At this time of year, if you find a butterfly fluttering on the inside of your window, it will probably be either a peacock (Aglais io) or a small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae). It will have come in during the autumn looking for a cool, dark and sheltered place to overwinter and the gap behind the wardrobe in your bedroom must have seemed just right.Continue reading “Butterfly rescue”
A clouded yellow (Colias croceus) was identified in the reserve this summer for the first time in eight years. It is a migrant species, an early summer visitor from North Africa or Southern Europe.Continue reading “Clouded yellow”
A pristine painted lady, fresh from the chrysalis, feeding on bramble flowers in the reserve yesterday.Continue reading
Ian Bushell conducted a butterfly transect in the reserve on Thursday. Butterfly transects are the way in which we measure changes in the population of the reserve’s butterflies from year to year.Continue reading “Butterfly transect”
Every year we find nests of peacock (Aglais io) caterpillars among the reserve’s nettle beds. Those caterpillars will be pupating soon and we will begin to see the new adults this month.Continue reading “Peacock butterflies”
Rambling in the reserve
by Ian Bushell
A funny start to the day with weather totally uncertain if it wanted to rain or be bright. While it had been raining in town, in the reserve the paths and grass were quite dry.Continue reading
The peacock caterpillars will be growing fast at this time of year.Continue reading “Peacock caterpillars”
A comma butterfly (Polygonia c-album), so-called for the small white comma-shaped mark on underside of its hind wing.
All images take in the reserve by Clive Knight
The distinctive marbled white (Melanargia galathea) is common and widespread in southern England. At this time of year it chooses unimproved meadow grassland, showing a preference for purple flowers such as wild marjoram, thistles, knapweeds and red clover. The caterpillars feed on grasses particularly red fescue.
All images taken in the reserve
 Mating marbled whites by Ian Bushell)  Marbled white male by Ian Bushell Marbled white feeding on red clover by Cheryl Cronnie
Header Image by Cheryl Cronnie
Butterfly Conservation priority: Low
European status: Not threatened
I have had a few early mornings in the reserve in an effort to photograph butterflies before they get too active. It has often been quite breezy, which has made it challenging to get some good images. But one morning I was fortunate to find this common blue that I was able to get reasonably close to, and during the periods when the wind briefly dropped, I was able to fire off a few shots.Continue reading “Chasing butterflies”
A small skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris) feeding on red clover, photographed in the reserve by Ian Bushell.
Conservation priority: low.
Distribution: common and widespread.
Population trend since 1970’s – down by 7%
A beautiful photograph of a speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) against a backdrop of buttercups, taken in the reserve by Cheryl Cronnie.Continue reading
The female small tortoiseshell butterfly lays her eggs on nettles. Every year there are small tortoiseshell caterpillars somewhere among the nettles next to the path as you walk up the hill through Simpson’s Field.Continue reading “Small Tortoiseshell Caterpillars”
While they were tidying up the edge of the big pond last week, the Friends found a drinker moth caterpillar (Euthrix potatoria), so called because it is believed to drink drops of dew on grass stems.Continue reading “Drinker moth caterpillar”
It’s not often that the reserve’s first reported butterfly of the year is a comma. This pair, basking in the sunshine, were photographed by Clive Knight on Monday.Continue reading “Comma”
One of the delights of September is a pristine, newly hatched, late brood small copper butterfly. This one was was photographed last week in the reserve by Clive Knight.Continue reading “Small copper”
This late in the year, there are few butterflies about but there is always a speckled wood (Pararge aegeriais) somewhere. Here is one on hawthorn berries photographed in September 2019 by DKG.Continue reading “Speckled wood”
Ian Bushell conducted a Butterfly Transect in the reserve at the weekend.
The transect route in the park samples its habitat types and management units. Butterflies are recorded in a band five metres wide along the transect. Transect walks are undertaken between 10.45am and 3.45pm and only when weather conditions are suitable for butterfly activity.
Here are the results.Continue reading “Butterfly transect”
The white-letter hairstreak, so named because the white lines on its underwing form a W, is the emblem of the Wiltshire Branch of Butterfly Conservation and is the focus of a project to return this butterfly to our countryside.Continue reading
Towards the end of July, a second brood holly blue butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) was spotted in the reserve and photographed by Clive Knight.Continue reading “Holly Blue”
A newly hatched, pristine peacock butterfly photographed yesterday by Clive Knight.Continue reading
Clive Knight has sent in beautiful photographs of two butterflies: a brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) and a large white (Pieris brassicae). Although both are members of the Pieridae family, they have significantly different life cycles.Continue reading
Wild carrot progress report
Pictures and a message from Clive Knight:Continue reading