Visit RSPB Garston Woods and NNR Martin Down

On Tuesday 7th June in the morning the weather looked a little promising although rain was forecast for later in the day and then very changeable for the week ahead so my friend Judy and myself decided to take a look for Butterflies at RSPB Garston Woods. I had heard of the woods but never been there, I thought it was too far away but it’s situated just beyond Sixpenny Handley on the Cranborne Chase about a half an hour drive.

We had a walk round some of the paths there were plenty of Meadow Brown’s, they seem to have done well and lots of brown Butterflies flying in the glades which I later identified as Ringlet Butterflies. We did see a glimpse of a couple of Silver Washed Fritillaries but they soon disappeared.

Ringlet
Ringlet
Ringlet
Ringlet

We decided to move on just up the road to the National Nature Reserve of Martin Down, which is a large area of unspoilt chalk downland and so the wild flowers are stunning at this time of year, just a carpet of colour an ideal habitat for all the Butterflies that thrive there. We could also hear Skylarks above and lots of birds in the scrub, but we tried to concentrate on looking for Butterflies.

It didn’t take long to spot the Marbled Whites in the grass we just had to be quick to take some photos before the flew off!

Marbled White on Field Scabious
Marbled White on Field Scabious
Marbled White on Knapweed
Marbled White on Knapweed

Of course there were also the Meadow Brown’s, an attractive Butterfly.

Meadow Brown on Knapweed
Meadow Brown on Knapweed

The Pyramidal Orchids were just starting to come out, I had seen them on Hambledon Hill recently, they follow on from the Common Spotted Orchid.

Pyramidal Orchids
Pyramidal Orchids

There were also plenty of Silver Washed Fritillaries looking in very good condition and they were very obliging and stayed still while we took photographs. I was using my 100-400mm lens so I could zoom and get close without disturbing them.

Silver Washed Fritillary on Knapweed
Silver Washed Fritillary on Knapweed
Silver Washed Fritillary on Knapweed
Silver Washed Fritillary on Knapweed

There were also plenty of Small Skipper Butterflies not always easy to spot because of their size but a very attractive little Butterfly. We were hoping to see some blue butterfly species but no luck, we will have to go back again, never mind!!!

Small Skipper
Small Skipper
Small Skipper
Small Skipper

On the way back to the car park I spotted the large insect below, we were not sure what it was, we thought it looked rather intimidating but when I got home I identified it as a species of Hoverfly, good camouflage I wouldn’t have messed with it.

Hoverfly - Volucella zonaria
Hoverfly – Volucella zonaria

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