A Butterfly Meander

So, I saw two weather forecasts last night, for this morning. The first basically predicted the beginning of the apocalypse with thunder, lightening, 3 months rain in 20 minutes with hailstones the size of golf balls etc etc, and the second said we've no idea what's going on, so we'll say 50% chance of rain, 50% chance of a belter of a day, 100% chance of hot, hot HOT. The second forecast was more right, blue skies, blazing sun, no hint of rain. I interwebbed "butterfly hunt in dorset" and it came up with a butterfly reserve 5 miles down the road that I had never heard of, so I decided to have a tootle to Alner Gorse Butterfly Reserve, Hazelbury Bryan. Well, the sat nav didn't like that one little bit, so after some creative driving (and parking) I found myself there shortly after 8am.

Something little and flighty caught my eye pretty much as soon as I passed through the gate...  no idea what it is, just black with a stripe and a propensity for the underside of a leaf...I nearly put my back out with this one!!

And then the first of a myriad of hoverbeewaspfly thingies I saw (don't worry, only a few pics!)

Then the first of my "official" reason for going there.. butterflies… A Speckled Wood

Then a really sad looking hoverbeewaspfly, "Why the long face?"

The most prolific of the butterfly families I think was the whites, closely followed by the browns, a Small White

And a Meadow Brown (coincidentally as if to prove my point lol)

Then what looks a lot like a plastic hoverbeewaspfly

And now a couple of a Gold-Faced Fly (I might have made that name up, btw, answers on a postcard...)

I had little expectation of seeing many birds, particularly given how hot it already was, but a blackcap (I think) surprised me

And then I think we have a Speckled Wood showing it's underwing (I'm never very sure with underwings, or top of wings come to that, hmm... or bees, or birds.....)

A Small White was having a good feed up (nectaring?)

And a Speckled Wood was showing one of the many variations in colouring

There was an abundance of Field Moths (thanks Wendy...39 varieties I believe? lol) but only one or two pics.. this one was coz it wasn't on the underside of a blade of grass 2 inches off the floor (still thinking of my poor back!)

And we have another hoverbeewaspfly with a button in it's back this time

And another hoverbeewaspfly, this time practising its tightrope walking

A Gatekeeper popped up, and there wasn't a gate in sight!!

And so after struggling, peering through foliage to get a shot of it, it decided to come and pose nicely. I'm just glad I hadn't had to bend down too far!

And then a Crickety Grasshopper (afraid I don't know the difference, though probably should)

A Green Veined White refuelled

And another Small White showed some of the colour variations (getting as bad as bloody damsel flies!)

And a Ringlet popped by to say Hi

And a Gatekeeper that was possibly sat under a bird!

I had almost given up on spotting any blues, but then one turned up, a tatty Common possibly

And then a Holly

One of the field moths flew up, as I passed by, but unfortunately (for the moth) it went into a spider's web, who pounced instantly

Most of the reserve is sort of scrubby/grassy, kept tidy by some Dartmoor Ponies (which I didn't see) and it is still being developed to benefit the butterflies. There is a woodland area towards the far end, which is being managed (I think that basically means thinned out by cutting some down) but it was quite pleasant in there, certainly cooler and I loitered for maybe 20 minutes, not moving much, to see what birdlife there was..... Mrs PB just pointed out I could get arrested for loitering in the woods!!

There were a couple of blackbirds, some blue tits, and I saw a recently fledged robin, but also this fellow... they seemed to flap frequently as the y flew, quite high up among the trees, then glide a couple of yards to land on it. I don't know what they are (the pics have been lightened slightly as it was dim in the woods) possibly flycatcher?

There were also a couple of busy, busy Coal Tits

A distinctive rustling started up a few yards ahead of me from the undergrowth, and a pair of blackbirds were throwing the woodland detritus around...Mr stayed stubbornly beyond a tree stump...

I came out of the wood, and started melting in the heat, but soldiered bravely on, thinking of how I couldn't let you, dear reader, down, with only half a post LOL!!

Next up, an amorous male, and not even vaguely amorous female Common Blue

Not sure what this chap is, spent about 10 minutes trying to get a decent shot, and failed, these are the best I managed, any ID helpful please (something unusual would be nice!!) :o)

A couple of what I think were Emperor dragonflies had whizzed by about 10 feet up in the air, about 10 minutes apart, no idea where from, as I don't think there was any river/stream in the vicinity, but then a 2 second pit stop by this 4 Spot Ruby Red With a Hint of Orangey-Green Darter ( I might have made that name up too, btw)

Another Small White, showed ANOTHER colour variation

Another of those Darters came and landed a few feet in front of me, still don't know which one it is, but probably not 4 Spot Ruby Red With a Hint of Orangey-Green Darter

I spotted a Ladybird on a plant stem, and it wasn't until I got the pic on the computer, I noticed the stem was actually his buffet!

Then yet another Small White was stuffing its' face

And finally, on the path back to the car, there was this, again underwings are not my friend, but could possibly be a Large Heath (looking on t'internet) but it didn't strike me as being particularly large

Thanks for reading, and for any info you can supply to supplement my guess work!

Stay Safe All, and watch the sun, it's scorchio!

  • Yes, re spotted flycatcher. I've still not seen one yet this year, despite it appearing to be a good one for Summer migrants.
  • PimperneBloke said:

    Not sure what this chap is, spent about 10 minutes trying to get a decent shot, and failed, these are the best I managed, any ID helpful please (something unusual would be nice!!) :o)

    Super enjoyable PB, even moreso as it wasn't me out & about in searing heat, just viewing the fruits of your labours from my armchair which is strategically positioned in front of fan!

    Think the above is one of the Skippers!

    Will have another trawl through after my dinner!


     2013 photos & vids here

    eff37 on Flickr

  • PimperneBloke said:
    Then a really sad looking hoverbeewaspfly, "Why the long face?"

    You would think it ought to be a Horse Fly according to the old joke. In fact it's a Scorpion Fly. Very cool looking insect. 



    My Flickr Photostream 

  • That Scorpion fly is fabulous. What a great walk. I think the Skipper is a Small Skipper but I think I'd like a second opinion on it. Your last flutter is a Grayling - they like to attempt to trip you up by landing just in front of your feet and closing down - they also orientate towards the sun to cast as little shadow as possible

    Cin J

  • Right Right...thanks for the warning...you may remove it now PB...thanking you

    Fab pics PB ...alll 42 of them ...Jargin inbetween wasnt too bad either. I think I may even have laughed once or twice!
    Postcard on its way with all my answers and IDs
    Well done on another successful trip..Thank Mrs PB too !

    (Pardon the Scottish Accent)

  • In reply to Robbo:

    Thanks Robbo, I'd never knowingly seen them before a couple of weeks ago, at Dyrham Park, and then again, they were in shadow under trees.
  • In reply to WendyBartter:

    Thanks Wendy, it wasn't too bad 1st thing, but it soon got sticky hot, and still is now. We're allegedly forecast rain either tonight or tomorrow
  • In reply to TeeJay:

    Cheers Tony...I nearly did the horsefly gag myself, but thought I'd set it up for someone else 

  • In reply to Germain:

    Thanks Cin…. and a Grayling...not sure, but could be my first...I don't remember another

    Germain said:
    they also orientate towards the sun to cast as little shadow as possible

    And every day is a school day! That's one of the reasons I love this site, little nuggets that get put into posts 

  • In reply to Linda257:

    Thanks Linda, I ran out of fingers, so couldn't count them :o)
    Thanks passed on...not sure what for tho?! lol