Wednesday 10 July 2013

Butterfly Mail

The Royal Mail has issued a set of stamps featuring British butterflies. Naturally I approve, especially as they are beautifully painted by Richard Lewington and they represent ten well chosen species, from the rare to the common, the spectacular to the inconspicuous.
The nation seems to have caught a bit of butterfly fever at the moment, with the indoor butterfly gardens at the Hampton Court Flower Show the latest attraction in that line (hothouses full of showy tropical beauties - my Monarch might well have escaped from Hampton Court). Even the BBC's Springwatch is getting in on the act, with a Springwatch Guide to Butterflies coming soon, promising an 'in-depth view' of Britain's butterflies and moths. It remains to be seen what Weird Chris, Gurning Michaela and Sniggering Martin will make of the subject - I look back fondly to the great double act of cool Kate Humble and ever more deranged Bill Oddie (truly dangerous TV) - but if they pack in plenty of tips on attracting butterflies to your garden etc, I guess it will do some good. It might even get a few people to find out more, and to go looking for these elusive beauties. Well, relatively elusive - on Monday morning, I looked out of my train window and was delighted to spot two Marbled Whites (see above) on a grassy bank beside the track. And at the weekend I saw my first Ringlet and Skippers (Large and Small) of the year, as well as the White Admirals. May this sun continue to shine...


  1. An auspicious day! First, news of the Royal Mail's new issue and then at lunchtime while I was out walking a few miles away in Bernwood Forest, a purple emperor floated down onto the path a few feet in front of me. I have never seen one before. I thought it would be a brief sighting because a family with a noisy dog were not far behind me. But time fell away and when the emperor took off and spiralled high overhead back into the canopy and I turned around, the family had unaccountably vanished, spectral ramblers.

  2. Oh wow - a magical encounter! There's nothing like the Purple Emperor - such presence...

  3. Dear Aunt Nige:

    We filled our backyard (garden) with trees and flowers when we bought our home twelve years ago, and now we are blessed with a riot of green and foliage--and far from any nasty fumes and traffic. As a result, we could start a profitable private aviary with all the robins, cardinals, bluejays, finches, etc, etc. that delight us. But no butterflies. Not a one. Of course they're around here, but not chez nous. What are we doing wrong?

    Yours truly,

    Confused in Canada

  4. Oh dear Peter - On the face of it, this sounds like too much foliage (and therefore shade?) and not enough nectar-rich flowers. Or maybe you've got so many birds there, the butterflies don't dare put in an appearance for fear of getting eaten...