Tag Archives: Portland

view of a Common Blue resting on a dead flower head

Common Blue. Photo: Penny Hawes

Penny found this lovely male Common Blue at Portland on 6/09/18.

It looks in such a pristine condition, so it is hard to believe we are already into Autumn. The Blues seem to have had a very good year and after the prolonged dry spell, the rains have revived the caterpillar foodplants . Hopefully this will ode well for the 2019 butterfly season.

Large Tortoiseshell, Portland

view of a Large Tortoiseshell resting on Valerian  showing upper wings

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Alan Carpenter

Alan saw this Large Tortoiseshell at Portland on 1/07/18

In Victorian times the Large Tortoiseshell was considered widespread and common in woodland in southern England. However, this beautiful insect has since suffered a severe decline and there have been less than 150 records since 1951. This butterfly, whose numbers were always known to fluctuate, is generally considered to be extinct in the British Isles, with any sightings considered to be migrants from the continent or accidental or deliberate releases of captive-bred stock.

Marbled Whites, Portland

View of a Male and female Marbled White both nectaring on clover

Marbled Whites. Photo: Gordon Cryer

Gordon photographed these Marbled Whites ,  Male (L) and female (R),  at Portland on 21/07/18.

Despite its name, the Marbled White is more closely related to the subfamily known as the “browns” that the “whites”. This butterfly is unmistakable, its black and white markings distinguishing it from all other species found in the British Isles.

Adults emerge throughout the latter part of June, reaching a peak in early July. There is one generation each year.

view of Red Admirals sunning themselves on Ivy

Red Admirals. Photo: Roger Gall

Roger Gall photographed these Red Admirals on Portland on 18/09/17 and will now be a reminder of late Summer days during  the dull days of Winter. Roger tells us:

Lots of Red Admirals on Portland during the last two days. Counted 22 on 18th September but at least 40 on 19th .This photo shows some of the 22 that were sunning themselves on the same ivy bush.

Red Admirals hibernate during the Winter months but will emerge and  brighten our day if we get a warm spell during Winter.

view of a Chalkhill Blue nectaring on Birdsfoot trefoil , showing all markings on top wings

Chalkhill Blue. Photo: Penny Hawes

Penny photographed this beautiful male Chalkhill Blue at Kingbarrow Quarry, on Portland on 25/07/17.

The caterpillar foodplant  of this species is Horse-shoe Vetch, and the adult butterfly can be seen on the wing from late June to early October. It prefers dry flowery places with short grass, usually on limestone, but always alkaline soils.

view of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth nectaring on Valerian

Hummingbird Hawkmoth. Photo: Andrew Martin

Andrew took this photograph of a Hummingbird Hawkmoth at Cheyne Wears on 12/07/17.

This species always causes excitement when spotted hovering like a tiny hummingbird whilst nectaring on tubular flowers such as Buddleia, Phlox, Red Valerian, Lilac and Petunias.

Mostly immigrants, arriving  April-December, but more usually seen August -September, in the South west they have been known to overwinter during mild winters for the last 30 years.

Interesting to note that they are considered a messenger of good tidings in Italy and Malta, and on D-Day 1944 a small swarm were reported flying over the English Channel from France towards England.


side on view of Silver-striped Hawkmoth showing the lovely shape and pattern of the wings

Silver-striped Hawk-moth. Photo: Chris Griffin

view of Silver-striped Hawkmoth showing top of forewings and underwings

Silver-striped Hawk-moth. Photo: Chris Griffin

Chris travelled from his home in Somerset especially to photograph this Silver-striped Hawk-moth found at Weston on Portland on 20/09/17.

This is an immigrant moth which has two generations, May-October though it is usually moths from the second generation which reach  the UK occurring from August.

The beautiful pattern and colour of this large moth, forewing 33-35 mm, and the prominent eyes make for a super experience for anyone lucky enough to see one. It flies from dusk and visits nectar flowers as well as Ivy. A good reason not to cut back flowering ivy  before the end of Autumn.

It has a variety of foodplants abroad and is resident on the north coast of Africa from where it colonises southern Europe each summer producing up to two generations from May-October.

In the UK , most immigrants have been recorded along the south coast,  where the largest annual total in 1885 was 41. Since then numbers have been much less with  a total of 14 recorded in 1963

Many thanks to Chris of Griffin Wildlife Photography for sending us these photos so that we can all enjoy this stunning moth.