Wednesday, June 30

One Small Tortoiseshell was perched on a Hebe plant this morning. It was very gloomy and rained at lunchtime. It cleared during the afternoon but I didn't see any more butterflies even though I was working out in the garden. Found a beautiful frog though!

Tuesday, June 29

2-3 Small Tortoiseshells were in both the front and back gardens. A brief tour of the back in the morning found them on white and pink Sweet Williams. At the front they were all on one plant pot, jostling with one another to feed. The pot contains Verbena rigida which I bought at the end of last summer; I was curious to see whether butterflies liked other forms of Verbena as Verbena bonariensis is a major butterfly attractor. Now Small Tortoiseshells have wide-ranging tastes in nectar sources; some butterflies will only be found on 2-3 plants but Small Tortoiseshells have visited over 30. Planted in the front garden and flowering now are Verbena bonariensis, Lavender, Field Scabious and several Hebes. The first flower of Buddleia davidii 'Nanho Blue' and a blue Hyssop have also come out. Ceanothus 'Gloire de Versailles' isn't fully flowering yet but is causing comment for all the beautiful blue flowerheads. Then there's the pots and hanging baskets containing other butterfly favourites:- Heliotrope, French Marigolds, Lobelia and Ceratostigma.
So I found it quite interesting that 3 Small Tortoiseshells were fighting for space on Verbena rigida when they had so much choice available.

Monday, June 28

A Small Tortoiseshell was visiting the red Sweet Williams this morning. I found a Meadow Brown on my Hebe.

Image of Meadow Brown butterfly on Hebe plant

Then I saw a Small Tortoiseshell on Cotoneaster in the back garden.

In the front garden at lunchtime, there were at least 2 Small Tortoiseshells: one was on Verbena rigida; the other on Verbena bonariensis.

After lunch, there were a pair of Small Tortoiseshells with another one in the front garden. When I returned from town in the middle of the afternoon, the pair appeared to be resting on a stone in the back garden.

I saw a Small Tortoiseshell on a Hebe at 18.05

Sunday, June 27

This morning a Meadow Brown was battling against the wind crossing the back garden; it came to rest on my Pittosporum. We went out for the day. On our return this afternoon, I briefly saw a Small Tortoiseshell in the front garden. It was quite warm & sunny while we were out but as soon as we got home, it clouded over and later rained. Yesterday it rained all day but I was quite pleased as the ground was very dry.

Friday, June 25

Two Small Tortoiseshells in the front garden this morning - one on a Hebe and the other with a preference for Verbena rigida.

Thought I'd take a look out the back. Stunned to find TWO Large Skippers on Sweet Williams along with 2 Small Tortoiseshells there too. A Red Admiral was basking in another corner and a Meadow Brown paid a brief visit stopping to feed on a Scabious flower.

Image of Meadow Brown hiding on the ground

This afternoon was the time for Meadow Browns in the back garden. I saw 2-3 of them as I was cutting down the Red Valerian. Watched one come into the garden and stop to feed on a Hebe. I can't tell you the name of that particular Hebe as it's parent was here when we moved in and I grew it from a cutting: interestingly I've seen a Meadow Brown on that plant in a previous year.
Small Tortoiseshells are still around too. There was one on another Hebe in the front garden (possibly Hebe 'Red Edge') and others around the Sweet Williams at the back.

Popped out a bit later to find a Marbled White on my Field Scabious at the back. Frustration! I didn't get a photo. That's the first time that I've seen a Marbled White in this garden and it's my 5th summer here. At the front, there was still a Small Tortoiseshell on the red-edged Hebe but there was also one on my bright orange Marigolds. Thought they were a wonderful colour when I was buying bedding plants a few weeks ago. A Meadow Brown had discovered the Verbena bonariensis at the front as well.

Thursday, June 24

Strong winds are causing mayhem in the garden. One trailing plant has been blown out of my hanging basket - it was there this morning but there was no trace by noon. One Small Tortoiseshell was seen in the front garden at mid-day.

Tuesday, June 22

Five - a small flock of - Small Tortoiseshells were in the front garden this morning. One Small Tortoiseshell was on an Escallonia. The really popular plant was one of the Hebes, where the other 4 Small Tortoiseshells were feeding (only 3 in the photo!)

I'd gone to look at the front garden after having seen a Large Skipper at the back. I also found a Small Tortoiseshell in the back garden at the same time.

Later I spotted a Red Admiral on the paving slabs in the back garden.

Saturday, June 19

There was a Large White on the Candytuft just before lunch.

Went on a butterfly walk this afternoon with the Gloucestershire Naturalist Society. We saw 9 species: Common Blue, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Painted Lady, Ringlet, Small Copper, Small Heath and Speckled Wood.

Photograph of Marbled White butterfly

Here are links to my best digital images of the afternoon:
Marbled White
Common Blue
Meadow Brown
Common Blue - flying!
Common Blue
Common Blue
Small Heath
Marbled White - 3 of them
Marbled White
Large Skipper
Small Copper

Slightly disappointed with the quality of these images. I was very pleased with the last of the Marbled White pictures listed. I've never had a Marbled White in the garden in Cirencester (although I did get them in my previous garden) and last summer I was determined to get a photograph in the countryside. I was consequently delighted to find a small flock of them posing under the Ox-eye Daisy flowers where I was able to get quite close. We were discussing the idea that each year, it takes some practice to get back into the habit of photographing butterflies. Perhaps I need a bit more practice...

Photograph of Marigolds and Lobelia in flowerpot

An innocent-looking pot of Marigolds and Lobelia produced one of the biggest surprises this morning: a Large Skipper butterfly. (This isn't one of my better pictures but at least I got the photograph).
The garden's now maturing nicely but with all the flowers and foliage about, I don't necessarily notice the butterflies until I've disturbed them. That was certainly the situation with the Large Skipper at the front; it flew up and then came back down to the pot.

The back garden also had a couple of visitors - Small Tortoiseshells. Now there's quite a choice of plants for the discerning butterfly at the moment, so what was the big attraction? Candytuft. The first Small Tortoiseshell visited Candytuft and Sweet William.

Friday, June 18

Hooray! Photographed a Large Skipper on my Sweet Williams at lunchtime.
Returned from town this afternoon to disturb a Small Tortoiseshell in the front garden. I photographed it feeding on Verbena rigida.

Wednesday, June 16

Frustration! Walked out into the back garden at lunchtime to see a skipper butterfly in flight over the flowers and then it disappeared over the back fence. Was it a Large Skipper? I've been hoping that one would turn up. Had it been visiting my Sweet Williams?

Sunday, June 13

At mid-day I found a blue butterfly in the back garden but was unable to get a clear sight of it to identify it.
Later, I was stood beside a large pot in the front garden when a Painted Lady swooped down to investigate but flew on at the sight of a human so close. That pot was recently planted with pink/orange/yellow flowers (summer bedding plants) and I'm pleased to see that it's acting as a beacon.

This afternoon, I went to Buscot Park in Oxfordshire (National Trust). I started my visit by heading for the herbaceous borders in the garden. Found a reader of this journal standing there and was informed that there were plenty of bees but no butterflies. Well, I didn't see any butterflies in those borders either but I did find a Speckled Wood in the woodland edge towards the lake.

Have you looked at the underside of a Buddleia leaf at 8 o'clock on a Sunday morning? Firstly, this is the time of year that my plants look a little unsightly because there are blobs of cuckoo-spit on them. This froth holds a bug called a froghopper - what a wonderful name! This frothy addition to my garden is around for a couple of weeks and then gone.
What made me get my camera was the sight of the Cinnabar Moth. I've been getting plenty of emails from people who've spotted these and wondered what they were, so I'm glad of the chance to photograph one in my garden. Here's a top view of the Cinnabar moth and a view from the side. (The swivelling body of my Nikon Coolpix 4500 makes it easier to photograph these kind of pictures.)

Saturday, June 12

Disturbed a Painted Lady butterfly at lunchtime in the front garden. Thought that it had probably been feeding on Escallonia 'Apple Blossom' which is now in flower. So, when I went out this afternoon, I crept across the terrace and managed to get this photograph of the Painted Lady on the Escallonia. I'm sure that it would have flown if I had got any closer.

This was the first Painted Lady that I have seen this year. It was the first butterfly that I'd seen for a few days. This afternoon we went to the 3rd International Festival of Gardens at Westonbirt. I've managed to get to the previous 2 festivals at the end of their season, so this year I was determined to see the gardens at the start of their existence (festival opened at the start of June). I did not see a single butterfly in the festival gardens but a Speckled Wood flew past when I was stood in the Plant centre. No, I didn't buy any more plants, but I did get a new watering can!

Monday, June 7

It's been a glorious sunny day here but I've been indoors for most of the day! When out this morning though, I saw a female Common Blue. It settled on a low-growing plant in the grass. This plant had yellow flowers, 3 leaflets and was tiny - might be Trifolium dubium (Lesser Yellow Trefoil) or Trifolium campestre (Hop Trefoil).

Saturday, June 5

Went for a walk in the woods with the Gloucestershire Naturalist Society this morning. Saw a Green-veined White at a distance and a Fritillary quite close; Sadly I didn't get a good view but others thought that it might be a Marsh Fritillary.

This afternoon I went for a walk with the Cirencester Archaeological and Historical Society along the route of the old canal and as I was walking home, I saw that a local Buddleia globosa was in flower. I've never seen any butterflies on the Buddleia globosa plants in the area but I shall keep looking.

Wednesday, June 2

Found a Small White making an overnight stay in my front garden.

A Large White visited the Hesperis matronalis this afternoon. Another came along and they flew together for a few moments.

A Common Blue on Thrift, a Green-veined White on Hesperis matronalis and a Red Admiral on Pyracantha - all seen this morning between 11 and 1.