Safari Sunday – Butterflies
Flutter numbers this year are surprisingly well. Although I still haven’t seen any Red Admirals. I have had most of my other ‘regulars’ except for the Small Copper; although the latter isn’t a surprise to me.
The Gatekeeper numbers seem to have topped out at 15 seen at the same time; there may have been more as a) some may have been still and b) as amazing as I am, I do not have eyes in the back of my head or the ability to see through things.
I’ve noticed they’ve slowed down slightly; the females have arrived, so the males seem to have chilled out. This also means taking photos of them is now much easier.
This year I’ve noticed the Gatekeepers also really enjoy the Shasta Daisies and Rudbeckia; I hadn’t noticed this before? They also preference a Steel Blue Sea Holly?? It’s a shame I have only the one blue one and more of the normal green ones that gradually turn blue.
I think from these videos, it’s easy to see Butterflies are not the easiest to photograph…
Gatekeeper on Rudbeckia (for better quality vid just up the quality on the bottom to HD.)
The Gatekeepers really do love the Rudbeckias… One female allowed me to get very close, and didn’t seem the slightest bit interested that there was a camera right up in her face.
I also spotted this white moth flying in the day… Not sure what type it is – cannot ID it from UKmoths either. All the whites are either much larger or have obvious brown patterns when this is very light and has no brown spots…
Large White on Buddleja
So far I’ve seen this Small Tort on a number of occasions (or maybe a different one each time; who knows?) a couple of days ago I also spotted some Caterpillar poops on the nettles which mean one thing: Comma Cats. I’ve just got to spot it now! Proving way more difficult than last year… I’ve tried a few times now and am wondering if it’s gone to Chrysalis…
I managed perhaps my first ever proper photograph of the Ringlet Butterfly; it seemed to enjoy the Erysimum and even allowed me to get quite close!
This is one that I often struggle to get shots of as it’s always on the move, and if it does stop then the male Gatekeepers come along and chase them off.
Speaking of hard to catch Butterflies, here’s another: Meadowbrown. They too are difficult for me to get and I rarely ever manage to get within a few metres of them. This movie is taken using my big zoom lens from a few metres away. I’m just pleased it turned around and opened its wings for me :)
Meadow Brown Butterfly
There’s also been lots of fluttering and fighting; I’m unsure if it’s the female Gatekeepers who does this high speed fluttering as part of mating or if it’s males warning others off!
Anyway, although the Gatekeepers are the biggest culprits of fighting, the Whites have also had their fair share as shown in the below movie:
Even the Gkeepers were fed up with the White! Not sure exactly what it’s doing… But they sure can be feisty little insects considering they look so peaceful.
To end this post is something a little different… Not a Butterfly, but still a first for this garden: A Brown Hawker Dragonfly. I assume there must be a pond somewhere nearby, as I’ve seen it a few times now… Yes I do want a pond, but the layout of my garden just doesn’t seem to allow for it.