We were very fortunate with our visit to Martin Down and Vernditch Chase. Sunshine and dry weather with only a light breeze were ideal condition for seeking out butterflies and not only did we see a long list of species, we saw many of them in good numbers.
Once we had achieved a safe crossing of the A354, we were soon amongst the butterflies, especially Gatekeepers, which were nectaring on the brambles in the sheltered track heading north towards the old Roman Road. The latter was covered with flowers which were attracting Meadow Browns and Marbled Whites.
Following the track through the banks of scrub we found further areas with rich herb floras and plenty more butterflies. As well as the brambles, thistles, scabious and ragwort were favoured by the butterflies but some of the more exciting species, such as Dark Green Fritillaries and White Admirals were much more mobile but still relatively easily viewed.
After a lunch break on a very pleasant sunny bank overlooking a swathe of flowers, we pressed on into the woodlands proper of Vernditch Chase in search of the last few target species. We eventually were lucky enough to find one large, sheltered bramble clump in full sun and here had good views of the handsome Silver Washed Fritillary as well as Large Skippers which had until then eluded us.
Our final butterfly species list for the outing was:
Photo: Avocets (Izzy Fry)
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