Saturday, 10 July 2010
Life being especially demanding at the moment, my outdoor world has for most of the time shrunk to one of streets, parks and gardens, and in that urban/suburban outdoors butterflies have been disappointingly few. Compared to the great Painted Lady Summer of last year, this has been - despite plenty of warm sunny weather - a poor one for us frustrated butterfly spotters (though it's good to see that the Small Tortoiseshell seems to be staging a comeback). I was sitting in the garden this morning, idly musing along these lines, when something caught my eye, flying down to a sunny patch of parched lawn. A Comma? No, too big. Far too big. As it settled, and the sunlight shone through its unmistakably patterned wings (fritillaria, a dicebox), I realised - this was, unbelievably, a Silverwashed Fritillary! The subtle colouring of the wings showed it to be a female - and she had landed in my garden, miles surely from her usual haunts. Unfortunately she had settled close to the cat, who took an ill-intentioned lunge at her. Effortlessly eluding this, the fine fritillary rose with a few powerful wing strokes and was gone, leaving me agasp. A Silverwashed Fritillary! In the garden! These are the days of miracles and wonders. I blame global warming.