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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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