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Category Archives: Sightings

Three Small Heaths mating!

Three Small Heaths on a twig

Small Heaths. Photo: Richard Collier

This amazing photo appears to show three Small Heath butterflies in a menage a trois! We think it is two males and one female. Seen by Richard Collier on a walk from Corfe Castle to Swanage. June 2017.

Let us know if you have ever seen anything like this before – we’d be interested: email photos@dorsetbutterflies.com

Meadow Brown aberration at Piddles Wood

Meadow Brown top wings

Meadow Brown. Photo: Mark Pike

Meadow Brown upper wings do vary a lot, but this may be classed as an ‘aberration’. Taken by Mark Pike at Piddles Wood (North Dorset) on 16/06/2017.

If you are interested in aberrations, have a look at the Cockayne Collection on the British Museum website.

Mullein Moth caterpillar in Corfe Castle

Large caterpillar with yellow and black markings on a pale green background

Mullein moth caterpillar. Photo: Richard and Sue Sedgley

The identification of the caterpillar can be made partly from the plant it is on: you can see the plant is somewhat hairy, and has a tall main stalk, so it is probably a verbascum – the food plant of the Mullein moth, along with buddleia and figwort. This moth is more often seen in the caterpillar stage than the adult stage, which is usually on the wing in April and May and is much less eye-catching!

Picture taken in a garden in Corfe Castle on 13/06/2017.

Marsh Fritillary eggs at Cerne Abbas

Large number of orange eggs underneath a leaf.

Eggs of the Marsh Fritillary. Photo: Dave Law

Dave says this was one of quite a few egg batches found on various Dorset sites, which is hopefully good news for future generations of the butterfly. The eggs will hatch into caterpillars, which hibernate over the winter, to then form chrysalises and emerge as the adult butterfly in May the following year.

Dave took the picture at Cerne Abbas on 12/06/2017

Butterflies, moths and orchids

The wildlife site to the side of the Weymouth Relief Road is humming with insect life, as evidenced by this amazing photo, showing at least twelve Six-spot Burnet moths on the flower stalk of a Vipers Bugloss Plant, and Stephen Brown tells is that he counted 362 on his walk on 13 June 2017!

Around twelve Burnet moths on a bright blue flower spike

Six-spot Burnet moths on Vipers Bugloss. Photo: Stephen Brown

Reports are also coming in of Adonis Blues and Grizzled Skippers, both not seen here before, and the one bee orchid seen last year has increased to over 70.

It only shows that when we create (or return) the right habitat for the wildlife, they will come if they are close enough to get there. We are very grateful to Phil Sterling and Dorset County Council for having the vision to create this wonderful area when putting through the new road.

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Adonis aberration at Fontmell Down

A female Adonis with more blue than usual on its upperwings
Adonis Blue aberration. Photo: John Woodruff
A female Adonis with more blue than usual on its upperwings

Adonis Blue aberration. Photo: John Woodruff

A very pretty femal Adonis Blue taken at Fontmell Down on 04/06/2017. It is unusual for the female to have as much blue on the upperwings as this.