Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Orange and green

The sun has come out and so have the butterflies. The nights remain cold, and the moths are staying in. That seems to be the situation at the moment, with only a smattering of Early Greys, Drabs and Quakers dozing in the egg boxes of a morning. Hence a bit of a gap since I last posted, and I've also been away - down on the Malvern Hills from which today's exciting and complicated photos come.

Chris Thomond and I were on the British Camp making the latest of our Britain's Best Views extravaganza of films for the Guardian website and we diverted to West Malvern to do a bit on the water; they have the wonderful Hayslad gusher there - pure Malvern Water streaming free from a double-headed brass pipe. A non-stop succession of people called by with jerrycans while we were there, some from as far away as Birmingham and one topping up his car battery with the (naturally distilled) stuff.Opposite the gusher there was a pretty clump of that lovely Spring flower which I call Milkmaids - aka Lady's Smock or Cuckoo Flower, and we filmed this to go with some bluebells as typical of the abundant flora and fauna of the hills. Don't let anyone tell you that Britain's wildflowers are a thing of the past. They are everywhere. And while Chris filmed away, I wisely observed: "Milkmaids are excellent because they attract Orange Tip butterflies..."

And Lo! Into the scene fluttered a newly-hatched male OT, which then led us a merry dance as the main picture shows (plus the massively blown-up detail here in the small one, just above, left). It was like the badgers in the Fast Show. We got film of it in the end, though, and here's my own pic of it, fortuitously with its proboscis busying away, like a child sticking their tongue out in a school photograph.
This all happened on Monday but it's Tuesday now and there's another male Orange Tip fluttering daintily round our garden here in Leeds. Only the males have the orange, but both sexes are graced with the wonderful delicate greeny-grey patterning on their hind underwings which you can just see in the pic.


sarah meredith said...

Isn't the internet grand? I've just learned about Orange Tip butterflies, which are so beautiful and which I have never seen before and I have also just watched the three episodes of your series on the Guardian's website! I think you are very brave to have even gotten that close to the edge at the Roseberry Topping - I started to get a little queasy just thinking about it. And I know that there is no way I would step on the glass in the Blackpool Tower! All that said, I love seeing these places and Hadrian's Wall as well. Your north England is truly magnificent! Now I must get back to work! xxs

Anonymous said...

Sarah Hi! When I saw someone had commented, I assumed it was going to be Chris, defending his camera angle...
You are good, ploughing through the films. Actually when you all come to visit next, Roseberry Topping would be a good place to go - although the British Camp, which Chris and I were doing yesterday, is fabulous - an Ancient Britons' hillfort, circled by earthworks and dykes.
I shall be visiting your blogs very soon. Meanwhile x to all M (and P)