Thursday, 13 September 2012

It isn't just about birds - the islands butterflies

                          A red admiral warming up in the first light with another wall inhabitant.

                                                                      Small tortoiseshell.
We tend to get a little too focused on the birds here sometimes and the butterflies have sorted of crept up on us. The Isle of May is never a fantastic place to see lots of species of butterflies and for the first half of the year it was awful with hardly anything on the wing. The poor weather and scorched vegetation didn't help. But with the warming up of the summer and the bursting forth of nectar sources and food plants across the island then suddenly the butterflies have been on the wing. On a good day in past years you can see up to 9 species in a day but this year we have managed just 7 species all season, small tortoiseshell, painted lady, small, green-veined and large white, small copper and the stars of the show at the moment red admirals. These big showy butterflies have been delighting visitors the last week or so with hundreds on the wing across the island. I have been lucky enough to go do to some of the sun spots at sunrise and watch them bumble to a south facing stone wall when they then stretched wings out to catch the early suns rays to warm up. Mixed in with the butterflies is a day flying moth, the silver y which on first sight is not so striking as the big blousy butterflies but in its own way is quite beautiful. Hopefully there will be enough egg laying going on to lay down a future generation for years that have better weather.
                                                                Red admirals

                                                                 The silver y moth.

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