we may not be having the promised barbecue summer but it’s definitely a good butterfly one. today I took my camera out and tried to photograph all the butterflies I could see. they are shy and not easy to catch in frame unless totally absorbed in a plant full of nectar-loaded flowers; also my lumix display is hard to see with sunglasses and my aged eyes really need reading specs – oh for a viewfinder!
right outside the house three painted ladies were feasting on the neighbour’s lavender. I wonder how many generations these are away from those that arrived on a wave of warm air from Africa in May.
up the road, on thistles growing next to the old gravel pit, there were more painted ladies. you can just see the butterfly’s tongue (lengua de mariposa ) extended to reach down one of the tiny elongate thistle flowers.
some flowers have nectar, and others apparently don’t. these field violets smother the ground where I walked between the beans and the beet across the field, having replaced the pretty striped columbine there a few weeks ago, and not an insect in sight.
more thistles next to the wood; two peacocks, a comma, a field brown and a small white feeding. commas are supposed to be common, but this is only the second I have spotted this year.
commas have such a lovely shape, and their bright oranges catch the eye.
this peacock was sunning itself and the light reflects on his wings. seen from underneath as they fly overhead they look dark brown.
nearby a small tortoiseshell posed for me.
the field browns are even more difficult to photograph, they flit about in a mercurial fashion and hardly ever stay still.
in the shade of the wood a huge burdock plant was attracting a lot of large and small whites.
walking up the green lane small clouds of butterflies danced overhead and avoided my camera. here the hemp agrimony flowers kept a peacock and a honey bee well occupied. you can see how dark the peacock’s underside is, even with the sun shining on its wings.
a female field brown paused in the foliage long enough for this photo.
and another, feeding on a thistle.
the margin of field and green lane; a haven for insects, especially as this farmer uses as few chemicals as possible.
rosebay willow herb; full of white butterflies until I approach and they all fly up.
a white stands to attention on a fleabane flower.
and a painted lady appears to be hiding from me in the shade.
I was pleased to catch this speckled wood, they are fast flying and don’t feed on flowers.
along the verges of Clip street, cut a few weeks ago, there are few flowers and only some gatekeepers and high-flying large whites appeared; the gatekeepers were too busy arguing to settle or stay in one place and impossible to photograph.
the sharrington road pond is surrounded by teasels, wonderful sculptural plants. as we passed a family of moorhens scurried across the pondweed for shelter; the little ones are turning from balls of black fluff into half-size fluffy moorhens.
at home the new buddhlia flowers are starting to attract peacocks, but I have not seen a red admiral yet. the bushes were cut back so severely in November that the flowers are coming later than usual.