hill, Heytesbury  Barry Watts, Frank & Christine Crosier
 Brown Hairstreak (adult)  21 July  DTE SP(E)   Steve Button
 Purple Hairstreak  23 June  Clanger Wood  Mike Fuller
 White-letter Hairstreak  21 June  Bentley Wood  Richard Carter
 Small Copper  18 April  Park Bottom near Sherrington  Nick Wynn, Gordon Mackie
 Small Blue  30 April  A350 Upton Scudamore  Jane Cole
 Silver-studded Blue  6 June  Landford Bog WWT Reserve  Ashley White
 Brown Argus  4 May  Westbury garden, DTE(E) Sidbury Hill  Nick Wynn, John Williams
 Common Blue  5 May  Burcombe bank  Gordon Mackie
 Chalkhill Blue  6 July  DTE SP(W), Imber Ranges  Iain Perkins
 Adonis Blue  5 May  Boscombe Down disused railway cutting   Sue Walker & Tony Goddard
 Holly Blue  9 April  Bradford-on-Avon, Charlton All Saints  Rowena Quantrill, Steve & Liz Oakes
 Duke of Burgundy   14 April  Dean Hill Park near East Dean  Dave Lowe    
 White Admiral  17 June  Bentley, Green Lane & Grovely Woods   David Lambert, Brian Seaman, Dave  Simmonds
 Purple Emperor  22 June  Grovely Wood  Steve Button
 Red Admiral  2 January  Woodfalls garden near Downton  Hazel & Malcolm Lewis
 Painted Lady  20 May  Wylye Down NNR  Gordon Mackie
 Small Tortoiseshell  11 January  Tisbury and Westbury gardens  David Rear, Nick & Hilary Wynn
 Large Tortoiseshell    None reported  
 Peacock  7 January  Staverton near Trowbridge  Shelley Powell
 Comma  (CR)  11 January  Starlings Roost near Martinsell Hill  Simon Crampin 
 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary  15 May  Bentley Wood  Steve Covey, Wayne Clinch, Alan Thornbury 
 Pearl-bordered Fritillary  28 April  Bentley Wood  Bentley Notebook. (via Craig Richardson)
 Dark Green Fritillary  12 June  Porton Down  Stuart Corbett, Charlie Hobbs
 Silver-washed Fritillary  12 June   Bentley Wood, Hawksgrove area  Sue Walker & Tony Goddard
 Marsh Fritillary (adult)  5 May  Bentley Wood  Craig Richardson
 Speckled Wood  1 April  Westbury garden  Nick Wynn
 Wall  3 May  Cotley Hill, Bratton Castle Earthworks transect  Nick Wynn
 Marbled White  10 June  West Yatton Down, DTE SP(C) The Bustard  Maurice Avent & Hugo Brooke, Steve Button
 Grayling  20 July  DTE SP(C), Enford Down  Stephen Edwards 
 Gatekeeper  21 June  Vernditch Chase  Colin Elford
 Meadow Brown  21 May  Calstone & Cherhill Downs (NT) near Calne  Judy Hible
 Ringlet  10 June  Vagg's Hill, DTE SP(C) The Bustard area,  Simon Young, Steve Button
 Small Heath  16 April  Stratton Wood, NE Swindon  Geoff Whittle
 Long-tailed Blue    None reported  
 Monarch (Unconfirmed)  5 October  DTE SP(C), Larkhill  Mike Lockwood