Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

There it was, gone.

5 Comments

There it was gone. Is that an expression local to North Derbyshire? Something that appears briefly and then disappears…

The blue skies and warm sun have gone and we are now expecting storm Freya to arrive on Sunday. Whilst it was very enjoyable, in a world of shifting weather patterns, it was also a little disconcerting for  a few days in February to be so mild, this time last year we had the Beast from the East

But  before the cloud came we had more visitors to the pussy willow,  a comma butterfly

Comma_

Who had a very neat vanishing trick up its sleeve. Now you see me, now you don’t.

Comma underside_

The Comma is a fascinating butterfly. The scalloped edges and cryptic colouring of the wings conceal hibernating adults amongst dead leaves, while the larvae, flecked with brown and white markings, bear close resemblance to bird droppings.

The species has a flexible life cycle, which allows it to capitalize on favourable weather conditions. However, the most remarkable feature of the Comma has been its severe decline in the twentieth century and subsequent comeback. It is now widespread in southern Britain and its range is expanding northwards.

I might be a bit slow on the uptake, but it wasn’t until recently I realised that some butterflies over winter, I assumed that they emerged from their chrysalis in the spring.

Wrong, this is how the comma butterfly spends its year6.comma

We’ve been busy bees, having a serious clear out of our barn,

Pussy willow bee

well its actually turned into a kind of archaeological dig, so much stuff! It was during this process, we found lots of hibernating butterfly tucked away behind old cupboards and pieces of timber, sadly I also found a lot of dismembered wings! I suppose a spider needs to eat.

Advertisements

Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

5 thoughts on “There it was, gone.

  1. Fascinating info about the comma butterfly. I too didn’t realise that they could overwinter. I wonder what their average lifespan is.

  2. Interesting text and pictures. Thank you.

  3. For three years, I’ve been pondering the identify of a butterfly I found on a tree trunk in a rural Texas cemetery. It’s wings aren’t as deeply scalloped as yours, but it looks remarkably like a dead leaf when its wings are closed, and the color and markings are similar. I’ll be off to try again to identify it — this time, with a clue!

    That’s an interesting expression you shared. The closest I can think of here is “Easy come, easy go,” but that isn’t quite the same meaning. The pussy willows are beautiful. We don’t have them here, but they were always the first branches clipped and forced when I was growing up.

  4. Lovely post and wonderful pictures. I agree about it being rather disconcerting, both the weather and seeing butterflies. xx

  5. I saw a brimstone butterfly here in Somerset before winter returned. Fascinating post by the way.

Come on, join in.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s