Author Archives: Lyn Pullen

Bright green caterpillar on some leaves

Humming-bird Hawk-moth caterpillar. Photo: Lyn Pullen

Lyn Pullen says:

I found a bright green caterpillar in my garden and at first thought it was an Angle Shades, but on close inspection it had a spur on its tail, so it was a Hawk-moth. Consulting the books, it looked likely to be a Humming-bird Hawk-moth, and checking with colleagues, this was agreed.

This moth is mainly a migrant to the UK, but is also known to breed here on occasions; I have seen several adult Humming-bird Hawk-moths around and I have some good bedstraw plants in the garden, so it looks like I’ve got them breeding. It was looking a bit limp when I found it, and I suspect it had somehow been separated from its foodplant, but giving it some bedstraw cheered it up and it’s now buried deep in the plant, away from predators. They overwinter as adults, so hopefully this one will find some shelter when it emerges: it’s welcome to share my greenhouse!

Big Butterfly Count and White Holes

An orange butterfly with black markings on a white flower
Comma. Photo: Stewart Balmain

We hope you are all sending in at least one record for the national Big Butterfly Count, but we need your help filling White Holes in Dorset too.

For full details of what to do for the Big Butterfly Count, see our earlier news item. You have until Sunday 6 August to spend 15 minutes looking for butterflies at a set location.

In Dorset, we need you to help us fill what we call White Holes. The map of Dorset is divided into kilometre squares and our dream would be to have sightings from all of them. There is a map on this website showing you where no sightings have been received, leaving the unfilled squares as ‘White Holes’.

We are in the penultimate year of a five-year recording cycle, so we need a good push before the end of the butterfly season.

Orange buttefly iwth dark markings

Small Copper. Photo: Sharon Towning

At the beginning of 2023 we had 666 White Holes, but this has been reduced (as of the end of July) to 567, so 99 White Holes have been filled this year, 59 of which were done in July! An excellent effort, and we send our thanks to all of you who helped.

To find out more, visit our White Holes page. For help with identification, see our detailed Species Pages, which tell you when and where each species is usually seen as well as giving help with telling them apart.


A five picture sequence of a white butterfly in flight

Small White in flight. Photos: Roger Peart

It’s fascinating to see how a butterfly’s wings actually work. Well done to Roger Peart for capturing this sequence in his Merley garden on 25 July.