A sunny, late November day in the gardens of Firespark Records and Studios. It’s only 9°C but there are butterflies on the wing! Three red admirals emerge from their winter roost, in the nearby fir, to feed on the flowers of this ivy tree (x Fatshedera lizei), soaking up the sun for the few, brief hours that it’s autumnal rays now fall across the garden. Are these the last butterflies that I will see before winter sets in? Perhaps. There may not be any more sunny days while nectar sources are still available for them to leave their roosts again. But if the sun is shining, wherever you are, keep your eyes peeled for dancing wings! You can help citizen science by recording your sighting with Butterfly Conservation UK. This is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. Good luck everyone!
I couldn’t resist creating this composite from the images I captured of a female Holly Blue butterfly, opening up her wings in the warm sunshine! The rich, golden stone of The Cotswolds really set off the intense colour of the upperside wings. I am including a gallery of the individual images and a haiku based poem inspired by the joy of finding a blue with her wings open!
Little holly blue My eyes long to view those bright Sky-hued upper wings
My heart sings with joy When the sunny skies bring out Your very best side
A sapphire jewel Sat upon the Cotswold wall A golden setting
These last few weeks of warm, sunny weather have brought out many of our native butterflies and they have been delightful! The Holly Blue is the first of the British blues to emerge from overwintering pupae in the Spring generation. They stay high in the trees most of the time and you have the best chance of seeing them near holly trees, where this generation will lay their eggs. The late Summer generation, hatched from these larvae will, in turn, lay their eggs on the ivy to complete this wonderful cycle! I finally managed to get close to one as it sunned itself, lower down on brambles, at Dapdune Wharf on the Wey Navigation in Guildford. It refused to open those beautiful, little wings but you can still see the silvery-blue of the undersides.
Sadly, Jeanne at Backyard Neighbor has lost her internet provider for her home and cannot carry on hosting Blue Monday. I am considering offering to host it here but would like some advice on simple linking tools from anyone else who hosts a challenge! Also, who would be interested in sharing beautiful blues to help brighten up the day?
It’s now the second week of Butterflies In The Glasshouse at RHS Wisley Gardens and my blue images today are of the amazing Blue Morpho. This is one of the most popular butterflies at the event due to it’s size and iridescent blue wings. The butterflies open their wings in the sunshine to warm themselves and the light reflects from the tiny scales covering the surface. They become more vibrant depending on the strength and angle of the sunlight.