Monday, 11 April 2011

Butterfly News

This photograph is not, alas, mine - but, in the course of a butterflytastic weekend of summer heat, I did have the delight of seeing an Orange Tip on an Honesty flower, in my own garden, what's more. Orange Tips were flying in numbers around Box Hill, whither I took off on Saturday morning, in the hope of perhaps spotting an early Greeen Hairstreak or Dingy Skipper. Those hopes were not rewarded (well, it's still early April), but I was greeted by my first Speckled Wood of the year, and my first Holly Blues, as well as Brimstones and Peacocks galore. My species tally now stands at nine, which is not bad considering that I've yet to see a Red Admiral or Tortoiseshell this year. The garden too was enlivened by patrolling Holly Blues (so blue!) as well as several Orange Tips. As for the wild flowers on Saturday's walk - a glorious medley of musical names: violets, cowslips, windflowers, primroses, periwinkle, cleandine, cuckoo flowers, jack by the hedge, wild strawberries - and, already, bluebells in full flower. Bee flies (those strange hovering creatures with the long hummingbird-like proboscis) were hanging in shafts of sunlight, warblers were singing (or chiffchaffing) lustily, and I even saw a lizard basking - just as if it was summer. It isn't of course, but what a blessing of a weekend!

9 comments:

  1. Hi nige, I posted on Martim Wainwrights moth page that I too saw an orange tip (my first!) here in the midlands this weekend, as had Martin up in Leeds - there must have been a mass hatching all over the uk!

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  2. Banished To A Pompous Land11 April 2011 at 16:40

    Not your picture Nige? That doesn't surprise me. In all my years photographing butterflies I have never yet got a decent Orange Tip. They are the jumpiest, twitchiest beasts and quick to boot.

    I've tried over this side of the pond too with some of the related species and only once was I successful. Come to think, that was a female Falcate orange Tip and didnt have the eponymous orange tips!

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  3. A lovely photograph. Orange-tips are out and about here, as are a cheering number of small tortoisesehlls and commas. It's not too hard to get a good photograph of an orange-tip when it's resting with wings closed, but like BTAPL I've yet to get near one basking in the sunshine with open wings. They are so quick and restless!

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  4. Yes it amazes me that anyone ever gets a decent photo of any butterfly, especially early in the season when they're extra frisky. Maybe later when they're drunk on nectar... But some butterflies never seem to settle, and when they do, have a habit of disappearing. How so many people - often amateurs - manage to come up with great photos of all the UK species I have no idea. I never even try any more - I'd far sooner just gaze. If they let me close enough...

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  5. Strange how just the presence (or the picture) of a butterfly seems to evoke the value of individual life.

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  6. Indeed Shelley - the value and the wonder. Maybe it's something to do with the way they disappear then miraculously reappear every year - so frail yet so resilient - and they seem somehow more individual than most insects, and more charged with some kind of human meaning...

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