A gplden brown butterfly resting on the seed head of a plant

Essex Skipper. Photo: Mark Pike

A golden brown butterfly resting on the seed head of a plant

Essex Skipper. Photo: Mark Pike

Mark sent in these two photos he took at Motcombe Meadows yesterday, 13/07/2021 telling us:

A nice bright spell around lunch time tempted me to the meadows today.  I found what I was after as well! Some nice fresh Essex Skippers, this particular one was posing nicely when the sun disappeared.

Editor’s Note:  These photos clearly show the distinctive black tips to the underside of the antennae of the Essex Skipper – on the very similar Small Skipper they are orange or a dull brown.

A brown and part white butterfly with black eyespots resting on some green plants

Meadow Brown ab. Photo: Mark Pike

A brown and orange butterfly with black and white eyespots resting on a green leaf

Gatekeeper. Photo: Mark Pike

Two photos from Mark taken on a quick wander around Motcombe Meadows this afternoon, 07/07/2021 and sent to us by him saying:

A nice fresh Gatekeeper and a weird white winged Meadow Brown unknown ab. Even the common species are worth looking at!

View of an orange butterfly with black and yellow markings resting on a green leaf

Comma. Photo: Mark Pike

A view of an orange and pale brown butterfly perched on a thistle

Small Skipper. Photo: Mark PIke 

Two photos from Mark taken yesterday afternoon, 30/06/2021 at Motcombe Meadows sent in telling us:

This rather tame and very fresh Comma seemed to take a liking to me! Twice it landed on me, once on my head and again on my arm and kept returning to almost the same branch time after time. The Small Skipper was also a very fresh looking one.

Forester moth. Photo: Mark Pike

Forester moth. Photo: Mark Pike

Mark was very pleased to find three newly emerged Forester moths in Motcombe Meadows on 4/06/21.

A very beautiful moth, of the same family as the red and black burnet moths, and can be seen on sunny days feeding at flowers in meadows mid May -July and sometimes into August.

View of a golden brown and orange butterfly

Essex Skipper. Photo: Mark Pike

View of a perching golden brown and orange butterfly

Small Skipper. Photo: Mark Pike

Two photos taken on 28/06/2020 at Motcombe Meadows which Mark tells us is a great place to see both Small & Essex Skippers flying together (although he says that Small are far more common there).  He sent these two images for comparison as he thought they clearly show the all important antennae identification differences.

View of a golden brown butterfly resting on a plant stem

Essex Skipper. Photo: Mark Pike

Brown butterfly with some white spots and white fringe to the wings resting on a green plant

Ringlet ab. arete. Photo: Mark Pike

Two photos sent in by Mark with the following comments:

Despite the stiff breeze and overcast conditions there were plenty of butterflies to be seen in Motcombe Meadows this afternoon 20/6/20 – these two were both very fresh, an Essex Skipper and a Ringlet ab. arete, a ringless Ringlet!

Golden orange butterfly nectaring on a white Ox-eye daisy

Small Skipper. Photo: Mark Pike

This photo from Mark taken at Motcombe Meadows on 09/06/2020 shows a Small Skipper having a go at nectaring from a large Ox-Eye Daisy. In common with many species this year, the first sighting of a Small Skipper reported to Dorset BC was earlier this year – on 27/05/2020 compared to 01/06/2019 last year.

Golden orange butterfly resting on a grass seed head

Small Skipper. Photo: Mark Pike

Golden orange butterfly resting on a plant stem

Small Skipper. Photo: Mark Pike

Two photos of Small Skippers taken and sent to us today, 07/06/2020 by Mark with the following comments:

 A quick early walk in Motcombe Meadows this morning produced the earliest Small Skipper since records began in the meadows back in 2012, and a full 21 days earlier than the previous earliest (28/06/2019). It is a strange old year for sure!