I spent a lovely afternoon at RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday, wandering through the pinetum and woodland areas, chasing butterflies. The woods in the pinetum are full of native bluebells. Their importance as a food source for butterflies and other insects was so evident in the number that we spotted! I found six different butterfly species in and around one small area of bluebells. Brimstone butterflies were by far the most numerous! They delighted us all with a dance of love, as the more vibrant males competed for the attention of the paler females. Pure magic! My featured image, of the male and female dancing together, is my entry for this week’s Fotospeed challenge. I’m including a gallery of all six butterfly species below; comma, large white, brimstone, green-veined white, peacock and speckled wood.
A magical sight waited for us in the woodland yesterday, where a group of us gathered to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. I followed the track dividing the woodland plots and discovered that the bluebells were taking over the rutted track, once used by man and machine, now given back to nature. I’ve added this sighting to The Woodland Trust‘s online survey of bluebell woods, helping to build a national picture of the locations of our native bluebells. Sightings of hybrid and Spanish Bluebells can also be added to the Big Bluebell Watch, to help with conservation management. This is also my entry for the Fotospeed challenge this week. I expect bluebells will be featuring heavily again this week on their twitter feed and I just hope that everyone can feel the magic in my capture.
I photographed these Spanish Bluebells in my parents garden on Easter Sunday for my Blue Monday post and entry for Fotospeed’s weekly photo challenge. The Spanish Bluebell is very pretty but as a non-native species has become an increasing threat to the native British Bluebells in our woodlands. I’m hoping to capture some of those beauties soon! One of the ways that the Spanish variety has been spread to woodland areas has been in the ilegal fly-tipping of garden waste. They can be cross-pollinated with the native species creating hybrids that change future generations forever! Please be careful with your garden waste this year. More information can be found at The Woodland Trust.