We've just had a very pleasant week in Sardinia where the wildflowers were still out, albeit fading, and the butterflies and moths were beginning to enjoy the warm weather too. Here are a couple of composite photos which I spent my idle, sunlit hours creating - circular dances by the Hummingbird Hawk moth which lived in the sprawling bougainvilleas at our hotel and by a courting couple of the Sardinian equivalent of the UK's Wall butterfly. Update - with thanks to Conehead54 in Comments: the 'Wall' is actually the Mediterranean form of our familiar and much less orange Speckled Wood. Sorry).
These impressive works of art were made from clips from the short films below which I hope will work on your computer or 'phone:
Another frequent visitor to our balcony was this Holly Blue, a very tenacious and adaptive species which is also common here in Oxfordshire's countryside and in the very different, urban streets of Walthamstow which it shares with our grandchildren.
And now here's the Wall (Speckled Wood rather) again. This one was safe - at least for the time being - in a hedge in the local town, unlike one of its unfortunate relations which was the subject of a riveting episode of animal drama. We were having a drink at a cafe when we heard a regular snapping sound which turned out to be the beak of a small, sparrow-like bird which was determinedly chasing another Wall (Speckled Wood, I mean) butterfly round the garden.
It would have been a useful lesson for any sentimentalist about animals - a small but striking example of their constant need to hunt and eat, and the inexorable working of the food chain. There was, sadly, no contest. The Wall (SW) jinked and skittered with admirable skill but ultimately the duel was akin to one between a modern jet fighter and a biplane. Here is all that was left of the butterfly after the final snap.
Later in the same day, I had an even more exciting example when a cormorant, single-mindedly fishing a few yards from where I was swimming in the sea, dived and went after a shoal of fishes like a rocket. Its lethal speed and skill underwater was an astonishing contrast to its slow progress, bobbing and dipping, when paddling on the surface. Sorry not to have photos or a film, which would have been striking, but I was mostly underwater at the time myself.