Tuesday 16 August 2011

Fontmell Down

Yesterday I (along with  the rest of the 'optimistic four', Dave, Hazel and Doug) visited Fontmell Down near Shaftesbury, Dorset. It was only my second ever visit here and it was every bit as wonderful as last time, well that's not exactly true because last time it was 'swarming' with Adonis Blues, and we were a bit early for them this time. Still, good excuse for another visit! The target species was Silver-spotted Skipper, again we were a bit early but were hoping to catch them in tip-top condition. We did see some but boy are they difficult to pin down! They only seemed to stay still long enough for me to switch my camera on, seldom nectaring and spending any time that they were stationary amongst the grass. The breezy conditions didn't help either I expect. Silver-spotted Skipper was the 53rd species that I've seen this year, though I don't suppose any regular readers of this blog will be surprised by that! Unfortunately the weather deteriorated rapidly after a couple of hours causing the butterflies to 'vanish'. Still, there's plenty of nice flowers to look at there.

 Male Silver-spotted Skipper

The silver spots are on the olive-green underside, just about visible here.

They spend a lot of time basking on bare soil  trying to keep warm

The Adonis Blues were surprisingly shy, not being inclined to open their wings much at all. I presume it was the breezy conditions. This is the best view of the gorgeous blue wings I managed to see.

Fontmell Down and Harebells

White Harebell

Autumn Gentian

Fontmell Down and Hoary Plantain, menacing clouds rolling in put paid to any more butterfly sightings.

 Hoary Plantain, a very attractive flower close up I think. A pretty colour anyway.

The exquisite orchid Autumn Ladies Tresses were just coming into bloom too.

Covered in small hairs they look almost 'frosted' close up.

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