3 May 2014

Noar Hill, Hampshire: 3 May

Had a fantastic invert session today at Noar Hill in north-east Hampshire. Spent a few hours photographing butterflies in perfect butterflying weather and found 14+ Duke of Burgundy, 9 Dingy Skipper, 2 Green Hairstreak, 1 Red Admiral, 1 Speckled Wood, 3 Peacock, lots of Orange-tips, and plenty of Brimstones. Lots of day-flying moths around, including 1+ Burnet Companion Euclidia glyphica, and Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata, and disturbed a female Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica, and a few Common Carpet Epirrhoe alternata as well.

Duke of Burgundy Hamearis lucina

Dingy Skipper Erynnis tages

Green Hairstreak Callophrys rubi

Burnet Companion Euclidia glyphica

Burnet Companion Euclidia glyphica

Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata

Female Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica

I can't recall ever seeing such a high density of Cowslips Primula veris (the larval foodplant of the Duke of Burgundy), and there were lots of Early Purple Orchids Orchis mascula in flower amongst them. A few Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon are coming into flower, and it was good to see plenty of Juniper Juniperus communis here, with areas cleared by Plantlife to reintroduce this declining plant. Also 1 Large Bee-fly Bombylius major, and birds noted include 6 Common Swift, 2 Barn Swallow, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Common Whitethroat, 5(2H) Chiffchaff, 1m Blackcap, 1 Yellowhammer, 4(2m ,2f) Bullfinch, 1+ Common Buzzard and 1m Kestrel.

Early Purple Orchids Orchis mascula

Yellow Archangel Lamiastrum galeobdolon is now coming into flower

Noar Hill Nature Reserve - chalk grassland on the site of a medieval chalk working

Noar Hill Nature Reserve is surrounded by agricultural fields - this one with wide wild flower margins, a wild flower meadow
and Yellowhammers.

I ended up spending the whole day at this gem of a reserve and I can't wait to return. For more on Noar Hill see Bill Dykes excellent blog here.


  1. Nice blog Lee. Looks like a cracking spot. I need to find myself a Green Hairstreak. Never seen one and they look amazing. I just asked a similar question on Twitter, which is a little geeky. What lens are you using?

    1. Many thanks Dan. For inverts and plants I use a Canon 100mm f2.8 L macro (you have to get very close with this lens) and for birds a Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 L, both with a Canon 7D.