Friday, 26 July 2013

A sweet shop of butterflies

It is well known that when a group of people gather around a tin of sweets, everyone has their favourites, and there's always some varieties everybody overlooks or ones that are rare and prized above all the rest.
It is much the same when embarking on a day butterfly-watching.
Take Quality Street for example (other brands are available!) there are the little nuggets of orange and gold, the more unusual but not always so popular pink ones. These are the gatekeepers, the coppers and the brimstones.
At the bottom of the tin you find the brown wrapped toffees, by far the most common and considered by some as perhaps a little boring. Meadow browns and 'cabbage' whites in butterfly terms.
And what about the blue ones, of which no one is ever quite sure of the flavour when the leaflet has been lost? Those will be the blue butterflies of course, the chalkhills and the adonis, the common, small, silver-studded and holly.
Then, there is the triangular green one. No more than a very few are ever found in a single tin, often tucked away and hidden between the browns, pinks and blues. Finding one of these is like a rare green, brown, purple or even white-letter hairstreak, easier if you know where to look and have a little luck. The fritillaries and white admiral sit here too, beautiful and uncommon.
Last of all, the most prized, the precious and greedily rummaged for, the big purple caramel and hazelnut one. There is only one butterfly to take the place at the top in this metaphor; the Purple Emperor. Most majestic of all, our largest uk species, with a following of dedicated supporters.
Enough of my rambling, its time for some some photos...

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