Sunday, 9 June 2013

Isle of Wight - 7 June 2013

Up at 5.30am and on the road to Lymington. The ferry was booked for 8.35am and we arrived early, in time to catch the earlier sailing on the 'Wight Sky' with just two other vehicles. The only problem was the heavy sky, intermittent showers and pall of black cloud hanging over the island. We found our way to the open deck, stood under a perspex shelter and watched the lightening arc from clouds to earth ahead of us. At this point, as Common Terns gathered above the ferry's wake, the chance of finding Glanville Fritillary seemed fairly remote. The rain got harder and when it reached the point where we were getting wet despite the shelter, we retreated inside. It was soon time to get back to the car and we were ashore at Yarmouth in next to no time.

Th rain was still persisting down, so not being one to miss an opportunity to visit a cafe, Chris found a very nice one in Ventnor where we enjoyed bacon baguettes. Amazingly, the rain had stopped by the time we'd finished so we set out for Bonchurch, hoping the sky would clear soon. We started from the Horseshoe Bay end and scoured the undercliff.

Horseshoe Bay

As time went on the odd White butterfly showed itself and after 20 minutes or so Chris found the first Glanville Fritillary on the day. Photography was challenging in the very keen wind but we managed some shots.

Glanville Fritillary

Common Blue

Along with a few Fritillaries, we also found Common Blues and Dingy Skippers.

 Dingy Skipper

Glanville Fritillary

We moved on to Bonchurch Down under a blue sky but it was too breezy just a few Dingy Skippers, Common Blues, a couple of Brown Argus and a Small Copper were seen.

 Bonchurch Down

Common Blue

 Brown Argus

Compton Chine was sheltered from the wind and the butterflies were up, but difficult to photograph as supercharged by the sun.  This was an interesting place where the wooden steps had recently been replaced due to a land slip. There was plenty of evidence of minor slips, some quite recently. It seemed to me that the life belt for emergencies was probably less helpful than some form or digging equipment, perhaps a JCB.

 Compton Chine

 Dingy Skipper

Glanville Fritillary

The final destination, Brook Down, provided more Glanville Fritillaries and a whole host of Adonis Blues.

 Adonis Blue (female)

Adonis Blue

Small Blue

Having found all our target species we returned to the ferry port and managed to get on a little earlier than booked. After stopping in at The Filly Inn, Brockenhurst for dinner we travelled back and arrived home just before 10pm.