WEATHER: a perfect morning of fluffy white clouds and warm sunshine, a light breeze.
If you remember reading previous blogs of 2021 and 2022 you might recall that I attempted to see all of the Fritillary Butterfly species found in the UK with Butterfly Whisperer, Guy Campbell. We dipped on one species on both of those years, despite making several attempts (we even went to the Isle of Wight) to see the mythical GLANVILLE FRITILLARY, we still missed it.
This year, this elusive butterfly, decided to fly earlier than usual and Guy saw several in late May / early June whilst I was away. Having been told last Wednesday that the Glanville was still flying I was up for another attempt to see it today.
two of Guy's pictures of the Glanville Fritillary taken this year at Comnpton Down
The Whisperer picked me up at 8am and we drove for 40 minutes to get to the site just outside Shaftesbury near Compton Abbas Airfield in Dorset. The weather was perfect, so off we set down a gentle slope for about a kilometer. We saw and heard Yellowhammer, whilst Skylarks were singing above us and both Blackcap and Chiffchaff sang from the mature hedgerows.
Skylark - if I was on the continent I would have called it a Crested Lark
We stopped by an old quarry to admire a carpet of Pyramidal and Heath Spotted Orchids and noticed that many Marble White and Meadow Brown Butterflies were already flying, we were encouraged by this and walked a further 200 meters downhill to the Glanville Fritillary site!
Pyramidal and Heath Spotted Orchids
A grassy bank with a mixture of wild flowers appeared on our right hand side, plenty of nectar for the adult Glanvilles to feed on. We waited whilst dozens of Marbled Whites flitted around with Meadow Browns, Small Tortoiseshells and Small Heaths.
the grassy bank where the Glanville hangs out
Five-spot Burmet Moth
We waited, a Red Kite flew over us, a nice distraction. Back on the case….we waited and watched, Five-spot Burnet Moth another distraction we continued to wait and …………… nothing!! Not a single Fritillary was flying, they had gone over just five weeks after talking to the wing in late May, I had missed them again, DOH!!!
We drove home.
An interesting snippet of information:
“The Glanville Fritillary is named after Lady Eleanor Glanville, a 17th century Lepidopterist who discovered this species in Lincolnshire. After her death, one of her sons contested her will on the grounds of lunacy, as eloquently described by Moses Harris in "The Aurelian" in 1766: "This Fly took its Name from the ingenious Lady Glanvil, whose Memory had like to have suffered for her Curiosity. Some Relations that was disappointed by her Will, attempted to let it aside by Acts of Lunacy, for they suggested that none but those who were deprived of their Senses, would go in Pursuit of Butterflies".
I know a few people today who think like that!!!
After two or three months of absence Fez 2, my garden Pheasant, has returned for his daily feed. He is looking really and healthy and quite pleased with himself ( I saw him in April and May with two girlfriends).
Fez 2, has returned to my garden