There ARE butterflies around Ibberton!

view of Small Tortoiseshell resting with open on wings on green leaves
Tortoiseshell. Photo: Mark Pike.

Earlier in June we appealed for records in an area around Ibberton in North Dorset where nothing had been reported in five years. We are delighted that John and Sue East stepped up and found butterflies in ten of the eleven kilometer squares, and they intend to return to the ’empty’ square when they can to see if they can fill it. John tells us:

A recent June Butterfly News update I read on-line recently mentioned the “Butterfly Desert” in Dorset in the area around Ibberton and Woolland.

We know the area a bit as we don’t live too far from there so got the maps out and planned a “recce” of the area as although there are a number of footpaths finding anywhere to park for any length of time to go walking in this very rural farming area is not easy – also quite a number of the paths are quite overgrown and a machete can be needed.

Undaunted we set off yesterday in the car with a planned route to cover as many of the country lanes etc as possible stopping wherever we could find a suitable place (not as easy as one might think on these very narrow lanes).

Our “Butterfly Safari” proved very successful and from the car and on foot we found and recorded butterflies in 10 of the 11 “White Hole” grid squares mentioned in the article – the only one we didn’t get to (ST7809) we will visit within the next few days.

Side view of butterfly with two-tone brown hindwings and small glimpse of orange upperwing with eyespot

Meadow Brown female. Photo: Ken Dolbear


In 3 of the squares we found 3 species, in 3 others 2 species and in the remaining 4 just 1 species.  Our success was largely due to it being a warm sunny day after a few days of mainly cloudy weather and the appearance of numerous Meadow Browns that looked very fresh and recently emerged – in 3 squares we stopped counting when numbers of them got into the 20’s.

We are delighted to see that the records included several Small Tortoiseshells: a species that is causing us some concern.

Our very grateful thanks to John and Sue. Their records are shown by marker flags on the map below and will be added to the main white holes database soon.

White Holes map with markers

Filled ‘White Holes’ near Woolland and Ibberton

There are more empty squares to fill – see our White Holes page for a map.

One thought on “There ARE butterflies around Ibberton!

  1. Martin Imrie

    well done John and Sue. Being a non drivers we have to concentrate on the area around Weymouth where we live or where the buses go,


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