Tag Archives: weymouth relief road

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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Burnet Moth by the Weymouth Relief Road

Burnet moth on an ox-eye daisy.

Burnet Moth. Photo: George McCabe

We’ve had shots of the Burnet Moth caterpillar and chrysalis: now meet the moth! Probably a Six-spot Burnet, it is on an Ox-eye daisy, and if you look carefully, you can see there are a lot more on the bright blue flowers of the viper’s bugloss behind it. Caught by George on the walk at the side of the Weymouth Relief Road 03/06/2017.

Burnet moth caterpillar by the Weymouth Relief Road

Green and black caterpillar on a blade of grass

Caterpillar of the Burnet Moth. Photo: Simon Fenner

This was taken by the side of the Weymouth Relief Road on 29/05/2017. This area is turning into a superb butterfly spot.

The caterpillar is that of one of the Burnet moths, probably the Six-spot. THe white blob on the other side of the stalk is a chrysalis cocoon of the same species.

Simon reports there were  over 50 chryslis and a couple of caterpillars.

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Burnet chrysalis by the Weymouth Relief Road

Yellow chrysalis attached to a grass stalk

Burnet Moth chrysalis. Photo: James Gould

This is the chrysalis of a Burnet Moth, probably a Six-spot Burnet.Seen on a Butterfly Conservation walk along the side of the Weymouth Relief Road on 14/05/2017 – James reports that there were scores of these to be seen.

New record for Weymouth Relief Road

Dingy Skippers have been recorded for the first time on the wildflower banks lining the bridle path of the Weymouth Relief Road. This was an exciting discovery for the guided walk on 17 May. Common Blue was seen in abundance and at least 3 separate colonies of Small Blue.

Dingy skipper on kidney vetch

Dingy skipper on kidney vetch. Photo: Allan Neilson

The branch has been monitoring this site since its creation in 2011. The cutting is now a delight with horseshoe vetch in full bloom creating a carpet of golden yellow. There has been a year-on-year increase of butterfly species seen. Who knows? – maybe the next will be the Chalkhill Blue.

If you would like to help with our survey please just walk the bridle path from the Ridgeway down to the Bincombe turning. We are also recording the banks alongside both of the lay-bys. Please let Georgie Laing know you would like to help so she can send you a recording form, using our Contact Form.

To get to the main walk along the bridleway, park at the truncated end of the Broadmayne road. The bridleway goes along the side of the hill. Map: SY674859

Weymouth Relief Road is a hit with butterflies

Georgie Laing has pulled together the information gathered in 2013 on how the sides of the Weymouth Relief Road, built in 2012 for the Olympics, are doing.

This area was deliberately not grassed, but seeded with butterfly-attracting wild flowers, which certainly seem to be doing their job.

A riot of colour now greets travelers when the yellow blanket of kidney vetch blooms on the cuttings and bridleway on the ridgeway. This is important as the caterpillar food plant of the Small Blue.

Kidney vetch on bridleway

Kidney vetch on the Bridleway, 2013. Photo: John Elliott

For the last two years Butterfly conservation volunteers have been monitoring the site to record the species of butterflies.

2013 proved to be a good year:

  • 25 visits were made
  • 20 species recorded
  • 621 individual records
  • 8 new species were recorded:
    • Large Skipper
    • Clouded Yellow
    • Brimstone
    • Green-veined White
    • Orange-tip
    • Adonis Blue
    • Peacock

3 species showed large increases from last year

  • Small White (144 recorded)
  • Common Blue (213 recorded)
  • Small Tortoiseshell (79 recorded)
Small Blue

Small Blue. Photo: John Elliott

Species list for 2013

  • Large Skipper (new 2013)
  • Clouded yellow (new 2013)
  • Brimstone (new 2013)
  • Large White
  • Small White
  • Green-veined White (new 2013)
  • Orange-tip (new 2013)
  • Small Copper (new 2013)
  • Small Blue
  • Brown Argus
  • Common Blue
  • Adonis Blue (new 2013)
  • Red Admiral
  • Painted lady
  • Small Tortoiseshell
  • Peacock (new 2013)
  • Wall
  • Marbled White
  • Gatekeeper
  • Meadow Brown
  • Ringlet (2012 only)

We would like to continue the monitoring in 2014 and are hoping to design a formal butterfly monitoring (transect) walk. More volunteers are needed.

If you would like to help or would like a more detailed report of the records please contact Georgie Laing  via our Contact Form.