The earlier pictures were taken on my wee compact Canon ixus 970IS, which involved sneaking up on the butterflies. This can be very frustrating when they fly off, but very rewarding when they don't!
Since 2012 I have been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ150, which allows me to zoom in to the butterflies from a couple of metres away.
Monday, 7 May 2012
Small White - Pieris rapae
A couple of summers ago I was sitting in the garden when I noticed a Small White butterfly, Pieris rapae, land on a cabbage plant that my wife was intending to give to the hens. I watched it for a while and noticed that it was laying some eggs.
Of course the cabbage plant now had to be saved from the hens!
Small white eggs tend to be scattered around rather than laid in a group.
After only a few days the eggs hatched and there were small caterpillars wandering around the plant. Here's an older caterpillar on a nasturtium leaf. You can probably make out the row of yellow dots along the side and the yellow stripe down it's back (do caterpillars have backs?)
It was some weeks after the caterpillars had disappeared that I spotted this chrysalis on the hinge of our garden gate. Luckily there was just enough room for it not to be squashed when the gate was opened.
Last summer we had some more Small White caterpillars on some nasturtiums in the garden. Here is a caterpillar that has crawled up the house to form a chrysalis. It has attached itself to the wall and is thickening up.
The following day it was a chrysalis. You will notice the remains of a small black wasp next to it. I had noticed that the chrysalis was flicking and spotted the wasp on it (which I dispatched!). Some of these are parasitic and lay eggs into the chrysalis. Sadly I was too late for this chrysalis and a few others.
Here are a couple of the chrysalises that didn't make it. The holes are where the wasps emerged.
To end on a happier note, here is a freshly emerged butterfly from one of the chrysalises that the wasps didn't get!