Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Nature On Your Doorstep - Butterflies

This post is the start of another theme about how easy it can be to find wildlife - be it large or small and no matter how camouflaged it may be. I have found a lot of nature very close to my home and walking down some local country lanes. I have been lucky enough to have lived in the countryside most of my life, but even if you live in a more built up area, I still believe that once you start looking and 'get your eye in' nature really can be found everywhere. 

So this post is about a few species of butterfly all of which have been found very close to my home. There will not be too much scientific detail, its more about encouraging anyone to just get out there and see what you can find.
Anthocharis cardamines, orange tip butterfly - local neighbourhood

To start, the picture above and below are of the first species of butterfly I found when began exploring and looking for wildlife to photograph and identify. I managed to get these shots before the butterfly flew away. I have learnt to be patient when photographing wildlife - I snap a couple of shots of as soon as I see something so that I am sure I have a record for identification purposes and then I start to edge my way closer as slowly and gently as possible to get some more shots.
Anthocharis cardamines, orange tip butterfly - local neighbourhood
Anthocharis cardamines, the orange-tip butterfly is quite a common butterfly that I didn't give enough credit to, until I had a really good look at them. These are both the male of the species, shown by the orange marking. The females lack the orange wing tips. The underside of the wings has a mottled affect, which is completely different to the upper side and so with the wings closed this butterfly could easily be misidentified. They really are beautiful and with the orange wing tips they are very vibrant and easy to spot. 

All of the photos below are of common butterflies I found in my neighbours allotment on the plant buddleia, which is known for attracting butterflies.

Aglais io, the peacock butterfly, is one of the most common and colourful butterflies that we have in the United Kingdom. It is also one of my favourites as the colours and pattern are amazing and you can often find it very close to home. The contrast of the blue spots on the red wings is very pronounced and makes the peacock butterfly very easy to identify.
Aglais io, peacock butterfly - local neighbourhood
Aglais io, peacock butterfly - local neighbourhood
Aglais urticae, the small tortoisehell is another pretty little butterfly, which I also found on the buddleia. There was a number of these flitting about from flower to flower. Again, its the vibrant colours that I like on these butterflies. If you look carefully enough you can pick out the small blue segments all along the tips of the wings.

Aglais urticae, small tortoishell, local neighbourhood
Aglais urticae, small tortoishell, local neighbourhood
I also saw a couple of Venessa atalanta, the Red Admiral butterfly. These are very distinctive butterflies having dark brown/black wings with bright red and white markings.

Vanessa atalanta, red admiral, local neighbourhood
Vanessa atalanta, red admiral, local neighbourhoo
It was a lovely warm summers day when I photographed these butterflies and I didn't actually set out to find them. I was about to go work and I noticed that there was a number of butterflies on the buddleia. I ran back in the house to get my camera and since then I have started to carry it everywhere as you really never know what you might find. It was a great sight to see 3 different species of butterfly in one place especially as it was literally on my doorstep.

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