Friday, 2 December 2016

October butterflies

Sorry, Red squirrel, even if you do make it into the squirrel feeder later you need to take a step back (or run and a jump in your case) and give other garden wildlife a chance to shine today. Yes, you gave me your most funny face yet, yesterday. I know. I got photos too. You watched me take them. Perhaps if you had drunk out of the small pond waterfall trickle when I was inside at my window, where the camera was, instead of creeping up behind me when I was a few feet away making it easier for you to access your feeder... just saying ;-)

Back at the beginning of October it was the Painted lady I was following with my camera. Yes, there were more than the usual numbers of Peacock and Red admiral butterflies then too, but there was just something about the Painted lady that drew me more. Although the weather then saw winds, there were plenty warm sunny days and the butterflies fed well on Verbena bonariensis! Yes, these plants really earned their garden border space this year :-)


OCT 2: Peacock butterfly with tatty, worn wings feeding on verbena bonariensis.
One of many October blue skies and sunny days for butterfly sightings :-)


OCT 2: Red admiral butterfly in partial shade of border plants.
Plant supports helped keep stems of verbena bonariensis up after winds.


OCT 2: Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies navigated the blowing stems.
Tricky to ID when early morning sunlight lights through their wings.


Photographing butterflies is tricky at the best of times, but with considerable plant growth in the borders in October there was much in the way to even see them, without winds. It was fortunate for me that at this time there was seldom just one butterfly, so their movement through the plants caught my attention.

Where worryingly other bloggers reported poor numbers of butterflies this year, we were certainly very lucky here. I’m not saying we had huge numbers, but it was best collection for a few years. They were a joy to see and the draw to stand outdoors with a camera was difficult to shake.

Migrating butterflies like the Painted lady butterflies are long gone. Now, in the first few days of December, our temps are cooling with each day and decorations for Christmas are coming out. I'd like to share what decorated my sunny front garden back in the first few days of October and my last garden butterfly records of the Painted Lady for 2016. She was the last to leave this year :-)


OCT 4: Painted lady feeding on shorter Verbena bonariensis 'Lollipop'.
The orange of the background Californian poppies highlight her orange shades.


OCT 4: Painted lady feeding on lavender, very well camouflaged.
Only when it moved did I notice it there, I’ve never seen this before :-)


OCT 4: Painted lady resting on the white rose, Silver Anniversary.
I’d never associate this delicate butterfly with a rose or cotoneaster berries.


OCT 4: Painted lady feeding on lavender, again and again it fed here.
This is what drew me outdoors to stand with my camera :-)


OCT 4: New - butterflies feeding on lavender not something previously seen.
This high, path strip was a serious buzz of bees back in October :-)


OCT 4: Close views like this were only possible due to raising the border edge.
This was a deliberate height of planting for feeding bees and photography :-)


OCT 4: The lavender swayed back and forth, I loved the blurred purple.
It was hard to see where the Painted lady was at times, fun though :-)


OCT 4: Painted lady demonstrating it’s the small flowers of the lavender
that make this plant such a great food source for pollinating insects :-)


Mmm… tasty food sources… I guess this weekend I’ll need to give some serious thought to menus for over the Christmas period. It’s too early for decorations in this household but ok, you’ve twisted my arm… I’ll end with a splash of seasonal, garden red…


DEC 1: Red squirrel record shot from yesterday. I kid you not, as I uploaded this image the red squirrel has returned and is currently outside my window feeding again! It has also jumped on the roof of the squirrel feeder… getting warmer :-)



This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in December 2016.

3 comments:

Lisa Greenbow said...

What fabulous photos you have of your visiting butterflies. We had quite a few butterflies coming through during migration. My current camera doesn't take very good closeups. I am not too happy about that but maybe I can find another point and shoot that will satisfy my needs.
Your cute little red squirrel has obviously taken up residence in your garden.

Sue Garrett said...

I'm hoping our dearth of butterflies this year was a blip - we usually can;y count the peacocks and tortoiseshell on our buddleia but this year I didn't see any. That last butterfly photo is fantastic.

We were photographing squirrels yesterday but I'm afraid they were greys. I know to some they are a pariah but I think they are cute, It is humans fault that they have out competed the reds as they didn't ask to be brought here.

Shirley said...

Hello again to you both, thanks for visiting and leaving your comments especially at this busy time of year :-)

Lisa, thank-you, I had fun taking them, got loads of images from September too. Great to here you saw migrating ones pass by. I do remember before you mentioning your camera, your blog pics always look good to me. Ha-ha… red squirrels have definitely added our garden to their foraging territory. The big question now is – how many? They are seriously cute and I don’t use that word to describe wildlife often :-)

Sue, I hope so too. I’ve seen images and heard your buddleja butterfly counts over the years so was very surprised to see you blog of few visitors this year. I’ve got to say, despite the reds being of serious character when it comes to taking photos, I’ve enjoyed taking photos of the greys too. I agree also, that the greys didn’t arrive on our shores by themselves. Yes, we humans do have a lot to answer for at times.