Monday, 25 July 2011

Angels of the Summer

     Along the South Devon Coast,  23rd July 2011

At last we have a lovely warm Saturday, and our brief Summer has returned if only for one day. A good chance to get along the coast and spot some Butterflies and any day flying Moth's.
Berry Head has a wonderful varierty of Wildlife, and can count on a list of 28 different species of Butterfly along with some rare Wildfloers. One favourite wildflower of mne here is the rare White-Rock Rose, which seems to appear early Spring then disapears for a while then re-appearing around this time.

Above: The White Rock Rose, rare in the South West so it is quite special to see this flower every Spring and Summer.

No secret I have a passion for our 'Angels of the Summer' and with the Weather now set fair today, it was my aim to spend all day walking along the coastline from Berry Head to Kingswear taking note the Butterfly Species and also number and behaviour. One regret in my life is that I should have studied entomology in my younger years.

First Butterflies of the morning were the Speckled Woods, and there were plenty to be seen either basking in the Sun or on the Wing.

I had hoped to see my first Wall species today, and I did not have to wait for very long, I found this one in a sheltered sunny warm spot, not the pefect specimen but my first of the Summer.

With so many wildflowers to be seen and identified sometimes you come across one and you are left my younger years I could name all the Wildflowers, but then I moved to Birds, Butterflies and Dragonflies..
Well here is one Wildflower above that has left me stumped, been through my books at home over recent days and still cannot find it....any idea's please drop me a line and I will give you a mention.
After a stop for a refreshing drink and to also bask in the warm sun time to move on, Butterflies were now to be seen almost everywhere, Gatekeepers and Small Whites. Above Barn Swallows were passing through. The odd Whitethroat was seen, but the bird song has now gone for the time being now that the main part of the breeding season could be over.

Below, I found this Six Spotted Burnet feeding on nectar and it looked quite a picture with the bright yellow.

This coastline walk is one of mny favourites and I have walked it so many times now that I sometimes can trace every step in a dream...
The shot below is of  Mansands (click on the photo for a larger image). It is quite a steep climb here and the coastline from this point on is similar so plenty of water is required on a warm day like this was.

Not far along I found this mating pair of Gatekeepers, with the female top of the photo. By this time the number of Gatekeepers was quite high.

Another first along this part of the coast was a Grayling, similar to the Gatekeeper, but trying to get a decent shot was impossible.
After stopping to take in some water, a very bright Butterfly fluttered past me and landed on a leaf in the full sun, the Comma Butterfly one of my all time may ask how did the Comma get it's name, well here is the photo to answer your question, click on the photo for a larger image. You will see a White Comma on it's wing and that's how it got it's name. a truly lovely Butterfly.

It has been extinct in Scotland since the 1870's but is now moving far north every year, won't be long now before the Comma makes a comeback to Scotland.

Coleton Fishacre belongs to the National Trust and was owned by the D'oyly Carte family famouse for the opera's such as the 'pirates of Penzance' a good stop off point to rest and enjoy a wonderful garden on the coast. Here a noted a Golden Ringed Dragonfly.
This Bee was far too busy to take any notice of me, look carefully and you can see he is covered in pollen.

Nearing the end of my journey today, been walking along the coast now for over 4 hours taking note of Butterfly species, a full list will appear at the bottom of the page. Near forward point  a Small Tortoiseshell made a perfect shot as basked and drank nectar...

And finally just heading along from Forward Point looking through the undergrowth for Adders or Grass Snakes, a surprise not seen any today it was the perfect day to see one.

Last shot of the day was another Six Spotted Burnet, not really a Butterfly as such but a delightful day flying Moth...


Speckled Wood = 36
Wall  =  6
Marbled White  = 2
Ringlet = 2
Red Admiral  =  11
Gatekeeper  =  118
Small White  = 22
Large White  = 9
Peacock = 2
Comma  = 3
Grayling = 2
Small Copper = 5
Small Tortoiseshell = 2


  1. Hi John, great blog, we have very similar photogrpahic interests. I am also stumped for an id of the white flower above, which I posted on my latest blog as 'unknown' after going through all my id books and on-line sources:
    Today in Sussex is a rotten butterfly day!
    best wishes

  2. Hi Colin,
    Thank you and Welcome to my Blog. I will pop over and have a look at your site. Sorry you have had a rotten butterfly day...sadly been excellent weather, just stuck in the office all day. John

  3. Hi John, I note that you are seeing plenty of butterflies now. I am seeing a few more now, but not as many as previous years up here in the East Anglia. I haven't seen a Wall here, but did get to see one earlier in the year down at Maiden Castle in Dorset where you are fairly certain to find them. Definitely worth a visit there.

  4. Hi Roy,

    Thank you for dropping by. I was getting concerned by the cool damp windy weather here in the SW. But I was pleasantly surprised by the numbers. Thank you for the tip. I will make a note. John

  5. A lovely coastal walk, John. You sure are seeing plenty of butterflies! They are few and far between where I am this year. Don't know if the weather has had an impact on the populations or what the story is. You certainly live in a lovely place. ~karen

  6. Hi Karen,
    Thank you. Hope you are well.
    We have had some really cool wet Weather at the start of the Summer. But they have come out in numbers in recent weeks. Some of the early Butterflies may have been hit hard. Look out for a post on some exotic Butterflies in the coming days. John.