Sunday, 25 November 2012

In search of polychloros …

Isle of Wight, 29 March 2012

Today I was pleased to be joined by good friend Nick Broomer for a trip to the Isle of Wight. It was to be a long day, our ferry leaving Portsmouth at 8am with our return journey scheduled for 7pm.

Woodhouse Copse

Woodhouse Copse is a small mixed woodland of approximately 18 hectares located to the northeast on the Isle of Wight. Its key features are the central grass ride, the SSSI marshy wet woodland and a bluebell rich area under the planted beech trees. Three hectares of the wood is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). This area is also internationally designated as part of a wider Special Area of Conservation and Ramsar site. The remaining 15 hectares is locally recognised as a Site Important for Nature Conservation (SINC). The whole woodland lies within the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The woodland was acquired by the Forestry Commission in 1957 and managed by them until its sale in November 2009. 

This was my first visit to the site. With the above description and the knowledge that Large Tortoiseshell have been recorded here, our expectations were running high. What we found in reality was an area of woodland that has suffered abuse at the hand of man.

The following picture tells the story …



We left and headed for Walter’s Copse …

Walter’s Copse

Walter’s Copse is a well manicured and highly welcoming 19 hectare site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It is located on the southeast corner and within Newtown Harbour National Nature Reserve (NNR). The reserve is on the northern coast of the Isle of Wight and comprises areas of estuary and foreshore with extensive mudflats and saltmarsh, together with the adjacent meadows and woodland. The area is owned and managed by the National Trust.

On Tuesday, 27 March 2012, local enthusiast, Peter Hunt, was extremely fortunate to find and photograph an overwintered Large Tortoiseshell (probably female) whilst hunting for Orange Tip in this area. Despite spending in the region of five hours there today, in what can only be described as absolutely ideal conditions, we were not graced with the similar privilege. It should be said at this point, it's amazing just how large a Comma can look in flight when you are looking for a large orange-brown butterfly, my heart missing a beat on more than one occasion ...

Whilst writing this report I notice that another specimen has been seen and photographed …

I’ll just have to go back …



2 comments:

  1. May 2013 bring some better luck with this handsome species.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment Peter with which I can only concur. Rest assured, I definitely intend to make a trip or two to the Isle of Wight in 2013. Fingers crossed ...

      Delete