Sunday, 15 May 2016

Something green, and a giant

Sunshine, warmth and opportunity combined on Saturday, encouraging me to make the trip to Cerne Abbas, one of the finest sites in Dorset for butterflies where a range of species flourish in the shadow of the celebrated giant. After a surprisingly chilly morning with patchy cloud, the afternoon warmed up enough to bring out a range of species, including a stunning Green Hairstreak.
Green Hairstreak - more often 'stumbled upon' than 'found', in my experience
This individual was rubbing its wings together in a rotating motion, revealing a glimpse of the brown upperwing
Perhaps the most sought after butterfly at Cerne Abbas is the Duke of Burgundy - a rare species for which conservation efforts are helping to halt a precipitous decline
This male perched up during an overcast period - the forelegs of the male are stunted giving it a four-legged look (compared to six visible legs on the female)
The Marsh Fritillary has been in long-term decline in its wetland habitats, but is bucking the trend on Dorset downland sites. A single individual was spotted during my visit - hopefully more will be emerging soon
Small Heath - another species which has seen a steep decline, although it remains widespread
Grizzled Skipper - a very dapper individual
Dingy Skipper outnumbered Grizzled by about 5 to 1 - the opposite ratio compared to a visit to Fontmell Down a few weeks ago
This Green-veined White served as the warm-up act on the way to the flower-rich downland at Cerne Abbas
And representing the day-flying moths, this attractive Green Carpet was disturbed from vegetation
A fine show of Orchids and Cowslips on Cerne Giant Hill
Green Hairstreak - our only green butterfly


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