On A Wing and A Prayer

Last Sunday I was treated to lunch at my parents house which thankfully is only a few miles up the road from where I live. They have a beautiful garden with many mature trees and shrubs, but the most magical shrub is the Buddleia or to use its more common name Butterfly Bush. On first glance it looks to be the most unruly of plants, growing upwards in excess of 15ft and spreading sideways regardless of fences or sheds, with a somewhat bedraggled appearance as the weight of the flower heads lowers the branches towards the lawn. But you only have to look for a few seconds to realise it’s real beauty, it is a magnet for butterflies, bees and flies of all shapes and sizes, offering a one stop shop for nectar and pollen and a source of endless entertainment to the onlooker. Against the sunlight the butterflies appear like silhouettes, rising and falling onto the many flower heads, busy and energetic, some remaining still for a short respite, others fighting over territory and even the odd brief love affair in midair. After only a few moments my eyes were drawn to an unusual colour resting on flower head of pale purple, a much brighter visitor, almost yellow from a distance, not the dark brownish red of the Admiral or spotted giveaway that is the Peacock butterfly, no this was much brighter……approaching calmly towards the plant, phone camera at the ready, I realised that this was a Comma, the telltale shape of the wings, almost bat-like in design. After a few moments it took flight over my head and landed directly behind me on the twisted Hazel tree, without wanting to scare it away i managed to take several quick shots before it took to the air once again to return to the Buddleia where it was joined by another Comma. having never seen these at close range before I was overjoyed, Mum and Dad also really suprised to see them in their garden. A few seconds later we were treated to a second visitor, a beautiful Brown Speckled Wood butterfly which landed again right in front of me offering another opportunity for a photo shoot at close range! Both of these butterflies are making a slight recovery after years of being in serious decline, so it really was a treat to be able to get close to them. As they took to their wings once again lets hope that they continue to thrive, if you can plant a Buddleia bush, you will be helping these beauties to survive and will be entertained for hours.

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