An extremely hot day promised much at Lynchcombe. Would the butterflies come out and get counted?
It is possible to see comma butterflies at anytime of the year even on warm winter days when they awake for a short time from hibernation. They finally emerge from hibernation in March. This recently emerged comma back in early April was trying to get warm sitting on a stone in a pool of light.
The butterflies that emerged from hibernation mated giving raise to the next generation. Across Lynchcombe this new generation was out in large numbers today. I first saw their bright flashes of orange and red high in the trees of the combe.
Then lower in the reserve they were on bracken soaking up the hot summer sun.
They were exceptionally bright, especially compared to those that were out during the early spring. Surprisingly they were very approachable allowing me to take picture from only a few inches away. On a hot day like today most butterflies would fly away when you are still several feet away.
This generation will mate and disappear being replaced by a third emergence during August or September. This late summer generation will hibernate overwinter hidden amongst dead leaves. Their colour and ragged edges giving them the perfect camouflage.
The marbled whites were emerging in their favourite parts of Lynchcombe. This marbled white had just emerged, hopefully its wings will fully open.
They preferred to remain deep in the grass.
The green hairstreaks were out very early this year so I was delighted to see they were still around – and looking so fresh and bright.
In contrast the common blue butterflies looked worn out.
There were even more butterflies
My transect picked up over 100 meadow browns, small heath, large skippers, ringlets, speckled wood butterflies. It is possible that I saw my first silver-wash fritillary of the season but I was not certain enough to claim it on the transect record.
Cotton wool clouds and deep blue skies created some beautiful views across the reserve.