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Butterflies and Moths Of the Parish of Uplyme 2008

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Joined: 14 Sep 2005

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Location: Rhode Hill, Uplyme

PostPosted: 10/02/09, 11:23    Post subject: Butterflies and Moths Of the Parish of Uplyme 2008 Reply with quote

The follwing report is posted on behalf of
David Cox, Alan Kennard and Chris Paul

2007 started very well for butterflies, but then deteriorated due to the bad weather in late spring and summer. It ended up being worse than average for Dorset and Devon. 2008 did not even start well and was a second relatively poor year. However, there were some high points. The most exciting butterfly event for Alan Kennard’s sighting of a large tortoiseshell on the track down to The Old Mill (see below for details). The large tortoiseshell is generally considered to be extinct in Britain, but there are occasional records each year, presumably of escapes or migrants. Another species added to the Parish list is the purple hairstreak, seen on two occasions at Rocombe. It lives in the tops of oak trees and although widespread, is frequently overlooked due to its habit of spending much of the time out of sight on the uppermost leaves.


Small Skipper Not seen at all in 2008. Seen just once on Trinity Hill in July 2007.
Large Skipper Seen on only four occasions between 10th June and 21st July.
Dingy Skipper The first generation was not seen within the Parish in 2008, but present just across the border at Ware Cliffs, Dorset on 8th April and 10th May. Part of Ware Cliffs lies within the parish, including most of the eastern boundary of the National Nature Reserve on Monmouth Beach. Second generation Dingy Skipper was flying here on August 8th.
Wood White Again the first generation was not seen in the parish in 2008, but present at Ware Cliffs, Dorset on 10th May. Second generation Wood Whites were also on the wing within the parish on M on mouth beach on July 23rd.
Clouded Yellow Seen just once in a garden at Uplyme on 6th September.
Brimstone Seen several times in late March and May, but only two records of the second generation. Was it a casualty of the wet weather in May-July 2007 when the caterpillars may have drowned? The wet summer of 2008 did not help.
Large (cabbage) White The second most frequently seen butterfly in 2008. On the wing from from 23rd April to 18th October.
Small White Much less frequently seen than the previous species in 2008. Not definitely identified until 10th May.
Green-veined White The least common of the three whites. Seen between 2nd April and 19th September.
Orange Tip First seen 8th April, three days later than last year. Last seen on 13th May.
Green Hairstreak Confirmed on Trinity Hill for the first time in 2007, but not seen in 2008.
Purple Hairstreak Recorded at Rocombe on two occasions in 2008. The first sighting within the parish since we started these notes.
Small Copper A very poor year. The first generation was not recorded at all and there were only five sightings of the second generation in September.
Brown Argus Yet to be confirmed living in the Parish.
Common Blue A much better year than 2007 with 11 records from the first generation and five from the second. Even so, a relatively poor year for such a widespread and conspicuous butterfly.
Chalk-hill Blue Not seen in 2008, so its presence in the parish still needs confirmation.
Holly Blue Not a bad year with 31 records between 4th April and 25th August.
Red admiral The Red Admiral was the most frequently sighted butterfly in the parish in 2008. It was on the wing 8th Feb. and 19th November. Not quite as good as in 2007 when it was sighted in every month of the year.
Painted Lady A very poor year with only four sightings on 18th-21st September. It is distinctly possible that all these sightings were of the same butterfly. Also one was caught in a light trap on 12th October with two immigrant species of moth – the Vestal and Dewick’s Plusia. A migrant from southern Europe and North Africa.
Small Tortoiseshell First seen on 10th February, but records were very sparse for the first generation. A substantial immigration from the continent in September raised the total records to a reasonable level for the year, but virtually 2/3 of the records were made in September. Last seen on 26th September.
Large Tortoiseshell The most exciting butterfly event for Alan Kennard was the sighting of a Large Tortoiseshell at 12:10 on 16th April in a sheltered spot near the Old Mill. It was his first sighting in a lifetime.
In the autumn of 2007 there were a few records in Dorset indicating a possible immigration. This butterfly had probably hibernated and taken to the wing on a warm day.
It is possible that this species could become temporarily resident along the south coast and in East Anglia. None was seen in the autumn of 2008. The food plant does not present a problem, but cold winter may. None the less an exciting addition to the Uplyme list.
Peacock First seen 11th Feb, 2008 compared with 25th February, 2007 and 5th April 2006. Still doing better than the Small Tortoiseshell after a couple of poor years in 2004 and 2005. Last seen on 26th August.
Comma A good year, with 25 sightings between 3rd April and 1st October.
Silver-washed Fritillary Not recorded within the parish in 2008, probably due to the poor weather during its flight period.
Speckled Wood The third most frequently recorded butterfly (equal with Meadow Brown) in 2008. On the wing between 15th April and 11th October.
Wall One sighting of a female in Uplyme on 2nd August.
Marbled White A very poor year with only three records for the parish in 2008, although quite a number were flying at Hunter’s Lodge on 13th July.
Gatekeeper One of our commonest butterflies, seen in hedges between 17th July and 3rd September. However, numbers seen were relatively low due to the poor weather in the summer of 2008.
Meadow Brown The third most frequently seen butterfly (equal with the Speckled Wood) in 2008. First seen on 6th June and around until 21st September when a mating pair was seen. As with the gatekeeper numbers were relatively due to the poor summer.
Ringlet Another butterfly affected by the poor summer. On the wing between 30th June and 1st August in 2008.
Small Heath Not seen in 2008. Its continued presence in the parish needs confirmation.

Of the species recorded regularly in one garden, the following had a good year compared to the average for the six years 2003-2008: Wall, and Ringlet. The Comma, Speckled Wood, Large White, Holly Blue, Green-veined White and Red Admiral were slightly above the average. The rest were below the average, with drastic reductions in the Brimstone, Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady.

Day-flying moths

Humming-bird Hawk Moth
In contrast to the last few years this moth was only seen once in the parish feeding on the flowers of Abelia in the early evening of 14th September. One was also noticed on Church Cliffs, Lyme Regis two days earlier.

Jersey Tiger Not a bad year for this striking moth, which is easily disturbed from shrubs in the garden. Seen between 27th July and 29th August.

Six-spot Burnet Seen flying on Raymond’s Hill 13th July.

Silver Y Often seen at flowers in the evening (or even at the hight of the day). Mostly recorded at light – 20th January to 15th November. An average year.


Not a particularly good year for resident species or migrants. Throughout much of the summer we were in a northwesterly air stream with consequent cooler nighttime temperatures resulting in moths being less active. Nevertheless a few species did better than average (Dark Spectacle, Small Wainscot, Buff Arches, Common Footman and Buff Ermine).
Six species of macromoths were added to the five-year Uplyme list, including The Old Lady and Gold Spot.
Immigrant species were much reduced, but included the Convolvulus Hawk M oth, several Large Footman, a Dewick’s Plusia and one Clancy’s Rustic. The latter, along with the White Point are probably temporarily resident.

David Cox, Alan Kennard, Chris Paul
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