Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bugs and butterfies

A male Common Blue Polyommatus icarus butterfly feeding on red clover. It has a chunk missing from its lower wing - presumably caused by some predator's beak.

They dart around and are quite easily spooked. I've tried to take photos of them several times but this is the first time i've managed to get close. They are also very small -the wingspan is only about 3cm.
The males have a metallic slivery blue colour on the upper surface of the wings

This is a female Common Blue - I didn't manage to catch her with her wings open. female common blues are mainly brown with or without a light blue dusting on the upper surface so they sometimes can be mistaken for the Brown Argus [which is in the Blues family]

This one is sitting on a daisy [Bellis perennis], which gives a good idea of the scale
Gendarme bugs are really common -I enjoy watching them -they look really interesting [ I think its something to do with their bright red colouring and mask-like markings] and always seem to be doing something worth watching.

This one was burrowing into a flower
This one was burrowing too. When it came out it spent ages wiping off the grains of pollen that had stuck to its legs and antennae.

This photo just about sums up Provence - a blue cloudless sky, warm air perfumed with pine resin and lavender and a butterfly.

Swallowtail butterflies are unbelievably rare in the UK - they are only found in a tiny area of the Norfolk Broads. The best place to try and see one is the Nature reserve at Hickling Broad-[Papilio machaon is the butterfly found there]

Swallowtails are quite common butterflies in France -although I always think of it as a privilege when i see one.

They have large wingspans and are strong fliers - you can feel the air move when they fly past.

This one is a Scarce Swallowtail Iphiclides podalirus apparently called the 'Flambé' [flamed] in french, maybe becuase of the triangular 'racing stripes'

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Sue said...

I love your butterfly photos, the one with the lavender is SO Provence!

I've put a link to your blog in mine! :-)

natural attrill said...

Inspirational photos - can imagine making felt the colours of that butterfly. Thanks Alison!

Debbie said...

Cracking photo's Alison!
Especially love the last one, you have caught her beautifully in mid flight.

damask22 said...

You're so lucky to have such wonderful butterflies Alison. We have so few varieties here in NZ. Thanks also for your comment on my blog. I've linked to yours as well.


PacificNorthwestPostcards said...

Wow, Alison! Nicely done. Beautiful critters! :)