9 Jun 2014

9 June 14 - A Pearl Collection

Despite a long day in the field yesterday, I couldn't resist getting out in the sunny conditions today. The target for the camera was Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. This is sadly a scarce Butterfly in Dorset these days, but it's hanging on in a few locations. Sadly, the similar looking Pearl-bordered Fritillary, is now believed to be extinct in Dorset. I saw about 10 flying around on a sunny hillside of bracken, cut back brambles & rough grassland. They were tricky to follow as when they got up & flew, as they would typically cover 20 or 30 metres before dropping down again. They were moving too fast to keep up with by following them & were easy to lose once they got too far away. In the end, I found they were best followed with the bins and then approaching carefully once I had seen them settle. They were either settling on grass stems to sunbathe or on the white flowers of the brambles to feed.
The habitat didn't look particularly special: But it is clearly special more special than it looks
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary 
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary: They are best checked on the underside to separate them from the similar looking Pearl-bordered Fritillary. This is described on the UK Butterflies website & I suggest you have a look at their excelent website
July Belle: I saw a couple flying around in the hour I was there