Tag Archives: Orange Tip

Playing with Butterflies

It is a miserable one today. A cold wind has blown in from somewhere and brought lots of cloud with it.

It is a good day to demonstrate my Butterfly handling technique. They will be at my mercy.

The poor little things can’t do anything about it, they need sunshine, they need to be warm to fly and they will be very lethargic today.

The first butterfly that we found was a female Orange Tip.

Orange tip butterflyThe first trick is the weather. I have been out at two o’clock on a sunny afternoon and can not get anywhere near them. I am already very close to this one and she would have flown away if she could, she is too cold and I can do what I want with her.

Now. You must not touch her in any way,  only she may touch you. She is very easy to break and we are big and clumsy.

Just put your finger right in front of her, minding her antennae and legs and just depress the flower a little bit.

You can talk about politics or the economy but not war, it has to be gentle depression.

As the flower gives way under her feet she will step forward onto your finger and once her front feet are on you can just roll your finger under her and you have her.Orange tip Butterfly I don’t exactly have this one where I wanted. I wanted her on my finger tip for display purposes but she has crawled onto my knuckle and I can’t move her. This will do.

Orange tip ButterflyIt is a butterfly Fizz.

It is a butterfly Fizz.

Orange tip ButterflyI have picked this one up because she was in deep shade, I am going to move her into the sunshine. As soon as she feels the sun she will open her wings and bask and she will fly away. It will only take about two seconds for her to warm up enough to fly so I have to get lucky with my photographs.

Orange tip Butterfly

Orange tip Butterfly

Orange tip ButterflyAnd she has gone.

The pictures aren’t great but never mind we will try again later.

You can only do this with the white ones (any of the whites). This little Speckled Wood was flitting all over the place, a little bit of cloud doesn’t bother him.

Speckled WoodIt is simply because white reflects light and heat and dark colours like brown absorb it and the Speckled Wood warms up much easier than the Orange Tip and flies on much cooler days.

I have never been able to approach or pick up a Speckled Wood, or any of the other dark ones. Sometimes they will land on me by chance and of course if you raise them as your own you can release them but that is as good as it gets.

Now I am just going to leave the butterflies for a moment because I have noticed the seed pods of that flower she was sitting on and I want those photographs. It is Garlic Mustard.

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Garlic Mustard

Garlic MustardThank you for indulging me, I needed those photographs for my files.

I have just noticed another flower.

Have you ever wondered where Primroses go when they die?

Hmmm… a small lack of floral compassion perhaps?

Anyway I have and I care. I want to know. So I am choosing a nice female plant with pin flowers…

PrimroseI am going to perform a couple of autopsies on her dead sisters.




PrimroseVery interesting, this is how we find things out.

Perhaps if I sewed them back together and passed electricity through them, then I could reanimate them. Now which bit went with which?

Back to the butterflies and we have found another Orange Tip, this one is a male.

Just in case there is anyone in the world who wonders how I can tell the male from the female. Well, it is only the male who actually has orange tips to his wings (On the inside). With a few years of practice and an element of expertise in this field absolutely anyone can tell the difference.

Orange Tip

Orange TipI am not going to try and pick this one up. He is as docile as the female was and I could do what I wanted but….

Okay he is in the shade but the whole world is in the shade, the sun is behind a cloud and we are in the open this time. Plus I would much prefer to photograph him on a plant than in my hand. This time he is on Cow Parsley.

Cow Parsley is absolutely brilliant and provides a mass spectacle to rival the Bluebells. It really is beautiful but we will do that in a bit.

What I am going to do is stand beside him and wait for the sun to come out again, it will take twenty five minutes and then I will fail 🙂

There is a reason why I like to do this sort of stuff alone. Sometimes if I am waiting for a bird or animal I might wait for hours, I sustain myself by imagining the shot that I might get if everything works.

I like to walk with other people and talk about flowers and nature and stuff but I don’t try and take photographs. I have tried and they always say, “Go on, get what you need, I am happy,” but I can only get guilt, maybe I will do it once for twenty minutes or so but then when I want to do it again, I just can’t.

Nobody just wants to stand and look at me for hours on end… almost nobody.

This is the reason that I work with an Air Head. (I couldn’t have a better companion/assistant)

She understands the importance of botanical research, she understands my interest in  entomology, she understands that big game hunters have to make a living just as butterfly collectors do and she will make any sacrifice. She is priceless.

PricelessOh dear, he is staring at a bush again. I think that he is looking for his marbles and we just have to wait.

(He never finds them)

Best Dog in the world, that one.

Here we go.

Orange Tip

Orange Tip

Orange TipThat’s a fail. I have taken much better pictures than that. Never mind, the Dog got walked.

I will have to wind this up now or my daily post will take two days to write. Take care.

Torn Wings and Worn T’ings

Don’t worry I am not getting into selfies but this is a theme. This post relates to the last selfie post and the theme is “imperfection.”

I will just shut Miss Funny Bones up.

Funny BonesThat should do the trick.

When I put that last post up about the Butterfly with the bad wing I realised that… well, we have been hiding the truth from you.

There are a lot of damaged Butterflies in the wild. Animals that have been the target of attacks and have escaped but also all of that fluttering around Bramble bushes and Thistles causes wing damage too, they are sharp and spiky plants.

Comma Butterfly

I don’t generally photograph damaged animals. In fact I have just spent about an hour looking through my old photographs for pictures to use in this post and I could hardly find any. It is not just me. If you go on any of the well known Butterfly web sites you won’t see any damaged animals.

We have been trying to protect you from the truth. The truth is that nature is a brutal place where a lot of killing and eating of each other goes on but are you ready for that?

The other thing is that of course we all admire the perfect form and would rather not know about the imperfect ones.

I have decided that I am not going to protect you any more.

Orange Tip

Orange Tip

Orange Tip

Nature is imperfect and from now on I will feature damaged Butterflies on this blog.

That is not because I can’t find perfect animals to photograph. Flick back through my previous posts, I am perfectly capable of photographing beautiful animals. It is because I am a naturalist and I want to show how it really is and not some idealised fantasy of nature. I am a bit ashamed that I have so few pictures of imperfect animals in my back catalogue.

Green-veined White

Green-veined WhiteButterflies don’t need such large wings to fly and they can take a lot of damage and still be flying perfectly well.

If you look at the Dragonfly for example, they are superb masters of the air.

Black-tailed SkimmerThey can move all four wings independently. They can fly backwards, they can even fly backwards with two wings and forwards with the other two and hold their position in the air.

Butterflies by contrast are clumsy and unimaginative fliers. They have hooks on their wings that enable them to Velcro the front and back wing together so that in flight they effectively only have two large wings to flutter about with.

A Butterfly’s wings are not just for flying. They make the Butterfly seem much larger than it really is and this can deter predators from attacking. They also sometimes have quite scary faces painted on them.

Peacock ButterflyIf they can’t scare a predator off then the next line of defence is to divert the attack away from the body. Birds will go for the eyes and the big eye spots are a long way away from the important little body of this Butterfly. Wings are supposed to get torn it is a survival mechanism.

So from now on we will have imperfect animals on the blog and at some point you will find yourself wondering that a particular animal can still fly with all that damage 🙂 That is how it is.

We will still have to feature perfect animals too. Especially at this time of year when brand spanking new Butterflies are emerging from their chrysalis’s.  They are also reality and they are very lovely.

Small TortoiseshellI am deeply sorry that I didn’t spend more time with you, little Speckled Wood but you had a minor imperfection.

Speckled WoodFrom now on it will be different.


Being Liked

It is really nice to be liked.

Orange Tip Male

Orange Tip Male

Orange Tip MaleButterflies like me. This one is a male Orange Tip.

Orange Tip MaleJust put him back…

Orange Tip MaleHere is the female of the species.

Orange Tip Female

Orange Tip FemalePlease excuse the dirty fingers. I used to cover myself with insect repellent to avoid the Mosquitoes. One day I realised that this may not be the best approach to insects. When I found this little butterfly I had just been handling Wild Arum, a deadly poisonous plant that uses scent to attract insects and then I had washed my hands in a muddy puddle.

Orange Tip Female


Orange Tip FemaleNow there isn’t really very much to me. I don’t get out much and I only have one interest. I am just Nature Boy. I eat and sleep and live and dream about the wild.

People visit my blog and sometimes they press the “Like” button and when they do that they leave a little trace of themselves that I can follow, like I follow Badgers.

I am really enjoying visiting other peoples blogs and seeing the world through their eyes. I am enjoying artists and scientists and poets and photographers. I especially enjoy blogs that take me somewhere that I would never think to go. Plus it is raining outside. Thank you for liking my blog and for showing me yours.

This is Marmalade.

Small Tortoiseshell ButterflyShe spent the winter with me. I found her sheltering in my flat in November and she spent most of the winter behind my washing machine. Being indoors she woke up too soon, in February,

I put her in my bedroom and kept the curtains shut and the heating off, she went back to sleep. I released her early in March when there was plenty of sunshine and nectar for her.

Small Tortoiseshell ButterflyMarmalade was a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly. It was nice looking after her.

Small Tortoiseshell ButterflyNow I could be wrong about this but I think that this next one was probably a butterfly princess and that this was the one that told the other butterflies that I was nice and wouldn’t hurt them. Whatever.

I rescued her from the long wet grass and held her in the sun until she was warm enough to fly.

Green Veined White

Green Veined White

Green Veined WhiteIt was dangerous there might have been a snake in the grass.

Green Veined White

Green Veined White


Green Veined WhiteTake care.

It is nice to be liked.