Tuesday 10 May 2011

Dingy in the Dale

Well, here I am, back from Derbyshire, restored in body and soul, and ready for anything (except the grim prospect of saying goodbye to my daughter and new son-in-law and returning to work next week). In the course of the Derbyshire visit, I finally saw my first Tortoiseshell of the year - I was going to say 'spotted', but it was my sharp-eyed cousin who spotted it, basking sleepily beside the path along Milldale, a beautiful dale north of the famously scenic Dovedale. It was a day of intermittent sunshine, with showers (or short sharp downpours) never far away - we later got caught in a notably heavy one. When the sun shone, Orange Tips and whites were flying in numbers, with the odd Peacock, Speckled Wood and Brimstone - and then the Tortoiseshell. It was a faded beauty, long past its prime - but the extraordinary thing about this sighting was that barely a foot away from the Tortoiseshell was my old friend the Dingy Skipper - a fresh and bright (dingy indeed!) specimen, also basking in blissful abandon, wings fully spread. The sight of these two so close together is one I never thought to see. And, to complete the picture, a fine Orange Tip was basking on a leaf a few yards away, and in the background a Green-Veined White fluttered around prettily. My cousin, armed only with a mobile phone (I was, as usual at such times, cameraless), closed in, first on the Tortoiseshell, then the Skipper, neither of which stirred, even with the cameraphone a few inches from them. The results were a beautiful but blurry picture of the faded Tortoiseshell, and the fine image of the Dingy Skipper that adorns this post.
And now I intend to head for the Surrey Hills...

1 comment:

  1. Like you Nige, I used to pin them to a cork board - no more! But the Sunday Telegraph opines that many species are now on the up, c/o conservation efforts and good (?) weather. But could this account for a 600 percent increase since 2009 of the Wood White?