Now onto the butterflies - here's just a few of what we saw in a damp rut where a tractor had driven through. This was at the bottom of a valley close to a little stream, and it was after we had finally had a reasonable amount of rain after a very dry couple of months. Nearly all of these butterflies are Common Blues (Polyommatus icarus), but note the Green Hairstreak in amongst them - another lovely surprise!
Most of you know that to ID a Common Blue you look for that extra dark spot on their front forewing. However, apparently some of them don't have this mark. If they don't have the mark, they could be Chapman's Blue. The way to tell, apparently, is look at a selection of the butterflies. If the vast majority have the extra mark, then it is most likely you are seeing Common Blues with a few of them lacking that extra mark. If most of them are lacking the mark, then you are likely seeing Chapman's Blue with a few Common Blues in amongst them. Complicated, isn't it?! I reckon these are Common Blues, but if you click on the photos to open them up larger you will see some without the mark.
Zooming in a bit closer:
Here's the beautiful Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi). I didn't have my 'butterfly camera' with me but my Lumix did a good enough job I reckon as I have been able to crop in on many of the photos.
Something different - the brightly coloured butterfly on the left is an Adonis Blue (Polyommatus bellargus).
The Adonis Blue is on the left - they usually look very similar to the Common Blue as they also have that extra mark on the forewing underside, but this specimen has very pronounced black markings. Adonis Blues however have black chequering in the white outer of the wings, as well as the males having a very different blue colour to the Common Blues.
This butterfly landed and it was much smaller than the Common Blues, but I don't know what it is. I can't find anything like it in my butterfly book! It doesn't help that I don't have a picture of the underwings.
I suppose it is possible that it is the same butterfly as below, which is the next one on my camera. Hmmm! This I think though, is a Green-underside Blue (Glaucopsyche alexis), as when it showed it's underwings, it has their markings. There are only them and the Black-eyed Blue who have that line of large spots on the underside of the forewings. I loved that it was photobombed by this Common Blue (I think)!
Showing the marking on the underside of the wings:
This one below (right) is almost definitely a Green-underside Blue, a nice fresh specimen, unlike the one above, with a Common Blue.
Showing the line of well defined large spots on the underneath of the forewings:
Below, I spotted this Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages) landing on the path. Only got this one shot before it flew off, but I'm smiling over discovering the tiger beetle in the photo which I only noticed when cropping the photo!
Also on the path was this tiny blue butterfly, which I had first seen on coastal garrigue in April. It's a Baton Blue (Pseudophilotes baton), and the caterpillar feeds on thyme, which is all over the place flowering at the moment - see later photo. The Baton Blue is a fair bit smaller than the Common Blue.
We don't often see farm animals around here, but this year there have been more sheep around, including some further down the valley. I haven't a clue as to what species they are, but all the lambs are brown. They are always guarded by a dog or two who always come up barking at the electric fence when anyone walks by. Doing their job well! It's a good idea as they keep predators away from the lambs when they are born/small.
The sheep guard dog!
And here's a bank of thyme beside the track on our way back to the village.
As usual I am behind with blogging, as I have another post to do about the woodland at Montreal revisited at the end of April, but I wanted to post these butterflies first. I have been doing some redecorating in our bedroom so haven't had much time this last week for blogging.
I had my second Covid jab nearly two weeks ago, and Keith had his last Saturday, so we are both feeling a LOT safer, and looking forward to when our restaurant terraces open up later this month! This time we will be going out to eat!!! 😀
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