For my birthday on 23rd June my husband asked me what I would like to do. It was promising to be a hot day so we headed to Martin Down on the Dorset/Hampshire/Wiltshire border, (it’s just inside Hampshire so managed by Hampshire County Council) to go Butterfly watching for a couple of hours. Martin down is chalk downland on the Cranborne Chase and a wealth of wildflowers, Butterflies, birds and much more.
We had just started to walk on the reserve when we met a man who told us there were Dark Green Fritillaries around and pointed us in the right direction which was kind of him. It’s was new sighting for me, I’ve seen pictures of them on Social Media but none in the field, so I was looking forward to seeing them. I wasn’t disappointed although it took a while to spot them and they were on the move. But our patience was rewarded and they started to settle and it was mostly on the Knapweed flowers that were in abundance. If I hadn’t seen anything else I was happy!
Dark Green Fritillaries, gallery (click on a picture for a bigger view)
There were quite a few Marbled White Butterflies about and I managed to get some images of them with closed wings they are very beautiful with their wings open or closed.
I also spotted a few Forester Moths, a beautiful iridescent green colour, there are a few species of the Forester moths but not sure which one this is.
Also some Small Heath Butterflies about, very small and not easy to spot I understand their conservation priority is high.
I spotted the insects below on the yellow flower I wasn’t sure what was going on but I believe it may be two mating Robberflies (Asilidae) and the Meadow Grasshopper maybe an offering perhaps?
As we were travelling along the road we spotted a Kestrel hovering above, luckily we were able to stop so I could take a picture.