Tag Archives: Common Blue Butterfly

Shepherd’s Warning

It wasn’t a good day to be a shepherd. It wasn’t a good day to be anything really.

It started off very nicely.

SunriseThen the sky turned black and the rain started. It was a very short day anyway and now it is night and gales are buffeting the farm and the rain is pounding against my windows.

I am all cosy indoors but all of my little animals are living out there and it is just another winter’s night.

I wrote about Bird’s-foot Trefoil today and I will show you that in a bit, first I thought we could look at some moths. I would have liked to put more into my flower post but that was supposed to be about flowers.

Day flying moths, some of them are just as pretty as the butterflies.

This is a Speckled Yellow moth (Pseudopanthera macularia). It’s caterpillars feed on Wood Sage and it is common in open woodland.

Speckled YellowThis next beauty is a Green Silver-lines (Pseudoips prasinana). Another woodland moth, this one favours Oak and Birch trees.

Green Silver-lines

Green Silver-linesThis next one isn’t a moth at all, yet but it will be. It looks a bit like an old Birch catkin.

Scalloped Hook-tipThis is the caterpillar of a Scalloped Hook-tip Moth ( Falcaria lacertinaria) and it feeds on Birch, naturally.

Scalloped Hook-tipThis next one is called a Silver Y moth (Autographa gamma) , try and guess Y.

This is a summer visitor arriving in the UK from May onwards it comes from Southern Europe. It  is not a fussy eater, Bedstraws, Nettles, Clovers, it also likes Peas and Cabbage.

Silver Y

Silver YIf we have another day like today then I will post more moths tomorrow. Here are my flowers.

Lotus corniculatus, The Bird’s-foot Trefoil.

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus) Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)This is a flower of grassland. It grows in meadows and on heaths in forest rides and if you are very lucky, in your garden.

Bird’s-foot Trefoil is very variable in size. Amongst short grass the small flowers may be just inches off the ground.

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)In long grass it can grow to about twenty inches. It seems to be able to flower at whatever height the surrounding plants are rising to.

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)In many parts of the world Bird’s-foot Trefoil is grown as an animal fodder and I read that it can yield up to four tons of hay per acre. That is difficult to comprehend when you see the tiny flowers growing in short cropped grass.

The name Bird’s-foot comes from the seed pods which are claw like and resemble a Bird’s foot. Another popular name for this plant is Granny’s Toenails.

Bird's-foot Trefoil seed pods (lotus corniculatus) Bird's-foot Trefoil seed pods (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil seed pods (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil seed pods (lotus corniculatus)The Trefoil part of the name is a reference to the leaves. Each leaf is actually made up of five leaflets but two of these are at the base of the mid rib and the remaining three form the trefoil at the end of the leaf.

Bird's-foot Trefoil leaves (lotus corniculatus)New buds continually form and grow from the centre of existing leaves, which makes it difficult to study the form and shape of the plant.

Bird's-foot Trefoil leaves (lotus corniculatus)It has a squarish stem.

Bird's-foot Trefoil leaves and stem (lotus corniculatus)It also has a very deep tap root (up to three feet deep) that allows it to thrive on poorer soils.

Bird’s-foot Trefoil is a very important wildlife plant and as such a wonderful addition to any garden. It is especially valuable as a larval food plant for many of our most beautiful Moths and Butterflies including the Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Silver Studded Blue and these Common Blues.

Common Blue on Bird's-foot Trefoil Common Blue on Bird's-foot Trefoil   Common Blue on Bird's-foot Trefoil   Common Blue on Bird's-foot TrefoilAmongst the Moths it is a larval food plant for the Six-spot Burnet and for this next one the Burnet Companion.

Burnet Companion on Bird's-foot Trefoil

Burnet Companion on Bird's-foot TrefoilThe Bird’s-foot Trefoil is a member of the Pea family, known as the Fabaceae and sometimes by the older name of the Leguminosae.

It is native to the UK, Eurasia and North Africa.

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus) Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)   Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)


Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Fabales

Family: Fabaceae

Genus: Lotus

Species: Lotus corniculatus

Bird's-foot Trefoil flowers (lotus corniculatus)Wildflowers in winter.

Chasing the blues away

It is hard to stay down when you are with such an irrepressible butterfly basher as Fizz. She gets so much joy from bouncing about in fields it is infectious. Our favourite walk at the moment is around the farm fields. The grass is so thick and taller than she is,  she has to “bounce” just to get through it but she seems to love it.

FizzSo my apologies for my absence over the last couple of days but I have been a bit under the weather. Feeling better today, I have a lot to catch up on.

Fizz didn’t get a walk yesterday, I couldn’t face it. Looking out of my window the whole of the UK was “under the weather,” it must have been pretty frustrating if that was your holiday day.

It is raining steadily again today but I have a plan that if nothing else I will make a video of just how wet a dog can get.

So here are my Blues. Little glimpses taken over the last few days when we did get out.

Male Common Blue

Male Common Blue

Male Common Blue

Male Common Blue

Male Common Blue

Male Common Blue

Male Common Blue

Male Common Blue

Male Common Blue


Romany-ing around

I have been out for a nice walk this morning, on my own though and in a bit I will have to take Fizz out. It is raining at the moment.

I met a fellow this morning and he told me his name was Pete. A Romany Gypsy who has now settled in the local village. Pete knew a bit about Butterflies.

While I was talking to Pete I noticed the Bracken was colouring up nicely.

BrackenIf you have ever wondered what Bracken is here for, it is to make me happy and it does it’s job well. I have started to take photographs but I am not ready to do a post about Bracken yet

BrackenI am also noticing that Blackberries are beginning to ripen on the Brambles, it is starting to feel like “Late Summer.”

BlackbeerriesPete was walking the littlest dog that I have ever seen, it would have made Fizz feel big. So I politely commented, “That’s a little dog.”

Pete used to own and breed Lurchers, he is 77 and retired now but once he made his living off his dogs. He told me that he used to show them and also organise shows. In his heyday he would have 1500 people paying five pounds a head to enter a dog for the chance of £3000 in prize money but it has all changed now.

Don’t complain to me about that, I am not responsible for the conditions of Romany dogs fifty years ago, nor do I know anything about those conditions. I imagine that they were loved and cared for as one of the family. I just like meeting interesting people.

Pete told me that he missed his dogs sorely, the last one died last year having picked up a tick in the woods. He still has a little companion if and when he fancies a kick around in the field. Which reminds me that my little side kick still needs a walk.

It wasn’t a bad day for Butterflies, I got some pictures of the amazing and colourful Meadow Brown. (It is in this next picture somewhere)

Meadow BrownI have felt that I had a duty to photograph the Meadow Brown and I did my best but I kept getting distracted by the more mundane little insects.

Female Common BlueThe best bit of this morning was that I got good pictures of the female Gatekeeper. I have been after those since I posted the male a couple of weeks ago. (Post coming up)

Female GatekeeeperThe biggest disappointment was that I didn’t see a Clouded Yellow, that was what I was really after. Pete had seen a few about last year but that didn’t help.

I also saw and photographed some beautiful wildflowers.



WildflowersThey all have posts coming up but maybe I can’t do them all today. I have a strong desire to wash my kitchen floor and take Poochy out for a game of ball.

So, sorry to do such a b-rambling post…

BrambleI just wanted to write about Pete and set a few things in my mind for the next time that we meet. Little details are important. 🙂

Does this look like a Chicken?


I have had another frustrating day and once again it has been the Common Blue Butterflies that have been the cause of it.

Now you would think that a famous naturalist like myself would know the answer to the question posed in the title above. Nevertheless I followed this little Butterfly around for two hours in the sure belief that she was about to lay an egg. (Without any real success, I should add)

It would have been a great picture.

Okay let me explain why I mistook this pretty little insect for a Chicken.

Female Common Blue Butterflies spend their days nectaring, warming up in the sun and laying eggs. The primary larval food plant is Bird’s-foot Trefoil. They seek out a plant and then lay a single egg on a leaf. This female was settling on Bird’s-foot Trefoil giving it a good investigation and then crawling onto the leaves and wiggling about some, She was also making clucking noises, I think. Then she would move on to the next flower and do the same again. It made sense to follow her.

Common Blue Butterfly

Common Blue Butterfly

Common Blue Butterfly

The trouble was Bird’s-foot Trefoil is such a little plant and there was so much grass. It was just very, very hard to see exactly what was going on and to photograph it.

So you tell me what you think is going on here?

Common Blue ButterflyLook closely at the position of her abdomen (Tail end) and the concentration on her face.

Common Blue Butterfly

Common Blue Butterfly

Common Blue ButterflyThat is a Chicken laying an egg. In my world that doesn’t cut it, you have to see the egg emerging and deposited on the leaf. So it is frustration for me but I shall try again.

Some good things came out of this.

“Wise” people often pose the question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” and they feel secure that nobody will ever be able to answer that one. I know and in nanoseconds you will too.

Did you see any Chickens in this post?

Eggs were being produced millions of years before Chickens were invented 🙂 🙂 🙂

Take care. I have a great unidentified wildflower coming up, you will have to be very clever to get this one. 🙂 (I don’t know what it is)

The Beautiful Game

Common  Blue Butterfly, Polyommatus icarus

Common  Blue Butterfly

Common  Blue Butterfly

Common  Blue Butterfly

Common  Blue Butterfly

Common  Blue Butterfly

Common  Blue ButterflyGetting these pictures today makes me very happy (There’s more to come). There were a few of these butterflies about today and a few good open wing shots that I just couldn’t get but it is probably best to leave something for tomorrow.

Strangely I found them just above an emerging Six-spot Burnet. There must be something in the air

Common  Blue Butterfly