Safari Sunday

With the loss of heat, we’ve also lost Peacock Butterflies… I assume they’ve gone further south where it’s a little warmer but I’ve only got a couple left. Upsetting considering only the day before we had 10 or so, then the remnants of Hurricane Bertha arrived a few weeks ago and since then temperatures are around 5-10 degrees cooler.

The butterfly numbers have generally decreased, there are still some Meadowbrowns and Gatekeepers but only around half of what we did have.

This is a strange-looking Gatekeeper, at least to me. You may not realise, but this one has far too many ‘eyes’ and spots on its forewing and hind wing.

I always enjoy spotting the green-veined white butterflies… I’m not sure why, as really they’re the same as the other whites.

This spectacular guy was spotted when clearing the front garden… I believe this must be a later instar caterpillar, as it’s much larger than previous ones I’ve seen.

I’ll probably never be able to show you an adult moth though, as it’s likely I’d never even notice it – they’re a none-descript brown, boring, moth.

I seem to have a few Speckled Woods around at the moment – they seem to this year be one of the last visiting. I’ve seen a few arguing, and fighting around the Buddleja in recent days.

Recently I’ve seen a lot of Cinnabar caterpillars in strange places around the garden. I feel sorry for them and am worried most will not make it to chrysalis because I don’t have any mature Ragwort plants. They are even finding small Ragwort plants with a handful of leaves and eating whatever they can.

At last! After a hiatus of 2, perhaps 3 years I finally have a Red Admiral. It’s very battered and I haven’t seen it since, but I’m just pleased there is at least a small population.

Sure enough, a day or two after seeing the tatty Red Admiral, a few were on the Buddleja; these ones were nice and fresh though.

And, then when I was attempting to photograph the Red Admirals, this Peacock lands next to me.

Copyright 2014 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden


15 thoughts on “Safari Sunday

  1. Hi Liz,

    It has been the other way here….plenty of Red Admiral but very few Peacocks.
    Have not seen any Small Copper, first year there have not been any in the garden.
    Blues are also right down in numbers………….
    Meadow butterflies are numerous.

    Generally it has not been a good year for butterflies, hopefully next year will be better.

    Lovely images as always……….

  2. You have taken some beautiful photos. Yesterday, we saw lots of Speckled Woods whilst out walking but generally its been a quieter year for Butterflies in our garden.

  3. Lovely photographs!

    Where I’m at, the Monarch butterflies have just finished passing through on their way to Mexico. Our insect biology professor (I’m a college student!) caught a few females, which laid eggs.

  4. That certainly is an unusual Gatekeeper that you photographed. Butterfly numbers are certainly down on a week ago, but maybe with the good weather we have been promised next week, they might be back up again. I’m noticing swallows congregating on the wires each day now, so I suppose they will soon be off on their journey.

    • Hi Pauline,

      I rarely ever see Swallows so don’t get to enjoy watching them congregating before flying away… Our Swifts left 2/3 weeks ago now, so the Swallows won’t be far behind. I think the Swifts have already made it most of the way to their winter homes as I only saw a few hanging around in Portugal; they must’ve already made it further south.
      Wow after a quick check online – swifts are related to Hummingbirds rather than Swallows???! Impressed. And I’d just been thinking to myself in Portugal how we don’t have hummingbirds in Europe/Asia and what a shame it is… I guess we have relatives!

  5. Your butterflies are amazing! I had just gotten online to research which larval food plants I should add to my garden so we can get more of the butterflies in this area to live in my garden. Your post is very encouraging! My kids and I are having a great time watching butterflies this year, though we are struggling to identify them. I need to sit with a camera so we can compare photos to the pictures in my ID book – it’s hard to remember without a photo.

  6. Butterflies of all varieties have been conspicuous by their absense here Liz, so am enjoying your visitors. With the great summer last year, the non existing winter and the perfect summer this year – I’d have bet my worth on seeing butterflies in their droves.

    • Hi Angie,

      I would put it down to the horrible wet weather in Jan and Feb, but I believe you got away lightly; am I correct?
      The rain will have likely killed a lot of over wintering butterflies/caterpillars so will go some way to explain why their numbers are lower this year… at least for us, anyway. Otherwise I’m not so sure why you have had a poor year for them… it is a shame though!
      Perhaps the non-existent winter for you, allowed predators to eat them instead??? Maybe the caterpillars were more active than usual and birds were able to find them?

  7. Pingback: Safari Sunday | brundhatamilselvan's Blog

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