Welcome To Alan Thornbury's Hampshire Butterflies
This website is dedicated to the butterflies of Hampshire. My aim in creating it is to share my interest in these beautiful creatures and help increase momentum in their conservation, both at UK national level and in my locality in Hampshire, Southern England.
Slideshow Showing Ten Of The More Colourful Butterflies To Be Found In Hampshire Each Year
They include the Clouded Yellow which is a regular migrant.
Hampshire, being a large county located in southern England, is fortunate to have many of the UK's butterfly species resident within its boundaries. There are 45 butterfly species which can be found each year within the county, including one regular migrant. All are covered in this website which contains descriptions, flight periods, photographs and recommended locations in Hampshire to look for them, guided by personal experience.
The web address I chose for this site is named after Hampshire's largest butterfly and one of its most spectacular - the Purple Emperor - and Hampshire is a stronghold for this species in the UK. It's an elusive butterfly, but the Purple Emperor can be observed in several of the county's larger woodlands during late June and July, spending much of its time high in the treetops, but sometimes treating the observer to a flying display of immense speed and agility.
Then, if you are really lucky, you may witness a much closer encounter as His (or Her) Majesty fearlessly descends to the ground to imbibe or feed on minerals from the path, animal droppings or even your shoe (as shown below)!
Purple Emperor - Apatura iris
Only the male has the iridescent purple sheen on its wings.
The Purple Emperor's status in UK and Hampshire is, thankfully, not a particular cause for concern at the moment. However alarming three-quarters of the UK's resident butterfly species, many of which can be found in Hampshire, are in a state of long term decline, as measured over a period of 4 decades - some at a rapid rate.
Not all of the reasons for the decline are fully understood, however, the destruction and deterioration in butterfly habitats, evolving practices in respect of land use (both agricultural and woodland) and finally, climate change, are considered to be major factors. However, against this gloomy backdrop, there are some glimmers of hope too. Trends over the past decade show that the long term decline of some threatened species may have been halted, with local recoveries in a few locations as a result of conservation efforts.
Butterflies are the best-studied UK insects by far, providing vital insights into the health of our environment, including biodiversity, which underpins services essential for human welfare and economic prosperity. They also act as a flagship for the general public to engage in conservation and the natural world. Thus the plight of our butterflies, as one of the most threatened wildlife groups in the UK, has much wider implications than at face value.
So, please take a few minutes to browse this site using the menu at the top. It contains a wealth of information, both in words and pictures, which I hope will stimulate or strengthen your interest in observing, studying and ultimately conserving these insects and their habitats, bearing in mind the conservation challenges ahead are huge.
Species pages containing photographs and descriptions of each species regularly found in Hampshire, organised according to their family names, together with information to assist the observer, including flight period, observation tips and examples of sites where they can be found. The introduction provides additional information on the status of our butterflies. A page showing a consolidated chart of the flight periods of all species is also included.
Sites pages providing summary notes on each of the Hampshire butterfly sites (places) mentioned in the species section, with a link to a location map. For some of the sites which I know particularly well, a longer feature has been prepared, with photos, a more detailed description of the site with photos and other useful information to assist the visitor.
My blog page, which I update regularly during the flight season, where you can follow my recent butterfly visits, sightings and reflections.
Latest Photos, containing the latest photos taken during the current season, often associated with a blog entry. I usually post photos on the same day that they were taken.
Photo Galleries containing a selection of high-resolution butterfly photos which I have gatherered over the years. They are arranged into several groups, namely species galleries which, like the butterfly species pages, are arranged by butterfly family, recent season highlights showing my selection of photos from the previous two seasons and current season galleries showing only photos taken during the current season. The galleries section also includes a butterfly videos gallery containing several embedded videos showing butterfly behaviour, and a butterfly visit photo diaries gallery containing informal photo slideshows for several of my butterfly site visits.
Links page providing links to websites of relevant conservation organisations and also sites providing sources of additional reference information.
Contact Form, in case you would like to provide feedback on the site or ask me a question on Hampshire Butterflies. I can't guarantee I will have the answer, but I will reply.
Recent Updates page so you can see if there have been significant additions or changes to the website since your last visit, including blog entries.