I've been back a week from my month in the Pacific and the time has flown by, with me mainly sitting at my desk, sorting out photos and records, and trying to get to grips with the various changes in current taxonomic thinking that complicates the task of knowing what ones seen! As I looked out of the window I realised that one of my favourite butterflies was restlessly flying round the garden. I also realised it was time that I got back into the habit of taking photographs HERE.
(I also seem to have missed the complete reorganisation that "blogger" has made in its method for adding new posts so I'm seem to be struggling to get bits in the right place) The Orange tip is one of the first butterflies of spring and is one the wing from the end of April. The adults seek nectar and often use Bluebells and Brambles, as well as other early flowers such as Ragged Robin, Dandelion and Cuckoo-flower (Ladies Smock). The food plants of the caterpillar are mainly Cuckoo-flower and Garlic Mustard, although several other plants are used. Only the male butterfly has the orange tips. The female has black wing tips and can be mistaken for a small white. They are often hard to photograph as the are continuously on the move, seldom stopping at a flower for more than a couple of seconds.
; Another early flier is the Speckled Wood, now as likely to be found in a garden as in a wood as they have greatly expanded their range of habitats. This one was sunning itself on a bramble at the bottom of the garden. The adults will feed on nectar from brambles and other flowers while the caterpillars primary food plants are Cock's-foot, Common Couch , False Broome and Yorkshire-fog.