Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Bucking the trend.

The dreadfully wet weather conditions that have blighted our spring and summer here in the UK has been pretty disastrous for many of our butterfly species with vastly reduced numbers being recorded. However, it now appears that every cloud does have a silver lining; and in this case it is a silvery-blue one.
Apparently phenomenal numbers of the beautiful Chalkhill Blue (Lysandra coridon) emerged on some areas of the South Downs at the beginning of August, providing a spectacle seldom witnessed since Victorian times.
So a couple of weeks ago I took the chance to drive over to Denbies Hillside on a sunny but very breezy morning to check out the grassland slopes. Initially nearly all the resident species were perching low down in the grass with wings closed waiting for the conditions to improve but as the warmth of the sun increased I gained a few photo opportunities of this distinctive chalk downland species.

In most summers competition for limited resources dictates the size of the adult population, particularly when drought conditions restrict the availability of larval food-plants. However, this year, it now seems likely that the excessively wet conditions have resulted in unusually lush growth of nitrogen-rich Horseshoe Vetch plants, capable of supporting a veritable army of this butterfly's green and yellow slug-like caterpillars.

 These guys were enjoying another source of nutrients ... left behind by one of the many doggie walkers!

Of course, these weren't the only flutters on show ..... so here are a few of the other grassland species.

Marbled White.

Six-spot Burnet.

 Dark Green Fritillary ... a slightly washed out female.


P.S. I regret that blogging has had to take a back seat over the past month or so ... partly due to the lack of postable wildlife material but mainly because of my father's health problems. After a meeting with his specialist on the 17th he was admitted to hospital on the 21st and had his remaining leg amputated last Friday. He is bearing up extremely well and although he would prefer to be back home this will take some time as he now has to undergo some extensive physiotherapy and reassessment of his capabilities. For an 87 year old I have no doubt that with the appropriate support he will once again be 'bucking the trend'.  FAB.


  1. i'm sorry for your father's continued health issues, but hope he rallies, once again. :)

    lovely butterflies - even if they are poop eaters. :)

  2. Beautiful flowers & butterflies!
    Take care, FAB!

    xoxo, Juliana

  3. Frank, had a feeling something was up when I hadn't seen you post for a bit. First, these butterfly images are gorgeous and second, I am so so sorry about your Father. I so hate that. Life is a challenge as it is, but to have such a thing occur is just so bad and at his age. I hope you are right and he will be up and moving around soon. He sounds as though he is not a 'giver upper'. The best, Carol

  4. Frank,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your father. I can relate. My mother had both legs amputated and became blind with diabetes. Bless you for taking care of your father. Only family can give the loving care that those we love need so much.

    Huge hugs from over here,

    PS - Your images are gorgeous. I am sure it is very healthy for you to take a break and go out with your camera from time to time.

  5. Sorry to hear about your father's health problems. My Dad is going on 91, and is really crippled up in his right hip, but refusing hip-replacement surgery. Don't know how much longer he'll be able to be at his home. Your Butterfly photos are fabulous! So beautiful with the blue coloring.

  6. Great photos. The butterfly situation has been the same here in Southern Ohio, USA. I'm thinking that is in great part due to heavy rains and record flooding earlier in the year. We're in a drought now and that isn't helping things at all.

    I wish your father a speedy recovery.

  7. As always a very in depth group of photos on butter flies.
    All the best to your Dad for a good recovery.

  8. It's good to see at least one species of butterfly has fared well this year Frank.

    An excellent set of images...[;o)

    Frank, I'm so sorry to hear about your father's ongoing problems, my best wishes to him and I hope that he makes the best possible recovery soon.

  9. Hi Frank
    Great shots as usual some super butterflies in there.
    I agree the wet Spring and Summer have had a big effect on wildlife.

  10. Oh my goodness what a wonderful visit you had and its so heartening to hear some good butterfly news for a change this year. They've been sadly few and far between in the garden - except for a welcome flush of gatekeepers last weekend.

    And so sorry to hear of your father's illness Frank. His generation have strengths we can only wonder at. I know myself how worrying looking after an aged parent is - but the wonders of nature can't help but lift the spirits at difficult times.

  11. Nice pictures Frank.. beautiful landscape and butteflies.. Congrat.

  12. Lovely images Frank. At least we have had one success story in the butterfly World this year.

  13. Lovely shots Frank, and it's great to see so many butterflies on the wing when we get a brief spell of sunshine.
    Had lots of Chalkhill Blue up at Ivinghoe Beacon recently.

    Sorry to hear of your dads continued health problems. Wish him all the best from me.

  14. I had been missing you Frank. I do lift your father's health issues up and pray he gets better. I had noticed that another young man named Adam has liked the same title as your blog title as of late;') very nice. The butterflies, realizing how tiny they are, these are wonderful Frank. You take good care~

  15. Such beautiful butterflies! Sorry to hear about your father, but I'm glad his spirits are up. We've been going through something similar.

  16. Hi Everyone. Many thanks for all your lovely comments.

    I'm off to see Dad very shortly so I'll pass on all yuor good wishes and hope to catch up with you all in the near future. Cheers ... FAB.

  17. Hi Frank,
    I also noticed that there was less blue in France. I used to take pictures of common blue each year at the same period, but I've barely seen any this year. Probably because of the bad weather. Nice collection of pictures you got, and the photo opportunity you took was good.

  18. Frank, so sorry to hear abouty our fathers health issues. Sending good wishes to you, your father and family.

    Gorgeous nature images! Seeing these beauties must lift your spirits.

  19. Brilliant blue photos Frank.
    Best wishes to your father.


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