We have four Butterfly Reserves in Dorset, all of which have their attractions, but Alners gathers the most attention at this time of year because of its Hairstreaks. A guided walk there on 5 August, led by Martin Warren,drew 30 people, and was described as “superb” despite showers.
A mating pair of Marbled Whites, photographed during the guided walk at Durlston Country Park which took place on the 18/07/2015. Brian reports seeing a total of 12 species with highlights including; Painted Lady, Small Skipper, Lulworth Skipper, Silver-washed and Dark Green Fritillary!
A Lulworth Skipper photographed on the recent guided walk to Bindon Hill near Lulworth on the 15/07/2015, led by Butterfly Conservation and the Lulworth Rangers. In this image the butterfly blends in beautifully with the Gorse seed pod alongside, seemingly a good place to shelter from the oncoming weather that struck not long after! Despite the turn in the weather, a good number of species were recorded, including; numerous Dark Green Fritillary and Lulworth Skippers but also a nice Clouded Yellow, which added a little sunshine to the day.
A report on this walk, organised by Butterfly Conservation Dorset Branch, by its leader, Richard Belding:
The walk on Saturday 2 August was held by kind permission of the owner of Court Farm, Sydling St Nicholas, and was attended by nine people in glorious warm sunshine. The walk took us over downland, through a recreated wildflower meadow, a green lane and wildlife margins with some of these areas not normally open to the public.
Those that attended were rewarded with sightings of 17 species of butterfly. We also carried out a timed count as part of the Big Butterfly Count, during which we amazingly recorded 11 species with a total of 71 butterflies.
It is a tribute to the owner and his tenant that the habitats on the farm are so well managed and varied and we thank him for allowing us access.
Brian Arnold reports:
I went on the guided walk at Alners Gorse and Rooksmoor with Nigel Spring today. It was most informative and an enjoyable day.
We did not have the best of weather, so only a few butterflies in their adult form were seen: Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood. It was a good reminder, though, that butterflies take other forms, and we found both Brown Hairstreak eggs and Marsh Fritillary caterpillars.
Brian’s photo of a Marsh Fritillary caterpillar can be seen on our Gallery page.
18 August saw Dorset Branch and the Somerset & Bristol Branch of Butterfly Conservation get together for a walk on Fontmell Down in North Dorset, led by Lawrie De Whalley.
Brian Arnold, who went on the walk said:
The walk was most interesting, as the leader Lawrie De Whalley imparted his knowledge of the butterflies and plants to be seen. We hoped to see Silver-spotted Skippers, Chalkhill Blues plus about a dozen other species, and we were rewarded by many sightings, despite several unexpected downpours of rain, including a Clouded Yellow.
The people on the walk thoroughly enjoyed it, seeing 30 Silver-spotted Skippers and a total of 18 species of butterfly.