What a summer it’s been. After years of seeing nothing but the occasional Speckled Wood, this year, the butterflies really came back. My love of nature was inspired by my father, who would take us on long walks, pointing out Bird’s foot trefoil or Field scabious, as well as various butterflies and insects. Before long, I’d go for rambles on my own, and come home with all sorts of creatures in a sandwich box. My father always made me take them back to exactly where I’d found them, but I was encouraged to study them first.
One autumn, I found a Peacock butterfly that couldn’t fly. It had suffered a bit over the summer, lost part of a wing and a leg. I would carefully place it onto a sedum (ice plant) every morning before school, and bring it back indoors every evening. If it rained, my lovely mother would take it indoors for me, and we’d feed it on honey. I named it Buttercup. Inventive, I know.
Ever since, Peacocks have been my absolute favourite butterfly, and this year, I saw some for the first time in years – yay! Much excited squeaking and waving of arms accompanied the first sighting.
This summer saw my first ever Common Blue, and also this Clouded Yellow, albeit from a distance. Luckily, my daughter spotted it and took this photo while I was out.
Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals, Painted Ladies, Commas, all visited our garden. Even a Small Copper or two, along with lots of Meadow Browns, Large Whites, Small Whites and Green-veined Whites. Maybe the wild-flower planting is having an effect. Next year, we’re aiming to create a wild flower meadow, as well as a larger patch of stinging nettles – for my favourite caterpillars, of course. Two hop plants are growing well – food plant for commas. Bird’s foot trefoil seeds scattered all over the place, for common blues. All we need is some lovely, sunny weather like this year.
Now, Autumn is here, and the last blooms are fading on the Greater Knapweed and Buddleia. Perhaps this is the last Tortoiseshell of the summer.
Sad, but if we didn’t have autumn and winter, we couldn’t have spring. Just hoping next year will be as good, if not better for these beautiful creatures.