Last week I needed some head space so MrB suggested we went for a short stroll on Stockbridge Down, a chalk downland a few miles from our home. As you may recall from earlier posts this has become a favourite of ours especially when I am feeling kinda down. As always it worked its magic on me. Not only were there blue skies, but the grasslands were looking fabulous.

And it wasn’t just the flora that was capturing our attention. To my delight there were hundreds of butterflies, nearly all one species, the Chalkhill Blue. It is probably the largest blue butterfly that most of us will see in England, as the Large Blue whilst larger is incredibly rare. The Chalkhill Blue however is widespread on chalky grasslands in southern England.

The butterflies we saw were mostly male although we did spot a couple of females, which are brown and very secretive. It was the behavior of the males that caught our attention, they were congregating in groups on animal dung.

Apparently “mud-puddling”, as it is sometimes called, is a way for the butterflies to gain moisture and minerals. The extra nitrogen and sodium is scarce in nectar, and these minerals are hugely beneficial to reproduction. They are not the only butterfly to seek out minerals in this way, and some even feast on the sweat of the humans. Male Chalkhill Blues however prefer dung. I have created a video I took of them ‘mud puddling’.

53 thoughts

    1. Awww thanks Margaret. It was so amazing as we came across group after group 😍 and yes they do finally seem to be appearing. Just hope there’s enough time for caterpillars before autumn

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  1. Dear little things. Seeing an abundance of butterflies is always wonderful. I didn’t know about their mud puddling habit though. I must take more notice. It must be lovely to have such a gorgeous area close to home.

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    1. Oh I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It completely refreshed me, and revisiting the video takes me straight back 😊 really hope you’re ablt to have your restorative walk soon too

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  2. A walk through Stockbridge Down would have cheered me no end as well. Love the butterflies…..who knew that manure is an aphrodisiac and no i am not going to try it either πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
    Hope you are feeling well again Becky ❀

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  3. That is a lot of Butterflies….. but so many Chalkhill Blue is amazing, haven’t had that pleasure for years. Butterflies have been in short supply in our part of middle England. Though a friend of mine, a lepidopterist, has a humane Moth Trap in his garden and reports a good year for Moths with many of the less common moths appearing in good numbers.

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  4. What a beautiful spot, Becky. And those butterflies are fascinating. It’s a bit like human men gathering in the pub for a pint – but probably greater health and reproduction gains from the dung πŸ˜‰

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