Posted by: Ross Gardner | April 3, 2012

A Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae). Copyright 2012 Ross Gardner

The spring has been undfolding apace over the last couple of weeks.  My eyes and my thoughts for the purposes of this blog have been drawn towards what could be regarded as the less obvious signals of the season.  But now I give in.  A pristine Small Tortoiseshell has demanded that I divert my attentions away from the mining-bees, the small bugs in the contcrete centre of London and the others that have occupied my keyboard over the last couple of posts.  And lets face it, what is the most eagerly anticipated occurence of the spring, alongside the first Swallow twittering ashore, perhaps the inaugural song of the Chiff chaff among the treetops, or the Wood Anemone swathes that carpet the woodland floor?  It is, of course, the returning company of the year’s early butterflies.

The butterfly was, to my eyes, perfect.  I couldn’t see a mark to disrupt the symmetry of the wings.  No blemish to suggest that it had spent the winter months in hibernation, having pupated the summer before (as have the likes of the Brimstone, Peacock and Comma that will also grace the early spring sunshine).  It was stunning; my pictures do not do it full justice.  Against a fautless blue sky the vibrancy of its colours were even more intense, but I couldn’t really get close enough to adequately capture the combination and get the insect ‘face-on’.  My photography skills are, I have to say, lacking, but I do wonder that even if I were more proficient with a camera, would I ever be able to capture the freshness and optimism carried on the wings of such a creature?  Happy with the experience and a handful of half-decent images, this challenge I leave to those in the know.

A Butterfly and the Blue Sky. Ross Gardner

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