Monday, 24 May 2010

What Are the Chances?

The hot weather over the weekend reduced me to the usual mental and physical torpor. Though the Outer Nige was intermittently active in the world - even labouring heroically in the garden - the Inner Nige might be best imaged as a cartoon Mexican, dozing under his sombrero (Mexico, says Kinky Friedman, is the country to which Jesus said, Do nothing till I come back). However, both Inner and Outer Nige came briefly to life when I went walking in the Surrey Hills on the lookout for butterflies. Reader, I must tell you that, a week almost to the hour after my Derbyshire Dingy Skipper, I saw another one, similarly abask, though in far warmer sun. Had you been present and carrying a feather, you could have knocked me down with it. What's more, I saw not one but two Green Hairstreaks. One was flying fast and eluded me, though there was no mistaking that flash of green. The second was more obliging, settling on a nondescript flower bud on a sunny bank and treating me to a long close-up view of those shimmering emerald-green underwings, delicately lined in reddish brown, with a tiny tail to the hindwing. From the way it was methodically moving about the flowerbud I surmised it was probably laying eggs - she, then, and a most beautiful she... I had been hoping that I might see an Adonis Blue, but I had to be content with large numbers of Common Blues - what am I saying? The Common Blue is a most beautiful butterfly, and would itself fully deserve the name Adonis if its astonishing turquoise-winged relative didn't exist. The wings of the male Common Blue are precisely and perfectly the blue of a sunny early summer sky, and there's even a splash of blue on the beaded underwing, as if the colour was so intense it had soaked through. That's a Common Blue in the picture. On this walk I also saw - No, that's enough butterflies for one post - time to get back under the sombrero...

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