Thursday, 8 August 2013

Butterflies

It's been a good while since my last blog.  I'd love to say that I was off visiting some exotic climes but not so!  Due to a family illness, I've had my young nieces to stay for the last 4 week and things have been rather chaotic at times.   Although I do have the girls everyday after school - you soon get out of practice, don't you?  Still, we got through it and they are off home tomorrow - their mum is no longer getting the horrible side affects from the medication and as school term begins next week, they need to get back into a routine.  Me, I'm going back to work for a break!     
   
I will have missed all your summer garden tales, what's looking good and any woes that may have come your way.  With the best will in the world I would love to say I promise to catch up but looking at things from a practical point - I don't want to make promises I can't keep. 

I did manage the odd hour here and there in the garden - I do wonder if the fact that I've spent so little time 'working' in the garden it has allowed me to really enjoy the plants without worrying about what needs doing.  I have been taking lots of pictures with the good intention of blogging at some point but have fallen so far behind in sorting out the good from the bad that I don't know if I'm coming or going!

Talking of comings and goings, there has been an amazing increase in butterfly activity in the garden this year.  Masses of Cabbage White Butterflies (Pieris brassicae and Pieris rapae).  Their courting and flirting antics ever so obvious.  Spiralling onwards and upwards.  They only pass through my garden - Jim, my neighbour, has a massive patch of brassicas growing on his veg plot, this I suspect is the primary destination!







Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) are another popular butterfly visitor - this is one the UK's most familiar butterflies.  Although a decline in numbers is being recorded in the South.  A very familiar sight in gardens late summer as they build up their fats in preparation for hibernation.




Although a common species in the UK - Red Admiral Butterflies (Vanessa atalanta) is not such a regular visitor to my garden.  Primarily a migrant but are now considered resident to the UK.  Their distinctive velvet black wings with striking red bands make them easily identifiable from afar.


Peacocks (Inachis io) are not so easy to spot until they land.  Often you get a glimpse of their dark underside as it flits past and catches you unaware.  Easy to see how it gets it's common name as those wings spread open.  Found throughout the UK except in the North of Scotland.




Being ever vigilant, I'm always on the look out for new species visiting my garden.

The Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) Although common throughout the UK, I've never seen one visit my garden.  It was kind enough to hang around for a quick photo shoot.  They usually prefer a grassy habitat or field margins, even overgrown gardens.  I'm sure I could not describe my garden as over grown despite being a wee bit neglected over the last few weeks.  There are grassy areas near my house, so perhaps it just lost it's way!  I do hope it liked what it found and encourages it's friends to visit.




Please remember to keep your plants in tip top condition this summer - caring for your plants will help maintain a good source of nectar throughout the remainder of summer and into autumn.  Water deeply (if needed) and dead head regularly to encourage more blooms.      

If you live in the UK have you taken part in The Big Butterfly Count?   It runs from the 20th of July through to the 11th of August.  The big butterfly count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world's biggest survey of butterflies. Almost 27,000 people took part in 2012, counting 223,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK.  There are 3 days left if you want to submit results.

If you would like more information about butterflies species found in the UK, I can recommend
UK Butterflies.  It's jammed packed full of useful information, in fact everything you could possibly want to know about butterflies!  For gardeners looking to encourage more butterflies into their garden the Butterfly Conservation is a good place to begin.

Can I thank you all for reading and say that it's good to be back!

29 comments:

  1. Great you to see you are back. No worry's about visiting other people's blogs most important is that the person in your family is doing well. Great to see so many different butterflies in your garden. They only plant they are visiting in my garden is the Veronicastrum. Last sunday there was a butterfly counting overhere and never before so many people were participeted the count.
    Have a wonderful day and I hope you get time enough to enjoy the garden and butterflies

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    1. Marijke - thanks for the welcome back. Good to read other countries taking part with their own butterfly count. I suppose all these organisations will get together and compare results.
      I think it will be a good year for the butterfly population.

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  2. Welcome back, Angie. I very much enjoyed your butterfly post :). What about bees? What are your observations? Hope you're not too stressed out after your duties. Best wishes and happy summer days...

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    1. The bees - that was going to be another blog, if I ever find the time that is! All the usual bees are visiting except one species. Bombus lapidaries(Red tailed bumblebee) is absent. The are ground nesters and I suspect lots were lost in the awful weather we had last year. One new species, Field cuckoo bumblebee - it didn't hang around long and hasn't been back!

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  3. Some lovely butterfly photos. You obviously have patience to get some of these shots.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

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    1. Thanks Cher, more of the shots are luck really!

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  4. I hope your nieces were a delight (while they went about running you ragged). How on earth did you manage to get so many great shots of butterflies? You must have a gentle approach that I lack. Welcome back!

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    1. Ricki, a delight, on occasion - they are at the age where they fight and argue a lot!
      Some of the shots are just luck and the others are the best of a whole bunch!!

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  5. Angie, there are times when we just have to step back from blogging but its always good to get the routine going again...Great shots of the butterflies, I have never seen the Meadow Brown in our garden, probably too far north.

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    1. Alistair, the meadow brown is one of the small number of butterflies on the island, I have them in my garden and I'm easily as far north as you, perhaps you don't have any long grass near your garden which is what they need, Frances

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    2. Alistair, as Frances says they do go north but the need the right habitat. You need to tell the neighbours to grow more long grass :)
      I wonder how many new species you will find when you move.

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  6. Angie lovely to have you back, glad your nieces mum is doing better and how nice of you to help out, they must cherish you,

    what a lovely post and some beautiful butterfly photos, with some useful links as well, Frances

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    1. Thanks Frances - now her medication is kicking in she's heaps better!
      Glad you found the links useful.

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  7. I am happy you are well Angie and what special visitors both in the house and garden....not many butterflies except the cabbage whites here.

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    1. Donna, cabbage whites are in abundance everywhere, from what I'm reading. Not such good news for veg growers though ;)

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  8. Hope things are going better now Angie, seems like you have had a busy summer so far! And didn’t you take care of your neighbour’s garden too? Those butterfly photos are lovely, I have been trying for weeks to get some decent shots of butterflies but every time there is a nice butterfly in my garden, my camera is anywhere else than next to me! But it has been nice to see the increase in both bees and butterflies this year, certainly butterflies, last summer I didn’t see one single in my garden, this year there are loads! Take care, and have a good week back at work, relaxing!!

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    1. Helene, Since I was aware of the amount of butterflies, my camera goes everywhere in the garden with me. The family all laugh at me!!
      The increase in bees and butterflies this year will be a sign of things to come, hopefully!

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  9. I hope everything is fine with your family now. Wishing you and your family all the best.

    Your butterfly pics are simply brilliant -- I especially love that reddish butterfly on those purple flowers.

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    1. All well and although it will be a long recovery she's feeling lots better already.
      I knew you would like the butterfly pics!

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  10. Hello ~ oh how I wish my neighbors had plants to bring more butterflies to our yard. Your butterflies are beautiful! New to your blog, I hope you will visit me as well. Have a wonderful day.

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    1. Welcome to my blog Stacy, it's nice to have new readers. I'm going to pop over and have a look at your blog now x

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  11. What a wonderful selection of butterflies visiting your garden, it's so nice to see them flitting everywhere isn't it. Lots of patience is needed to photograph them, I too have learnt never to be without my camera when in the garden!
    So glad your relative is now on the mend, I know how awful it is when medication doesn't work.

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    1. Pauline, thank you for your lovely comments. It's good to have a camera nearby - you never know what might happen!

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  12. Beautiful butterflies!! I just got back from a holiday in Myanmar and they have butterfly museum in the botanical garden. So wonderful. And now I am really like admiring those pretty wings. Thank you for taking time to snap these photos even when busy. All of them are uncommon to me.

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    1. Wow, Myanmar - what a wonderful place to visit. I'm a bit envious :)
      Butterflies are wonderfully delicate looking creatures but a bit more robust than we tend to give them credit for.

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  13. Very disappointing here in Northwest England, usually have quite a few butterflies including some woodland fritillaries but apart from the ubiquitous Cabbage Whites nothing. The buddleias and Eupatoriums are only just coming into flower so fingers crossed.

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    1. Rick - I hope the butterflies come visiting you soon. It's a shame you are missing out!

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  14. Seems to be lots of Peacocks about this year. Thank goodness for the good Summer. The wildlife needed it.

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    1. There certainly are a lot of Peacocks - lets hope it's a sign of years to come!

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