|A Peacock butterfly perched on a white buddleia - isn't he glorious?|
|And another Peacock butterfly, showing the underside of the wings.|
I have a couple of buddleias in the garden, which I acquired under the misapprehension that they would remain a manageable size – their nickname of butterfly bush lulled me into a false sense of security but they are not bushes at all. They are not small, and they are not slow-growing, as you might expect with a shrub. They are rampant, and have aspirations for the high life, and grow into tall trees, and spread, and spread and spread... not suitable for a small garden in any way, shape or form, but I am reluctant to cut them down because they are such an attraction for wildlife. And squeezed into the narrow space between our fence and the new housing development at one side of the very end of the garden are masses and masses of these monsters, with flowers in all shades of lilac, purple and creamy white, and they were absolutely smothered in butterflies, and the air around them was thick with the insects.
|Basking in the sunshine. The outspread wings of the Peacock|
butterfly have the most incredible markings.
Sadly the trees on the other side of the fence were far too tall to get any pictures. I suppose you would need a telephoto lens for a successful shot, though I did consider getting the stepladder out, but I’m terribly clumsy so it seemed to be asking for trouble!
|This small butterfly on the golden hop is a Comma.|
Anyway, I did get a few decent shots of Peacock butterflies on the smaller buddleias in the garden, and I managed to get a picture of a small orange and brown butterfly basking on my golden hop, which I bought because a) It looks like sunshine, and b) It is really called Humulus Lupulus, which I think is such a wonderful name. Anyway, I had quite some problems identifying this butterfly, so in the end I copied the photo, and blew it up as big as I could, and then realised the lone visitor has the distinctive raggedy wings of a Comma. And, just to clinch matters, the larvae feed on Humulus Lupulus (among other things).
|I've tried to crop the photo to get a bigger image, so you |
can see the raggedy edges of the wings.
The glory in the garden lasted a couple of days. from early morning until dusk, when the butterflies were drowsy and bumbled through the air as if they were drunk - and perhaps they were, drunk on all that nectar they'd consumed! There were lots of bees as well, all collecting pollen, but they were a bit overshadowed by the butterflies. By yesterday (Friday) they had all disappeared, the blooms had turned brown and were obviously dying, and the weather had taken a turn for the worse, damp and cloudy, with an almost autumnal chill in the air. I suppose the insects are laying eggs ready to be transformed into more of these beautiful, delicate creatures next Spring, and the trees will produce seeds which will be scattered and fall to the ground to produce new growth... so the cycle of life continues!
|Bee happy... Hopefully, this is a honey bee, but I don't know|
enough about them to even guess at the species.