20 July 2011

Summer butterflies 2011

If the sun shines, this is one of the best times of the year for butterflies.  The browns are among the commonest with small heath, gatekeeper and meadow brown all on the wing.  It also seems to be a good year for ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus), often a difficult species to photograph because they never seem to stop fluttering about among the brambles and long grass.  Unless, of course, they are preoccupied:

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The plantation clearances of 2009 have given long stretches of edge habitat where woodland meets more open ground where nectar-bearing flowers can flourish.  This year the silver-washed fritillary seems to have spread westwards and it is good to see this dramatic butterfly still doing well.

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Sadly, though perhaps it is important for the butterfly, this fritillary tends to move suddenly  to fresh fields and pastures new perhaps, like many other invertebrates, to evade the predators, parasites and pathogens that always have an eye to the main chance themselves.

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