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.







Sherborne Nature Sites event: please note change of date

Please note that the event being held at two nature sites in Sherborne is in 25 June, not 18 June as stated in our printed Events List – the date changed after we went to print.

Two lovely walks, tea served afterwards and the weather looks like it might be good – well worth coming!

Can you find a Grizzled Skipper for us?

Grizzled Skipper with open wings
Grizzled Skipper. Photo: Richard Belding

The Grizzled Skipper is increasingly rare in the UK, though it has been doing quite well in Dorset until recently. We need to keep track of its numbers, so we’d be grateful if you could look out for it. Continue reading

ID Day a sell-out

A number of people seated, some being helped by people leaning over their shoulders
People at the identification day. Photo: Georgie Laing

We hold an annual training course in butterfly identification, which particularly looks at the can-be-hard-to-tell apart families, like the whites or the blues. This year’s took place on 27 May in Cerne Abbas and was, as usual, a sell-out, with 23 people attending.

The day, run by volunteers of the Dorset Branch of Butterfly Conservation, looks not just at identification, but also how to survey and record butterflies.

In the morning, attendees learnt the techniques of butterfly identification. In the afternoon, when the sun fortunately came out, they went out to practice their new knowledge in the butterfly-rich location of the Cerne Giant. There was great excitement when, as well as adult butterflies of various species, a Marsh Fritillary chysalis was spotted.

Our thanks to James Gould (who said he enjoyed the day, especially the cakes!) for the following photos.

Marsh Fritillary butterfly with open wings

Marsh Fritillary. Photo: James Gould.

Chunky crysalis, cream with yellow and black markings, held by silk onto a leaf

Marsh Fritillary chrysalis. Photo: James Gould.