Two weekends ago whilst walking through a meadow of long grass and wild flowers such as scabius, ragwort and bramble it was immediately noticeable that butterflies are now out in force. On several outings around Histon since then many species are frequenting the hedgerows and grasslands. The species which I think heralds the onset of the butterfly summer is the gatekeeper. It always seems to be the the one I see first in June/July and is rapidly followed by the other summer species:
The Gatekeeper – harbinger of sunny summer days
Holly blues were around in the spring months but have now disappeared in favour of species more associated with summer such as the common blue:
Common blue male. I think this is one of the best photographs I’ve ever taken – it’s a beautiful creature!
A comma soaking up some intermittent morning sunshine perched on a cluster of oak leaves
I particularly like commas with their ragged edges and the rich colours of a young one are exquisitely juxtaposed against the green foliage of the oak leaves.
Small tortoiseshell, peacock and red admiral regularly abound on the flowers of a huge buddleia in my garden. And whilst I’m not averse to getting up really close to snap pictures there, it’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel, it’s a tad more challenging to get good pictures out in the countryside on some of our indigenous wild flowers:
Small tortoioseshell feeding on nectar from field scabius flower, and
A red admiral
I spent 20 minutes lurking in the undergrowth waiting for this red admiral to open it’s wings and when I looked down amongt the nettles I was standing in it was festooned with caterpillars:
Peacocks before pupation – the ‘ugly duckling’
And after pupation – a spectacular metamorphosis (this one is on the buddleia in my garden, but I love the colours)
A notable absentee from the rollcall of butterflies is the painted lady which was here in good numbers last summer but I haven’t a single one yet. Despite that, lots of other species are out there too, such as speckled wood, brown argus, large and small white and small skipper. But more of those next time I post about butterflies.
Posted in Butterflies, Countryside walks, Insects, Walks around Cambridge and Histon, Wildlife favourites
Tagged Aglais io, Aglais urticae, Aricia agestis, bramble, brown argus, buddleia, butterflies, butterfly bush, Cambridge, Celastrina argiolus, comma, common blue, field scabius, gatekeeper, histon, holly blue, large white, Lepidoptera, painted lady, Pararge aegeria, peacock, Pieris brassicae, Pieris rapae, Polygonia c.-album, Polyommatus icarus, Pyronia tithonus, ragwort, red admiral, small skipper, small tortooiseshell, small white, speckled wood, Thymelicus sylvestris, Vanessa atalanta, Vanessa cardui
I just found these two blogs which I think are really good and well worth a look:
This one caught my attention because of the adders, a creature I’ve never seen in the wild yet but I’m on a mission to find them.
And this one has lots of high quality photographs of British moths: