More butterflies, at last!

by A warbler a day

Today I finally got down to Martin Down National Nature Reserve. This is large area on the Hants/Wilts border just south west of Salisbury. I had intended to visit earlier in the month but had been put off by the cool damp weather. today, though, the sun was shining and eventually it could even be called warm. I was rewarded with 11 species of butterfly and 4 species of day-flying moth. So far this month the only butterflies I was seeing were the usual suspects – Brimstones, Orange-tips and assorted Whites with the occasional Holly Blue and Peacock. pleasingly I added 6 more species to my year list today. Along the Sillen Lane hedgerow there were a couple of delightful Green Hairstreaks and a fresh-looking Speckled Wood. In the short turf at Blagdon Gap there were Grizzled and Dingy Skippers, the former also turned up at other spots on the reserve. A couple of Small Blues were found in the scrub by the main car park on the A354 and I also saw a Small Heath. The moths found were Adela reaumurella, a small metallic green micro-moth with long antennae, and 3 species of carpet moth – Common, Red Twin-spot and Dark-barred Twin-spot.

As well as looking for butterflies I had a number of birds I was hoping to see. unfortunately I had less success with them. There was neither sight nor sound of any Turtle Doves. At least I heard a Lesser Whitethroat, where I found the Green Hairstreak and Adela reaumurella. However it was not going to show itself. On the plus side I saw my first Raven of the year. I also got good views of yet another Garden Warbler. It was the first bird I saw as I walked from the car park. There were also many Skylarks, often flying up from very close to the paths and several Yellowhammers. I am looking forward to another visit later in the year. Maybe I’ll see the Turtle Doves then as well as many more butterflies!