13 July 2013

Summer arrives

There is much to see in the woods at the moment in particular the summer butterflies that are starting to emerge.

Today on a walk my friend Dave Monk spotted a purple hairstreak butterfly sitting on birch leaves.

Its camouflage is good and it looks just like the ghost of a butterfly in the shadows, the lines on the underwings like the edges of leaves.

We managed to get it down and it sat obediently on Dave's hand before returning to the shelter of the trees.

Purple hairstreaks tend to stay up in the top of the canopy, but they sometimes come down to lower levels, particularly in hot weather.  The upperside is dark with blue/purple highlights.

Elsewhere one of the children on our walk spotted a mouse in the undergrowth.  Unusually it sat eyeing us for a while before scampering away.

Up in the Old Woodyard the corn sow thistles (Sonchus arvensis) are in flower now.  This is one of the few places in the High where they occur and the shaggy yellow flowers are larger and more showy than other British Sonchus.  Plants of this genus are said to have a particular affinity with pigs (hence 'sow thistle') and they are supposed to be effective if applied to wounds made by pigs: worth bearing in mind if attacked by a wild boar (very unlikely).  The bee is, I think, the white-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lucorum).

blog comments powered by Disqus