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N Notes ature


average temperatures resulting in very low numbers actually getting to the flying stage. Although this year the season star ted late (I saw my first Brimstone in mid-April, about a month later than normal) the recent upturn in the weather with relatively dry conditions has led to an upsurge in numbers and varieties. The blue butterflies have par ticularly been out in


Summer butterflies B


utterflies had a pretty dreadful time last year with the almost continuous rain and below


force with Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Blue and Adonis Blue all on the wing. Just over an inch in wingspan, the Common Blue, as it name suggests is the most numerous and widespread and can be found almost anywhere but par ticularly on unimproved grasslands and heathland. The edges of fields on any of the South Devon cliffs should have them present – the male has bright blue uppersides whereas the female is primarily brown. The Small Blue is much scarcer and may only be around three quar ters of an inch across. The male is very dark, almost black with a dusting of blue scales; the female is more dark brown in colour. However their underside is much more distinctive being silvery blue with a distinct line of dark spots just in from the wing edge and a few solitary spots fur ther up. It is much scarcer in Devon than the Common Blue and is best looked for around Lummaton Quarry, Torquay. Brown Argus and Adonis Blue have specific


Dart Green Fritillary Common Blue


habitat requirements with the latter following the distribution of horseshoe vetch which in turn follows the chalk and limestone grasslands. A trip to Dorset would find these strikingly bright blue butterflies with Por tland being a good site. The Brown Argus also likes chalk downland and again


NATURE NOTES


Dorset is a good area although there are isolated colonies in north Devon. note although it is a blue, it has no blue scales on its upperwing but just a blue sheen at cer tain angles. Primarily brown it has an array of bright orange spots on the upperside of both fore and hindwings. Outside of the blues, many skipper butterflies


are flying, with the Large, the misnamed Dingy and the Grizzled all prominent. All three are present in Devon with the first two preferring warm sheltered locations with sparse vegetation. The latter is much more widespread and can be found anywhere there are sheltered areas of grassland.


WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR In addition to the above, Devon supports good


populations of small pearl Bordered Fritillaries, Dark Green Fritillaries and Silver Washed Fritillaries, this being a strikingly large butterfly of around three inches in wingspan. All these can be seen on and in the areas around Dartmoor. Challacombe Farm is a particularly favourable location, which can be combined with watching Redstarts, spotted and pied flycatchers. These months are also the time when painted Lady and Red Admiral butterflies arrive from the Continent and some have already been seen arriving off the sea in Dorset.


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• Timber Decking Systems • Brick/Blockwork • Fencing/Walling • Turfing/Seeding • Patios


• Rockeries • Driveways • Tree Work • Astro Turf


Enjoy your Garden throughout the year


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Tel: 01803 842753 Mob: 07771 907534 reeflands@aol.com


www.reeflandscapes.co.uk


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