Monday, 15 August 2011

Butterfly ponderings

Continuing the Spanish theme, I'm unexpectedly collecting the current series of Spanish butterfly stamps, thanks to my younger son who's been holidaying there with a friend. These two have arrived so far and he promises another three to come. Hooray for England's youth!

Butterflies are a popular choice for stamps but, as always, moths follow somewhat in their wake. Not in Spain, though. Maybe inspired by personal experiences such as J-P Stacey's (see two posts below), the postal authorities there did a great moth series last year and they featured a spectacular Moon Moth and its foodplant the geranium in 2009.

Actually, I've been thinking about butterflies more than moths myself, after a sunny day which brought out plenty of them including this Small Copper perching close to an early windfall which looks like a demented smiley ball. The butterfly was one of a dozen or more frisking about and taking an encouraging interest in one another. We should have plenty more next year.

There were also plenty of Speckled Woods, Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns and Holly Blues, plus the occasional Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell. I wonder, however, if others are experiencing a shortage of the usual, beautifully-coloured Vanessids this year. Our buddleias are at their best now, but I have seen only one Red Admiral and the others are sparse compared with recent years. The weather has been a bit odd which may have affected their cycle. But there are plenty of nettles about - their food plant - so perhaps it's just a matter of being patient.


worm said...

Hi martin, no you're not the only one, i've seen only a handful of solitary red admirals on the buddleias this year, most worrying. I've also seen none of their furry caterpillars on nettles either.

Small coppers are one of my absolute favourites, such a pretty, jolly little butterfly

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there

Mmmm interesting. I hope it's not going to be a washout of the big, bright, familiar ones.

Yes I like Small Coppers v much. I'd love to see a Large one. I think they've reintroduced them at Wicken Fen and maybe one or two other fenland places - a Dutch variant rather than the English original, which was hunted to extinction by collectors (one of the rare examples of that actually happening for definite). But very fine.

All v best