Common Blue

I only caught a fleeting glimpse of two small butterflies with blue upper wings before one of them settled on a dry stalk and displayed the patterned underside of the wings at rest – probably more beautiful than the plain blue I was hoping to photograph. You can see the pale blue hairs on the body, and I love the black and white striped antennae. From what I did see I am guessing that this is a Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus) although I think there is more than one species of blue in the nature area.

Wild Marjoram

Pictures of the Wild Marjoram (Origanum vulgare) at the Charlton Down Nature Reserve yesterday with a couple of the many insect visitors greedily supping up the nectar.

Skipper Butterflies

At least I think they are. And perhaps Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris)? They hold their wings in an odd way at rest – unlike any other butterflies I can think of.

Brimstone Butterfly

There was a flurry of butterflies on my Buddleia bush yesterday. Lots of Tortoiseshells and Red Admirals as expected but also, for the first time, some beautiful Brimstone Butterflies (Gonepteryx rhamni). They looked very fresh – as if they had only just emerged. It made my day.

Butterflies & Us


Peacock butterfly on ragwort last summer in Charlton Down

I know that most people living in Greenwood House do not have their own gardening space but many have window boxes and outdoor pot plants, so this may be of interest. Also, over the past 18 months or so, if we hadn’t realised it previously, we certainly learnt how connecting with nature outdoors – walking around the grounds and surrounding countryside – can enhance the way we feel both physically and mentally. Nurture for Nature – Taking care of yourselves and our pollinators this spring is a campaign by the organisation Butterfly Conservation. They consider how important it is to support and encourage wildlife such as butterflies and moths for their sake and for our own. Linking to the Butterfly Conservation website lets you see a short introductory video and download a beautifully illustrated leaflet that includes a prescription for being outdoors – the science behind wellbeing in nature; how to find mindfulness outdoors; species to spot this Spring; grow your herb garden; go wild for flowers; gardening tips; family-friendly fun; and why butterflies and moths matter. It is well worth having a look.

If you are interested in learning more about butterflies and how to identify them, I have a glossy foldout Guide to the Butterflies of Britain and Ireland produced by the Field Studies Council to give away free to the first one of my neighbours in Greenwood House (Charlton Down, Dorset) to contact me with their flat number so I can put it through their letterbox.