Thursday, 8 May 2014

Butterflies



A couple of days ago I was driving past a site that, from previous years, I knew was a good place to spot some ‘early’ butterflies. It was sunny and the temperature was good, although there was quite a stiff wind blowing, so I thought that if I could find a sheltered spot I might just be lucky.
I’d only walked a few yards from the car park when I was rewarded by seeing my first butterflies, a dozen or so Green Hairstreaks ‘fighting’ over their territory around a Hawthorn bush.

Encouraged, I moved further on into the site and soon encountered more Green Hairstreaks, and in good numbers too, many more than I’d seen here in previous years. It wasn’t long before I started to see some of the other species that inhabit this site. In the end I spent over four, very enjoyable, butterfly filled hours there.


Green Hairstreak (calophrys rubi)….
Has a wingspan of 27-34mm. and both sexes are alike, except that the male has a pale oval sexual mark on the upper forewings. The upper wings are brown with a golden tinge, while the underside is an unmistakable green and carries a very fine somewhat broken white line - the 'hairstreak'. The back edge of the hindwing has some white fringing and a slightly scalloped appearance, with vestigial tail.  It’s flight period is from mid April to the end of July.

Butts 1 GHS

Butts 2 GHS

Butts 3 GHS

Butts 4 GHS cop
This pair wasted no time in getting down to business!

Duke of Burgundy (hamearis lucina)….
The sexes are roughly similar, the male a shade smaller with a wingspan of about 29mm. The male has a dark brown and black ground colour with 3 irregular tawny bands on the forewing, the outer containing 5 black spots near the margins. The hindwings are dark brown with 5 small oval tawny slashes and a broad dark border. Both wings have a white fringe intercrossed by black vein markings. On the underside, the forewing is dappled with black, orange, brown and white flashes with some small black centres in the outer tawny edge and, again, white fringing intersected by black vein marks.The hindwing has two white bands across and then a marginal band of orange crescents each containing black spots and finishing with the white blackcrossed fringe. The female has similar markings but they are altogether lighter and more open.  The flight period is from the end of April to mid June.

Butts 6 DOB m
Male

Butts 5 DOB f
Female

Butts 7 DOB head on

Butts 8 DOB f-uw
Female underwing.

Dingy Skipper (erynnis tages)….
As its name suggests this small, moth like, butterfly has an overall dark sombre appearance, but close inspection shows an attractive, if plain, even patterning of dark and light blotches with a pale curved band across the forewings and a row of light dots around the wing edges and an outer pale fringe. The insect is about 29mm across when the wings are spread.  The flight period is short..from early May to late June.

Butts 9 DS

Butts 10 DS

Grizzled Skipper (pyrgus malvae)….
The Grizzled Skipper is easily identified when it is settled: on the wing it is rather a blur. It is a small butterfly (27mm across the spread wings) and unmistakeably chequered black and white - the black being the dominant colour - and ornamented with numerous white square patches. The edging fringe is also black and white. Both sexes are similar but the male carries the sexual scent gland in a fold in the edge of the forewing. The underside of the wings are lighter, a grey-green colour with more obvious white patches.  Flight period from late April till the end of June.

Butts 11 GS
There were not many of these around…I only managed to get this one image.

And to finish off some images of the other butterflies that I’ve taken over the last few weeks…

Butts 12 BS
A beautiful backlit Brimstone (gonepteryx rhamni)

Butts 13 SW
The gardeners best friend…the Cabbage White or, to give it it’s proper name, the Small White (pieris rapae)

Butts 14 OT f
A female Orange Tip (anthocharis cardamines)

Butts 15 HB
A Holly Blue (celastrina argiolus) getting well stuck into a Buttercup.



n.b. all the information and descriptions are courtesy of Bird Guides/British Butterflies.

21 comments:

ADRIAN said...

You may not post often but when you do it's a joy to behold. My back aches just thinking of how many times you got down and up and down again.
Great shots of rare butterflies to me.

The Herald said...

Thanks very much Adrian. Yeh, I like to get out and take the photos but tend to get a bit of a backlog in the processing department, hence the tardiness in posting.
I do get some funny looks as I'm crawling around in the undergrowth and it's my knees that complain the most...and my wife as she tries to wash the grass stains out of my trousers!...[;o)

holdingmoments said...

A lovely selection of beauties Trev.
Good to see so many about at the moment.

I think the Orange Tip butterfly has an underwing superior to most butterflies upperwings.

The Herald said...

Cheers Keith. I agree about the female Orange Tip's underwing, it's stunning...[;o)

Carole M. said...

it's such a treat to see your butterflies Trevor; you have a keen eye for them and these are SUPER

The Herald said...

Thank you Carole...[;o)

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful selection of butterflies you got there Trevor. Superb photos.

FOREST SNAPPER said...

Another great posting Trevor,it seems that it could be another good year for butterflies. Well done.


peter

The Herald said...

Thanks Bob...[;o)

Thank you Peter. Here's to a spectacular butterfly year...[;o)

JRandSue said...

Stunning collection.

The Herald said...

Welcome John and Sue, thanks for stopping by and for your kind comment...[;o)

grammie g said...

Hi Trevor... The next to the last photo is a stunning shot!!
The Green Hairstreak is a beautiful butterfly!!
They are very photogenic : )

I don't know what in heck is wrong with me and the blogging!! I miss all you guys!!

Grace


The Herald said...

Hi Grace...Thank you. Yeh, I liked that one too, great patterning on the wings?
Those Hairstreak's are little crackers, especially if you get them 'shining' in the sunlight.

I know how you feel about blogging...I have to be in the right mood to be able to sit down and get my head around doing a post!...I much prefer being out, in amongst the nature, taking photographs....sorting all the photo's afterwards is a bit of a bind though...lol!...[;o)

douglas mcfarlane said...

Truly stunning images Trevor I'be just realised I have a long way to go with my macro attempts amazing level of detail on all the images

The Herald said...

Douglas, thank you....[;o)

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Trevor

Well all of these butterfly photographs are stunning. I can just imagine you crawling around in the undergrowth and I am not surprised your wife is not so pleased with all the green stains!! Anyhow, it is all has paid off. Some of these butterflies I have never even heard of, still learning!!! I have only seen the most common ones here this year as yet. The female Orange tip is lovely.

The Herald said...

Margaret, thank you. Dirty knees, elbows and grass stains are an occupational hazard, I'm afraid...lol!
I'm lucky to have good colonies of these stunning butterflies not too far from me, it's just a matter of picking the right time to go and photograph them.
Yeh, the underwing of the Orange Tip is georgeous....[;o)

Frank said...

A stunning collection Trevor.

I guess you might need a good pair of knee pads if the good weather continues .. lol.

The Herald said...

Thanks Frank.
Green knees are the in thing at this time of year..that's my excuse!...[;o)

Roy Norris said...

A brilliant set of images Trevor, what a collection. Duke of Burgundy!! you extremely fortunate person you.{:))

The Herald said...

Thank you Roy. Yeh, the DoB's have put on a good show this year with good numbers in both locations near to me, as have the Dingy and Grizzled Skippers. (about 6 miles from home!)...[;o)