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. More beautiful captures, Jude. Have a happy weekend!

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thanks Cathy, you too!

  2. Pete Hillman says:

    Lovely, Jude! Yet this is another I have not seen much of this year.

    1. Heyjude says:

      Sad that pests are invading us from the continent.

  3. Sue says:

    I’ve only seen one of these in recent years…but you have explained why…

    1. Heyjude says:

      I didn’t go into detail about the fly, but it is not nice.

  4. beetleypete says:

    Quite a few of those left around here, especially in some wild meadowland near the disused railway tracks. Maybe the parasite hasn’t got this far east yet?
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    1. Heyjude says:

      Hopefully not 😦

  5. Lucid Gypsy says:

    Everything feeds off everything else 😦

  6. Ali says:


  7. Ali says:

    Sorry. Lost power of speech owing to impossible beauty.

  8. restlessjo says:

    The first is beautifully poised 🙂 🙂

    1. Heyjude says:

      Yes. I like how he/she raised her head for me 🙂

      1. restlessjo says:

        Where’s your six on Saturday this week? 🙂

        1. Heyjude says:

          Not doing one this week. Wanted to finish off the butterflies.

        2. restlessjo says:

          Okey doke. All good at yours? X

        3. Heyjude says:

          Yup! OH off to Shrewsbury again tomorrow so it might be a quiet week.

        4. restlessjo says:

          A chance for you to get out and about. Stir yourself, woman! 🙂 🙂

        5. Heyjude says:

          I have things to do, mainly involving gardens, but I did sneak down to the beach today – coastal fog was so surreal. Got a lovely lighthouse photo. By the time I had walked around the fields the beach was packed! Decided to head home for some peace.

        6. restlessjo says:

          I did have the fleeting thought to come and join you! Just heading back from another Roman Wall jaunt and an aged Lutyens garden. The owner is 92 and still taking care of it. There’s hope for all of us xx

        7. Heyjude says:

          It would take you all week to get here! And apparently rain from Wednesday which might scupper my plans.

        8. restlessjo says:

          I would have flown, with a little more notice. 🙂 🙂 You’d best get out tomorrow then!

        9. Heyjude says:

          Ah, that’s true though not always cheap to Newquay I have to say. What a shame. I’ll just have to come and visit you in Tavira 😀

  9. Tina Schell says:

    Love butterflies, yours are beautiful. Climate change is definitely wreaking havoc with so many species 😢. Your photos are lovely Jude

    1. Heyjude says:

      Thank you Tina. I have finally reached the age where I can be patient about waiting for that shot 🙂

  10. She’s a beauty, Jude.

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