Tuesday, 22 July 2014

An Ormsaigbeg Meadow - 3

The meadowland at the top of the croft land is a great place for butterflies.  These pictures were taken during two hour-long wanders across the grasslands on consecutive days, and are only a record of the butterflies which were kind enough to sit still long enough for the camera to record them.  This is the most common butterfly at this time of year, the small heath, easily recognisable because he keeps his wings firmly together and allows himself to be blown over by the slightest breeze.

Only one scotch argus appeared, and he seemed to prefer the close-cropped grass just above the common grazings fence, so this was taken through the wire.  He seemed to be feeding mostly, but not exclusively, on the flowers of the cross-leaved heath.

This meadow brown was very obliging, sitting very still in the warm sunshine while his pictures were taken, while....

....it was good to see a small tortoiseshell up at the back of the crofts as there are plenty of buddleia near the houses which are just coming into flower.  He looked very shiny and new, so perhaps he's the first of this year's new brood rather than a left-over from last year.

The common blue is a small butterfly and, if he stays still, often quite difficult to spot.  Up close, the glorious patterning on the lower side of his wings is visible.

There were at least two other species which weren't recorded, so there's a fair range of butterflies, but there are worryingly few of them, with the exception of the small heath.  The weather was fine and warm both days, so it wasn't that which kept their numbers down.


  1. Thank you for the butterfly update, Jon.
    Last year was particularly good for Fritillaries - how do they fare this year?

  2. A slip of the keys Jon, ... your small heath is more meadow brown, I'm thinking.

  3. Many thanks, Tom, I'm sure you're right. With their wings closed, they seem to be very alike. Is there an easy well of telling them apart? Jon

  4. Sorry, Derryck, your comment got lost in the system. I've not seen many fritillaries yet this year - but then, as I said in the post, it doesn't seem to be a great year for butterfly quantities. The lovely weather we're currently enjoying may change that. Jon

  5. Jon, size alone should tell the two species apart in the field, small heath is very small when compared with meadow brown although size is difficult to judge on the photo. Your splendid archived shots of small heath give a good indication of the differences between them and the top photo.