Monday, 11 April 2011

Creatures of the sun

This isn't a moth, no. It's a flower, a milkmaid, cuckoo flower or lady's smock. But it's the reason why that beautiful Spring butterfly the Orange Tip visits us at this time of the year. The insect's caterpillars are very fond of milkmaids.

Two Orange Tips were skittering around the garden all weekend, revelling like us in sunshine and temperatures worthy of July. They seldom settled for long which accounts for my rather hopeless photos, especially of the male with his brightly eponymous orange tips. Sorry. But I should have more and better chances because the number of Orange Tips has risen during our 25 years here, along with that of most other butterfly species. The Speckled Wood is by far the most dramatic in terms of increase, followed by Commas. And I am hoping that our blackthorns, bought from Kirkstall Bridge's wildlife centre and planted five years ago, will bring back the Brimstone which made its debut two years ago but didn't come last year.
At least, I didn't see one. They are lovely harbingers of Spring, like the Orange Tip, and according to some are the 'butter-coloured fly' which gave the whole tribe its strange English name. I saw a blue too, as mentioned yesterday, but not in time to identify or photo it. Tomorrow I'll bring you that familiar but lovely trio of sun-worshippers, the Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Comma. There were around in good numbers too.


worm said...

What a coincidence Martin - I saw my first ever orange tip this weekend, it curlicued over my car bonnet in the gym carpark. Such tropical 'un-british' colours!

Anonymous said...

The gym car park? Nightmare. I make it a major rule of life to have nothing to do with gyms. Still, I'm glad that an Orange Tip eased your presumed pain. All v best M

sarah meredith said...

Hi Martin - how lovely and green it looks in Leeds right now! New York City is starting to come alive - we have daffodils galore in Central Park and the cherry blossoms are on the verge of erupting, but up here in the country where the dog and I are spending a quiet week, all is still very much in the winter mode. I made a quick landscape study yesterday which is on my blog and the colors in that painting are, if not perfectly accurate, then very close to those of April up here in the hinterlands. We could use a few flowers and butterflies! Love to you both. s

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah and all Merediths and dog - your painting is lovely! All should see it by clicking on the US best artist link on this blog's home page. The colours are very mothy, which is a compliment xM