A quite common species on the Dorset heaths but far less so elsewhere
Grayling: the forgotten onePost date: Tuesday, 29 July, 2014 - 00:00
Grayling in Dorset: what your tweets tell us ...Post date: Wednesday, 15 May, 2019 - 19:12
The grayling is considered to be a mainly coastal species favouring a variety of open habitat types from heath to limestone grassland. It does not seem to be a woodland species as it likes to sunbathe on dry, bare soil or rock and as such it can also be found in disused quarries and we have few of those here on the Dorset coast. It rarely rests with its wings open and when the wings are closed it can be incredibly well camouflaged and hard to spot; the first you see of it is when it suddenly taking flight as you pass close by its resting place. It also has the amazing ability to tilt to one side to reduce its shadow on the ground!
The Textbooks indicate that the grayling flies in July and August. Here in Dorset it seems to emerge in week 25 towards the end on June and then there are reports every week through until week 35 which is the first week in September. The most reports come in week 29 and July certainly seems the prime month for them. There is one record in the Nature of Dorset database for week 41 in late October which is certainly a late record and well separated from the main stream of reports.
Forty two locations have recorded grayling in Dorset with Tout Quarry on Portland seemingly a hot spot for them; Tout is a disused limestone quarry which ticks most of the boxes for the grayling's preferred habitat. The distribution map, though, clearly shows that outside of Portland it is the heathland around the Poole basin where grayling are most likely to be seen.
|Scientific Name||Hipparchia semele|
|Species Group||Satyrid Butterflies Browns|
|Additional Identification Notes|