Mark unexpectedly came across this Treble-bar moth on Ballard Down on 13/08/2017. Its fresh condition suggests it is a second generation moth emerging August-September, and although a night flyer it is easily disturbed by day.
Derek was surprised to see this Red Admiral and Jersey Tiger Moth side by side in his garden near Dorchester on 13/08/2017 .
He told us the Red Admiral flew off the second after he took this photograph, so he must have been very pleased to be in the right place at the right time, as is so often the case when spotting nature.
The Red Admiral is a common migrant, sometimes successfully hibernating over winter in the UK in outhouses or woodstacks, but the Jersey Tiger Moth is almost certainly a summer visitor usually arriving late July early August.
A Red Admiral spotted early in the year in the UK is almost definitely one that has hibernated over the winter.
This Spectacle Moth was captured in Mark’s moth trap in Motcombe on 16/08/2017.
Mark commented that he thinks it’s a comical looking spectacle (is that a play on words Mike?) as it looks like it’s wearing a pair of glasses when viewed head-on.
Spectacle moths fly at night and readily come to light traps. It generally has one generation in the UK but in the South there is a second generation, late July-early September. It feeds on flowers, Red Valerian and cultivated Sage especially.
Brian photographed these mating Common Blue butterflies at Durlston on 15/08/2017.
This is one of Europe’s most adaptable species, and this photograph shows the frequent variation in colour and size which the Common Blue displays.
Dom photographed this mating pair of Graylings on Stoborough Heath during the first week of August 2017.
Dom, our super Techie who has helped in a big way to make sure this website looks as good as it does, has achieved a very detailed shot of these masters of disguise. He noted how perfectly still they sat on the gravel path, convinced of their ability to blend into their surroundings and go undetected by predators such as birds, dragonflies and even lizards.
Brian photographed this beautiful Adonis Blue on Ballard Down on 16/08/2017.
Brian tells us:
At about 6pm I went up to Ballard Down to see if 2nd brood Adonis Blues were out and there were loads of them all settled in the grass getting ready for the night. As I walked through the undergrowth lots of them came up into the air in a small cloud of blue butterflies. Maybe this will be a really good year for them similar to a few years ago when there were thousands of them at Ballard.
Brian paints a lovely picture with his description of his experience that evening and is one that Butterfly Conservation with the help of volunteers strives to replicate when managing habitat suitable for the various species of our UK butterflies.
This is a butterfly that occurs on chalk downland in the south but is becoming increasingly rare in the UK.
Mark photographed this mating pair of Brown Argus butterflies on 13/08/2017 on Ballard Down, Swanage.
Mark says he has never come across one with white patches on its wings before and feels sure it is an aberration. It is the male butterfly which is showing this difference to the norm.
I saw this Valezina form of the Silver-washed Fritillary at Alners Gorse on 13/08/2017. A photo of this species was taken on 10/08/2017, also at Alners Gorse and was added to this gallery recently. As you can see, my photo shows this butterfly has very little damage, just a small nip off of the bottom of it’s hind -wings, whereas Elaine Conlon’s image taken 3 days earlier showed extensive loss of wings. This shows that there was more than one of these butterflies present at Alners Gorse. Hopefully this gave butterfly enthusiasts a better chance of spotting one.
After a 3 hour search Mark found three of these Silver-spotted Skippers at Fontmell Down on 10/08/2017.
A beautiful little butterfly which many people mistake for a moth, as can be the case with all skipper butterflies. Fontmell Down is the perfect habitat for this species as it requires open flowery habitat with short grass containing Sheeps Fescue, it’s principal larval food plant.
John spotted these Grayling butterflies at Morden Bog on 11/08/2017 and says:
We only moved to Dorset earlier this year from East Sussex where there is just one site in the county for Grayling and numbers there are declining so my wife and I decided to visit Morden Bog yesterday morning to look for them in Dorset.
We set off in sunshine but by the time we got there a fairly stiff breeze had sprung up and the sky was largely overcast – not ideal for seeking out an often difficult to see butterfly. As the weather conditions for finding Grayling were far from good, we felt that we could at least have a good walk so off we went across the heathland without too much hope but eventually spotted our first Grayling about 30 minutes later.
During the course of the next 90 minutes we saw at least 20 Grayling in a number of different spots here.
John was very lucky to get a photograph showing the lovely colour of the underside of the fore-wing. It is even more difficult to obtain photographs of them with all wings fully open. This is because they rest, usually on the ground, showing only their under hind-wings. This behaviour allows them a degree of safety from predators.
The Grayling has extremely variable wing markings and marked variation in size due largely to local ecological conditions, such as types of soil.