Butterflies are an independent lot, they wear whatever they want, whenever they want. Butterfly enthusiasts are used to this and take it in their stride. When the butterflies emerge from their cocoon, they are issued with the correct uniform. but they modify it to their own tastes as the year progresses. If you catch them early enough in the year, before they start getting creative, you’re in luck and when you ask Google to see if he can find anything like your photo, there’s a good chance you’ll see something similar near the top of his list.
We hit the jackpot with this picture. It seems that this guy has emerged fairly recently and he still has his school uniform on. He is male, we can tell because he only has one dark spot on his fore-wing, He’s still quite young, with the green still looking fresh and new. There is just a little grey showing around the top of his rear wing and this shows that he is from the second brood this year.
They differ from their other White cousins in that they prefer wild brassicas to the cultivated variety, they’re more of your wild foraging, than your pop to the supermarket types.
I have to tell you that The Dog is not having a good summer. She is not allowed to chase next-door’s cat, she is not allowed to chase the chickens up the road, she is not allowed to chase the back garden blackbird – and now she isn’t allowed to chase butterflies any more.
The big problem with butterflies is that they just can’t concentrate. I’m sure they’d get a lot more done if they’d just focus. They have a very short life, so you would think that they would knuckle down from the minute they first flapped their wings. Obviously you can’t write your autobiography until you’ve lived enough life to have something to write about. Occasionally though, you do need to sit still and gather your thoughts. This constant flitting from one thing to another just won’t get you anywhere.
This guy is a case in point. I must have chased him/her up and down the road half a dozen times trying to be within range and in visual contact. This is the best picture I could manage – and I needed to cut a piece out of the middle of the original, just so we would have an image that you wouldn’t need a magnifying glass to find the butterfly in.
He or she is a Ringlet (only another Ringlet can tell the difference without a microscope) so named because of the little dots on the wings – which not all ringlets have, but they do all have the light coloured edging on their wings. They love a damp climate (no problem there then) and will even fly about in a light rain. The female makes no attempt to lay her eggs in a secure place, she just drops them where ever she happens to be at the time.
Someone mentioned that we had had three inches of rain in three days. It sounds even wetter in centimetres. The Dog and I thought it felt more like centimetres. Going out late the other night for The Dog’s last ‘comfort break’ before bedtime, we were intrigued by the sound of rushing water. Looking around we eventually pinpointed the noise to the little stream (beck?) that runs down at the back of the houses. We went round to the bridge and looked over to find it shouting and laughing like a gaggle of teenagers as it hurried on its way.
Next day we visited the river at the bottom of the village. It was far too busy to talk. It had put on its old brown dust coat and was hard at work, rolling rocks around and pulling low hanging branches off the trees and bushes – and generally having a good old tidy up.
Today we popped down again to see how it was getting on and found it in a much more relaxed mood. It had hung up its dust coat and there was a family of ducks pottering around, giving things a last minute check over.
I don’t know who we’re expecting – but I think we’re ready now.
Ta-Da! The May is out! So if you have faith in old country sayings this is the time to pack away all your warm winter clothes (or clouthes). However I recommend erring on the side of caution. This is the first blossom we have found and there are still vast areas of hedge without a single flower.
Hardy folk, who want to nail their colours to the mast, will no doubt be rushing to join the queue at the tanning parlour to get a quick spray-on so that they can wear that skimpy vest that is all the rage on the beaches of the Red Sea resorts (and which cost them an absolute fortune). Have you noticed that the price of clothing varies in inverse proportion to the amount of fabric required to make it?
The Dog and I won’t be joining in with either the skimpy vest or the spray-on tan. In fact we might just wait till June.
We’ve spent the spring watching the frolicking of the lambs and chatting to any number of sheep – sheep are quite chatty, some more so than others. The lambs are growing fast and no longer hang around the ewes but tend to form little teenage gangs in a corner of the field away from adult supervision. So we were quite pleased to start seeing cows back out in the fields – they’ve been indoors for the winter. Some people we chat to on our walks are faintly disapproving of this and feel that it is still too soon for the cattle to be out. The Dog and I however, are pleased to have a break from sheep. Cows, it must be said, just don’t seem as friendly as sheep. Still, it was a welcome relief to be able to take a photo without having to try to frame a picture that didn’t contain any sheep. We’ve been promised snow – but what do weather forecasters know about it? We do have the bitingly cold wind from time to time but in a sunny sheltered spot it can be almost summery.
I hope someone’s crocheting this little chap a blanket – just in case.
As The Dog and I dawdle along we often catch a glimpse of a wren. He is usually far to busy too stop and talk to us having important business to attend to in another part of the hedge. Being so small he flicks in and out of sight as he flits about – from his perspective the spaces in between the twigs and leaves give him huge gaps to move through and he seems to fly along the middle of the hedge as easily as he flies through clear space. This makes it almost impossible to get a photo of him. We do however have innumerable pictures of the hedge – just after he has flown on to his next appointment.
What a surprise then, today not only was he sitting on a branch sticking out of the top of a tallish section of hedge but that he sat there and sang for a good few minutes. Well I must qualify that. He stayed perched on the twig but he didn’t sit still. He’s a bit of a fussy Prima Donna. “Is my hair all right like this? Do you think this is my best side? Shall I smile or shall I be dramatic? I really think that this is my best side. Have you finished yet? Good!” “Bye!”
Still no sign of any Blackthorn flowers. Come on you sloe coaches! We do have daffodils everywhere – standing around in crowds waiting for a wandering poet to notice them – and some very nice Pussy Willows doing their best to keep us entertained until the Blackthorn get here. The Woodland Trust, while offering us a list of alternative names – Sallow, Great Sallow, Goat Willow and more, also mentions that the branches are often used as a replacement for palm branches in church on Palm Sunday (elsewhere on Google – Palm Sunday is sometimes known as Willow Sunday because of this). There is also the suggestion (don’t try this at home kids) that girls who don’t wear a sprig of Pussy Willow to church on Palm Sunday should have their hair pulled.
Now and again as The Dog and I walk our walk, Skiddaw peeks over the hills to the south-ish. He may be just checking to see if Scotland is back yet (see our previous post – it is by the way), or he might be just keeping an eye on things. We’ve not had a Spanish Armada in a bit – although it has been said that they are pinching our fish. Still I’m sure he remembers the good old days with fondness. Just in case he’s worrying about it – I’m sure that both Thomas Macaulay and he’ll be pleased to know that The Dog and I are keeping an eye out. So the Spanish better not try anything.