Friday, 19 August 2011

Admirals ahoy!

More good news, after the re-appearance of a Southern Hawker here: the Red Admirals have arrived in force at last. It's only a few days since I was worrying that this year's unusual weather might have done something nasty to their life cycle; but we had four swooping over the buddleia in the sunshine, with as many Peacocks and a fluttery couple of Large Whites vying for the honey-scented swags of purple flowers.

The Red Admiral is the earliest butterfly I can remember, because my mother was very fond of it - I think, again, because it was the first to which she was introduced as a child. The Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell are lovely too, and I am now sure that we will see all three regularly between now and the onset of autumn. I'm not so sure that I can pick between them, but we are lucky to have such colourful common wild creatures on an island whose fauna and flora tends to the sober-looking side. Like the pleasant but pastel Large White.

Red Admirals - a distortion of 'admirable' which has nothing to do with the sea - sip nectar voraciously. They were really going at the florets yesterday, plunging in their long probosces and so intent on the process that I could creep quite close. I even took a film; and although I'm not (yet) a master of close focus in movie-making, it gives the idea. I'm hoping to add it but I've just spent ages trying to upload it without success and must go now. Maybe another attempt later...


Yay! I think it's worked...

Yes it has. It isn't terribly action-packed, but I'm excited.


Cyren said...

Oh Martin, they are beautiful!!!

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there!

Yes they certainly are and the great thing is, Cyren, that they are so common here, along with the Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. You'll be used to brightly coloured wildlife in Malaysia but there isn't very much in rainy old Britain. Birds, butterflies and moths have a tendency towards the grey and brown...

All warm wishes


Banished To A Pompous Land said...

Of the butterflies I remember from my childhood in Yorkshire its the Peacock that I love the most. It really is a very beautiful creature. I think they are taken somewhat for granted because as you say they are still so common. But take a close look and they are a match for most any you will find anywhere in the world in depth richness and subtlety of colour and pattern.

Banished To A Pompous Land said...

Oh I forgot to add I always found the very best time to approach Admirals was when they were feeding on aging windfall fruit. When that sugar started to turn to alcohol they were very amenable.

MartinWainwright said...

I just can't make up my mind, B. The Small Tortoiseshell is lovely as well. I think I'd just say the Red Admiral pips the Peacock but only by a wafer

All v best as ever

Hope the swamp fire has gone out


Banished To A Pompous Land said...

Oh indeed it hasn't Martin. While the last couple of days were at least smoke free here at Chez Banished I got up early this morning hoping to catch one or more of the remaining Swallowtails emereging and its pretty thick out again.

It could burn well into the autumn. Whats needed is a couple of really soaking rains, a few inches each.

Though not a hurricane of course. And it is hurricane season through to around the end of October yet.

Damn it, isn't nature wonderful?