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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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commas have such a lovely shape, and their bright oranges catch the eye.

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this peacock was sunning itself and the light reflects on his wings. seen from underneath as they fly overhead they look dark brown.

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nearby a small tortoiseshell posed for me.

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the field browns are even more difficult to photograph, they flit about in a mercurial fashion and hardly ever stay still.

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in the shade of the wood a huge burdock plant was attracting a lot of large and small whites.

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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.

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a female field brown paused in the foliage long enough for this photo.

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and another, feeding on a thistle.

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the margin of field and green lane; a haven for insects, especially as this farmer uses as few chemicals as possible.

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rosebay willow herb; full of white butterflies until I approach and they all fly up.

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a white stands to attention on a fleabane flower.

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and a painted lady appears to be hiding from me in the shade.

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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.

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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.

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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.