Sunday, 30 August 2009

Speckles and spots

You can't step into the garden at the moment without setting up several Speckled Woods. It's a far cry from 1998 when I got a letter from the local Butterfly Conservation man, after I reported sighting a Speckled Wood for the first time, saying: "If you can get a photograph of your Speckled Wood, you will be a celebrity! They're suspected to be there, but no proof yet." I duly got a photo, but not until 2003 (we weren't remotely digital then...) Since then, the species has come on by leaps and bounds and is one of the commonest butterflies hearabouts. It would be very interesting to know what lies behind this. If there are naturalists, biology MA students et al looking for a precise and manageable project, here is one. Mind you, it's one with a happy ending (so far) which maybe wouldn't get funding in the current climate change atmosphere of doom.

Our buddleais are also ablaze with butterflies, almost as much as those we enjoyed at Tadpole Bridge in Oxfordshire last month. Painted Ladies, Peacocks, Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells... they all dine on the nectar and then go an snooze on somewhere light which reflects the sunshine, such as our statue of Buddha (gap years gone by) and the slats of the greenhouse roof. The pics, btw, are Peacock (top), Speckled Wood (right), Red Admiral (left) and Painted Lady (below)

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