Thursday 14 July 2011

Wow! Butterflies Everywhere!

This morning started off with me pottering in my, ahem, garden reading a Gordianus (roman detective novel) and being all decadent and sun loving - what else would you expect from a classics degree owning rakish n'eer-do-well.

The reading, and listening to the excellent 6 music, was interrupted by the appearance of a white butterfly loving the clover and ragwort in my wildlife friendly but landlord despised garden. Determined to try and get some half decent butterfly pics, there then followed ten minutes of attempting to jump quietly from spot to spot to try and get a shot of the damn thing, until I managed to get it above my head on my downstairs neighbour's Buddleiah. You'll see this in a second. Pretty sure it was a small white.

Out running an hour and a half later, the town was alive with butterflies - the so called "Summer Flush" I believe. Both kinds of white everywhere, Common Blue in my garden and London Road Lake, Speckled Woods on Clay Lane, and then in Beacon Hill Reserve, well...Large Whites, Brimstones (saw two, doubling my number for the year, odd when I saw so many Spring 2010), Ringlets, Gatekeepers - out in force today for first time all year and very similar to Meadow Browns but I think smaller and with a sort of dartier pattern on the wings - and then over in the Beacon Hill butterfly park by the weird gas sunstation, Peacocks, Small Torties and Red Admirals.

I'd forgotten how large red admirals are, as large as Brimstones which I'd previously mentally tagged as the largest common butterfly I see, and really fast powerful flyers as well, like the Mako Shark of the lepidotera...

Anyway, I was determined to take some photos of all these beautiful flutterers, so after watching Tour de France stuff, jumped back on my creaky bike, and spent a frustrating but fun hour following the damn flying things from stand of Buddleiah to Buddleiah (and some other yellow flowers), and don't forget I'm trying to take pics on my bloody mobile phone, so I'm not Simon bloody King. In short, Peacocks are just that, peacocks! They pose for the camera very readily! Commas are suprisingly easy too. But Red Admirals barely stop for a second, and Small Torts twitch in a frenzy in their brief feeding stops.

Get out to that corner of Beacon Hill folks, if you are doing the butterfly count or want to show your kids some. Or, for different species like the Gatekeepers or Ringlets, go to the corner where the path enters the nursery on the other side. Just enjoy the butterflies, and the flowers, and everything else.

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