Sunday 28 June 2015

Looking Up

After a promising start, my butterfly year (and I don't think I'm alone in this, at least in the Southeast) turned seriously disappointing through the late spring and early summer months. I've never known a June with fewer butterflies - even Whites - on the wing, except when skies have been grey and rain siling down. No such weather this year - rather the Southeast has been unusually dry, with plenty of sunshine. However, there have been cold winds blowing stubbornly from the Northwest or Northeast for much of the time, so that it has seldom really warmed up. I guess then - I hope - that the low temperatures are sufficient explanation for the low numbers of butterflies around.
 However things finally seem to be looking up now, with winds from the warm South and a heatwave promised. After a glorious day yesterday, it was cloudy but fairly warm this morning when I took my regular stroll around our little local nature reserve - and was delighted to find the grassy places alive with freshly-emerged Ringlets, those sable beauties that (along with Meadow Browns - also present) are among the few butterflies happy to fly - or rather, in the Ringlets' case, dance - under cloudy skies. And that was not all: as I paused by the lake, a Painted Lady in all its glory flew down and settled on a reed, close enough to touch. I remember, across six decades, my father pointing out to me the extraordinary lapidary beauty of a perching Painted Lady's underwings... A little later, back in the present, it started to rain.


  1. After years of failing to attract even a single great spangled fritillary to my garden, I stepped out last week to find dozens jostling for nectar at the blossoms of butterfly weed. The key seems to have been planting three species of native violets that are the preferred larval food source. Somehow these beautiful creatures found their way to my suburban paradise, and I hope they make it an annual pilgrimage.

  2. Wonderful - and what a beauty it is! Like a cross between our silver-washed and Queen of Spain fritillaries...