Showing A Bit of Forewing

Marbled White Melanargia galathea
Marbled White (Melanargia galathea)

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July 2019, local field, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Butterfly Perspective

Green-veined White Pieris napi
Green-veined White (Pieris napi)

I believe this is the first time I have seen one of these gorgeous butterflies visit the garden.

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July 2019, rear garden, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Caught In A Deadly Trap

Goldenrod Spider Misumena vatia

I have never seen anything quite like this before. A butterfly snared by a crab spider.

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July 2019, local field, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Marbled White

Marbled White Melanargia galathea

There were lots of these in the local fields the weekend. This Marbled White (Melanargia galathea) was very intent on feeding from the thistle flower.

Marbled White Melanargia galathea

Feel free to click to enlarge and click again to get even closer.


July 2019, local field, South Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Butterflies And Lavender

Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus

I have three Lavender bushes in my small garden, and the bees and butterflies really enjoy visiting them. Next year I may consider planting a lavender hedge, if I can make room for one. This butterfly with the twin spots is called the Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus).

Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus

Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus

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July 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

With The Butterflies

Green-veined White Pieris napi

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Green-veined White Pieris napi, July 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja

Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja

This is a first for me. It is quite a fast-flying butterfly, so I was thankful it took a fancy to this thistle. The golden ground colour of the upperwings is immediately striking, yet the green-washed underside with the pale reflective blotches is also quite something as can be seen in the last image. The pink hue is the reflection from the thistle flower.

Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja

It favours open country like downland and coastal dunes, but was quite happy where I found it atop the fells.

Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja

Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja

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July 2018, Walla Crag, Keswick, Cumbria, England. © Pete Hillman.

A Surprise Garden Visitor Today

Comma Polygonia c-album

This one of those moments when I was just about to photo a flower nestled in the back of the garden border when this beautiful Comma Polygonia c-album butterfly alighted on a flower right before my lens. It was so intent on feeding it hardly noticed me clicking away at all.

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June 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Within The Butterfly Realm

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria

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Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria June 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Common Blue Polyommatus icarus

Common Blue Polyommatus icarus

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June 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines

Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines

One of my very favourite butterflies the male Orange-tip, named so for obvious reasons.


May 2018, banks of the River Severn, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England. © Pete Hillman

Eye To Eye With The Red Admiral

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

I forgot I had these which I took back in August of this year. We had quite a lot of Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) visit the garden this year, and this one landed on the asphalt roof of my shed one hot day. It was very well-behaved, and allowed me to get quite up close and personal with it. I was quite amazed what beautiful eye structure they have as well as wing colour and pattern.

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

I think this one was trying to hypnotise me. “Look into my eyes,” it appeared to beckon. “Look into my eyes …”

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta


Double click on images to enlarge.


August 2017, Staffordshire, England.

Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus

Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus

July 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria

Speckled Wood Pararge aegeria

July 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral Vanessa atalantaRed Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

July 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.

Butterflies In Late October

Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), October 2017, local woodland margin, Staffordshire, England.

Making The Next Generation

Large White Pieris brassicae mating

Large White (Pieris brassicae) mating, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. July 2017.

In The Meadow

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) female

Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina

Thankfully my local fields are thriving with this  beautifully marked butterfly.


Staffordshire, England. July 2017.

Ring A Ringlet

Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus

It’s very rare I get to see this butterfly with its wings fully open, but with all those beautiful rings seen on the undersides, I am more than appreciative to see them.

Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus


Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus), local field, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Holly Blue II

Holly Blue Celastrina argiolus

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus), rear garden, Staffordshire, England. April 2017.

Little Beauty Drops By

Small White Pieris rapae

Please click on the image for larger, more detailed view.


Small White (Pieris rapae). Front garden, Staffordshire, England. Sunday April 2017.

Meadow Brown

Maniola jurtina

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) female

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) female

I often see this butterfly in my local fields, and sometimes I am fortunate to have it visit my garden. The male upperside is plain brown with a dark sex brand in the rear half of the forewing and a single orange-ringed eyespot. The female is generally lighter and has bright orange patches on the forewings. The eyespot is usually larger than that of the male, and sometimes, although rare, it may contain two pupils which may lead to mistaken identification as a Gatekeeper. Wingspan 55mm.

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) male

The caterpillar feeds on a wide range of grasses.

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) male

The adults fly May to October, and they are found in grassy places of all kinds, including open woodland. Common and widespread.

Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina)


Photographs taken June and July 2006, local field and rear garden,  Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2006. Camera Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1.

Ringlet

Aphantopus hyperantus

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

The male upperside is velvety black when fresh and fading to sooty-brown as it ages. It has two eyespots on each wing but these are so indistinct they are hardly noticeable. The female upperside is always sooty-brown with two or three eyespots. The undersides of both sexes have distinct yellow-ringed eyespots. Wingspan 50mm.

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

The caterpillars feed on numerous grasses.

Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus)

The adults fly June to August, and can be found in grassy places, hedgerows, woodland rides and clearings. Resident and widespread.

Photographs taken June 2007 and July 2010  in local field,  Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman.

Small White

Pieris rapae

Small White (Pieris rapae) male

Also called the ‘Small Cabbage White’, the upperside ground colour is creamy white with greyish wingtips, the male having the single greyish spot near the centre of the forewing, the female sporting two. Wingspan 50mm. Similar to Large White (Pieris brassicae).

Small White (Pieris rapae) male

The caterpillar feeds on cultivated brassicas, nasturtiums, and assorted wild crucifers and Wild Mignonette. The Small White can be even more of a pest than the Large White, yet it is affected by the same predators and parasites which helps to keep their numbers down.

Small White (Pieris rapae) female

The adults fly March to October in two or more broods. Found in flowery places of all kinds, especially gardens,  allotments, and other cultivated land. Common and widespread. One of the world’s commonest butterflies and a strong migrant.

Small White (Pieris rapae) male

All photographs taken various times and places in Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman.

Cabbage Butterfly

Small White (Pieris rapae) male

Photograph of Small White (Pieris rapae), taken May 2015, local woodland margin, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Small Tortoiseshell

Aglais urticae

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

Photograph of  Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Painted Lady On The Moonstone

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Photographs of Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), taken on August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Two Painted Ladies

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

Photograph of Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) on Butterfly-bush (Buddleia davidii), taken on August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.


This afternoon, after work, I was greeted by not only one Painted Lady butterfly, nor just two as pictured, but three on the same Butterfly-bush, which is quite something to see.

Painted Lady

Vanessa cardui

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

I hadn’t seen this butterfly all year until to my delight I came home from work this afternoon and found it flying around my garden and feeding on my Buddleia. Quite a large and distinctively marked butterfly. It has a wingspan of up to 90mm.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

The caterpillar feeds mainly on thistles, but also mallows.

Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui)

It flies April to October in two or three broods. Found in almost any habitat, including parks and gardens. They breed throughout the year in North Africa and migrate in huge swarms northwards through southern Europe in the spring.  It cannot survive the winter in any form in Britain or Europe for that matter, except possibly the far south in Spain. Far ranging migrant, and very common.

Photographs of Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) on Butterfly-bush (Buddleia davidii), taken on August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Red Admiral #2

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

Photographs of Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) on Butterfly-bush (Buddleia davidii), taken on August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 18-55mm lens.

Speckled Wood #2

Speckled Wood  (Pararge aegeria)

Photograph of Speckled Wood  (Pararge aegeria), taken August 2016, local woodland path, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Red Admiral

Vanessa atalanta

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

This distinctive butterfly was taking moisture through its long probosis when I came across it.The upper side is velvety black with an orangey-red stripe running through the forewing and on the hindwing margin. There are several white spots towards the wingtips. Wingspan 65mm.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

The caterpillars feed mainly on Stinging Nettle.

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

It flies May to October, where they drink sap from trees and feed on over-ripe fruit which may leave them a little drunk and tame to gentle handling. A wide-ranging migratory butterfly, it is found almost anywhere where there are flowers and ripe fruit. Often common in parks, gardens, and orchards. An annual mass-migrant from southern Europe and North Africa, breeds in summer, and migrates back in the autumn.

Photograph taken of Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) August 2016, Boscome Gardens, Bournemouth, Dorset. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Holly Blue

Celastrina argiolus

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) female

The male upper side is bright violet-blue with narrow dark-blue margins and chequered borders. The female upper side is usually a sky-blue with much wider dark-blue margins. Wingspan 35mm.

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) female

The caterpillars feed on Holly in the main, also Dogwood, Spindle, Gorse, Bell Heather, Bramble, Raspberry, Hop, and many other herbaceous plants and shrubs. Ivy is usually the second broods’ main food source. The caterpillar has a special relationship with ants, and the pupae are also attended by them.

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) female

It flies April to September in two broods. Found in open woods and woodland margins, hedgerows, and parks and gardens. Apart from the Long-tailed Blue, it is the only other European blue to be seen high up in the trees, mainly feeding on sap and honeydew. Seen all over Britain except Scotland, and is common and resident.

Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) female

Photographs of female Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) taken April 2006, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2006. Cameras used Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1.

Small Copper

Lycaena phlaeas

I love the site of this bright and cheery butterfly. The upperside of the wings is gleaming coppery-red or orange with sooty-brown markings. Wingspan 34mm.

The caterpillar feeds on sorrels and docks.

It flies February to November in one, two, three or even four broods. It is found on heath, wasteland, and grasslands of all kinds. Common and widespread.

Photographs of Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) taken August 2007 and May 2008 in local fields, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2007 & 2008. Camera used Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1.

Common Blue

Polyommatus icarus

I usually see these beautifully coloured butterflies in my local fields, but there are distinct differences between the males and the females. The male upper side is bright blue with a strong violet tinge and plain white borders. The female colouration is variable, ranging from rusty-brown to violet with orange submarginal markings. The fringes range from brown to white. Wingspan 35mm.

The caterpillar feeds on Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Restharrow, and a wide range of low-growing leguminous plants. The caterpillars are milked by ants for their honeydew secretions in return for their care and protection from predation.

It flies April to October in two or three broods. Found in rough grassy places, including roadside verges and woodland clearings. By far Britain’s most widespread blue butterfly. Common and resident.

Photographs of female Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) taken June 2007, July 2010 and July 2011 in local field, Staffordshire. Male taken August 2015, Daddyhole Plain, Torquay, Devon. © Pete Hillman 2007, 2010, 2011. 2015. Cameras used Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1, Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38, and Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Peacock Butterfly

Inachis io

This very strikingly colourful butterfly is a very common visitor to our gardens in the summer months. Its distinctive eye-like markings are to ward off predators and are similar to the feather markings of the peacock bird, hence its name. A flash of these startling wings distracts potential attackers, giving the butterfly that crucial edge to make its escape. Note, how at a glance, the eyespots resemble a staring cat. The wings undersides are sooty brown with a little patternation, which make this ideal for camouflage. Wingspan 70mm (2 3/4in).

The caterpillars feed on Stinging Nettles, and live together in silken webs until their final moult.

It flies June to October, and again in the spring after hibernation. The adults may live up to over a year. It hibernates in the hollows of trees or inside outbuildings.

Observed almost anywhere there are nectar-rich flowers, including parks and gardens, wasteland, flowery meadows, and woodland rides. Abundant and widespread across Great Britain, apart from the northern half of Scotland.

Photographs of Peacock (Inachis io) butterfly, taken July and August 2006, front and rear gardens, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2006. Camera used Sony Cyber-shot DSC-W1.

 

In The Meadow

Photograph of Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina) on Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) taken July 2016, local field, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.