This morning R and I went up to Hampton Wood in Warwickshire, hoping to find Banded Demoiselles in the water meadow. It turned out to be too early for them at this site (though photos of them are beginning to appear on line now), so I will have to go back again in a couple of weeks. But we still had a lovely walk – the wood was looking delightful in all its spring greens, with plenty of bluebells still flowering and other things such as campion appearing too, and a good number of butterflies flitting around. I’ve put a few photos here, but I’m sad that you can’t smell the bluebells: the scent was so strong that it reminded me of shopping in Penhaligons in Covent Garden, many years ago.
After coffee and cake we made our way home, and were sitting chatting in the garden when I spied this Holly Blue flitting around the rose bed. We have several in the garden and I’ve been trying to get close to one for several weeks now, but they’re on almost constant high-level patrol around the trees and tall shrubs; and even when they have landed they’ve been coming down too high up for more than a distant record shot. Today turned out to be my day though, as this little female dropped down onto a rose leaf and stayed there for several minutes, while I climbed into the middle of the bed and then faffed around trying to get a good angle for a photo.
I’m quite surprised that she’s in such good condition, as this species is an early emerger, and she’s likely to have been on the wing for two or three weeks already. She’ll probably lay her eggs on the flower stalks of our holly tree, which is just coming into bloom now, but it’s highly unlikely that I’ll be able to find one – which is a shame, because they’re rather pretty and would make a good macro challenge. She and the rest of the first brood will die off some time in June; their offspring will emerge in early July, and fly until around the middle of September; and the offspring from that second brood will overwinter as pupae and emerge next spring.