Wednesday 16 May 2012

Dukes and Pearls

Two days of sunny weather over the weekend just couldn't go to waste so I spent the majority of both of them looking at butterflies. Saturday I went just over the border into Somerset to a couple of sites for Duke of Burgundy. It was two weeks later than I'd seen them here last year but that was exceptionally early. I met up with Dave and Doug at the first sight where we eventually saw four males, a female and our first Common Blue of the season. We moved on a few miles to the second site, Thurlbear Quarrylands, where we again saw a single female and four males. We were also lucky enough to find a mating pair here. Grizzled Skippers were much  in evidence too and were the first I've seen this year. The Bird's Nest Orchids which grow here were only just pushing up and not even really in bud yet, which is much later than previous years I've seen them here. A couple of Nightingales were in good voice even though the weather was warm-ish and sunny, they are much more vocal in overcast gloomy conditions, probably because it resembles dusk. Thurlbear Quarryland really is a 'magical' place. One of my favourites locally.

Sunday, I joined Dave and Hazel on a  bit of a 'Pearl-bordered Fritilllary marathon'. We looked at three sites in the Haldon Forest area and then moved on to a site on Dartmoor in the afternoon. There were good numbers at two of the Haldon sites with most of the butterflies being very newly emerged. By the time we reached Dartmoor however, a strong and cold north-westerly breeze had developed causing any butterflies to 'lay low'. We did see quite a few in the more sheltered areas though, again almost all of them looked to have emerged that very morning.

Duke Of Burgundy

 Four different males, the last one has unusually pale hind wings.


Male and female....Obviously!

Grizzled Sipper


Pearl-bordered Fritillary

The Early Purple Orchids on this hedge bank in the Haldon area put the puny ones I photographed on Axe Cliff last weekend to shame and clearly show why one old English name for them was 'Long Purples'

A couple of Dartmoor views.
I think the bottom one shows Kes Tor but I'm not at all confident.... they do all look rather 'samey'. Whereas Pearl-bordered Fritillaries....

On a flower...

 On some wood...

 On bracken...

And on a stick....Are not in the least bit samey

 Just holding on!!

This photo really benefits from enlarging. It's too wide for me to make it any bigger on the blog (click to enlarge)


Marc Heath said...

Stunning shots .

Backward Birder said...

"All look a bit samey" indeed! For shame...

And yes, that is Kestor Rock, aka The Doughnut [proper British one, with jam in, that is!]. Very different to say Cosdon Beacon, [the other] Hound Tor, or Steeperton Tor - all visible in your first photo.

You ought to get up on't Moor and have a look at them, granite's wonderful stuff! :) There's a fascinating bit on the east side of Yes Tor that's- ok ok, I'm stopping! ;)

Lovely butterflies, too.

JRandSue said...

Lovely shots and great blog.
We are visiting our daughter in Bath in 2 weeks time,calling in at Thurlbear and Mount Fancy Farm on the way up. Hoping for Wood White and Duke of Burgundy, if it's not too late. Sue

Karen Woolley said...

Marc, Thanks for following :-)

Tom, I thought you'd appreciate the 'bit samey' comment, being such a lover of t'moors. I was only teasing! I love rocks! Thanks for the confirmation of my ID though, I admit I can't name the Tors on sight.

Sue, Thanks and The Dukes may still be at Thurlbear at the end of May although I've never visited that late before.

kirstallcreatures said...

I'm so jealous I don't know where to start! Great post and good to see some fantastic butterfly sightings. Linda

Karen Woolley said...

Thanks Linda, I feel a bit guilty that you feel jealous though! ;-) We are exceptionally lucky, on the fritillary front, in the west Country