This is one of the best times of year to see a really good range of butterfly species on the Teign Gorge around Castle Drogo. Have a look around the garden to see butterflies nectaring or walk along the paths around Piddledown common and Sharpe Tor.
On my regular monitoring walk yesterday I saw 13 different species of butterfly. Ranging from the common Peacock and Red Admiral to the less common small Skipper and Grayling.
The Grayling have been doing well over the past few years. They have benefited from our gorse burning work which provides areas of bare ground in the full sun which they love to sit and bask. This is a strong fast flier so is best crept up on to watch as it sun bathes characteristically leaning over to show the side of its shut wings to the sun. Unlike most butterflies who open both wings to bask. Be quick though it is really well camouflaged so easy to miss unless you mark where it landed carefully.
Unusually 2 of the most common species seen at this time of the year the pretty little Gatekeeper (shown right) and the Meadow brown are only about in very small numbers so far. Possible victims of the very cold winter and the snow?
Other species of note are the wonderful Silver Washed Fritillary, (see blog from last year), the Green Hair Streak, a 2cm flash of metallic green, and the Small Skipper often seen darting up from grass stalks on the paths, easily mistaken for a moth as it often sits with its wings folded flat.