All summer I have been waiting for our visitors to arrive, but with all the rain and cold wind that we have been having, there was no chance, until a few days ago. That morning started off very misty and foggy, but by midday the sun was out and boy, it was hot! All of a sudden I noticed lots of colours flying round the garden, the butterflies had arrived!! As well as the butterflies, everywhere was buzzing with bees, my bee and butterfly border was in business at last. This red Admiral was unlucky, no nectar in the flowers on my T shirt!
Can you see the Brown Hawker Dragonfly in the centre of the photo, my book tells me this is a male because of the blue spots on its abdomen. I felt really pleased to spot it amongst all the foliage, but wasn’t so sure when I read that it feeds on butterflies!
Gatekeepers are everywhere I look, some are only half size though which I have never noticed before, keep thinking that they must be something else, but Gatekeepers are the only butterfly which has 2 small white dots inside the black dot.
My husband noticed this splash of colour on the white buddleja, do you know what it is?
It’s a Jersey Tiger Moth, found in Europe, the Chanel Islands and the SW coast of England. We have only noticed these twice before in the 21 yrs that we have been here, so were thrilled to find this one.
The next day I found this one, might be the same one, but it had stayed overnight.
Today we have seen 3 at once so think they are quite happy here, hope they stay, they have such striking markings.
We are now inundated with Peacock butterflies. Usually I find them on the white buddleja which has grown very tall with all the rain, the flowers are huge on it and give off so much perfume. They usually attack all kinds of Little Peckers, but this year they got lucky and had a quiet peaceful time. This morning I counted eight at one time, which I felt was a good number.
Also loads of commas in the front garden, this time on Verbena bonariensis as well as the buddleja.
Managed to get this view of the white mark on the underside which gives the Comma butterfly its name.
This clump of wild eupatorium in the fruit and veggie garden should really get pulled out, but I can’t do it, it is covered in bees of all description.
It has now formed a sizeable clump and every flower head has at least 5 bees on it, we need our bees and if they like it, then it stays!
Another group of flowers that is buzzing each time I pass are these Astilbes by the steps up onto the lawn by the back door. Masses of bees are making the most of the sunshine today, haven’t noticed them on astilbes before.
Sorry about this image, this is as near as I could get to a Painted Lady. It kept feeding on the highest flowers and each time I tried to bend the branch over, it flew away, others co-operate but not this one. Will keep trying to get a better photo.
A Tortoiseshell butterfly, haven’t seen many of these so far this year, but hopefully there is time for more to arrive.
We decided to make the most of our few hours of sunshine and went to our nearest RSPB Reserve which has the highest number of different species of butterfly of all the RSPB reserves.
This is the view to the coast. the water you can see is the English Chanel, next stop France. The reserve is managed specially for the bird, the Dartford Warbler. We could hear them all the time we were there, but unfortunately no sightings of them. The poster at the entrance of the reserve shows these beautiful birds.
Gorse and heather is everywhere, the Dartford Warblers live in the gorse bushes. Care must be taken in the summer, adders live here too.When we had our old dog, she obviously heard rustling in the bushes, stuck her nose in and got bitten , she was a very ill dog for 2 weeks but thankfully recovered. After that, she wouldn’t go near that gorse bush for a good 6 months, other gorse bushes were ok but not that particular one!
All the time we were walking round we could hear the sound of crickets, eventually one jumped onto the path in front of me, obviously wanted its photo taken, how co-operative!
Now to my mystery butterfly. It has dark brown upper wings, very rapid flight, kept stopping on the path around us, very difficult to photograph, I’m afraid this is the best I could do when it landed on my foot! I have searched my butterfly book which shows the under wings of all the butterflies, but cannot decide which one it is. The nearest colouring is for various Grayling butterflies, but my book says…not found in Britain. This is where I need your help, does anyone know which one it is please? While we were there we saw loads of Gatekeepers, Tortoiseshells and I think Small Skippers that were darting everywhere, a good hour was spent there, then back home to cool off !!