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Friday, 25 April 2014

Butterflies and Spring Flowers

Early Purple Orchid
We don't often see Siskins in our garden so when one turned up on this beautiful sunny morning, thoughts of going out to see what else was about determined us to go into Stowe woods in Coombe Valley.

The afternoon was hot and sunny, with lots of newly opened flowers, including our first of the year Early Purple Orchid near the mill. There were lots of fresh Wild Garlic, Bugle, Broom, and troops of real English Bluebells under the newly opening leaf canopy.

As we walked out of the shelter of the trees into the open sunny ride the butterflies began to appear. We counted five male Orange Tips, three Brimstones, a Small Tortoiseshell, a Small White, a Comma and six Peacocks. Brimstones while common in north and east Cornwall, are rarely found in the south of Cornwall. There is no mistaking their beautiful yellow colouring which is supposed to have given rise to the original naming of “butter” fly. And, among all these butterflies was a day flying moth a beautifully coloured Speckled Yellow which looked just like a dead leaf when it landed and hung down from a bush, but flashed brilliantly yellow and checkered brown in flight.

Both the Comma and some of the Peacocks were obviously last year's awakened from hibernation, their colours faded and markings almost transparent. One pair of Peacocks were obviously keen to propagate their species spiraling and displaying to each other in a shaft of sunlight.

It was most certainly a day for butterflies but the keening of Buzzards and songs of Tits, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers could not be avoided. Spring has sprung and summer is a promise – once we get through tomorrow's forecast storms.

Look out for news of my day trip to Lundy – if the Oldenburg sails in the morning taking the brave North Devon Walking Festival visitors.

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