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For previous years' lists and commentaries, often incomplete, click 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 20102009; 2008; 2007; 2006; 2005; 2004; 2003; 2002; 2001. I seem to have lost the file for 2000.
Some of my friends also keep, or have kept, online year-lists. Tim Cowles, living in the Monts du Lyonnais, publishes his list HERE and Matthew Rowlings, who lives not far from me in Vevey, Switzerland, has his HERE. Both of these seem to have let their lists slip recently, but another friend, Robin Fox, in Italy, keeps a regularly updated sightings diary HERE.
SCROLL DOWN for the 2019 CHECKLIST or use the menu below to jump to the COMMENTARY for each month.
Following the death of my mother on 15th March 2018 I have moved to England to keep my father company. This diary will therefore be very different from all my previous ones. No longer will I have alpine species on my doorstep and purple emperor caterpillars in my local woods. No more midwinter visits to Queen of Spain fritillaries in the Rhône Valley or spring trips to nettle tree habitat in Italy! Thank you to everyone who has followed the Swiss butterfly years with me. I will try to keep some interest in these pages and hope to get some holidays abroad, but in the short term my diary will record mostly the creatures in and around Woodbridge, Suffolk. I will try to include at least one photo, of nature or scenery, every day.


(Links in the commentary are to pictures of the particular butterflies referred to)

1st: The year began bright but cold. Here is Minnie on her morning jaunt around Fen Meadow in Woodbridge. No time for any nature excursions today.
2nd: Bright in the morning, grim later, cold always! I searched for purple hairstreak eggs around Sutton Heath in the afternoon, finding none. I did find this harlequin ladybird (and here, and here) hibernating among the oak buds. Most of the red admiral eggs I saw laid in November 2018 have either perished or simply become impossible to find. None hatched successfully. Today I could find just one - one that I saw actually being laid. It was as if knocked over on its side (and here).
3rd: A brilliantly clear morning (and here), which continued most of the day. I had little time for nature - here are a grey plover and ringed plover on the far side of the river on my quick afternoon dog-walk.
4th: Rather grey and gloomy all day. No real nature excursions, but here is a black-headed gull disconsolately wading in the mud, dreaming of spring and a black head!
5th: Very grey and cold all day. Here are some distant avocets (and here, and here) photographed on the Deben.
6th: Again, grey and cold all day, with a hint of snow in the air (which never came). Here is a group of dunlin, redshank and black-tailed godwits on the Deben, with an avocet, and here is another part of the group with two avocets. Here is one of the avocets and here a teal.
7th: It looked brighter first thing in the morning but then descended once more into grey gloom! Here is Minnie trudging around her now familiar route ... And here is an oystercatcher among the waders in the mud of the Deben, and here a dabchick out on the water.
8th: Finally, blue skies over the meadow on our morning walk and a promise of a good day! Later in the morning I cycled off to the Martlesham region, where I used to watch silver-studded blues in my youth. Since then, the heaths have been almost entirely built over - an act of criminal vandalism on a tragic scale. I located a few tiny, isolated spots where the habitat has remained relatively undamaged, where the butterflies flew in the day. It remains to be seen whether they are still there ... I also explored a bit through local woods, finding a potentially good clearing for green hairstreaks.
9th: Very cold today, the temperature barely rising above 0 degrees all day. I took Minnie for a hasty walk after lunch but it began raining ice-cold rain and she was happy to turn back. Here is a rainbow over the Deben.
10th: The Deben near Kyson Point. A wigeon out there on the water. Again, a bitterly cold day.
11th: Grey and overcast but warmer than recently. Here is the view from near Kyson Point. Having seen a few kingfishers zooming past over the last few weeks I was fortunate enough to see one stop to fish today. Here he is perched near to the water. Unfortunately he was a long way away and I was on the wrong side for pictures. I will return when the tide is high in the morning, when the sun will be behind me. Here's another shot - the most detail I could draw out at that distance - and here one of him in the act of fishing.
12th: Very dark again. My river walk was at lower tide than yesterday and there was not enough water for the kingfisher where I saw him yesterday. Here is a fat squirrel in the morning, keeping well out of Minnie's way, a group of godwits on the water's edge and another group resting up in a bank in the stream.
13th: The light is still generally too poor for my camera! Here is a green woodpecker among the pigeons this morning.
14th: The light on the Deben this afternoon - and with Minnie. Here is a curlew down by the water's edge.
15th: Bright and sunny some of the day, turning very grey by late afternoon. I took Minnie on a forest walk, seeing no butterflies nor even finding any eggs but catching a fleeting glimpse of muntjac and seeing these roe deer far away along the track. They had seen us too and soon silently disappeared. Crossing Wilford Bridge on the way back I spotted a greenshank wading at the river's edge (and here).
16th: Utterly grim, cold and wet until the late evening, when suddenly the moon appeared in a clear sky. Here is the scene across the Deben from Kyson Point in the afternoon. A winter plumage black-headed gull dreams of spring, while a lapwing gives up all hope. A few shelduck have recently returned from their Christmas holidays in the Waddenzee. Here is one far away on the other side of the river, with an avocet and redshank also in the picture.
17th: Bright and very cold all day. This is the Deben in the afternoon. Here are couple of ringed plovers with a dunlin, a rather splendid wigeon, a black-tailed godwit going deep and a distant group of avocets. Another clear night, dominated by the gibbous moon. No possibility of any butterflies in Woodbridge today!
18th: Mixed weather, starting off very cold (-2°C) but warming up considerably during the day. Here is the view from Kyson Point this afternoon and here is Minnie on her way there. Here are a kestrel about to drop, a mucky-but-happy female wigeon, a lapwing and yet another group of avocets. There were at least 20 of these elegant birds feeding together. Finally, here is another shot of the gibbous moon as it approaches full.
19th: Bright but again very cold. Here is Minnie enjoying her morning jaunt. My first goldeneye of the winter were bobbing far out across the Deben. Again, it was a clear night, so I photographed the moon. There will be a total lunar eclipse early on Monday morning.
20th: A bright but chilly morning (and here). The usual mix of species out on the river, including many groups of ducks and waders feeding happily together. Here is a grey plover with a muddy bill, here a curlew and here an avocet. The sky was still clear on our evening walk, leaving hope of views of the blood moon tomorrow. Here is the near-full moon as she was tonight.
21st: The lunar eclipse at the beginning of totality and at mid-totality (when she was closer to the horizon). Then I went back to bed.