Monday, 20 May 2013

One sunny day

This year seems to be following the pattern of the previous two: once the frost is gone, we enter a period of extended rain and showers that lasts all the way through May and beyond. Any days with sunshine, therefore, are both welcomed by me and utilised fully by insects.

I have seen a couple of white butterflies on verges as I drove along, but this is the first that has settled long enough for a photograph. It's a male Green-veined White: the females have more spots which are also more pronounced.

Male Green-veined White
This is the first of this year's spring butterflies. These Green-veined Whites will have at least one further generation in July, and maybe another one later in September, but I rather suspect this will be a two-brood year given the lateness of the first. Just to keep things amusing, the second generation have more pronounced markings, with second generation males looking quite like first generation females....

The Speckled Wood is also rather late this year:

Speckled Wood butterfly
This is another butterfly that can have three generations per year.

Here's the underside:

Speckled Wood - underside
A couple of years ago, I was photographing fungi in September, and a Speckled Wood landed beside me on some fallen leaves. I turned to reach for the camera and when I turned back I couldn't see it, although I knew exactly where it was. It took me a good 10-15 seconds to see through the camouflage and get the shot.

Most of the 'regular' hoverflies are now present, although still in quite small numbers. This is the extremely common Melanostoma scalare, probably my most frequently-encountered hoverfly:

Female hoverfly - Melanostoma scalare
I still haven't seen a single Orange Tip butterfly this year. Last year I reported that someone had very carefully gathered every single specimen of Cardamine pratensis on the patch and left them in a pretty little 'posy' at the end of the hedgerow. I suspect the entire local population was wiped out at that time. I'm hoping that some mated female finds the couple of flowers that have opened this year and restarts them. The simplest act can have the most devastating effect.

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