A light north-westerly breeze has cleared the humidity this week, with the result that I have enjoyed not only being able to breathe more freely but also spending time in the full sun with my camera - if no further afield than the garden.
Following some new planting in the spring, some borders have stayed colourful for longer this summer. Lantana have done particularly well and yesterday were proving more attractive than buddleia and plumbago to butterflies. At one point mid-morning I realised there was an unusual amount of activity in the garden at the same time, so decided to check what they all were and to see how many different species visited during the day overall.
I was hoping for a two-tailed Pasha and a chance to photograph the spectacular patterning and colours of the underside to their wings - impossible to see, never mind appreciate, with the naked eye. After reading recently that these never take nectar from flowers, but feed exclusively on fruit, I understood why my garden wouldn't interest them but thought there was a chance a female might be tempted to lay eggs on my neighbour's Strawberry Tree. It wasn't to be; they were probably all round at Isobel's, whose garden currently offers an abundance of juicy figs.
The Cleopatras, Brimstones and Great Banded Graylings of recent weeks seemed to have disappeared, and a White Admiral I spotted a few days ago didn't put in an appearance either. However, my tally still came to eight, which I felt was respectably high.
Roughly in size order: Cardinal, Silver-washed Fritillary, Painted Lady, Queen of Spain Fritillary (a first for my garden), Meadow Brown, Green-veined White (I think - 2nd brood?), Lang's Short-tailed Blue and Geranium Bronze.
I'm ashamed to say I tend to pay little attention to Painted Ladies because they're so common, here and in the UK. But my photos revealed just how beautiful they are, wings closed as well as open. In a different way, the Queen of Spain frit's underside is also striking - a kind of crazy paving design. Of course for some species - especially the blues - patterning under the wing is often the only way to identify them. Even so, it's not always easy. I'm fairly confident that yesterday's blue is a Lang's short-tailed and not a Long-tailed. The tail is in fact long in both, so that doesn't help at all!