Friday 13 March 2020

Some Butterflies and Moths

I didn't see as many butterflies as usual last year but before the end of June manged to see 33 species, so not bad. February was so unseasonably warm that we managed to see an incredible 6 species in February! It could easily have been seven as Painted Lady was seen a few times at Church Ope Cove, Portland but unfortunately not by us. In fact we didn't catch up with one until June 6th!

The six species were:

February 23rd. Brimstone, seen from my window in Sidmouth. Peacock, Small tortoiseshell and Red Admiral all seen in Colyton.

February 26th. Large Tortoishell, at Tout Quarry Portland.

February 27th Comma, at North Curry Churchyard, Somerset.

At tout Quarry on Portland we saw two different Large Tortoiseshells. In the following weeks more were seen and I think at least five different individuals were seen in total. Apparently they were from an 'unaurthorised release' in the previous September, but it's all very 'cloak and dagger' and hard to find anything out really. Takes a bit of the shine off them I suppose but they were great to see anyway. Fortunately the one I saw in July 2018 had much better credentials, arriving with a fall of Painted Ladies and Hummingbird Hawk-moths, and with others seen the same week at other sites along the south coast.  

Large Tortoiseshell No.1

Large Tortoiseshell No.2

Some Large Tortoiseshell admirers.

Another six species were seen during March, so twelve in total before the end of March is quite unusual to say the least! I saw eight in that time in 2017 which I thought was good then. In stark contrast in 2018 I didn't see any at all until April 11th. The six species were: 

March 25th. Speckled Wood, Ramshorn Down, Devon. 

March 27th. Orange Tip, Newton Poppleford, Devon.

March 28th. Small White, and Holly Blue, Church Ope Cove, Portland, Dorset and Small Copper, Ballard Down, Dorset.

March 30th. Green Hairstreak, Branscombe Undercliff, Devon.

I only got photos of two of them.

 Speckled Wood 

This is the earliest Green Hairstreak I've ever seen. I thought it might be the earliest ever seen in Devon and sent the record in. They said it would have been only another one was seen just a few days before mine. Also on the Branscombe Undercliffs was this fully grown Cream-spot Tiger Moth caterpillar.

Photos from April: 
Ballard Down.

A very early Brown Argus on April 20th

Badbury Rings

Dingy Skipper 

 Grizzled Skipper

Small Heath

Ramshorn Down 

Pearl-bordered Fritillary 

Aylesbeare Common

Emperor Moth

 Holly Blue

Branscombe Undercliff 

Wood White

Woodland along the River Sid, Sidbury.

  Orange Tip (female) 

Orange Tip (male) 

Green-veined White
Small Tortoiseshell.
Showing evidence of a close escape from a bird 

We watched a Small Tortoiseshell lay these eggs on April 7th and kept revisiting them to check on their progress until they hatched and dispersed.

Here they are 3 weeks later on April 28th.
Photos from May:

 On 6th May 

16th May
Only a few left

  Ramshorn Down

An aberrant Pearl-bordered Fritillary.
Hope this isn't as near as I ever get to seeing a fully white one. 

Giant Hill, Cerne Abbas, Dorset

My first ever Dorset Duke of Burgundy

Branscombe Undercliffs 

 Common Blue

Wood White

Hawkerland Common, East Devon

Lackey larvae nest on Silver Birch,

 and Purple Hairstreak Caterpillar. 

Martin Down Hampshire

 Holly Blue,
egg-laying on Dogwood and egg.

Small Blues joining me on my lunch break.
Definitely a highlight of the year!

Haven Cliffs, Axmouth, East Devon
Sallow Kitten Larva (3rd instar).
Photos from June: 

Haven Cliffs, Axmouth, East Devon 

Puss Moth Eggs, 
one hatched and one with larva that appears to have died whilst hatching.

Puss Moth Larva (penultimate instar)

Eyed Hawk-moth Larva (1st instar) and Egg 

Lydford, Devon

Heath Fritillary
Winfrith Heath, Dorset

 Clouded Buff Moth (male)

Hickling Broad, Norfolk



Brian Hicks said...

Lovely set Karen from your sadly shortened year. Take it easy and have a good spring.

Karen Woolley said...

Thank you Brian :-)