Wednesday 1 May 2013

Lots of butterflies, lots of confusion

Today's run took me around Balderton Lake, along the cycle path past London Road Lake, then along the whole length of Clay Lane before heading across to run through Beacon Hill nature reserve.

It was a glorious morning and although I didn't spot any swifts as I was hoping, it was a day for butterflies. I was hoping some new species might make an appearance today, and I was right.

Clay Lane was where the butterfly action was originally at, and my hope of seeing a speckled wood was quickly realised as I saw a solitary specimen resting low down on the plants beneath the blossoming hawthorns. Also around were what I think must have been male small whites - these are very similar to female orange tips, but I go with the small white as I'm not used to seeing orange tips along Clay Lane.

As I ran further along, a brimstone erupted out of the undergrowth, and flapped along in front of me almost bouncing off my chest as I strode awkardly along the uneven path giving me once again a superb view of these large bright yellow markers of spring. I had figured the first brimstone flight would be over by now, so I was pleasantly surprised to see this specimen. It teased me by settling on a leaf stem to give me a photo opp which it quickly spolied by flying away as I readied my mobile phone.

There's still plenty of first flight peacocks about, and then as I ran along the copse edge path in Beacon Hill reserve, I was pleased to see my first orange tip of the season. I am a little worried about how well this species is doing, they are normally far more plentiful than this by now, and the sighting of a second invidual in the nursery didn't do much to change this. Last year they were everywhere.

And finally, near my home, a small blue butterfly was on flight. Only it wasn't a small blue, I thought it must be a common blue. But further research indicates to me that common blues aren't up yet, and it was perhaps more likely a holly blue which also seem to be a more garden / urban species than the common blue.

The trouble with butterflies is that they never kindly sit on my finger for five minutes, wings outstretched, to give me a chance to work out what kind of blue or white I am looking at!

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