Other Animals

Noar Hill National Nature Reserve, Selbourne

After a breeding bird survey near to Havant I headed to Noar Hill National Nature Reserve to see if I could connect with Duke of Burgundy. This 20 hectare reserve was was formerly a medieval chalk working is owned and managed by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT). The reserve consists of a mosaic of scrub and species rich grassland which has a high diversity of invertebrates, many of which are rare and scarce.

The population of Duke of Burgundy at the site is one of the strongest in Hampshire and, while towards the end of the flight season, I was keen to see this rare and localised species which is on the wing for only a few weeks in a year. On arrival at the site the first butterfly I saw was indeed a Duke of Burgundy but it was a very tatty individual with worn wings and a missing antennae.

Duke of Burgundy – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

The next butterfly was a stunning and pristine Small Blue and then a Dingy Skipper. I began to encounter more Duke’s and through the hour or so I was at the site I encountered around 15 specimens, mostly they were fairly worn, but I came across at least three fresher individuals.

It was still a little early for the vegetation to be in full bloom but there were hundreds of Common Twayblade and Cowslip as well as around 10 Early Purple Orchid which were far past there best. It was a very enjoyable stop but the pressure was on to get back to my desk.

Duke of Burgundy – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

Duke of Burgundy – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

Small Heath – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

Common Blue – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

Common Blue – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

Small Blue – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

Dingy Skipper – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

The micromoth Pyrausta purpurea – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

Common Twayblade – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

Eyebright – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

Common Milkwort – Noar Hill NNR, Selbourne

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Simon Colenutt

Simon Colenutt

I began birdwatching at the age of nine when living on the Isle of Wight. After obtaining a copy of the Isle of Wight Bird Report from 1976 I realised that Manx Shearwater, Arctic Skua, Pomarine Skua and Black Tern were regularly seen at St.Catherine’s Point, only five miles from my home village of Chale Green. To a nine year old these birds were near mythical and so I just had to go and try to see them. Little did I know that these birds were seasonal and after a long winter of seeing nothing I eventually started to bump into other birdwatchers as March drew to a close. It was then that Dave Hunnybun, Dave Wooldridge, Paul Castle, Peter Gandy and Audrey Wilkinson introduced me to the art of seawatching and the joys of bird migration, I have not looked back since.

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