The forecast was correct and we woke to a beautiful clear blue sky. That is something we haven't seen for a very long time! Even better, I had booked today off work and it is even rarer for the weather to be good on a leave day!
Initially I didn't see any butterflies, but on the third section of the transect an Orange Tip, Anthocharis cardamines, flew past me. I was thrilled to see it, as I always think the butterfly season has really started when Orange Tips start to appear. When I reached the area pictured above I saw a pair of Green-veined Whites, Artogeia napi. The Green-veined White is one of our most common butterflies, having two generations a year.
While I stopped to take a picture another Orange Tip flew past and it was soon joined and pursued by another Green-veined White. They, in turn, disturbed another Orange Tip that had been feeding on some Cuckoo Flower. Luckily it briefly returned to the plant.
It then posed for me on some Forget-me-not.
I saw five Orange Tips on my transect today, and a few more on my way back. Interestingly they were all male. The males always seem to appear before the females and they patrol up and down the river, presumably looking for a mate.
My transect also produced seven Green-veined Whites, a Comma, Polygonia c-album, and two Small Tortoiseshells, Aglais urticae.
Even on the days that I don't see many butterflies there are usually a few birds to keep me occupied. Normally I see a Buzzard or two gliding over the trees by the meadow and almost every time I walk up the river a Kingfisher flashes past me. Today I saw a Grey Heron and plenty of Mallard ducks.
After returning to the car, I put the roof down and enjoyed the drive back to our village in the sun. I often dream about living somewhere warmer where I would be able to drive my Triumph more often and see more butterflies. But I guess if that was the case, I wouldn't get the thrill of days like today.