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.



Friday, 28 February 2014

First Butterfly of the Year

After a long grey, damp winter we woke up this morning to see white frost on the ground and a lovely blue sky. Although it was colder than it has been for some months, it was lovely to see bright weather for a change.

At lunchtime I went for a walk along the river to an area where I have often seen my first butterfly of the year, but there was nothing there. I told myself that I was being stupid as it was far too cold for a butterfly to awaken.

On my way back to the office I walked along a cold, shady pavement and noticed a little brown triangle out of the corner of my eye. I stopped to take a closer look and saw that it was a Small Tortoiseshell. It was almost certain to perish where it was, as the sun would never reach it and it was likely to be trodden upon.

So, I picked it up and carried it to a sunny spot where I put it on a Marigold. Almost immediately it opened up its wings and I hope it managed to have a feed to give it the energy to survive the remaining cold days of winter.


It was lovely to see a butterfly again. I hope it won't be too long before I see more.

15 comments:

  1. Hi Rick,
    Indeed it must not be frequent to see butterflies in middle of winter!
    Great catch!
    Down here, it is a common site to 3 or 4 species flying around in winter as soon as the sun is out.
    Tour du Vialat is not the place where we took the photos of the Teal's markings.
    It is the town where the guy responsible for it lives. It is 4 to 5 hours drive from where we are!
    I remember you telling me you had ringed flamingos, a great experience, I bet!
    I can't say I am really fan of too many rings or nasal marks!!
    Cheers, keep well

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    1. Noushka, we would love to live somewhere warmer. My wife loves the sun and I love the flowers and insects! It would be like paradise to live somewhere where butterflies fly all year round!

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  2. It was very kind of you to take the trouble to help this hapless critter. I like its sunburnt orange and lovely markings.

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    1. Elsie, Some people say that we shouldn't interfere with nature. However, when I look at the mess that we have made of the natural world, I think that it is our duty to do the best we can for wildlife. You never know, if the butterfly survives, it could go on to produce many more butterflies later in the year!

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    2. I hope the butterfly can enjoy its short-lived lifespan. Such a beautiful creature or any other critter for that matter, shouldn't be allowed to languish under the harsh elements. Human beings seek advance medical intervention for their ailments so I don't see why aid cannot be rendered to them.

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  3. Beautiful image, I love the framing and the flowers.

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    1. Thanks Maria, I just had my compact camera in my pocket, so it was just a point and press situation! I just wanted to record the moment!

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  4. Great to hear that it's starting to brighten up!!
    I hope the tortiseshell will be okay. Lovely creature it is!

    Here we're having a horrid dry spell and everything is either brown or shrivelled up.
    I'm praying for the rain to come soon. ;)

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    1. Hi Jonny, It is always so lovely when the first signs of spring start to show. Buds starting to burst and spring flowers starting to appear. Such an improvement on the brown, leafless winter!
      I wonder if there is anywhere in the world with a perfect climate. Northern Tenerife seemed pretty perfect and St Lucia was lovely. I'll see if I can send you some of our excess rain!!

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  5. Hi Nick,
    I think it's fine to meddle with nature when it comes to moving something out of harms way, and you are a hero. Hualtulco has about as perfect a climate as possible. We love it here. Lots of butterflies too. We sail tomorrow to continue North. I'm going to miss this place.
    Sue

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    1. Thanks Sue. Good luck on the rest of your trip. I hope you find somewhere you love as much as Hualtulco.

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  6. Nice find Nick! The Small Tortoiseshell is a really beautiful butterfly!

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    1. Thanks Blue Jay. I hope it won't be too long before I see some more butterflies! Next month there should be a big change with several new species emerging when the weather warms up.

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  7. Wow! What a wonderful surprise. I can't believe you saw this guy so early. Now I'm encouraged to get out now, even though it's mostly too cold still.

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    1. Most years there is a bit of a false start around about now. There have been two other species seen in East Lothian about the same time, but nothing for a week or so now because the weather is cold and grey again! The butterflies we see now have over-wintered as adults. Next month we will see the new butterflies of the year, which have spent the winter as chrysalises. I presume you are in China just now?

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