Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Insects of the Summer

The hot, dry summer has been good for butterflies and other insects in the New Forest. This beautiful Comma butterfly was sunning itself on the leaves of runner beans in the vegetable garden.

Last Saturday, on a grey, warm and humid afternoon, we walked for several hours through the grassy rides and pathways of Wootton Coppice. We saw so many butterflies, hover flies, bumble bees and other insects, but few of them stayed still for long enough to be photographed with my basic camera. Wootton Coppice is an inclosure of mixed coniferous and broadleafed woodland areas. Forestry clearance has left wide, grassy glades where wild flowers grow in abundance and where the butterflies thrive.

A Silver Washed Fritillary alights on a bramble flower and opens its wings.

Below is one of the small, pretty Gatekeeper butterflies that flit across the woodland pathways. We also have Gatekeepers among the meadow grasses at home.

A Small Heath butterfly that moved very quickly and would not stay still long enough for a photo with open wings.

This small butterfly looks almost like a biplane with its upper and lower sets of wings. It is one of the Skippers. Initially we thought it was a Lulworth Skipper, but it could be a Small or a Large....?

The woodland edges were whirring and churring with insect sounds. Several varieties of grasshoppers were around, but this Common Green Grasshopper was the only one to keep still!

This beautiful hoverfly, Vollucella pullecens, is one that mimics the appearance of a bumble bee. It is often found in wooded areas and loves to feed on the nectar of bramble blossoms.


Morning's Minion said...

Butterflies seem even more difficult to photograph than birds. The Gatekeeper is new to me.
Swallowtails are still busy in the remnants of my flower border, although the blooms are less numerous now. They seem attracted to the zinnias which stand up well to intense heat.

Kath said...

Absolutely beautiful, aren't they hard to capture (on film!). We have buddlieas here, common, I know, but they are a delight when covered by butterflies.

Bovey Belle said...

Snap - I was watching a Comma in the garden about half an hour ago. This is definitely a better year for butterflies and insects generally after the two very wet summers. I think we had a hatching of Gatekeepers last week as there were plenty of them in the paddock.

Mac n' Janet said...

Great year for butterflies!

chinecats said...

Stunning photos!

ChrisJ said...

What a great job you did getting all those photos! I have only seen 3 butterflies in our yard (garden). I must not be looking hard enough. I've been so busy watching and waiting for different birds. I have to admit, I'm not really excited about creepy crawlies especially on me -- not even butterflies!