View of an orange butterfly with black and white markings resting on a yellow flower

Marsh Fritillary. Photo: Dave Law

Not the usual photo to be found on the Gallery but one that shows the reality of ageing for a butterfly – photo sent in by Dave with the following comments:

It’s always a sad sight to see a butterfly in the last throws of its life but it still amazes me just how little of their wings they need to fly . This male Marsh Fritillary at Lydlinch Common today, 08/06/2021 has obviously led an eventful life dodging predators.  Hopefully he managed to find a female during his adventures to have made his existence worthwhile!

Two orange butterflies with black and yellow markings

Marsh Fritillaries. Photo: Donald Simcock

View of some yellow butterfly eggs on a green leaf

Marsh Fritillary Eggs. Photo: Donald Simcock

Here are a couple of photos sent to us by Donald with the following comments:

On 26/05/2021 we went along to join a walk at Lydlinch Common run by the Dorset branch of Butterfly Conservation to look for the Marsh Fritillary, of which we saw many. We also saw Green Hairstreak, Holly Blue, Orange Tip, and Comma. This was our first visit to this reserve and the first time we have seen a Marsh Fritillary and Green Hairstreak.

One of the things we enjoyed most was talking about the conservation of the site and some of the observational peculiarities about the different butterflies. One of the volunteers found a Devil’s-bit scabious plant with eggs laid by the Marsh Fritillary and for us this was a bonus as it is probably one of the least seen processes of the life cycle. And a final bonus for us was hearing Nightingales sing, something we’ve waited a long time to hear.

A resting orange butterfly with yellow, brown, black and white markings

Marsh Fritillary. Photo: Amanda McCarthy

A green butterfly resting amongst some green vegetation

Green Hairstreak. Photo: Amanda McCarthy

As I mentioned in an earlier posting today Lydlinch Common seems to be the place to go for Marsh Fritillaries and just to reinforce this comment here are a couple of photos taken by Amanda yesterday, 19/05/2021 who sent them in telling us:

After several unsuccessful visits to Lydlinch Common over the weekend – finally today the sun came out! I was so busy spotting the Marsh Fritillaries I nearly missed this gorgeous Green Hairstreak!

Two orange butterflies with yellow, brown, black and white markings resting on green leaves

Marsh Fritillaries. Photo: Dave Law

Lydlinch Common has seemed to be the place to go for Marsh Fritillaries recently – this photo taken there by Dave on 19/05/2021 was sent in by him saying:

Marsh Fritillaries took full advantage of today’s sunny weather with good numbers flying at Lydlinch Common and multiple pairings observed.

Micropterix calthella. Photo: Mark Pike

On 12/05/21 Mark visited Lydlinch Common and managed some butterfly and moth photography before the weather turned nasty again. These two stunning micro moths sharing a flower are Micropterix calthella.

It is single brooded, late April-July and flies by day, sometimes in numbers.

An orange butterfly with yellow, black and white markings resting on some vegetation

Marsh Fritillary. Photo: Gary Holderness

Gary sent in this photo telling us:

On 12/05/2021 I decided to take a chance and drop into Lydlinch Common on the way to Shaftesbury and luckily I got my first views and photos of Marsh Fritillary, which was fantastic.  I spent about 2 hours there saw two “Marshies” but oddly enough nothing else.

Editor’s Note added after this was first posted:  There was an error in my original posting for this photo – for no reason I can think of other than having a strange “Senior Moment”, I originally credited this photo to Paul Godier.  I have now corrected this and can only offer my apologies for this error to Gary and also to Paul.

View of a resting mainly orange butterfly with yellow, black and white markings

Marsh Fritillary. Photo: Dave Law

Dave sent in this photo taken today, 11/05/2021 of a male Marsh Fritillary at a sunny but windy Lydlinch Common. He also mentioned that in the space of a week with a bit of rain and sun the Bugle flowers have exploded over all areas of the site and that Nightingales were present throughout his time there.

Lydlinch Common

Field and trees
Lydlinch Common. Photo: Colin Burningham

Guide to this top Dorset butterfly site, including: location, description, species of interest and photo gallery.

Two colourful orange, yellow and brown butterlfies in mating position on a flower

Marsh Fritillaries. Photo: Chris Rowland

This mating pair were caught at Lyndlinch Common, in North Dorset, one of our best sites for the Marsh Fritillary, on 18/05/2019. It looks like the female is the one in the top of the picture: her body is broader, and females are often paler and slightly larger than males.