As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, last Sunday’s birding didn’t only produce some nice bird sightings, it also featured an abundance of beautiful butterflies, including two newbies for me.
I’ve been keeping an eye out for Clouded yellows (Colias croceus) for a couple of months now, as these immigrants can fly in from the southern parts of Europe and even north Africa as early as June. The occasional sighting has been reported in my area, with one being seen at Lavernock as recently as last Friday, but I hadn’t managed to spot one myself … until last Sunday.
Ace birder Gareth spotted the first as we walked along the coastal path at Rumney Great Wharf, on the eastern side of Cardiff, and then a second was spotted soon afterwards. And then, as we retraced our steps back to the starting point of our walk, I spied two more, obviously a male and female engaged in their pre-mating aerial display. Luckily, their focus on mating meant I was able to get some open-wing photos, which, though not particularly sharp, are quite difficult with this butterfly, as it usually zooms along at quite a rate of knots.
The second butterfly, which was again spotted by Gareth, was a first-ever sighting for me. This is a Wall (Lasiommata megera, until recently called a Wall brown), so named because of its liking for sunning itself on rocks, banks and, you guessed it, walls (though this one was not living up to its name!).
This particular Wall had been in the wars and was missing half of one wing and a third of the other, but was still flying well enough. I’m not sure I would have spotted it myself as, in flight, it looked very much like a small Meadow brown or a Gatekeeper, so I’m particularly grateful for Gareth’s sharp eyes.
I’ve had a fabulous summer of butterfly sightings, with my species total now on 34, but will these two be the final two species I see for 2018? Only time will tell.