Until July 2017, documenting the seasons of coastal Dorset. I'm a complete amateur so don't trust I'm always right. If ever you see I'm wrong - whether with identifications or in anything else - do say! Meanwhile . . . I've now moved to Halifax in West Yorkshire. Click on the link below to collect the new URL. Don't forget to follow there!

Saturday, 20 April 2013


Small group of grape hyacinths growing through grass on bank.
Grape hyacinths (probably the common garden kind - Muscari armeniacum).
April 11th 2013

Cluster Fly (Pollenia) on speedwell flower.
Cluster Fly (Pollenia). April 11th 2013
11th April was the first day it really felt spring-like. It wasn't just that boats were being lifted by crane into the water, ready for summer sailing, or that drifts of steam were rising from rocks on the beach nearby, or that bright yellow lesser celandine flowers were, at at opening - and bees and hoverflies gathering on their petals in numbers . . . it was all of it together.

Then, yesterday, I came across this Comma butterfly. The UK Butterfly site says Commas are one of five species in the habit of hibernating here. (See their FAQ page. The others are Brimstone, Large Tortoiseshell, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock.) So, what I reckon is - if commas are appearing, it must be spring!

Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) sitting on the leaves of Alexanders - wings open.
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) - April 19th 2013

With its wings open, the Comma is bright and easily noticed.

Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) sitting on the leaves of Alexanders - wings closed.
Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) April 19th 2013

Closed - and it turns into a crumbled old brown leaf . . . a leaf with a white comma on it!

* * *

In October, I came across Red Admirals on ivy. They may well have been gathering to migrate to Africa - but Red Admirals are sometimes hibernating here too.

Comma on UK Butterflies Site
Comma on Steven Cheshire's British Butterflies Site

The Comma butterfly in this post was sitting on the leaves of Alexanders (Smyrnium olustratum). Is anyone able to say if it's a male or female?


Sreisaat said...

Love the greens and the beautiful creatures! I especially love the butterfly - amazing. Over here everything is drying up due to extreme summer heat.

I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Phil said...

Lovely photos of the comma - saw one in my garden this morning but it was too quick for me to photograph...... love that bank of greenery with the grape hyacinths too, I can almost smell the fresh scent of new grass...

Anonymous said...

I saw a Brimstone and a Small Tortoiseshell last week. I don't recollect when I last saw a Comma.
Let's hope that it's a good year for butterflies and that we all see plenty of them. Flighty xx

Mark Willis said...

I saw a couple of Brimstones today, and a white butterfly of some sort, so evidently the hibernation is over!

Donna said...

Hoping to see butterflies soon especially the comma.

colleen said...

I do like the way spring manifests in different ways across the country. Here it was the overnight appearance of blossom on the prunus trees lining Old Ford Road, a visit from a wheatear on the Isle of Dogs, a yellow butterfly - possibly a brimstone - seen today from a traffic queue parallel to Mile End Park, a heron silhouetted against the setting sun on Roman Road.

Lovely post.

catmint said...

thanks for introducing me to this butterfly - I love it.(btw - I've started my tree following.)

Rowan said...

I must live further north and higher up than you and the rest of the commenters as I haven't seen a single butterfly yet and only in the last few days have celandines and wood anenomes appeared. I have seen the first swallows though:)

Lyn said...

No butterflies here yet but I saw lots of lovely big fat bumble bees in the garden yesterday! I am so happy spring is finally here! Xxx