Monday 4 December 2017

Year of the Blues

Another grey, cold December day (with redwings everywhere, heralding colder times ahead) has me yearning for the butterfly-rich days of summer. Clearly it's time to look back over my butterfly year – and wish, as ever, that I'd made more of it.
 It started early, with a flurry of Brimstones in February, and continued well into April, including a magical early Orange Tip on a memorable day. When the summer got properly under way, 2017 turned out to be the Year of the Blues (by contrast with 2016's Year of the Hairstreak). A location I'd only managed to find this year proved to be alive with Small Blues, and an exciting highlight of the year was finding a thriving colony of beautiful Silver-Studded Blues at Brookwood – but the most thrilling Blue encounters of the year were with brilliant late-August Adonis Blues, flying in such profusion as I never saw before.
 It was also an uncommonly good year for two other chalk downland rarities, the Dark Green Fritillary and Silver-spotted Skipper – at least it was for me – and I saw plenty of White Admirals and Silver-Washed Fritillaries in high summer, and a quite prodigious abundance of Marbled Whites in late spring. A year to look back on with delight. I feel warmer already...
 And, happily, I don't have long to look forward to my first butterflies of 2018, as I shall be in New Zealand throughout January, visiting our daughter, son-in-law and grandsons, and enjoying the Monarchs and Yellow Admirals and antipodean coppers and blues.

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