Tag Archives: Large Tortoiseshell

Orange butterfly with black and yellow markings resting on a lilac coloured Buddleia flower

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Shona Refoy

Orange and brown butterfly with black and yellow markings resting on a lilac coloured Buddleia flower

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Shona Refoy

Following the recent sightings of a Large Tortoiseshell in Broadcroft Quarry, Shona went there yesterday 06/07/2020 and has sent us these photos with the following comments:

After four hours of searching, I found this butterfly nectaring in the middle of a Buddleia – it was too windy for the butterfly to use the upper flowers, so it made taking photos a bit tricky! It is almost certainly the same butterfly as the one photographed by Mark Pike the day before, as it was nectaring on the same Buddleia. A piece of the left hindwing has been lost between Mark’s photos and mine.

A resting orange butterfly with black and yellow markings

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Richard Belding.

Orange butterfly with black and yellow markings nectaring on a pink flower.

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Richard Belding

Broadcroft Quarry is certainly attracting the butterfly hunters searching for the Large Tortoiseshell.  Richard went there yesterday, 07/07/2020 and has sent us these two photos saying that if it is the the same individual that Mark Pike photographed 2 days ago it has got a lot tattier.

Orange butterfly with black and yellow markings resting on a lilac flower

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Mark Pike

Brown butterfly with some blue markings nectaring on a lilac flower

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Mark Pike

Mark went to Broadcroft Quarry on Portland today, 05/07/2020 in search of the much talked about Large Tortoiseshell and was rewarded with this super example of one – the first he had ever seen.  Mark added that he wondered if it was the one seen here last Friday?

A resting orange butterfly with black and yellow markings

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Malcolm Halfacre

A resting orange butterfly with black and yellow markings

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Josh Evans

Another Red (or should that be Orange) Letter Day in the search for Large Tortoiseshlls on Portland.  These two photos taken by Malcolm and Josh were sent to Nigel Spring who forwarded them for display on the Dorset BC Photo Gallery with the following comments:

This Large Tortoiseshell was discovered by Malcolm Halfacre during a workparty to clear clematis and bramble regrowth from the scrapes on Broadcroft Quarry Butterfly Reserve on 03/07/2020. Luckily he was able to round up the rest of the group and lead them to where the beautiful insect was nectaring on buddleia and occasionally posing on the rocks to be photographed.

View of an orange butterfly with black, yellow and white marking resting on the ground..

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Mike Halsall

Following the posting yesterday of the Large Tortoiseshell seen in Bournemouth, Mike has sent us this photo of the one referred to in the text of that posting which he saw at Hambury Tout, West Lulworth on 05/04/2020 – this was also confirmed as being a Large Tortoiseshell by Bill Shreeves.  A real bonus to be able to see photos of two different very recent sightings of this rarely seen butterfly.

View of a resting orange butterfly with some black and yellow markings on the wings.

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Jacquelene Bainbridge

Jacquelene sent us this photo of a butterfly she spotted at about 6:00pm on Monday 06/04/2020 on a south east facing wall of her house in Bournemouth saying that it looks like a rather tatty Large Tortoiseshell?

From my guide books it seemed that she was right but with a sighting of this significance I decided to check with our Dorset Group Butterfly Recorder, Bill Shreeves who responded as follows:

Yes, definitely a Large Tortoiseshell. It has the 4 dark spots on the upper forewing as opposed to the usual 3 of the Small Tortoiseshell & it is the tawny orange colour & not the much more red of the Small Tortoiseshell. It is rather unusual in having much ‘whiter’ marks along the upper edges of the forewing than most Large Tortoiseshells but still doesn’t have the brilliant white spot at the tips of the forewing which Small Tortoiseshells always have. Interestingly the Large Tortoiseshell which has just been recorded at Hambury Tout in Purbeck has the same unusually white marks. However, this last one was in quite good condition & is unlikely to have made the flight to Bournemouth since the 5th April when it was recorded. 

We understand that another Large Tortoiseshell has also been reported in East Sussex which also has the unusually white marks on the forewings. It looks as if something unusual is happening but best to wait until we have more evidence before deciding whether these have hibernated or migrated or been released.

Large Tortoiseshell and Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Portland Obs Garden.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth and Large Tortoiseshell nectaring on Valerian

Large Tortoiseshell and Hummingbird Hawkmoth, Photo: Paul Hopwood

Paul spotted these two rare beauties in the garden of Portland Observatory on 30/06/19

Two Large Tortoiseshells have been seen on a few occasions earlier in the year on Portland and  now we regularly receive reports of sightings in different locations on the island.