Thursday 2 July 2015

The Burnet in the Thistles

I went for a butterfly hunt this afternoon, and I found them too.

The long uphill drag from Clay Lane to Beacon Hill has now erupted in thistles at its lower end, with a suffusion of yellow flowers I decided to call yellow rattle, although that's not what they are. Bumblebees are loving the thistle flowers! Maybe that's where my nesting tree bumbles have gone, because the buzzers above my door are now absent and the familiar faint fuzzy taps on my living room windows have now ceased.

There were other newcomers too, for the velvet brown ringlet butterflies have now taken to the air, white fringed. So two of the three classic high summer grassland species are now up, the meadow brown and the ringlet. Later this month, the orange gatekeepers will be with them.

The little fritillary like months I found last year on the hill I couldn't locate, but in Beacon Hill reserve I found the treats of the day. Firstly there were the familiar little red soldier beetles, mating pairs flying in the act of love. And then further around in another patch of thistles, a flash of red caught my attention. It was the first 6 spot burnet moth of the year, swiftly joined by another.

As ever, I chased them round the purple flower heads with my mobile phone and managed to get a couple of OK shots. The one thing that always fascinates me about this species are the fabulous little curly antennae. 

They are like how a child would draw a ladybird's antennae, I always think!

Are there any up where you are?


All images and text copyright CreamCrackeredNature 02.07.15

Red tail caught in the act of escape

Urban farm

Lazy shepherd takes 5

Worker red tail on thistle

Remind me someone! Cos it aint yellow rattle

White tail bumble

There you are!

Like a gothic vulcan bomber

Two for one in this shot

A glimpse of underwing


  1. Hi Simon nice read as always, we have Burnets and cinnabar at the moment but the five spot variety. your red tail worker could be red tail male, can't help with flower I'm a novice.

  2. Yes I found a cinnabar in my garden the other day, they tend to be found in a greater vareity of places

  3. Nice post, yellow flower is not yellow rattle but looks like Agrimony, it's part of the rose family !
    Amanda xx

  4. Agrimony- Amanda's right :o)

    Gatekeepers have just emerged here, and the Purple Emps too.

  5. Gatekeepers have indeed flown here today, suddenly loads of them about

  6. No Burnets here yet Simon - Lovely to see all your insect photos :)