I often visit Lynchcombe on the Mendip Hills in Somerset. Many times I wonder what surprises the reserve will have in store today. Sometimes nothing seems to be happening. This is usually because I’m not looking. When you take the time to look to look for the little things the big things start to happen all by themselves.
The big thing today was finding this Holly Blue butterfly (Celastrina argils) lying flat on the ground. I hardly ever see Holly Blues on Lynchcombe and finding one who decided that this patch of mud was the best place for a rest was quite a surprise.
Its early in the year to find these butterflies especially up in the Mendip Hills. Maybe a few days of hotter weather encouraged it to emerge – at this time of year that can be big mistake.
Unlike the Holly Blue the Comma butterflies (Polygonia c-album) hibernate over winter. Many appear early in the season often looking a bit worse for wear. This one found a stone in a pool of light between the trees – the perfect spot to warm up.
Peacock butterflies are aways out early. Like Commas these also hibernate, some like this one are a bit ragged around the edges.
Others looked immaculate.
Yet another group of bee-flies enjoying the celandines on the ground cleared last year. I just wish they would slow down a bit to make them easier to photograph.
The trick to photographing bee-flies is not to chase around after them. Instead watch them as they move from flower to flower. Pick a flower they at likely to go to soon, get down low, focus your camera ready and wait.
This is becoming the year of the dandelion flower. They seem to be growing in places I have not seen them before. Around Somerset many road-side verges are thick with yellow flowers in the afternoon.