The Way I See Things


Bonus butterfly

A trip to Prestbury Hill this morning improved my butterfly list for the year by six species, of which this was the most spectacular, and least expected. It hadn't crossed my mind that the Marsh Fritillaries might be out yet, though it should have done, because this is almost a week later than my Marsh Frit day at Prestbury last year. That's what comes of relying on my memory, rather than checking my records. As well as the Fritillaries, of which I saw maybe half a dozen, today's best subjects were the Dingy Skipper, Small Heath, Small Blue, Duke of Burgundy, and Brown Argus. There were also numerous Brimstones about, but it was the "small earlies" I was after today.

Of these, the littlest of all is the Small Blue, which with a wingspan of 18-25mm is our smallest native species. I'd turned myself upside down and inside out several times in attempting to get good, detailed shots of these tiny guys, which are feisty and flighty, and don't miss a trick when it comes to evading an annoying photographer, but then I learned something I hadn't known before, and which made life very much easier: they adore poo. If you take a look at my extra photo you'll see a tiny feeding frenzy going on on a small piece of animal scat that was lying on the Cotswold Way, right next to the bottom stile of the Butterfly Conservation masts field. The Small Blues were so busy competing for this delicacy that they could not have cared less about me, which gave me the easiest of opportunities to photograph a sight I'd never seen before.

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