Author Archives: John East

A pale yellow and white butterfly with some black markings nectaring on a lilac blue coloured flower

Clouded Yellow f. helice. Photo: Chris Becker

Chris has sent us this recent photo taken at Luscombe Valley Nature Reserve showing a female Clouded Yellow form helice.  Some 10% of female Clouded Yellows are of this pale variety with their colour ranging from a soft lemon yellow to white.  Their distinctive underwing pattern is similar in both the normal and helice forms.  So far this year Dorset Butterfly Conservation has received 114 reports of sightings of Clouded Yellows (including of the form helice).

An orange and brown butterfly resting on a green leaf

Gatekeeper. Photo: Shona Refoy

An orange and brown butterfly resting on a green leaf

Gatekeeper. Photo: Shona Refoy

Two photos sent in by Shona telling us:

I was surprised to see this fairly fresh female Gatekeeper at Ulwell earlier today, 21/09/2020. She was flying around with a Speckled Wood, and I assumed her to be another Speckled Wood until she landed! I managed to snatch a few photos before having to get out of the way of some people coming up the path which she was beside. 

On my previous visit to Ulwell and Ballard Down on 01/09/2020 I saw no Gatekeepers at all.

An orange butterfly with black spots nectaring on a yellow flower

Comma. Photo: George McCabe

Another photo from George sent in telling us:

I went to Island Nursery Garden Centre, Upwey, Weymout today, 20/09/2020 mainly to look for plants but could not resist looking out for butterflies. l was not expecting to spot a Comma on a Rudbeckia – it just shows you’ve got to keep your eyes open for the unexpected. It made my day.

Orange and brown butterfly with black markings nectaring on a pink Sedum flower

Small Copper. Photo: Brian Arnold

An orange and brown butterfly with black markings nectaring on a pink Sedum flower

Small Copper. Photo: Brian Arnold

Two photos from Brian sent telling us:

The Sedums in our garden at Harman’s Cross are proving to be a magnet for Small Coppers. Two fresh looking examples on the Sedums today (Saturday 19/09/2020), which seem to have become their flower of choice now that the Fleabane has stopped flowering. The only other butterflies in our garden today were Small White and Speckled Wood.

Two perching orange and brown butterflies with black markings

Small Copper. Photo: Ann Barlow

A brown and orange butterfly resting on the ground

Small Heath. Photo: Ann Barlow

Here are a couple of photos from Ann which she sent in with the following comments:

I have seen more Small Coppers this year than ever before, so I hope it’s a really good year for them – this first photo was taken on my visit to the Orchid Field in Corfe Mullen yesterday, 17/09/2020. The Small Heath which I saw on Lesley’s Heath Field, Corfe Mullen this morning, 18/09/2020 was my first sighting of this species this year.  

A yellow butterfly with brown markings nectaring on a yellow flower

Clouded Yellow. Photo: Shona Refoy

Shona has sent us this photo with the following comments:

I was very interested to see George McCabe’s photos of the lovely Clouded Yellow helice form which he saw at Lorton Meadows on 15/09/2020.  I went to Lorton Meadows yesterday 16/092020 on my way back from Portland, and saw a Clouded Yellow, which I presumed to be the same one. 

However, the one I saw was male, and on a hot afternoon was flying rapidly from one flower to the next, with me in (very) hot pursuit, until I lost him among all the yellow flowers in the field! I did manage to snatch a couple of photos, including this action one – he briefly fluttered his wings while nectaring, to show his plain black wing margins.

View of a resting yellow buterfly with some black, white and brownish markings

Clouded Yellow. Photo: Dave Law

Dave sent in this photo telling us:

At least two separate male Clouded Yellows flying in Motcombe Meadow today 16/09/2020, both immaculate plus a good showing of fresh 3rd brood Small Copper, at least a dozen flying.  I’m guessing, due to the good condition of the CY’s they are offspring from the migrants that arrived in July.  All seen in the area left of the car park and before the pond.