Friday, 19 July 2013

To A Butterfly

To A Butterfly

I've watched you now a full half-hour,
Self-poised upon that yellow flower;
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! - not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

This plot of orchard-ground is ours;
My trees they are, my Sister's flowers;
Here rest your wing when they are weary;
Here lodge as in a sanctuary!
Come often to us, fear no wrong;
Sit near us on the bough!
We'll talk of sunshine and of song,
And summer days, when we were young;
Sweet childish days, that were as long
As twenty days are now.

Stay near me--do not take thy flight!
A little longer stay in sight!
Much converse do I find in thee,
Historian of my infancy!
Float near me; do not yet depart!
Dead times revive in thee:
Thou bring'st, gay creature as thou art!
A solemn image to my heart,
My father's family!

Oh! pleasant, pleasant were the days,
The time, when, in our childish plays,
My sister Emmeline and I
Together chased the butterfly!
A very hunter did I rush
Upon the prey:--with leaps and springs
I followed on from brake to bush;
But she, God love her, feared to brush
The dust from off its wings.

Author: William Wordsworth
This is the magical time of year when there are many species of Butterflies on the wing. When I was a child, and summers were always long and hot like the last few days, or so my memory tells me, I spent the summer chasing these beautiful creatures. In those days, the well known lepidopterist L Hugh Newman had a butterfly farm in Bexley and I persuaded my mother to take me on a visit there. We even met the great man. This was before he gained fame on the radio.

Red Admirals are now numerous and can often be found on the Red Valerian in the garden.

My favourite local butterfly spot is near the Monument, where a bank of wild flowers attracts several species in a easy to photograph area. This year the colony of Marbled Whites seems to be doing well. 

The flowers here are visited by several species of Blue Butterflies. Today when I was there it was the turn of a Chalkhill blue to be particularly prominent.

Chalkhill Blue

Chalkhill Blue

I was impressed by this group of two Marbled Whites and a Chalkhill Blue.

At the weekend, during the Garden Safari, two ladies told me that they liked butterflies, but not moths. I wonder if they could have told the difference between this day flying moth, the Burnet's Companion and a small butterfly, like a Large Skipper? or conversely if they would have thought that Skippers were moths.

While I was photographing the butterflies, and moths, this male Linnet insisted on serenading me, or perhaps it was his over worked female that held his attention!

Several Large Skippers were chasing around the flowers. They seldom stopped to feed and I got the impression that some territorial claims were being staked out.

All the Large Skippers that I saw landed were males. They can be told by the line of black scales, the sex brand on its forewings containing specialised scent scales.

Other butterflies in the area included Meadow Browns (above) and several Ringlets, that I failed to get satisfactory pictures of. They always landed so that they were obscured.

I finally caught up with the companions companion. A Six Spot Burnet. The Burnets are strange moths, looking quite unlike either other moths or butterflies when flying.

1 comment:

jelltex said...

It seems that after a dreadful spring for butterflies, high summer is now butterfly heaven.

I was on Sheppey last weekend and there were so many large whites and meadow browns.

And again at East Blean yesterday, hundreds of Heath Fritillaries. It is wonderful to see.