Nicola spotted this pristine Small Copper while at RSPB Chaffey’s, Weymouth on 21/08/18.
This sun-loving butterfly is often found resting on the ground, vegetation or flowers, as it absorbs the sun’s rays. Males establish small territories and fly up to intercept any passing insect in the hope of intercepting a passing female. When egg-laying, females are easy to distinguish from males, as they fly low across the ground searching for suitable foodplants on which to lay. Both sexes roost head down on grass stems.
A quick walk along the riverbank of Sturminster meadow on 19/8 /18. No sign of any second brood Small Tortoiseshell larval nests but came across two male Small Coppers battling for a territory. The winner then posed nicely for a picture. Also flying were Common Blues.
There are typically 2 or 3 generations each year, depending on the weather, with 4 generations in extremely good years. The first adults emerge in May, occasionally at the end of April, with the last adults being seen around the middle of October.
Ann found this Small Copper in DWT’s Corfe Mullen Meadow reserve on 22/07/18The Small Copper is a fast flying butterfly that, once settled, is unmistakable with its bright copper-coloured forewings. It is a widespread species and occurs in discrete colonies throughout the British Isles, but is absent from mountainous areas and far north-west Scotland, the Outer Hebrides and Shetland. Most colonies are fairly small, with just a few adults being seen on the wing at any one time.
Andy photographed the top Small Copper abb. butterfly at Southbourne on 24/04/18 , and the one above at Ulwell on 25/04/18.
He tells us he saw two at Southbourne , both showing the blue spots on the upper hind-wings which is he says a common aberration. At Ulwell he found nine Small Coppers in the space of an hour, and none of them had the blue spot aberration.
He has been checking both sites weekly since mid March and his first sighting of this butterfly was on 24/04/18.
All the early butterflies we expect to see, apart from those coming out of hibernation, are late this year due to the cold ,and often wet weather. For those who record butterflies it is a mixture of joy and relief when the first ones are seen, especially after a bad year for butterfly numbers generally.
Mark found both these eggs on Fontmell Down on 05/08/2017, an interesting photo showing the difference between the two. Both eggs will hatch into caterpillars (if not predated) and they will stay as caterpillars all through the winter.