Urgent: Please look for butterflies at Maiden Castle (near Dorchester)

The records we have received since 2010 suggest several butterfly species known to have been present at Maiden Castle previously have disappeared. We hope it is a lack of recording rather than a lack of butterflies, but we urgently need you to go there and tell us what butterflies you see. The species not recorded recently are:

  • Grizzled Skipper (out in Dorset now – April)
  • Green Hairstreak (out in Dorset now – April)
  • Brimstone (a common butterfly seen throughout the year – it is most odd that no records have been received for this very easily identified species).
  • Small Blue (usually out in May/June)
  • Brown Argus. This was last recorded with just a single sighting in the 2005-09 period. (May be seen at times between May and September).
  • Chalkhill Blue. This was also last recorded with just a single sighting in the 2005-09 period. (Usually out July-Aug-Sep).
  • Dark Green Fritillary (normally on the wing late June thorough to August)
  • Marsh Fritillary (late May-June-early July)

The total number of species at Maiden Castle previously compared to now are:

  • The area covered by map ref SY 66/88: 30 down to 23 species
  • The area covered by map ref SY 67/88: 26 down to 20.

We record butterflies in five-year cycles, so we are comparing the four years of the current cycle (2010-2015) with the 1995-2009 records. The need for records in 2015 is urgent because we are in the last year of the recording cycle.

One bit of good news is that Adonis Blue and Dingy Skipper both seem to be OK.

When you send any records in, if you looked for any particular species but were unable to find them at the right time and in good weather, please add a note – we need to know you have looked.

The map grid reference for the area is SY 6688 and SY 6788.

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