Wednesday 27 July 2011

Bright brimstone

The sun came out in the afternoon after a grey start, so I went again to my local wildlife garden for a Big Butterfly Count. Although I was disappointed not to see Ringlets or Gatekeepers, the fact that I found the Brown Argus again - this time two individuals - and this fresh male Brimstone made up for it big time. Brimstones, Gonepteryx rhamni, are beautiful, but frustrating butterflies. In the last three years I've seen 13 individuals, and until today, I had only managed to get very distant shots of two of them, the rest flew and flew non stop. The Brimstone hibernates as an adult and is a long lived butterfly. The adults emerge at the end of July or early August, and they can live up to 10 months. Compared this with the few weeks (4 days on average) that Brown Argus can live.
 This male Brimstone fed on Hemp Agrimony for quite a while, and then moved on to buddleias. It was so content feeding that I could get very close for shots. Brimstones have long tongues and they can feed even on Teasels, which have very deep corolas. While in flight, the Brimstone is very visible, but once it lands, its yellow-green colour and the asymmetric dots on its wings give it has a fantastic camouflage, appearing to be a droopy, yellowing leaf.
The Big Butterfly Count. There is time until the 7th of August if you haven't done one. You only need 15 minutes in a sunny spell.

1 comment:

Rob said...

I only ever see the Brimstone in flight and at a distance - as you say, it's camouflage is so effective.