Tag Archives: Portland

Two butterflies on a pink flower - one white with black markings and the other brown and orange

Marbled White and Meadow Brown. Photo: Penny Hawes

Two brown butterflies resting on green vegetation

Small and Lulworth Skippers. Photo: Penny Hawes

Penny sent in these two photos that she took on a trip to Portland on 17/07/2021 telling us:

The Skippers were resting on the same stem at the Bill, (don’t ask me which Skippers they are) and the Marbled White and Meadow Brown were sharing a flower at Kingbarrow. There were probably thousands of Marbled Whites on Portland, but I only saw two Chalkhill Blues at Perryfields, usually a hotspot for them.

Editor’s Note:  The top Skipper in this photo is a female Small Skipper and the bottom one is a male Lulworth Skipper – my thanks to Brian Arnold for confirming these ID’s.

An orange butterfly with black and white markings resting on the ground

Painted Lady. Photo: Edmund Mackrill

A rather tatty orange butterfly with brown and white markings resting on a green leaf

Painted Lady. Photo: Edmund Mackrill

Here are two of the photos taken by Edmund on 14/05/2020 that he sent to us saying:

Not the usual image of a Painted Lady that arrives in your mail I suspect. We walked the West Cliffs on Portland this sunny afternoon and found at least 11 Painted Lady’s. They were very flighty and I only managed to photograph 3 of them. They are all slightly worn but, as you no doubt have noticed, the one in the bottom photo is lucky to still be able to fly. 

An orange butterfly with black, cream and blue markings

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Shona Refoy

An orange butterfly with black, cream and blue markings

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Shona Refoy

Shona sent us these two photos together with the details of her expedition to Portland yesterday, 29/03/2021:

Today I went to Church Ope Cove, following the excellent directions given to me by a fellow butterfly enthusiast.  I spent about four hours looking for Large Tortoiseshells in the Cove and ruined church area, and only saw one in flight. 

I then decided to move on, so headed back up the steps.  I was near the top when this butterfly landed next to me – it sat there for a little while, opening and closing its wings before zooming off downhill.  I couldn’t believe my luck!

An orange butterfly with black  markings resting on a grey stone

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Dave Law

Dave’s own words perfectly encapsulate the essence of this photo which he has just sent in to us:

Not the best picture but confirmation that the Large Tortoiseshell has again overwintered in the UK at Portland. Only one was seen but others confirmed that at least two separate individuals were seen at Church Ope Cove today, 09/03/2021.

A silvery blue butterffly with black markings resting on a green leaf

Holly Blue. Photo: Peter Siddons

Peter sent us this photo, taken on Portland in May last year together with photos of a Common Blue and a Small Blue, also taken on Portland. The images of the Common and Small Blues were added to the Gallery on 11/05/2020 but I delayed adding this photo of a Holly Blue until the New Year thinking it would be a reminder for us that although we may be in the depths of Winter, Spring is getting ever closer.

View of two butterflies on red berries - one pale and blue with black, white and brown markings and the other brown with black, white and orange markings

Chalkhill Blues. Photo: Mark Pike

This very colourful photo sent in by Mark with the following comment was taken at High Angle Battery on Portland in the summer on 30/07/2020:

It is a few months until Christmas but this pair of Chalk Hill Blues might make an ideal card?! Just add snow!

Helice Clouded Yellow at Alners Gorse

Clouded Yellow. Photo: James Phillips

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.

View of a pale blue butterfly with black markings resting on a plant seed head

Holly Blue. Photo: Bryan Roberts/Kim Lytle

Bryan sent in this photo of a Holly Blue telling us:

Kim and I were surprised to see two Holly Blue butterflies along the ivy-filled right-of-way known as Barleycrates Lane, Portland, on 16/10/2020.  BC’s main website indicates there can be a third brood in mid-October but we have never seen one at this time of year before. No others appear to have been reported to the Dorset Branch “recent sightings” in the last few days. 

Editor’s Note:  As Bryan says, this a very late sighting of a Holly Blue and he and Kim were very fortunate to see them and to get a photo.  This downloadable Butterflies Flight Times chart based on recorded sightings sent to Dorset BC between 2013 and 2017 shows when each butterfly is on the wing in Dorset and there is only one record for a Holly Blue at this time of the year – the peak being in one week in early August when 552 sightings were sent in.