Spring lambs and spring butterflies cover Lynchcombe.
Lynchcombe is a Somerset Wildlife Trust nature reserve on the steep sunny south edge of the Mendip Hills with fantastic views across Somerset. I’m a volunteer warden for the SWT doing the butterfly transect on Lynchcombe where I count the number of each species while I walk around reserve each week. The temptation to stop and photograph the butterflies is too strong and from time to time I have to take a time-out to get a fix. Today was a very tempting day!
This has seen a bumper year for the Holly blue (Celastrina argils) and its appeared on all by weekly records. Apparently, the population of holly blue varies so much because of a parasitic wasp that grows in the their larvae. They like it up in the trees and this butterfly was very high. I had to hold the camera over head using my monopod. Without live view there was a lot of guess work involved – point the camera, trust the autofocus and shot lots of pictures.
In contrast to the holly blue the Peacocks (Aglais io) seem to love it down on the ground where they are so much easier to photograph.
The small copper (Lycaena phlaeas) also likes it close to the ground and as the sun weakens in the early evening it is quite approachable. It is annoying that it rarely opens its wings completely flat.
My favourite spring butterfly is the Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamons) and I was lucky to see four of them on this transect including this one which has been in the wars.
Spring butterflies like hedgerows, flying around following a set route. If you miss one you can just wait a few minutes and it may be back. As they patrol from flower to flower along the hedgerow they bump into each other chasing off together circling around each other.
This Green-veined White (Piers nap) is enjoying some of the tiny amounts of wild garlic found on the reserve. It did not even appear on the transect, so this one is off the record.
Not all butterflies as a beautiful as those above. This speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) could not have been around for long but had lost so many scales that its wings were almost transparent.
There is a good spread of Early-purples orchids on the east side of the combe between the trees. Just below these are a few bluebells.
Spring flowers are not one of the reserve’s strong points.
I went completely cuckoo getting close enough to this cuckoo to get this (cropped) picture without using a telephoto lens. Its call could be heard across the reserve.