This is the last post of this series this year. I was saving up something special – Aglais io, the peacock butterfly. These butterflies are so ridiculously beautiful that some of the pictures look fake.
This series is nearing slowly its end. Had I had time and strength to post more often, it would probably be already over – the sunflowers are now mostly dead, at least most of the main blossoms are. All that remains are some smaller secondary blossoms that might or might not go to seed, depending on how soon/late the frost comes.
Anyhoo, today two pictures of butterflies who both buggered off before I could take a second picture closer-up, and neither of them obliged to open their wings so I get a good view, let alone a shot off, their upper side.
I do at least know that this one is a member of the family Satyridae, very probably meadow brown Maniola jurtina, which is a very common species around here. I ain’t no butterflyist, but I do think I got the species correctly.
This little bugger is also common here, common brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni. It is one of the first butterflies that show up after winter, sometimes even when there is still snow to be found on the north side of buildings and in the forests.
Although when I say these two species are common, it only means that they are still here in numbers big enough to see them. They are rare compared to what used to be here when I was a kid.
Avalus had a little run-in with a bumblebee and was so kind to take pictures.
I was walking from the bus stop to work and saw this bumblebee, just sitting on a vetch leaf. I got my cam out and began photographing. The bee was stumbling around and looked kinda lost.
And then she leaped at the camera and started crawling on my hand, eagerly searching. (These pics were taken with my phone).
She was not extending and waving with a middle leg, which is usually a sign for „please mind your distance, thank you or I’ll sting you“, so I carefully juggled her onto my left hand and took her to the nearest batch of flowers. These were of some crownvetch (Securigera varia) and regular bees were bustling around. My passenger-bee was at first not interested, only noticing the flowers as I moved her head directly in front of it.
She then tried drinking nectar but she was too clumsy and just pierced through the flower with her tongue. Irritated, she crawled a bit over the flower, but always kept a leg on my finger.
You can see the tip of her tongue, sticking out of the back of the flower.
Then she lost interest, crawled back, and just sat at my hand.
My original plan then was to take her to my office and get her a drop or two of freshly made sugar water to nurse her to strength and then put her back in the field I found her in. But underway I found a thistle with many freshly opened flowers that were at ground level (It looked like the plant was crushed by a car in the past but went on to grow anyway, but the flowers were all within 2 cm of the ground). This looked like a suitable spot for my shaky passenger, so I offered her a place in a thistle flower which she took up immediately, thrusting her tongue deep in. I stayed for a few minutes and observed her, as she drank, she stopped the shaking so I think she got all right.
So good luck, big bumblebee!
I like bumblebees, they are co-cute.
Earwigs are not normally associated with flowers, but they can occasionally hide in the flower buds if they provide enough dark end enclosed space to hide in. This one did not manage to completely hide because this bud is healthy and still well enclosed with leaves. Some other flower buds were badly damaged by slugs – hollowed out in the middle – and those were positively filled with earwigs to the brim.
I do not know why many people fear earwigs, they are completely harmless and very shy animals. When disturbed, their only worry is to scamper off somewhere secluded and dark as soon as possible. They do not climb into ears to eat our brains, but they do eat mites and aphids, so they are an asset in the garden.
Today was a blade quenching day because according to the weather forecast, it might have been the only sunny day in a while. Luckily, I have managed to finish a batch of 8 blades to a sufficient state for hardening so I set out to do it first thing in the morning. And when I was taking fireclay bricks – not for fireplace, just to hold the quenching oil receptacle upright and steady – this fellow was hiding from yesterdays deluge in a crack. It got lucky I did not squish it flat when taking the bricks.
When I put it in the sun, it has spread its wings, soaked in some warmth, and buggered off pronto so I only managed to snap one picture with my phone. But it came out quite well, I think.
It is small tortoiseshell Aglais urticae. These beauties justify the existence of stinging nettles.
There is plenty of grasshoppers around, and technically they are a pest. However, unlike slugs, I have never noticed them do any noticeable damage on crops, local species seem to prefer grass over anything else.
This individual is the only one that I have seen sitting – just sitting, not munching – on one of the sunflower plants. And it stayed long enough in one place to get shots from different angles.