© 2014 by Barbara Copperthwaite.

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Always learning


Saw my first Skipper of the year! I hadn’t actually realised there were any at Highbury Park and was wondering along, walking Scamp in a bit of a daydream, when I suddenly saw a butterfly resting on a leaf… It looked very familiar and I was overjoyed to realise it was a Skipper. I had photographed my first one ever last year, an Essex Skipper, in Colchester, and it was lovely to now see its cousin, the Large Skipper.

One of the things I love about doing this website is that I’m constantly learning. I don’t profess to be any kind of expert, just an enthusiastic amateur who is hoping others will be interested enough in what I write to learn alongside me. And today I took a photograph of and identified a butterfly I hadn’t seen before. It’s called a Ringlet. Funnily enough, only yesterday I was out with my sister around Hatton, Warwickshire, when she pointed down to the grass in the field and said: “What’s that black butterfly?” It was tempting to pretend I didn’t have my glasses on so couldn’t see properly (which was true) but I reluctantly admitted that even if I did have them I wouldn’t know. So imagine my delight when I spotted the same type of butterfly again, this time in my local park.

Of course, now I had my camera I could look much more closely at the butterfly and see that it wasn’t black at all but dark brown. I’ve been learning a few things about it, too, which I’ve shared in the Fact File you can get to by clicking here.

As I walked on a familiar White Plume Moth fluttered up from the bindweed. Somehow they always manage to look both delicate and ungainly whilst in flight, their slender bodies held almost perpendicular to the fine, feathered wings as if they cannot quite get enough lift to get into the air properly.

I also saw what I think was a Bee-fly. It certainly fit the bill in that it was hovering in one place in the sunshine over the pond, making a higher-pitched whine than most bumblebee wings. It clearly wasn’t a bumblebee proper, but it didn’t look like a Hoverfly either because it was too rounded and hairy. Then I remembered the Bee-fly. Such a shame I couldn’t get a picture of it (or even better look at it) as it didn’t land, but it has been added to my ever-growing list of things I must photograph!

One thing I did get a snap of was a Large Red Damselfly, this time on a water lily. It looked so beautiful, the slash of red against the brilliant white, that I couldn’t resist taking a photograph and sharing it with you. To see it, as always, simply click on the underlined words (each underlined word denotes a link to either further information or photographs on that subject).

The walk was drawing to a close when I got a nice snap of a Honey Bee on a flower, then noticed a little further down in the undergrowth was another bee, this one in a sticky situation. One of its back legs was caught on a strand of web, but as soon as I looked it broke free and the bright-green-abdomened Araniella Curcurbitina spider that had scurried from beneath its flowery hiding place rapidly retreated again. Its small web would never have held something as large as a bee anyway, as this type of spider feeds on small flies and aphids mainly.

Another wonderful morning of nature-watching done, I headed home, a smile on my face, and Scamp by my side.

#highburypark #birmingham #largeskipperbutterfly #ringlet #largereddamselfly #whiteplumemoth #beefly #araniellacurcurbitinaspider

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