Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Broad Leaved Helleborine

Following on from Saturday's successful morning where I managed to see 25 species of butterfly, I had high hopes for our trip to Dorset on Sunday. Unfortunately, the weather forecast that I had seen was, to say the least inaccurate, and the sunny spells turned out to be cloudy, cool and breezy.
We started off at Ballard Down near Swanage, where I hoped to see the very local Lulworth Skipper, which like all Skippers like the Sun. A few butterflies were out, enjoying the expanse of Wild Marjoram, such as Meadow Brown and Common Blue, with single Chalkhill Blue and Brown Argus. Even when the sun did appear briefly, we did not see any skippers. Colin did pick up a Wall Brown among the Meadows, but it did not linger, and apart from a few Painted Ladies and Commas on the brambles that was it. Maybe next time it will be warm and sunny.
We went to Bentley Wood, where despite the odd shower and dull conditions Painted Ladies and Silver Washed Fritillaries were flying. As expected from previous visits, there were many spikes of Broad Leaved Helleborine in flower.
In order to avoid the joys of the M25 we came home via the Chilterns not far from Tring where I hoped to see two other Helleborines-Narrow Lipped and Violet. The hill I chose from my guide, Pulpit Hill turned out to be a very heavily wooded iron age fort, not a good place for chalk down butterflies. Not all that good for orchids either as we failed to find any. The local and very vocal Red Kites circling over head were a nice distraction, but due to the heavy canopy I was unable to get any images.

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