Butterfly Walk

Tuesday was a beautiful day.  Blue skies, warm, light breeze and no work so decided to take a walk down the country lanes to our local heath.  Thought I would take along my pheromone lure to try and entice the exotic Emperor moth.  Heathland is always pleasant in the spring, the bright yellow gorse flowers give off the lovely scent of coconut.  Flitting around in the trees and shrubs the small olive/brown Chiffchaffs stop to call out their name.  Hidden deep in scrub the Blackcap announces it’s return from Africa, starting with a squeaky, scratchy opening before bursting into a glorious warbling refrain.  Overhead a pair of Buzzards display over their territory.

No luck with the moths, time to make my way home.  On the edge of the heath some blackthorn was in blossom.  There was my first Red Admiral of the year but it flew off before I had a chance to photograph it.  At least six Peacocks were peacefully enjoying the nectar, unlike the raging battles taking place in my garden!  Comma and a fly through Green-veined White were also noted in this sun trap.

Peacock (Aglais io) enjoying the blackthorn

Wrenching myself away from this lovely little area and moving on, the first garden in the old part of the village has wonderful lilac bushes coming into flower.  A small white butterfly was investigating the blooms.  On close inspection it was indeed a Small White.  The significance of this unassuming butterfly (and the earlier Green-veined white) is that it has hatched from it’s chrysalis this spring (most likely this morning) and not awoke from hibernation.  The second generation of this species is much larger.

Small White (Pieris rapae) on lilac

Further along and another bank of thorn full of blossom.  Here two Small Tortoiseshells posed for a few shots.  A bit faded and worn, they probably spent the winter in a garden shed or hole in a tree.  Usually this is a fairly common species but I’ve only seen three so far this year.

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

Just a few steps from home and another little white butterfly caught my eye across a field.  It seemed to land so I carefully approached the area and yes the unmistakable flash of orange!  My first Orange-tip of the year!  On all fours I crawled slowly in to a grass free view, one shot then gone.  After nine months cooped up in its cocoon as chemicals changed it from caterpillar to butterfly, this gorgeous fellow has only one thing on his mind, lady Orange-tips!  It will spend most of the day wandering here and there pausing only briefly for fuel in it’s search for a mate.  Lifespan for an adult is only weeks.

Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) my first of the year

Back home and after lunch let’s see what the garden has to offer.  High up among the hawthorn branches with their freshly opened light green leaves, small and delicate like a piece of wind-blown, sky coloured confetti, a Holly Blue.  The first of the blues to emerge.  We are fortunate to have a good colony around the garden with plenty of holly and ivy for their caterpillars to eat.

Male Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) resting at ground level

Another Orange-tip flies into the garden.  It makes you dizzy watching as it wanders haphazardly up and down the flower beds, over the fence and back again.  Then a male Brimstone, another of natures restless nomads,  stopped to fuel up.

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) liked this wallflower

Nine species seen, the day couldn’t get better and it didn’t.  Watching a Green-veined White going to roost I crept backwards up the lawn wearing Mrs H’s slippers.  Not looking where I was treading I lost my balance and performed a rather ungraceful back flip onto the concrete patio!  Desperately trying to save my camera (I did) I managed to cut both knees, badly grazed a shoulder, cricked my neck and bent a finger!  As my little ‘Florence Nightingale’ patched me up she warned me to be more careful as at my age I break easily 😲!  Cheek!

If you are a new visitor to my blog and wish to see other butterflies our Country has to offer check out this page https://blhphotoblog.wordpress.com/british-butterflies/

48 thoughts on “Butterfly Walk

  1. A very nice selection and beautiful photos too! It’s funny, given the obvious difference in altitude and temperatures we have, that I’ve lost count of the number of Tortoiseshells I’ve seen. Though I’m extremely jealous you’ve already seen, let alone photographed, a blue. They must all be still tucked up somewhere, awaiting the burst of yet more Alpine flowers. And, I have been worried about this “Stay Home” instruction, as everyone knows, most accidents happen at home! I hope your wounds heal quickly!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Mike. The Small Torts were a bit scarce at the end of last summer in my area. Some places were far better. It’s possible they have been affected by a parasitic wasp which is known to affect numbers, also possible this wasp does not occur in the Alps?
      Bit sore in places but worth it as the camera was saved!


  2. Delightful post with such a rich count of butterflies, guaranteed to make me smile. Comma, Brimstone, Small Tortie, Small White & Peacock have graced our garden since lockdown sunshine days started Hope bumps & bruises healing…I’m prone to leaping up from lunch on my lap & rushing into the garden if a butterfly passes by.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You had a very successful day! I particularly like the shot of the Holly Blue; such a beautiful butterfly. My best day of last week was Sunday 5th, when I saw many of the same butterflies in my back garden. Not the Orange Tip though … but a couple of days one flew past while I queued for an hour outside my local supermarket! I’m still waiting for my first Red Admiral of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Successful indeed, in fact the whole week has been great with the lovely weather tempting things out. Always been fortunate with Holly Blues they like to rest on the hebes.
      When I go to work (supermarket assistant) I’m surprised to see the queues snaking around the car park, a bit surreal.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. There’s a well fostered image of New Zealand as a natural garden paradise. The truth is entirely different, the place is a desert compared with the lushness and diversity that is England. You are genuinely blessed, enjoy—and please don’t stop sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Even some states in Europe are poor due to overuse of chemicals.
      Argus, I shall continue sharing as long as I stop going a over t after a little white butterfly I’ve photographed hundreds of times in the past!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You cast a serendipitous spell here with your outdoor descriptions and gorgeous butterfly pics. Thanks Brian! Butterflies are slippery critters to capture by camera so I marvel at the variety of species you’ve documented.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Brian, I have seldom seen such a beautifully caught collection. Absolutely stunning, my friend! Do they all just visit your garden? Maybe that’s why we never see them anywhere else? Amazing! Hope you’re healing up well!! 🙄😉 Very best, Rob 🙏

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Big thanks Rob. We do get a large number in the garden, 17 different species recorded, and try to plant for their needs (and the bees). The local countryside is also varied in habitat which is a bonus.
      Not too sore now but I feared for my beloved camera at the time so wasn’t bothered about myself!


  7. Somehow missed your post yesterday so late to the game – first off, how’s is the camera doing … resting comfortably I hope, plenty of care being provided, emotional trauma from nearly being decimated ..secondly how are you doing ha. Hopefully nothing care from a loving wife can’t overcome (never wear slippers into the field, people will laugh and they might get embarrassed and make you trip). Kidding aside, glad to see nothing really bad happened, know you have had troubles in the past with your back. Incredible shots per the norm and very visual description o the day’s haul.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Camera’s fine and it’s breathing has stabilised, that was a very close call!
      Like a trooper I got up and still tried to get a shot of the butter, except I felt my left leg getting strangely wet so thought I’d better quit. Choice of footwear was probably not great but was all that were close to hand when I saw the butterfly.
      Glad you like the images B. Must say you seem calm today, keeping away from the news is doing you good!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Good to hear, will hold of on the get well card for the camera. Feeling great these days – health coming back, I’m back on the trails – seems like a downplay of news is just the thing… granted there could be a zombie apocalypse going on .. but sometimes ignorance is bliss. By the way, commend your continued efforts to get the Butter – true dedication to all your readers.

        Liked by 2 people

  8. Love the photos – such beautiful butterflies! It is great to get out and getting photos. It will be a bit before we get butterflies in our area. I’m planting flowers to try and entice them to stop in my yard along their way. 🙂 Sorry to hear about the fall – glad the camera survived! I’d miss seeing these beautiful photos! Glad you weren’t hurt too badly. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Maybe you and Brian in the states should try to stop out doing each other in the adventures of the back yard type.😂😂😂 Glad to know that you knew the priority was to save the camera.
    That Holly Blue was a super shot! I haven’t seen any this year yet but I bet it will be soon as the weather here has been mid summer temperatures. The downside of that is it is very very dry already. Working in the garden is more like working in the salt mines. Sand everywhere if the wind blows a bit. Keep up the good work and get Mrs H some flowers for being a good nurse to your acrobatic feats!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Don’t think I can match B in the ‘hurting myself’ stakes.
      Strange weather, it was only a month or so ago we were flooded out. Now it’s bone dry and we are having to water the flowers on a regular basis as they start to really come into growth, the lawn could do with a drink too. On the plus side it’s been good for butterflies and bees!
      Mrs H doesn’t like cut flowers much but as long as I do my share of the housework she’s happy.
      Keep well CJ

      Liked by 2 people

  10. First, and most importantly, thank goodness the camera is okay!

    Superb photographs, Brian. I lingered over each image and can’t wait for our rain to let up so I can get outside. Terrific narrative of your adventure!

    We truly hope you’re not seriously injured. Any of us who have spent any time stalking insects, birds, wildlife – have no doubt had a similar accident. Most of us simply are not brave enough to admit it to anyone!

    Take good care.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you like the post Wally, it’s nice to have the butterflies back again just a shame we are not allowed to travel to see rarer species. All frustrating but for the best.
      All pretty much healed up now just have to be more careful!


    1. Super walk Deborah. Not seen as much variety since (gone a bit windy) but several Holly Blues in the garden still, just trying to coax them out of the trees!
      Take care. B


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