in my garden | butterflies

(please click on an image to enlarge)

Looking down is this very hairy-faced Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) butterfly. This is one of our most widespread butterflies, occurring throughout the British Isles, but sadly suffering from decline especially in the south. One reason is the increasing presence of a particular parasitic fly, Sturmia bella, due to global warming – this species being common on the continent.

It is most often seen where nettles grow in abundance, such as field margins. So another reason to let that nettle patch be.  I love the easily recognisable pattern of orange, yellow and black markings on the upper surface of the wings and especially the way the sunlight shines through. This is another butterfly which loves to feed on the Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum f. cannabinum ‘Flore Pleno’), the only reason I allow it to grow really, as it is too tall and quite invasive. Lots of pollinators love it though and it comes into its own in late summer, flowering from the end of July to September.


  1. pommepal says:

    What a hairy little beauty this is Jude. Love the colours

    1. Heyjude says:

      My favourite I think, or maybe the Comma, or the Silver-blue. All so pretty.

      1. pommepal says:

        I actually saw a butterfly in the garden yesterday, very fleetingly no time to grab the camera. Maybe it is a sign spring is almost here. It has been unseasonably warm

        1. Heyjude says:

          Our warm weather continues though rain is forecast for later in the week. Must get my planting finished!!

        2. pommepal says:

          No rain forecast here and (I’ll whisper this) I’ve planted annual seedlings!!!

        3. Heyjude says:

          Oh PP. You naughty woman!

  2. Such a pretty creature! Is that hemp agrimony it is resting on?

    1. Heyjude says:

      It is indeed!

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