Monday, 22 August 2016
Seems I was wrong about the last day of summer - we've been granted another three days this week. So here are some butterflies and stuff.
Quite a lot of these about which was nice, some on the tansy and some on the mint. They can be hard to identify and I'm not 101% sure about this one because the female common blue is often brown, but I think this right.
When I planted the tansy I imagined it would be an insect magnet and much appreciated by them. That's not been the case rather disappointingly and it smells nasty too but today in glorious sunshine after a couple of days of imposed famine by high winds it was meeting a need. The Meadow Browns are reliable grass loving butterflies all through the summer although their demure brown fades out as the season progresses. The tansy was attracting lots of flies too, some hoverflies, some ugly flesh eating ones. The pictures of those weren't good, so I've spared you.
Silver Washed Fritilliary
These lovely big butterflies are some of our most frequent species here, although they tend to get a bit tatty as they age. They're not usually fans of the tansy either, preferring the top of the buddleia or bramble flowers in the forest margins but today was special, obviously.
If the coppers can be difficult to identify then so can the Blues. This Common Blue looks quite like many of the blue butterflies we get, particularly at speed. However, the clue is in the name, so without other evidence I'm quite happy to identify this one, and he's a boy too because his colours are so bright.
The Holly Blues could just as easily be called Ivy Blues but for some reason they're not. These are quite distinctive, paler, just a little light spotting on the underwings and they nearly always rest with their wings closed upright.
Sooty Copper female and Small Tortoiseshell
How I'd love to see the Large Tortoiseshell but we don't seem to have them here. We have an abundance of small Tortoiseshells though and they are enjoying life in August very much. The picture below shows a caterpillar nursery of them on some nettles. There are lots and lots there but some will be lost to predators and weather. Even so, they look set for a good year again next year weather permitting.
Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars on nettles
I think these are the prettiest of the beetles and have to take their picture whenever I see one. The larvae live in the roots of brambles (and roses) but I won't hate them for that.
Red Admiral on Buddleia x weyeriana
The Red Admirals are fairly snooty butterflies until the plums drop and they become drunken sots rolling around on the ground sucking up all that fermenting deliciousness. They'll put up with the less intoxicating flowers of the buddleia but none of them fancied the tansy this morning.
Mint is another excellent plant for attracting insects. The Green-veined White is another opportunity for a misidentification since the Wood White is very similar but despite the bleaching in this slightly over exposed photo I'm sticking with my id for this one.
Jersey Tiger moth
Not a butterfly but a moth and despite its day-flying habit this photo was taken around midnight last night. It's nice to see the underwings at full stretch but I turned the kitchen light off after I took this picture so the poor thing could get some rest.
Wednesday, 17 August 2016
It might be the last good day of summer today. Misty mornings and bakingly hot days are forecast to give way to storms tonight and cooler breezier weather in the following days.
This is the prettiest sunflower I've had for a long time and it catches my attention and my camera every time I pass it.