4 September 2011

Trench Wood - More Butterflies

At this time of year at Trench Wood the rides are lined with Scabious in full flower and the insects flock to the abundant flower heads to feed, especially the butterflies, Hoverflies and Bees.

You also get the occasional Hornet patrolling from flowerhead to flowerhead, a giant amongst the other flies and even the largest bumblebees but they don't often stop for more than a second and I didn't manage to catch one on camera

Hoverfly - Volucella inanis

This was the largest Hoverfly I saw and it is an impressive creature but it's not our largest Hoverfly which is the closely related Volucella zonaria which mimics a Hornet. They are mainly a southern species but have been seen in these parts and I always live in hope of catching sight of one but am so far unsuccessful.

Brown Argus - Aricia agestis

There were still a few of these about but not as many as 3 weks ago and there were very few Common Blues. I saw one Meadow Brown and no Gatekeepers

Red Admiral - Vanessa atalanta

The larger colourful Butterflies were the ones on show like this Red Admiral in typical pose

Painted Lady - Vanessa cardui

And this Painted Lady. I only saw the one and it didn't let me get too close but it was nice to see especially when you consider that it had migrated from Africa. This is the first Painted Lady I have seen this year and the numbers in Britain do fluctuate Year on Year. 
2009 was a bumper year with 12,700 sightings registered on the Butterfly Conservation Migration Watch web page but only 528 in 2010. This year it is so far under 400 so it is probably an even worse year. This does appear to be the usual cycle however with a bumper year followed by poor years so it is not necessarily something to be concerned about

 Comma - Polygonia c-album

By far the most abundant butterfly I saw was the Comma. Here you can see the difference in colouration between its open and closed wings. When closed it is drab brown and shaped a bit like a dead Oak leaf. Great camouflage.

 Comma - Polygonia c-album

With wings open it couldn't be more different. The Commas around at the moment will be recently emerged specimens which will feed for the next few weeks before hibernating until next spring. The ones I saw were all very bright and with undamaged wings which will contrast with the early spring Commas which are usually a bit battered and faded.

Brimstone - Gonepteryx rhamni

The brimstone is another butterfly busy feeding on nectar before settling down to hibernate under evergreen leaves such as Ivy.

 Brimstone - Gonepteryx rhamni

They are known to favour purple plants and this is borne out by these two photos.

Small Copper - Lycaena phlaeas

I don't see a lot of Small Coppers and when I do see the odd one it usually flies off pretty quickly. This one was unusually cooperative and stayed basking in the sun.

Speckled Wood - Pararge aegeria

This Speckled Wood was also very obliging allowing me to get quite close and posing for the camera


  1. I like your images, Pete. Now I can't stop photographing insects, and there is not much time before they disappear for the winter. What am I going to do?

  2. Haha, so true Mike. There is soon going to be a nearly 6 month vacuum. Must find something else to photograph!


  3. You're certainly amassing a nice collection of butterfly images. Very nice they are too and I especially like the Small Copper, never seen this before. In fact rather sadly haven't seen a great deal of insects this summer due to one thing or another. I'll get my fix from here instead....

  4. Ah well, Pete! Looks like it's back to the long lens for a while. There is next year to look forward to, I suppose. The cormorants should be back on the marsh soon.

    What are you going to photograph over the next six months?


  5. Beautiful pictures!!!