Saturday, 3 June 2017

A week of Butterflies, Damsels & Orchids Part 1

A busy week visiting Martin Down twice and Butterfly Conservation Dorset reserve by Cerne Abbas Giant, Badbury Rings NT finishing our week with a walk at Fiddleford Mill. 

Our two visits to Martin Down produced many of the reserves specialties, our first walk was mainly for the birds but as alway we never pass something good without pointing it out.  Martin Down as a remnant downland is an oasis for many species and Turtle Dove, Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer and Skylark can be still found here in relatively good numbers even though all are declining some more than others. We started with Yellowhammer, Whitethroat and a Great Tit family, then a little way further on we heard our first Turtle Dove and I found it singing in a tree along the hedgerow and it gave good views.  Walking around our circler route we counted at least eight singing males, of this endangered dove, listening to their purring song was truly wonderful. We also recorded Common and Small Blue, Small Heath, Peacock, Brimstone, and a surprise was a Clouded Yellow.
Turtle Dove - Martin Down © Nick Hull
Clouded Yellow Butterfly - Martin Down © Nick Hull
Our second visit was a general wildlife visit so we targeted all the above and were successful in finding them all and even added two more singing Turtle Dove.  We also recorded 13 species of Butterfly which included Marsh Fritillary, Adonis Blue and added Burnt Orchid, Fragrant and Common Orchids which either not seen or were not fully out on the previous visit. 
Burnt Orchid - Martin Down ©Nick Hull
Jackie and I took a day to visit Cerne Abbas near Dorchester a site we haven't visited for a few years it is at the same site as the famous Cerne Giant which is carved into the chalk hillside.  Butterfly Conservation Dorset take care of the site and work hard to maintain it for the butterflies.  Our target species here were Duke of Burgundy and Marsh Fritillary but we also added Large Skipper to our growing year list.
Duke of Burgundy - Cerne Abbas © Nick Hull
Pupa & adult Marsh Fritillary - Cerne Abbas © Nick Hull

Part 2 to follow including our Nightjar & Woodcock evening.

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