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Flickr favourites: Your butterfly photos

Jeremy Torrance web producer Jeremy Torrance web producer | 16:15 UK time, Friday, 23 July 2010

Judging by the number of butterfly photos in the BBC Nature UK Summerwatch Flickr group (145 at the last count), plenty of you have been fascinated by our fluttering friends this summer.

This week Butterfly Conservation are asking people to take part in their Big Butterfly Count so what better time to share some of your beautiful butterfly pics (and a few facts about the species you're likely to see out and about too). I've also thrown in a couple of the office's favourite rarities for good measure.

Small white © Jason Elmore

Small White © Jason Elmore

The small white butterfly is known to many as the cabbage white because of its fondness for brassicas. A common visitor to back gardens and fields, it lacks the more pronounced black wing tips of its larger cabbage-loving cousin, the large white.

Marbled white © Andrew Steele

Marbled White Andrew Steele

The marbled white is mainly found in flowery grassland but can stray into gardens. Those of you in the south are more likely to spot it as the species' strongest populations are on the chalk downland from Kent through to Wiltshire and Dorset.

Peacock © Brian Maskell

Peacock © Brian Maskell

A common garden visitor, the peacock butterfly is instantly recognisable by its bright colour-scheme and 'eyespots'. The circular patterns on its upper wings are said to mimic eyes and intimidate, or at least confuse, predators.

Comma © John Parish

Comma © John Parish

The small white comma shaped marking on the brown underside of its wings gives the comma butterfly its name. The ragged edges of the its browny-orange wings are excellent camouflage in dead leaves when hibernating. In the summer it becomes more active outside of woodlands, searching out nectar and rotting fruit.

Small tortoiseshell © Sylviane Moss

Small tortoiseshell © Sylviane Mosse

Seen almost anywhere from mountain tops to city centres, the small tortoiseshell is first butterfly to appear in spring and often the last to leave in autumn. It might be common but with its distinctive black and orange forewings it's still a stunner. Distinguish it from the much rarer large tortoiseshell by its size and the presence of a white spot in the forewing.

Ringlet © Sarah Spink

Ringlet © Sarah Spink

The ringlet gets its name from the spots on the underside of its wings. A reliable sighting even in the temperamental British summer, the ringlet will still fly in dull cloudy conditions unlike most other butterflies. Its preferred habitat is damp grassland.

Swallowtail © David Martin

Swallowtail © David Martin

The spectacular swallowtail is the largest native butterfly to the UK. Its liking for wet fenland means you'll only see it in the Norfolk Broads.

Silver-studded blue © Rich Feather

Silver-studded-blue © Rich Feather

Another rare one, the silver-studded blue's preferred habitat has reduced over the centuries. It thrives amongst the heather, gorse and bracken of heathland but is difficult to distinguish from the common blue at a glance. Silver-studded blues are named for the brilliant blue scales in the black marks on the underside of their wings.

Butterfly Conservation's website is fabulous for help in IDing butterflies and has loads of information on how to make a butterfly friendly garden. Or follow the BBC Breathing Places guide to make your own butterfly feeder [pdf].

What have you spotted this summer? Have you made a Big Butterfly Count? Let us know in the comments below and keep those summer wildlife pics coming into our photo group.


  • Comment number 1.

    I spent a morning watching butterflies down a local track near Fakenham and saw so many and some that I'd never seen before!! before I just didnt take much notice but I am more and more looking out for them!!

  • Comment number 2.

    @Steven White Fakenham? Round the corner from Springwatch's old stomping ground.

    Isn't it amazing what you can see if you really look. We'll be doing a photostory of a butterfly walk in Bristol next week... can't wait.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think a trip to Strumpshaw Fen is on the cards - would love to get a pic of a Swallowtail!!

    I'll look out for the photostory of the butterfly walk in Bristol - hope the weather stays warm and dry for you!


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