On a recent dog walk I noticed the Essex Skipper above struggling to get a grip on a grass stalk in the undergrowth. Made me think of athletes doing a workout on the bar, but more slapstick comedian than dainty little gymnast. In one of the shots it even looks as if he/she has deadpan eyebrows. These are unconventional little butterflies.
More conventional were the Gatekeepers I saw a couple of days ago on some bramble bushes – the first of the year for me. They have more varied markings than most butterflies, and some quite exotic – in a brown and orange sort of way.
Otherwise not many new arrivals around. The cloudy weather is probably not helping but it should get more lively within the next week or two. Didn’t see many Common Blues earlier in the year – just one in the field next to the house and not many up on the plain. It’ll be interesting to see how many we’ll get in the second generation. Sunny days forecast for next week so should find out soon.
Amazing what a couple of degrees centigrade can do. There were more clouds breaking up the sunshine yesterday than the day before, but the Green Hairstreaks seemed to appreciate the small rise in temperature. Quite a few of them flitting around the hawthorn bushes on the dog walk this time, and they were all more amenable, in terms of their positioning at rest, than previously. A few of them even landing on low down branches close by. I noticed that you could get up really quite close to some before scaring them off – a few inches even. Was wishing I’d had a macro lens with me. Anyway, it was delightful to see them in their full vivid glory for the first time.
Was surprised by how creased the wings look in this next shot.
Was it that the butterfly had only recently emerged and its wings were still a bit crinkled from being crammed up inside the chrysalis? Or was it just the angle to the sun that’s exaggerating the effect? Or maybe both and the young butterfly hadn’t quite got the hang of the positioning itself at right angles to the sun yet (for maximum warm-up effect).
It does look to be in mint condition, showing off its pristine colouring and with pretty much all its wing scales in tact, so it looks as if it may have only recently emerged.
Unlike the older butterfly in the next shot, which seems to have been around long enough to have mastered the 90 degree positioning to the sun thing, but become a little worn-looking with it. A few scales missing there.
The Hawthorne fly on the neighboring Hawthorne leaf gives an idea of just how small these beautiful little butterflies are.
The next shot here shows a butterfly who is older still and seems to have lost most of its scales. This one too, orientating its wings towards the sun. The wings of this and the previous butterfly do look distinctly flat, which makes me think that the first one (two pictures of) was likely to be recently emerged.
Unusual to see one of these butterflies on a flower, I’ve learned. Zooming in I can see that its proboscis is partially uncurled – perhaps to suck up some nectar? Maybe, having been around for a while, it needs the sustenance of some sugary nectar to keep going.
A delightful walk today. A treat to see these special butterflies in amongst all the fresh green of Spring.