Friday, 11 August 2017
Dorset Butterflies 10th August , Silver Spotted Skipper, Hairstreaks etc
With the promise of a rare sunny day we decided to head for Fontmell Down nature reserve in Dorset to try and find the Silver Spotted Skipper a new butterfly for us.
It took us just over an hour and a half to travel across the beautiful Somerset and Dorset countryside to reach the reserve and yes we had sun but there was also a strong breeze. As we walked into the reserve noting the grasses and wild flowers along the way we suddenly saw the hill area that we would be searching for the Skipper and wow what a steep hill. There were already a few people searching for the Skipper and as time passed others would join us. It was great to have so many eyes peeled for the butterfly and everyone was very friendly.
As the morning warmed up we saw Common Blue, Brown Argus, Chalk-hill Blue, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, S. Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Heath, Silver Washed and Dark Green Fritillary, Brimstone and a Clouded Yellow.
Suddenly a shout went out for a Skipper and we walked towards the shout. I had a quick glimpse before the butterfly took flight. I hoped this wasn't the only sighting we would have. About 10 minutes passed and Ann suddenly spotted a Skipper land, a lovely female that rested for a good 5 minutes. The shout went out and I think all present on the hill got a good look and photos of the beautiful Silver Spotted Skipper. Our 4th 'lifer' of the year.
With our target butterfly seen we decided to visit Alners Gorse reserve on the way home hoping to see a few more butterflies. Alners didn't disappoint and the wildflowers were stunning adding an array of colours to the grasses. A good few people here as well and all very helpful and friendly.
As summer is coming to an end and in view of the very unseasonal rainy summer we are having, many butterflies were quite ragged and faded. We did however see Brown Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, Small Skipper, Small Copper, Small & Large White, Speckled Wood, and a Valenzia Silver Washed Fritillary to top up our days count to 22 species.
Not a bad day out all in all we even saw a lovely Brown Hare as we got close to home.
Echium Vulgare - Viper's Bugloss, love finding this wildflower
Still good numbers Silver washed Fritillaries at Alners Gorse if a little ragged and worn