I could have added Red Admirals to the title, to make it a tale of Communist Naval Commanders dressing up to attract women of a certain sort. Bit I didn’t, so it’s just about butterflies. And a bit about birds.
A week, they say, is a long time in politics. Five minutes, as I was to discover this morning, is a long time in butterfly counting.
It was a glorious day this morning and I would have taken some photographs but I got caught up with something else, we had chickens to look after, then a visitor called and we didn’t get on with the count until lunch.
As I stepped out onto the decking I knew we had a problem. It was cool, overcast, and the numerous butterflies I’d seen in the morning had all gone. I suppose the totals were more typical of the actual activity of butterflies, as we tend to count on good days, when there are plenty of butterflies about, thus manipulating the figures by accident.
12.30 – 12.45 Monday 1st August.
Temperature: 19 degrees C
Wind: 6 kph from the SSE
Red Admiral – 1
Peacock – 2
Small White – 2
No sooner had we finished than the sun started to break through, the temperature rose noticeably and, though the wind remained gusty, the butterflies emerged.
It was like one of the those Old Testament moments in a black and white film. There was no pointing finger and no portentous music, but there was a definite change in the sky and things started to happen.
12.45 – 01.00 Monday 1st August.
Temperature: 21 degrees C (may have been more at one point, but that’s what it was by the time I got back to the weather station display.
Wind: 3 – 9 kph from the SSE (that’s a guess, but it was both weaker and stronger than during the original count).
Red Admiral – 3
Peacock – 6
Small White – 2
Large White – 5
Gatekeeper – 1
Small Tortoiseshell – 1
Painted Lady – 1
That’s quite a difference, in numbers and variety. If it had been a more gradual change I’d have missed it by going inside for dinner before the activity started.
Birds have been gradually coming back with goldfinches and blue tits on the feeders and pied wagtails on the grass. There are wrens and Green Woodpeckers in the trees. I have a picture of an immature bird that I thought was a dunnock, then a robin, then…
The immature ones can be tricky.
I’m going to take a chance and say it’s a dunnock.