Thursday, 4 August 2016

Summer visitor

Life's a bit busy just now and wet weather has put a dampener on trapping, but here's a quick sequence of a very welcome visitor when Penny and I got back home from a trip this morning - and the sunshine also returned.

It's a Red Admiral in all its freshly-hatched glory, perhaps the archetype of 'children's butterflies' in books, films and the imagination.  In my own case, it is genuinely the first individual species of butterfly that I remember, followed closely by the Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock - and 'Cabbage Whites' (Large Small and Green-veined), although we rather meanly considered them a separate and inferior butterfly family.

This one was flying around at its usual fast and furious pace but then settled on a sunlight patch of wall and opened its wings for a good warm-up. I didn't have my camera on  me but after the butterfly had remained motionless for about three minutes, I slipped in to get it, hoping that the sunbathing would go on.

It did. And although these butterflies - like most of the tribe - are usually very alert and skittish when at rest, this one was clearly enjoying the sun too much. It  allowed me to get within inches, only once furling its wings abruptly (to hide itself by casting as little shadow as possible). Even then, it settled back into sunbathing mode after a few seconds and remained there for another five minutes after I had finished.

This is the high season for the 20 species of butterfly which you can find here in mid to late Summer (plus the Orange Tip in early Summer and late Spring). I have just dug out the illustrated guide, below, which I made last year for the village noticeboard, reprinted it and posted it up once more. All the pictures were taken here a year ago.

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