Thursday, 30 April 2015

A - Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'Z'

Z - Zerene cesonia

Well we have got to 'Z' and it's time for you to work out what the butterfly will be. It's not a Zebra Swallowtail even although I did consider that.

Here are a couple of clues.


His name is Finn
But that's a red herring.

This is Scout (but you don't need to know this)
Finn and Scout live in the southern part of Michigan - this should help, if you have identified the feature common to each photo.

Here's the pattern on the butterfly's wing.

What does it look like to you?
Hint: Finn and Scout each have one. Remember where they live and you should be able to work out that Zerene cesonia is a butterfly called ,,,,,, wait for it.

If you have read all my earlier posts you will have seen the lyrics to a song unfold line by line. Listen to it now before you check the answer.


Zerene cesonia is a -

Southern Dogface
I hope that this was not too difficult for you to work out.

Thanks and congratulations to everyone who has completed this year's challenge, visited and commented on 'my' butterflies.

Photo attributions:
  • Zerene cesonia, dogface pattern; by Megan McCarthy, 17 Oct 2008 - Public domain
  • Southern Dogface; by Megan McCarthy, 17 Oct 2008 - Public domain


Wednesday, 29 April 2015

A - Z Challenge - Butterflies 'Y'

Y - Yellow butterflies - Clouded Yellows

I introduced a yellow butterfly, the Brimstone, under the letter 'B' so that we knew early on where the term 'butterfly' originated.

Apart from the Brimstone there are three species of yellow butterflies seen in Britain; all are migrants from the warmer parts of Europe. As immigration is a hot topic in the current election campaign I just hope the Clouded Yellows continue to be welcomed on our shores.

The Common Clouded Yellow is a deep orange-yellow although you would not think so looking at its underside.


Common Clouded Yellow
This specimen however shows its 'orange' colour. You might be forgiven for saying this isn't a yellow butterfly at all.

Common Clouded Yellow
It's sometimes called  the Dark Clouded Yellow instead.

As its name implies the Pale Clouded Yellow, together with Berger's Clouded Yellow is much paler.

Berger's Clouded Yellow - specimen
Berger's Clouded Yellow
The green caterpillars of all three feed on clover and lucerne. The adults emerge in autumn, If any new caterpillars are produced they rarely survive the British winter.

Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Your laughter brings me sunshine
Every day is spring time
And I am only happy when you are by my side
How precious is this love we share
How very precious, sweet and rare
Together we belong like daffodils and butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Photo attributions:

  • Common Clouded Yellow (on thistle), by Katya, 2 June 2014 - CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Common Clouded Yellow specimen, upload by Sareto, 19 September 2007 - CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Berger's Clouded Yellow specimen, 26 July 2014, by Durni - CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Berger's Clouded Yellow, by Zeynei Cebeci (Turkey) - CC BY-SA 4.0

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

A - Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'X'

X - Xerces Blue

It was Hilary Melton-Butler who first told me about this butterfly otherwise I would have struggled for 'X'.

"When the tiny wings of the last Xerces Blue Butterfly ceased to flutter our world grew quieter by a whisper and duller by a hue."      Robert C Kuhman

When affordable homes were built on the sand dunes of western San Francisco in the early 20th century the tiny beautiful butterfly was doomed to extinction as the main source of food for its caterpillars disappeared.

Now if you want to see one you have to visit the basement of the Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. Three drawers of them, in neat rows on the ends of pins are kept in a climate -controlled vault.

The French entomologist Boisduval named the butterfly after the Persian King Xerxes but used the French spelling - Xerces.

The last known specimens were taken in the early 1940s. Its tiny wings had a span of 7/8 - 1.1/4 inches about the size of a the end of a man's thumb.

The only photo I can find of the Xerces Blue is by Tom Prete of the Ocean Beach Bulletin and is copyright protected. I can work up no enthusiasm for including a picture of the specimens in those drawers, so I 'd rather show none.

It also seems rather ironic to me that Boisduval has another blue butterfly named after him.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Your laughter brings me sunshine
Every day is spring time
And I am only happy when you are by my side
How precious is this love we share
How very precious, sweet and rare
Together we belong like daffodils and butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside

Monday, 27 April 2015

A - Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'W'

W - Wall, Large White

At this time in the Challenge I sometimes feel as though I am banging my head against a - 


Wall (Lasiommata megera)
Perhaps its Latin name should be Myheadius brickus! 

However this brown butterfly gets its name from its characteristic behaviour of resting with its wings two-thirds open on any bare surface, including bare ground and on walls, of course.

Wall on bare ground (and photo-bombed by my shadow)
Numbers have declined in previous years but the one on the knapweed and the one above were quiet happy to warm up in the North Yorkshire sun.

When I was a young boy it was common for us to catch and keep Cabbage Whites in a jar on the local allotments where they laid their eggs on cabbage leaves. The term Cabbage White is applied to several common white butterflies especially the Small and Large Whites which are very similar in appearance.

The caterpillars of the Large White are very colourful.

Large White Butterfly Caterpillar on a leaf
You can see quite clearly where it has eaten the edge away. It was my job to remove them from my Dad's cabbages before too much damage was done.

We expect to see white butterflies in early April each year. Despite their numbers I have never photographed one.

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
The female has the black spots on the wings - no spots means it a male.

I hope that I have added my own shot(s) to this before 'W' is posted - No such luck, no white butterflies seen this year yet.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Your laughter brings me sunshine
Every day is spring time
And I am only happy when you are by my side
How precious is this love we share
How very precious, sweet and rare
Together we belong like daffodils and butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh

Photo attributions:
  • Large White Butterfly Caterpillar: 6 August 2014, by Michael Palmer - CC BY-SA 4.0
  • Large White Butterfly (Pieris brassicae): 10 July 2006, geograph.org.uk, by Anne Burgess - CC BY-SS 2.0




Sunday, 26 April 2015

Dinosaurs and Large Animals - Sunday Stamps II

As I had used all my stamps of large animals previously I had to pay a visit to my local market stall and the town's flea market to meet this week's theme.

I finished up with stamps from countries that I had no others previously.

Laos - 1958
There were two other elephants in this set of three,


Laos
From the West Indies I found a sheet of prehistoric animals which fits the theme perfectly.

St Vincent and the Grenadines
The dinosaurs shown are:
  • Protoavis
  • Pterodactyl
  • Quetzalcoatius
  • Lesothosaurus
  • Heterodontosaurus
  • Archeopteryx
  • Cearadactylus
  • Anchisaurus
I'll confess to only recognising two of these.

Quite a successful shopping trip, don't you agree?

Check out what other dinosaurs remain at Sunday-stamps-ii-19.



Saturday, 25 April 2015

A - Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'V'

V - Vanessids, Viceroy

A vanessid is a butterfly belonging to any of several brightly coloured species including the Red Admiral (R), Tortoiseshells (T) and the Camberwell Beauty, which with Fritilliaries (F & Q) comprise the Nymphalides.


Camberwell Beauty
The name for this rare migrant to the British Isles originated from the discovery of two individuals at Coldharbour Lane in Camberwell, South London in 1748 which were believed to be stowaways from Scandinavia.

Now commemorated on a road sign on Denmark Hill
Appropriately the photo of the Beauty was taken at the Valkmusa Natural Park in Finland.

Many of you will recognise this butterfly (also seen under M)

Monarch Butterfly
If you are wondering why I'm showing this again it's because of another butterfly that mimics its appearance. 

Viceroy Butterfly
Apparently the Monarch is unpalatable; by mimicking the Monarch the Viceroy hopes that birds will leave it alone. I wonder what happens when the bird has never seen a Monarch.

Do other butterflies with eyespots on their wings have a better chance of survival?


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Your laughter brings me sunshine
Every day is spring time
And I am only happy when you are by my side
How precious is this love we share
How very precious, sweet and rare
Together we belong like daffodils and butterflies

Photo attributions:
  • Camberwell Beauty: Valkmusa Natural Park, Finland; 20 Aug 2007, by Kymi - CC BY-SA 3.0
  • Camberwell road sign: geograph.org.uk, by Paul Farmer - CC By-SA 2.0
  • Monarch on a Penta: October 2011, by A Yee - CC BY 2.0
  • Viceroy (Limenitis archippus): Mer Bleue Conservation Area, Ottawa, Ontario - 1 August 2009, By D Gordon E Robertson - CC BY-SA 3.0

Friday, 24 April 2015

A - Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'U'

U - USA Butterflies 

I get the chance to photograph butterflies whenever I visit my daughter's home in Michigan. However her dogs do not cooperate as I'm expected to hit tennis balls for them to fetch whenever I'm outside.

Unfortunately the butterflies I see like the flowers on the bed of chives which is where golden retriever, Lily, hides her stash of balls.

I have successfully identified three species but am left with two that I have not traced so far.


Silver Spotted Skipper (Epargyreus clarus) on chives
This is claimed to be the most recognised skipper in North America.


The Red Spotted Purple (Limentis arthemis) or White Admiral mimics the poisonous Pipevine Swallowtail; I haven't seen one of those.



Red Spotted Purple (aka White Admiral)

The third butterfly that I am able to name is the -


Pearled Crescent (Pyciodes tharos) on the chives
Then comes the one I hope someone seeing this will be able to tell me what it is.

Any ideas?
Another where we can only see the underside is much plainer. Can anyone help me?


Unfortunately Lily drove it off before I could see its upperside.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Your laughter brings me sunshine
Every day is spring time
And I am only happy when you are by my side
How precious is this love we share


(Someone early yesterday morning was the 200,000 visitor to my blog; thanks to you whoever you were and the other 199,999 over the years.)

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A - Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'T''

T - Tortoiseshell butterflies.

Of the two Tortoiseshell butterflies  it's the Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urtica) that is the most common and found throughout the British Isles,

It's one of the first butterflies to be seen each summer. We saw the first one this year on 5th April.  The buddleia is a favourite plant.


Two Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies in our garden
Small Tortoiseshell
Its orange colour with brown, black, yellow and blue markings are unmistakable.

It will quite happily share a flower with a bumblebee.


From the underside there is no hint of its colourful appearance.


The Large Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis polychlorox) is similar in appearance but is usually only seen in Suffolk and north Essex. There is little chance of my getting to photograph one.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Your laughter brings me sunshine
Every day is spring time
And I am only happy when you are by my side

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Where you work - Thematic Photography

Not an easy theme when you have retired. If I said where I work is in the house, this might be challenged. Anything I do at my computer is classed as 'playing.'

I guess that where I work must therefore be restricted to outside in the garden - quite a pleasant occupation at this time of year when it is sunny and warm. So here's some shots from today.

With one or the other and often all three the 'day's work' starts here.

Wheelbarrow, (hidden tool store) and garden shed
In  the front garden - 

The green waste bag awaits
and waits along with - 

A fork
It must have been warm for that coat to have been discarded. Perhaps I was waiting for my female assistant.

Mrs Blackbird
It's a good thing that she will work for the minimum wage of a worm or two with this lot to tackle.

Shrubs to trim and snowdrop leaves and weeds to remove.
Can you see that flowering dandelion?

Of course there's the lawn to cut

And sycamore seedlings to take out of the gravel
You might think that this is not much of a task but the sycamore count has passed 170 in the last week. There will be more tomorrow.

Then of course where I work will move to the back,

Back lawn
If you are eagle-eyed you might just see the toe of the lady of the house who is lapping up the sun.

All this is a world away from where Carmi works at Thematic-photographic-334.


A - Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'S'

S - Speckled Wood, Swallowtail

The Speckled Wood we see frequently in Yorkshire but the Swallowtail in the British Isles is confined to wetland areas of eastern England.

The Speckled Wood is another of those butterflies that visits our Butterfly Bush, As it always seems to be on the move its difficult to photograph, however I caught up with one elsewhere on a shrub in our garden.



Speckled Wood (Pararge segeria) on Euonymous bush

The Strumpshaw Fen nature reserve  in Norfolk managed by the RSPB is one of the few breeding sites for the Swallowtail.

Swallowtail (Papilio britannicus) at Strumpshaw
The Swallowtail is the largest resident British butterfly with a wingspan of 8 - 10cm.

I've yet to see one. Until yesterday at least; but the ones I saw at Butterfly World at Preston Park in Eaglescliffe where tropical Swallowtails.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Your laughter brings me sunshine
Every day is spring time

Photo attribution:
  • Swallowtail: RSPB Strumpshaw Fen, geograph.or.uk, 11 June 2007, by Janet Richardson - CC BY-SA 2.0

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A - Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies - 'R'

R - Red Admiral, Ringlet

The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) appears in Europe, Asia and North America. It shares our Buddleia bush with Peacocks, Tortoiseshells and White butterflies. 

My photos of it in Yorkshire are all on the golden yellow rose we planted for our 50th wedding anniversary some years ago.




Red Admiral
The one I photographed in Michigan in 2010 had to make do with the tyre on a tractor.

Red Admiral
There is no mistaking its striking dark brown, red and black wing pattern with orange bands crossing the forewings and on the outer edge of the hind wings.

Vladimir Nabokov, also an amateur lepidopterist, featured the Red Admiral in his novel Pale Face - I shall have to read it sometime.

The Ringlet (Aphantopus hyperantus) is a brown butterfly found all over Europe. This female was photographed at a site of special scientific interest  (SSSI) - Hurcott Wood, in Worcestershire.

Ringlet Butterfly
I must confess that the few I've seen on brambles have been a darker brown than this.

Female Ringlet Butterfly
On the underside there is no mistaking the black eyespots rimmed with yellow. You are much more likely to see it like this as it rarely exposes its brown upperside.

Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Your laughter brings me sunshine

Photo Attributions:
  • Female Ringlet at Hurcott Wood: 17 July 2008, geograph.org.uk by Max Fascione - CC BY-SA 2.0
  • Female Ringlet: Sandy Bedfordshire, uploaded by innotata, by Ogangeaurochs - CC BY 2.0

Monday, 20 April 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015 - Butterflies 'Q'

Q - Quercusia quercus, Queen of Spain Fritillary

I thought I was going to be stuck with the Queen of Spain that I mentioned under 'F'

Then I came across Quercusia quercus. I thought initially that this had something to do with the tree on a postage stamp from Great Britain


The English Oak - Quercus robur
It turned out that the place to see Quercusia quercus, aka the Purple Hairstreak, is fluttering in woods round the crowns of the oak and ash.

Purple Hairstreak Butterfly
It has nothing in common with that purple hair rinse that's favoured by some ladies I'm told.

Female Purple Hairstreak
It's the female that has those permanently purple patches; the upperside of the male is brown but may show a purple sheen from some angles in bright sunlight.

My longstop for Q has always been the - 

Queen of Spain Fritillary
It has light spots on its underside that shine like mother of pearl.

The Queen of Spain is a migratory butterfly which flies from Southern Europe to England in favourable years.


Love is like a butterfly
As soft and gentle as a sigh
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

I feel it when you're with me
It happens when you kiss me
That rare and gentle feeling that I feel inside
Your touch is soft and gentle
Your kiss is warm and tender
Whenever I am with you I think of butterflies

Love is like a butterfly
The multicolored moods of love are like its satin wings
Love makes your heart feel strange inside
It flutters like soft wings in flight
Love is like a butterfly, a rare and gentle thing

Photo attributions:
  • Purple Hairstreak: Alners Gorse, Dorset, 3 August 2013, upload by tm, by Ian Kirk - CC BY 2.0
  • Queen of Spain Fritillary: 13 June 2011, by Gail Hampshire - CC BY 2.0