Sunday, 7 August 2011

Hummingbirds and Bees

In order to appear less myopic, this blog entry includes three photos that are ostensibly unrelated to butterflies, although an admission must be made that they were captured during field trips whose primary motive was to seduce and snap members of the Lepidotera family, the last example being a bitterly unsuccessful attempt to catalogue the rare High Brown Fritillary.

One of the peculiarities of nature is that it often unearths devious shortcuts to the orginal blueprints of evolution. The bumblebee pictured has a short tongue poorly evolved for the fruits of this labiate. The trick lies in lateral thinking and this individual has chosen to skip the lure of a pretty purple petal and take nectar from the side door. Cunning!

With an unquenchable haste the Hummingbird Hawk Moth (pictured left) jets feverishly from flower to flower like the White Rabbit, flashing its bumblebee sized blood red body and wings of glass to a horticulturally inclined and, disappointingly, largely apathetic audience.

This weekend, the orbits of family, good food and laughter all drew perfect alignment and an air of inevitability rose to the surface when the slopes of Brampton Bryan Park were climbed in pursuit of one of Britain's rarest butterfly species, the aforementioned High Brown Fritillary. A short lived affair this air of inevitability as temperatures struggled to shake off their teenage figures and hopes were finally dashed when the habitat required for this species failed to enter the foreground. The high brown needs a combination of violets, coppicing, bracken and grassland in order to survive and today we seemed to be missing the coppiced trees!

The common lizard pictured involuntarily re-aligned the orbit to round off a wonderful weekend.


  1. Love the pic of the Hummingbird Hawk Moth!

  2. I had better pics of the wings but this is one of a few that show it from the side. Esther's dad volunteered to handle the lizard too!

  3. Excellent Hummingbird Hawk moth well captured

    Where was the lizard ?

    High Brown Fritillary easier around Arnside and SIlverdale - not easy just easier !!!

    Excellent eloquent blog

    Best regards


  4. Cheers David! You fancy a visit up to Arnsdide then? 20th/21st? Lizard was recorded at Brampton Bryan Park SSSI (Nr Leominster) on acid grassland/PSI fringing conifer plantation.

  5. It may be a bit tight then as this is the weekend before we go to Uganda but we shall see

    I think your blog is brilliant it is the antithesis to a lot off wildlife blogs and internet blurb It is well presented and written very clever !