Tag Archives: Southbourne Undercliff

View of an orange butterfly with cream edges to the wings and brown and black markings resting on a green leaf

Small Copper abb. Photo: Andrew Martin

Andrew has sent us this photo he took on 24/03/2020 with the following comment:

Its always a pleasure to see the first Small Copper of the Season. Every year around mid March I check a favoured spot on Southbourne Undercliff  for the first glint of copper and this year was my earliest ever sighting and a bonus its abb caeruleopunctata. 

The Dorset BC records show that between 2014 and 2019 the earliest emergence date recorded for a Small Copper was 24/03/2019 and the latest emergence date when the first one was recorded was on 17/04/2018

view of a Clouded Yellow nectaring on a Michaelmas Daisy

Clouded Yellow. Photo: Shona Refoy

Shona went along to Southbourne Undercliffe on 9/10/18 to see if she could see the Clouded Yellows she had heard were present there.

Her photograph of this lovely butterfly is particularly pleasing shown against the soft colours of the Micheaelmas Daisy it is nectaring on.

White butterfly on a yellow dandelion

Large White. Photo: Andy Martin

Andy spotted this Large White, very thoughtfully posed on a dandelion, on the wild area behind ‘The Bistro on the Beach’ Cafe at Southbourne Undercliff 02/05/2018.

Clouded yellows with open wings and female in mating refusal pose

Clouded Yellows. Photo: Mike Gibbons

Mike photographed these Clouded Yellows on 5/11/17 at Southbourne Undercliff.

This photograph shows a male and female and it is worth noting that the markings differ between the sexes. Male Clouded Yellows have a dark marginal borders on upper wings whilst the female has dark marginal borders enclosing yellow spots on upper wings. It is quite unusual to see this species with open wings, allowing us to see the dramatic colours of the upper fore and hind-wings.

Mike has also captured the female displaying the mating refusal pose. In all a very worthwhile reference photograph.

This species is a migrant, but it is thought that at Southbourne some may overwinter on the Undercliff, though it is unlikely many survive as the caterpillars and pupa are susceptible to frost and damp.

view of a Green-veined White resting on foliage showing upper fore and hind-wings

Green-veined White. Photo: Mike Gibbons

Mike photographed this late flying Green-veined White at Southbourne Undercliff on 5/11/17.

Whites can be quite confusing to ID, but the black markings on the tips of the fore-wing establishes this butterfly as a Green-veined White given the time of year it was seen.

Similar species are female Orange Tip, and Small White. However all have very different underside patterns which when seen makes for easier ID.

Text books suggest in England this butterfly has two broods, April-May and mid June-July, but that further south in Europe it has 2-4 overlapping broods March-October.

Does this suggest that this butterfly could be an immigrant?

view of |a helice form of Clouded Yellow nectaring on a purple flower showing a little of upperside fore-wing and underside hind-wing

Clouded Yellow  Form helice. Photo: Andrew Martin

Andrew photographed this Clouded Yellow, helice form, at Southbourne Undercliff on 28/09/17 and says:

Hurray, just had my first UK Clouded Yellow form helice for 2017!

The form helice only occurs in the female of the Clouded Yellow  and is similar to the much rarer immigrant, the Pale Clouded Yellow.

view of mating Clouded Yellows

Clouded Yellows mating. Photo: Mike Gibbons

view of a Clouded Yellow female showing fore and hind-wing upperside

Clouded Yellow. Photo: Mike Gibbons

Mike took these photographs of a female Clouded Yellow and a mating pair at Southbourne Undercliff on 28/10/17.

Whilst this species is primarily an immigrant, it is known there is a population at Southbourne on the undercliff that do successfully overwinter. However the majority of the caterpillars and pupa do perish as they are very susceptible to frost and damp .

In good years Clouded Yellows can produce up to three generations in the UK.