Category Archives: News

Helice Clouded Yellow at Alners Gorse

Clouded Yellow. Photo: James Phillips

Although 2020 cannot really be described as a Clouded Yellow year (not like those amazing influxes we have witnessed in some previous years), we have had so many reports of Clouded Yellows sent into the Dorset branch website recently that reported sightings of the species were more numerous in mid October than for any other species. The total sightings for October put it second highest, only behind the Red Admiral. It is still not clear whether these are butterflies that developed in the UK this year or whether they are fresh migrants from the continent.

Just occasionally the white form of the female Clouded Yellow appears (known as the ‘helice’ variety). Martin Warren did a late walk on our Alners Gorse reserve on October 1st and managed to record a helice female there: not a common record for the site. James Phillips recorded a mating pair in Church Ope Cove on Portland on 16 October: the standard male and the very pale helice, and was able to take a stunning photo (above) of the moment.

Help us find Elm trees in Dorset

Mid-brown butterfly with white lines and orange spots, plus a tail.
White-letter Hairstreak. Photo: Mark Pike

White-letter Hairstreak butterflies are quite rare in Dorset; their caterpillars breed on elm trees, so finding the trees will help us find the butterflies. You can help us map some of the remaining healthy Elm trees in Dorset and by so doing help us locate some of our missing White-letter Hairstreaks (WLH) Continue reading