In search of Adonis

Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) Venus and Adonis 1550’s.

I do enjoy the Victorians tendency for exaggeration but even I’m struggling with this one. The connection between Greek mythology and the mortal lover of the goddess Aphrodite with one of our rarer Butterfly’s is a little obscure. Titian’s masterpiece illustrates Venus trying to stop her lover from departing for the hunt, fearing that he would be killed.

With a slight sense of foreboding we set off for Durlston Country Park and one of the few areas of south-facing, chalk downs where the Adonis Blue can still be found.

Adonis Blue (male)

Simply unmistakable. Even amongst Common Blues and Chalk hill Blues the brilliant electric blue of the male Adonis Blue is stunning. Although a few can be found at Durlston to the east of Swanage and the area around Ballard Down is probably the best location in Britain for an increasingly rare Butterfly.

A female Adonis Blue on the seedhead of a Wild Carrot

Clouded Yellow – a summer migrant to the coastal downs of southern England. Found nectaring close to Durlston Castle.

A rather tatty and worn looking Wall butterfly.

An Emperor Dragonfly devouring a moth that had been feeding on the ripe Blackberries.

Ruddy Darter.

Autumn Lady’s Tresses

Surprising to see how parched the downs looked. Not a problem further north.

Carline Thistle.

Always surprising that such a short, dried up thistle can produce amazing golden-brown-tinged-purple flowers.


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