Thursday 27 July 2017


The day before yesterday I was picking blackberries on Mitcham Common, just yards from the thunderous main road, when I noticed something rather grey and moth-like fluttering around on the bramble patch. It was only when it (she, in fact) settled on a nearby leaf and folded its wings in a most unmothlike manner that I suddenly realised what it was. To quote myself on an earlier occasion - my friends, it was a Purple Hairstreak! A female, the upperside duller and browner than the male, but the underwing, with those subtle washes of greys, the thin meandering 'hairstreak', the tiny orange 'eyes' and tail, was unmistakable. A glorious surprise.
  Equally unmistakable was the Clouded Yellow that I saw a little later as it flew away from the trees and off over the golf course at high speed. This is a summer visitor that, if it turns up at all, can turn up anywhere (I once spotted one at South Mimms service station), and most years I count myself lucky if I see one at all. Last year I didn't - but that, of course, was the Year of the Hairstreak...
  The blackberries were delicious.

But enough of butterflies and blackberries - I'm off to Oxfordshire tomorrow, then to various parts of Mercia for a few days. There will probably be a brief hiatus. Enjoy it while it lasts.

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