Zonda wrote:I may have to go to north Dorset for this one. Fontmell down here i come.
Don't bother with Fontmell Zonda.
You may see one or two, but the days when the down was teaming with thousands of chalkies (I remember it well) have long gone, ever since DWT introduced the '3mm' grazing regime...!
I went there a week ago. The down is 'managed' for Silver Spotted Skipper. As soon as I arrived and saw the state of the sward I thought "oh no". Sure enough, a thorough search produced a couple of 'Silpot Skippers', however, a quick hunt off the reserve in the area of downland where the grass is considerably longer produced a dozen...! This is also the area favoured by the Adonis Blue since DWT butchered the main down.
You could have tried nearby Melbury Beacon, but that too was in a right two-and-eight as a result of the NT's 365 day per year cattle grazing. The areas where I used to find heaps of Common Blue, Brown Argus and Chalkhills is now all chewed tussocks and cow flop (nicely enriching the down).
Why don't you head for Portland? Tout Quarry used to yield good numbers of Chalkies, and as far as I am aware still does. Or if you don't want to spend a morning with the pong of landfill then Church Ope Cove still produces good numbers.