Tag Archives: small tortoiseshell

underwing phooto of a small Tortoiseshell  , black with a  pinky grey cross band

Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Dave Law

On 14/07/19 in his garden near Shaftesbury Dave tells us:

This was one of two Small Tortoiseshells egg laying on the nettle patch in the garden . The nettles are cut back from mid June to encourage the fresh growth that the females require . Also Commas and Red Admirals using the same nettle bed.

Whilst suitable flowers for nectaring butterflies are of course really necessary, plants in the garden for the caterpillars of butterflies and moths are of paramount  importance, but so often not included.

Buddleia butterflies coming out

Orange butterfly with a lot of black and yellow marks, plus blue dots round the edge
Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Dave Law

We have had some comments about the lack of butterflies this year, which isn’t true statistically, but we agree the species we see in our gardens have been lacking recently.

However, Dave Law sends us heartening news. Continue reading

Orange butterfly with blak and pale markings on stony ground

Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: George McCabe

Apologies for the size of this photo, but George explains:

Spotted this Small Tortoiseshell sunning itself on the road tarmac near Bincombe, Weymouth. It soon flew off into the ploughed field with crops just showing next to the road, and laid there quite happily; l had to take the picture from a distance as l could not get over the fence. The reason l have sent you this picture rather than the better one I’ve taken this yea,r is that it shows how much white is on the wings – never seen that – and how fresh it looks.

This is the first Small Tortoiseshell photo/record we’ve had sent in since February – anybody else seen one?

Small Tortoiseshell struggling in Dorset and England

Orange butterfly iwth yellow, black and blue markings, on a white wall
Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Shona Refoy

Shona Refoy from Broadstone, took this lovely picture on 07/09/18, and adds the shocking statement “I was delighted to see this butterfly, my first sighting [of this species] in Dorset this year!” Continue reading

Small Tortoiseshells suffering from the summer heat?

Orange, yellow, brown and blue butterfly on grass
Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Brian Arnold.

Brian Arnold sent us in this great photo of a Small Tortoiseshell recently and said from his observations “They seemed to be quite scarce last year, but … they have virtually disappeared this year”. We asked our Records Officer, Bill Shreeves to comment. Continue reading

view of a Small Tortoiseshell with wings fully open

Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Brian Arnold

Brian says:

I saw my first Small Tortoiseshell this year, on yesterday 31st July at Alners Gorse.

I have not seen one anywhere else this year, and normally I would expect to see them in my garden at Harman’s Cross, and on my transect at Durlston East in Swanage. They seemed to be quite scarce last year, but from what I have seen they have virtually disappeared this year.

Brian hopes this is not the last one he is going to see and we surely all feel the same as this species is a much loved iconic UK butterfly.

view of a Small Tortoiseshell resting on leaves showing fore and hind wing uppersides

Small Tortoiseshell. Photo: Martin Wood

This Small Tortoiseshell was found by Martin on 17/06/18 at Longham Lakes.

A lovely fresh specimen would literally shine out when resting on leaves as this one did. Flying from May – October in 2-3 broods this used to be one of our common species but sadly like so many others it is now in decline.

If you want to help this butterfly plant some Sedums and or Michaelmas Daisies in your garden, very easy to grow and needing very little water. They both flower late summer so provide valuable sources of nectar for this old favourite.