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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.