Tag Archives: Fontmell Down

View of a greenish brown butterfly with white markings resting on a green leaf

Silver-spotted Skipper. Photo: Mark Pike

Mark has sent us this photo of a Silver-spotted Skipper he saw today, 03/08/2020 at Fontmell Down which he told us is the last specialist butterfly for him this year.  You will also note from the previous posting that today we also received photos of this same species from another of our contributors to the Gallery.

The rare and localised Silver-spotted Skipper can be found on parts of the chalk downlands of southern England which mark the northern edge of its European range.  It is readily identified by the silver spots on the underside of each hindwing which are easily seen when the butterfly is at rest.

Greenish brown butterfly with white markings resting in green foliage

Silver-spotted Skipper. Photo: Shona Refoy

Golden brown butterfly resting on green foliage

Silver-spotted Skipper. Photo: Shona Refoy

What a great day it was for Shona today – the story in her own words follows:

I was on Fontmell Down earlier today, 03/08/2020 and saw what may turn out to be the first Silver-spotted Skipper reported this year (bottom photo).  I continued to look, but didn’t see him (or any others) again in the usual area.  Almost back to the gate, about to leave the Down, another male plonked himself right next to me as I was walking along the path (top photo)! What a pleasure it was to see our cutest butterfly again.

Editor’s Note:  Like buses you can wait a long time for one to appear and then two come along at the same time (or almost).  Last year the first record of a Silver-spotted Skipper sighting in Dorset was on 28/07/2020 so this year it is a little later. However, by a remarkable coincidence another photo of a Silver-spotted Skipper was also sent to me today which I will be adding to the Gallery immediately after this posting but from the dates and times the photos were all taken, the bottom photo above is showing as being taken first by 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Mating black moths  with five red spots on forewings

Five-spot burnet moths.Photo: Lynda Lambert

Lynda saw these two mating Five-spot burnet moths on the hillside at Fontmell Down on 20/07/20 just as she was about to  go home. There had been very few of these moths to be found  among the carpets of flowers which seemed surprising, but there many butterflies to make up for it.

The burnet moth is the only UK moth to have clubbed antennae as butterflies have.

View of orange and brown butterfly on green plant

Silver-spotted Skipper. Photo: Shona Refoy

Shona Writes:

I went back to Fontmell Down on Thursday 08/08/2019, and saw several Silver-spotted Skippers, all male. I like front view photos because they show how cute the butterfly is, and that they appear to be wearing furry shorts!