Monday 25 August 2014

More Butterflies

Bank Holiday Monday, and the rain is siling down in the time-honoured manner. However, the past couple of days had enough sunshine for a few late butterflies to venture out. On Saturday I was gifted with my first Small Copper of the year. I was skirting a golf course (averting my eyes), wading through the long dry grass beside the fairway, when suddenly, out of nowhere, it appeared - a bright, fresh and beautiful specimen. It perched on a flowerhead almost at my feet, flashed its wings a couple of times, and was off.
That was the only butterfly I saw that afternoon, but yesterday I headed for the Surrey Hills determined to see more. By the time I arrived at the hillside I was heading for, clouds had covered the sun, a wind had come up and my hopes were not high. However, as I explored, I soon came across a Chalkhill Blue - a tired and tatty female, but a joy to see, especially as it was my first of the year. Happily it was not to be the last. In the course of my wanderings, despite the unpromising conditions, I came across at least a dozen more, some fresh and vigorous, others looking decidedly end-of-season, but all of them beautiful in that unique silvery, cloudy, milky-blue Chalkhill way. And, by way of a bonus and to show just how intensely blue a blue can be, a male Adonis Blue flew past in all his shimmering glory. These were just the highlights; there were also Common blues galore, Small Heaths, Brown Argus... Even if it rains for the next month, that was a splendid climax to the butterfly year.


  1. Saturday must have been a good day for Coppers. I spotted a Bronze Copper (Lycaena hyllus - - a first for me) while mucking around the margins of a brackish marsh. A photogenic fellow, he posed for about a dozen pics.

  2. Ah lovely... That's one we don't get over here - only the Small Copper, though there have been attempts to reintroduce the Large. One of the charms of British butterfly fancying is that there are so few species - barely 60 in all.

  3. The comment on species numbers goes double for Odonata. Last time I looked the U.K. list ran to 54 species of dragonflies and damselflies. When I left for the colonies I had ticked off some 20 species from that list.
    I get over here to start a new life list and what do I find but 180 species in the state of Virginia alone! How the hell do you hope to make a dent in that lot?

  4. You'd best steer clear of beetles Banished - 25,000 so far described in N America, could be several thousand more to come...