Monday, 1 August 2016

Somerset Butterflies 25th July - Ebbor, Priddy & Draycott

Not a bad day for our Mendip butterfly circle some cloud but also a fair bit of sun.  Our journey takes us first to Ebbor Gorge near Wookey Hole. Not far from the car park at Ebbor is a wonderful short walk that takes in grassland and woodland the grassland edged with sloe and brambles which we check every time for Hairstreaks but no luck yet. We did however see our first Essex Skippers here and it's also a great area for Silver Washed Fritillaries.
From Ebbor we drive on to Priddy mineries a fantastic wild grassland, bog land and pond area full of life and great for butterflies and dragonflies. Plenty of Marbled Whites here and also Dark Green Fritillaries, Ringlets etc. We saw just one Small Tortoiseshell on the day and are concerned by the lack of this butterfly this year.
After some time spent at Priddy the final visit of the day was Draycott Sleights and we were rewarded with some great views of Chalk-hill Blues more Marbled Whites and Skippers.
19 species of butterflies seen on what we call our 'Mendip Butterfly Circle' which include Common Blue, Chalk-hill Blue, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Comma, Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Silver Washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, Small Skipper, Essex Skipper, Marbled White, Large White, Green Veined White, Small Copper, Small Heath & Speckled Wood.


                 Small Skipper

    Essex Skipper


    Small Tortoiseshell- a rarity this year?

                   Small Heath

    Dark Green Fritillary 

                   Dark Green Fritillary 

   Harebells at Priddy - the flowers are massive!

    Marbled White - plentiful on the Mendips this year

                   Small Copper

    Oil Beetle

                  Common Lizard

   Chalk-hill Blue pair


   Chalk-hill (male)


   Chalk-hill (female)

Alners Gorse, Dorset - 27/7/16 in search of Hairstreaks

A later start to Alners Gorse in Dorset as a morning of rain was forecast with the promise of a warm sunny afternoon. For once the forecast was correct and as we reached the reserve at early afternoon the cloud broke up and the sun came out and so did a few more butterfly enthusiasts!
Our prime target was to find all three Hairstreaks and despite much searching of bramble flowers, leaves etc we could only find a few Purples.
The reserve itself is currently covered in many colourful wild flowers adding to the magical feel of Alners
and a great magnet to insects etc. In total for the day we saw 15 species of butterflies, a couple of Dragonflies, Common Lizards, met some great 'butterfliers' and even had a chat with Martin Warren of BC all in a stunning location. We just love this place and it is well worth the journey.
A little add on ... Close to home we had a great view of a Hare just to round off the day!

   Southern Hawker

                   Purple Hairstreak- typical pose!

   Purple starting to look a bit worn

                  Common Lizards seeking heat from the dried out wood

   Lizard chilling!

                  Large Skipper

   Purple Hairstreak 


    Silver Washed Fritillary 

                  Plenty of Fritillaries around but not too many settling 


                   Broad bodied Chaser

   Brown Hare at Kingsway, Mark