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Sunday, 21 April 2013

Blossoms and butterflies

My fruit tree blossoms look quite meagre compared to their more showier ornamental cousins that I see elsewhere, but I still bask in their glory and hope this spell of dry weather continues so the bees can do their job of pollinating. It would be nice to have some plums and pears this year! Cherry blossom is just starting to open now and the season is over so fast that I like to capture it to look back on. Some days have been fairly cloudy or hazy blue so I took some more pictures yesterday whilst the sky was a lovely blue, as that shows off the blossom so much better.

My only flashy ornamental Cherry a few days ago

Yesterday: the blossoms are opening up fast and it's looking like my cover photo

One of my Plum trees with Forsythia behind.
Spindly, I do try to prune 'by the book'
but really they just grow how they please!

Forsythia - not strictly blossom but just putting this here anyway because I can,
and yes I played with a 'soft focus' effect!

Plum blossom against grey sky

So much better with blue sky!

My Greengage is a large tree and I only get a good harvest every 3-4 years due to disease,
or the fruit not getting pollinated, like last year when it rained all through blossom time!

Greengage against blue sky

A Plum blossom on the ground reflected in a dewdrop on the grass.
Kicking myself for not having removed the blade of grass in the foreground!

I love the pink of Peach blossom

Strange Peach fruit!

Now, butterflies. I already have hundreds of photos of most of these common butterflies and have featured them here many a time..... but I can't resist the first butterflies of spring, and what I'd like to show here is how tatty some of these butterflies look. All of the butterflies I'm showing here overwinter as adults (i.e. as butterflies) with the exception of the Speckled Wood, which can overwinter as either adult or pupa. I wonder if some get nibbled at whilst in hibernation, or the weather/wind can harm their wings? I hope they have a chance to reproduce. 

The one butterfly looking fresh is my first ever capture of a Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni), not a brilliant shot as I had to really stalk this one carefully and couldn't get close and it was in full sunshine. Brimstones also overwinter as adults and are great fliers and never seem to settle or feed. They do, obviously but I am only aware of them when they are flying by, quickly, and they fly a lot faster than I can follow them about the garden! They are one of the first butterflies to emerge in the spring and this is the only time that I see them, and their pale yellow colouring is a lovely sight. What was interesting here is that this butterfly settled on these leaves, but with its wings held together on its side. I think it was trying to hide from me by blending into the foliage, which they do remarkably well. I was lucky to spot it but had been following its flight path and knew it was here somewhere. Gotcha!

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
I think this is male as it has a brighter yellow colouring
but they all look yellow to me when I see them flying by
(or maybe I've only ever seen males!)

Speckled Wood (Pararge aegeria) with a tiny spider top left corner!

Peacock (Inachis io) feeding on a Dandelion.
I took this shot just because it hardly had any hind wings left!
I've already seen several Peacocks this year.

First Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) of the year,
which I spotted on corrugated iron covering some of our firewood!

It too has some chunks missing from its wings!

Elsewhere here in the garden and the surrounding countryside the change during this last week, since our first warm sunny day last Sunday, has been incredible. Daily I see more green, more flowers, more blossom and I'm now thinking, slow down! Oh that we could have a time freeze on blossom time and that first fresh foliage for a few weeks..... but I also want warmth and sun for my body and soul. Yes I know, I can't have it all!


  1. Lovely pics MM.
    It's nice to see the blossom appearing here in Greenford too.
    Sad to see the tatty butterflies though.


    1. Hi Philippa and thanks! It's been a long time coming, this spring, hasn't it? I think the tatty butterflies still manage OK, so long as they can fly they can feed and presumably lay eggs. I was just surprised as they usually look like that at the end of their short lives and they were only just emerging!

  2. The butterflies are awaking after a long long time and their wings are spoiled but the survived the winter !
    A lot of pretty pictures here, my favorite being the one with the bench

    1. Merci Cergie! The bench is beside my pond where I like to just sit awhile and watch what is going on - a very peaceful place :-)

  3. Probably only a month till our first butterflies. Nice shots.

    That blade of grass looks like it might successfully be 'photoshopped' (other image manipulation programs are available) out. The background there is suitably amorphous.

    1. Hi Nick, thanks and hope you get butterflies soon!
      Someone else mentioned that it could be cloned out, but I have no idea how to and can't be bothered to learn. If I can't get it right first time then tough. I really don't want to faff about with my images too much as I have better things to do with my life! I'll just have to try again ;-)