Fantastic Day

Not the best picture in the world I know but representative of the fact that I found Dukes virtually every step of the way today - this is at the top of Butser Hill in Hampshire 270m amsl in a howling gale! 
As the season appears to be drawing to a close I thought I would spend a few hours walking all of the likely areas at Butser. When I turned up there was a strong cold north easterly wind blowing and although the sun was out it was cool. I headed down on to little Butser and was soon assured I had made the right decision spotting two males basking. I must have walked several miles along the entire scrub line around the north and west faces aventually scaling the humorously titled Grandfathers Bottom, which to use Neil's phrase is serious mountain goat territory - it rises 120m in 100m - seriously steep. In all I encountered no less than 68 Dukes in just under three hours ( which is conservative as I only counted definites - could have been  90+) some were still moderately fresh, others were very worn,  and the one pictured which was the last at the top of my climb. I even encountered eight males all defending a nettle patch no less and a battle between a duke, brown argus, grizzled skipper, common blue, green hairstreak and a small heath - the duke win hands down.
In all I don't think I went more than 100m without encountering a Duke which is credit to the park authority who have created some great habitat - bodes well for next year as they have had the best of weather for laying.


Great news Mark. I have plenty on my hands trying to count Dukes in Sussex, so seldom venture over the border at this time of year, but next season I really must do a day on Butser, and have a poke around Grandfathers Bottom. I hope we might be able to meet up so that you can show me around your patch.
BWs, Neil

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