We had a sighting of the first Clouded Yellow of the year, at Southbourne on 19 March. This is good news for Dorset because a glance at the First Sightings section in the Butterfly Conservation’s national website indicates that it is the first one for the country as a whole. Continue reading
Andy has been enjoying the Clouded Yellows this year and sent in these two photos telling us:
The Clouded Yellow are having great autumn along the Dorset coast – I had 3 at Southbourne yesterday, 05/11/2020 and 3 at Ulwell today, 06/11/2020 in cool conditions. My best ever count for November. Here are two photos of a male hanging on to flower in gusty wind at Ulwell showing glimpses of the upper side.
Brian has just sent us these two photos with the following comments:
What a change in the weather. Today 04/11/2020 we went for a long walk with the Swanage Walking Group (last before the lockdown) from Portesham up to the South Dorset Ridgeway. There we saw 2 Clouded Yellows and 4 Red Admirals. Although only 10 degrees it felt far warmer in the sunshine. One of the Red Admirals was a little past its best – looking more like a Comma with its battered wings, but the Clouded yellows looked quite pristine.
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.
Shona made a return visit to Lorton Meadows yesterday, 11/10/2020 and these are just two of the photos she sent in. The top photo shows a male Clouded Yellow which fluttered his wings as he moved his feet while nectaring and Shona told us she was very lucky to capture this image.
The bottom photo shows most of a female Clouded Yellow as she was flying from flower to flower nectaring. Shona also mentioned that there are fewer butterflies in Rodway Mead now adding that the cows have eaten most of the flowers!
Editor’s Note: This is a butterfly which when it pauses to feed or rest, invariably closes its wings and it is rare to see the uppersides of the wings except when they are in flight. These two remarkable photos clearly show the differences between the male and female and despite Shona’s reservations (she said I’m not sure that they are worthy of a place in the Gallery) I consider them to be very worthy of their place there. I also agree with her sentiments that it’s such a shame that such a beautiful butterfly refuses to sit with open wings.
This photo of a Clouded Yellow was sent in by Donald telling us:
Yesterday, 09/10/2020 on one of our walks around Ulwell, near Swanage, we came across a steep slope that had been cut back probably last winter and was full of plants, some in flower. Walking through to get to Ballard Down we saw a Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown or Small Heath and a Clouded Yellow.
Later, on our return, after the rains, we sat in this grassy patch to have a late lunch and just soak up the sun. We were rewarded with 3 Clouded Yellows moving back and forth feeding and sunbathing. The orientation and angle of the hill has created a hot spot and definitely worth a few visits next year.
These are just two of the photos taken today, 09/10/2020 that Paul has sent in telling us:
Boscombe Cliff Gardens were alive with butterflies in the autumn sun this morning, 09/10/2020. There were six Red Admirals on the Buddleia – mostly pristine plus the usual crop of Small and Large Whites, including this Large one. Also two Clouded Yellows were nectaring on Boscombe Cliffs when they weren’t chasing each other – I find them hard to photograph and this was the best I could manage through the goat fence.
The appearance of a Clouded Yellow in his garden has just broken Brian’s previous record for the number of species there in a year. Continue reading
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.
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.