Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Butterflies a-plenty

The searing heat of yesterday has been replaced by conditions which are pleasantly warm and I took a constitutional around the local pocket park. It turned out to be a productive visit in terms of butterflies.

First up was a Speckled Wood, surely the commonest butterfly around here. It posed nicely on a horse chestnut leaf before setting off in chase after a potential partner.

Speckled Woods were very common. Stefen Hill Pocket Park.
22 April, 2019

Orange Tips have been around for some days but, camera shy, they haven't paused long enough for a picture - until now. Although this male was on a nettle the females are mainly interested in Hedge Garlic upon which to lay their eggs, and there is plenty of that in the area.
Male Orange Tip (the females lack the orange tip) Stefen Hill
Pocket Park. 22 April, 2019

Blues can be tricky for people who, like me, are not lepidopterists. This specimen didn't help as it stubbornly refused to open its wings. It is a male and I am happy that it is a Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus. In any case, it emerges in the spring before other blues are about.

Holly Blue, the earliest of the blues. Stefen Hill Pocket Park.
22 April, 2019
The only other insect I photographed was the hoverfly, Helophilus pendulus. The bold black and yellow stripes on the thorax have earned it the name of the Footballer Hoverfly, although our fauna contains some very similar species.

Helophilus pendulus is the commonest species of Helophilus in the U.K.
Stefen Hill Pocket Park. 22 April, 2019
The Horse Chestnuts, Aesculus hippocastanum, are just coming into bloom. Many regard this tree as the finest of all temperate flowering trees. Sadly it is becoming endangered in its home on the forests of the Balkans.

As children we called the inflorescences of  Horse Chestnuts 'candles'
Stefen Hill Pocket Park. 22 April, 2019.
It is much visited for nectar and honey bees will return to the hive with the bright pink pollen on their faces. Sadly in a matter of weeks the leaves will begin showing the ugly disfigurement caused by the Chestnut Leaf Miner.

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