Tag Archives: Portland

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.

View of a resting greyish brown butterfly

Grayling. Photo: Donald Simcock

Two butterflies, one brown with orange, black and white spots and the other blue and grey with black and white spots mating on bramble berries

Chalkhill Blues. Photo: Donald Simcock

Two more photos sent in by Donald with details of his afternoon on Portland:

After the B.C. work party at Broadcroft quarry on Thursday, 06/08/2020, in the late afternoon a few of us went to the Western coast path near the Bowers quarry to look for Chalkhill Blues, there were hundreds flying around. We were told about their amazing life cycle with the ant protecting the egg and caterpillars.

We also saw one Grayling on bare stone trying hard to minimise its shadow. I also saw one lonely Marbled white looking a bit tatty and not flying much.

It’s so lovely to share the butterfly experience with others and learn from them.

Orange butterfly with black, yellow and blue markings perched on a twig

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Adrian Riley

View of a resting brownish butterfly

Large Tortoiseshell. Photo: Adrian Riley

The appearance of the Large Tortoiseshell on Portland has also created much interest outside the borders of Dorset and Adrian has very kindly sent us these photos with the details of his search and epic journey from Norfolk in the hope of seeing them:

I got to Church Ope early on Tuesday morning, 21/07/2020 after a long drive from Norfolk. No sign there by about midday so moved on to Verne Hill Road to search the Buddleia bushes near the houses as you start to climb up the hill. I found two individuals that could be identified as such by the fact that one had some scales missing on its right hand forewing. I have attached some shots that you can use as you see fit. 

Blue butterfly with some black and white markings and white fringe to the wings

Chalkhill Blue. Photo: Mark Pike

Brown, silver-grey and blue butterfly with black, orange and white markings and white fringe to wings

Chalkhill Blue. Photo: Mark Pike

A couple of photos of lovely fresh male Chalkhill Blues taken yesterday, 12/07/2020 by Mark from a count of 10 he saw at High Angle Battery on Portland.

View of a bright blue butterfly resting on the green stem of a Sedge plant

Adonis Blue. Photo: Edmund Mackrill

Edmund sent us this photo of an Adonis Blue he took at Portland on 17/05/2020 adding the comment:

Not sure what it was doing with its proboscis extended on the Sedge stem. Finding something it liked no doubt.

View of a resting orange butterfly with blackish brown markings

Wall. Photo: Peter Siddons

Peter captured this photo of a Wall on 17/05/2020 at new ground on Portland.  With its fast flashing flight and golden forewings this is another species that suggests it might be a fritillary but when seen at rest its bright eye spots confirm its identity as one of the browns.

View of a brown butterfly with pale markings resting on the ground

Dingy Skipper. Photo: Peter Siddons

View of two resting blue and beige butterflies with orange, black and white markings.

Common Blues mating. Photo: Peter Siddons

Two more photos from Peter – the first one is a Dingy Skipper taken on 13/05/2020 at the High Angle Battery on Portland down the Old Railway cutting at the end of Park Road where Peter told us there were quite a few showing now.  The second photo he took yesterday, 15/05/2020 on the old railway line, shows a pair of Common Blues which he thought may have been mating.  He also mentioned that there were quite a lot of Small Blues there as well.