Sunday, 17 July 2011

Counting Butterflies

Taunton, Somerset, Sunday 17th July 2011

With the Big Butterfly Count starting this Weekend, the British Summer turned sour with most of the UK looking more like Autumn than Summer.

I managed to get out in the afternoon to try and find Some Butterflies and get my count up and running. The patch I chose was an area near Frieze Hill and Roughmoor close to the river in Taunton. The wind seemed stronger than even yesterday.

At first there were no Butterflies to be seen, and I did not blame them for not putting on a show..but then as I got closer to Roughmoor I found a sheltered spot and struck gold.. (Click on photo's for larger image).

I spotted this Common Blue trying to warm it's self and I was lucky to get this shot off without disturbing it. Suddenly there were Butterflies almost everywere, Small Whites fluttered around looking for flowers. Among them plenty of Speckled Woods.
While looking for other insects I found this Red Admiral that had died and a spider was alread at work turning into Sunday lunch..I beleived it to be a Crab Spider later at home seaching through my field books it was itentified as Misumena vatia.

I was really pleased to spot this Beautiful Demoiselle in flight, and followed until it it came to rest and managed to get some really good shots.

During the count I maanged to spot 2 Large White Butterflies, including this one feeding, I always find the White Butterflies harder to photograph as they fly off as you get close. Today I just got lucky.

Another insect find was this Grasshopper Pezotettix gionai (below). Apprantly they are quite silent unlike most of our Grasshopper and Crickets.

The sun did make a brief appearance and it warmed up, pleasing the Butterflies no end. One funny note while trying see and photograph a Butterfly I slipped down the bank and split my trouser's so I had to be very careful for the rest of the afternoon bearing in mind were the split was...

This Gatekeeper made a stop to feed and is one of my favourite British Butterflies they look so dainty in flight.

Ok, I cannot resist posting another shot of a Common Blue, as it warmed up there were plenty on the wing.

Soon after taking this shot another Blue Butterfly appeared and I carefully followed it, it was a Holy Blue, but would not settle long enough to get a decent shot, but it was a good record for the afternoon, and a key target.

This speckled Wood was sun bathing...even if the sun had disapeared again, the ground tends to hold the heat and Butterflies can gain heat direct from the soil.

On my retun walk, I encountered this mating pair of Common Blues and managed to get some superb shots, this is just one..
I found a few Ladybirds on the walk back along the river and found this unusual species resting, it was later identified as an 'Eyed Ladybird' a first for me..not sure what the population is of the Eyed Ladybird, so will be reading up over the coming day's

My Butterflycount for the afternoon:

Large White:   2
Small White: 5
Common Blue: 6
Holly Blue:  1
Gatekeeper:   3
Speckled Wood: 5

The counts were later submitted to the 'Big Butterfly Count Website'.


  1. WELCOME BACK!! I was worried about you, John, and I'm so glad you have returned. Really, you need to send me your e-mail address so I can pester you when you disappear again. Hope everything is going well for you. I intend to sit quietly in the early morning quiet tomorrow with my coffee and read your blog, from start to finish! It's dinnertime here now, so I have to start cooking. I'm so glad you are back, though, I just had to leave a comment. ~karen

  2. Hello Karen,

    Wow, thank you. It is good to be back. I needed the break for personal reasons. But it is great to be back. Call it Nature's cure !! Lovely to hear from you Karen. John

  3. John,

    Exquisite images! Looks like you spent a lovely day counting butterflies. Wonderful detail and color in all of your beautiful photographs. An absolute joy to visit your wonderful blog!

    Also, a very gracious thank you for the nice comments you left on my blog.

  4. Thank you Julie for the kind comments. We are in the UK have just started a major Butterfly count..just need the weather to bring the Butterflies out..