Butterfly romance

The dancing flight and flirting game of two butterflies is something unique. Personally, I haven’t had the luck to observe too many of these moments so far. However, recently I caught one of these private events.

A warm spring day made the butterflies go crazy, aiming at fulfilling the one and only mission in their lives: to continue the species. Especially the Common Brimstones (Gonepteryx rhamni) were very active. While I was close to a female, a male was flying by. Attracted either by the sight or the female’s pheromones, the dalliance begun.

Unfortunately, I did not see final “the magic happen”. There was no copula as a second male Brimstone interrupted the game. The female clearly was ready, and most likely the game continued after I left for other butterflies around.

All in all, a very special moment. And luckily, there’s a couple photos for looking back and sharing.

Photos

Easter weekend, day 1

Sunshine and warm, decent spring weather. What a promising 4 day weekend. I managed to get out into the greenery for two hours and I headed to a biotope I recently explored. It turned out to be a real hot spot.

Right after I got out of the car I spotted a Common Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni) from the distance. Trying to catch it with my camera a Scarce Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis xanthomelas) came to defended its territory from the Brimstone. A couple seconds later, a Moarning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa) sailed across. I decided to follow this one for the start. Nevertheless, I knew right away this is going to be a good day!

I didn’t have to leave the one and only field I entered. Within a diameter of perhaps 50-100 meters all the magic happened. The saldo of those two hours was following: 2-3 Scarce Tortoiseshells, 3-4 Common Brimstones, one Moarning Cloak, two Small Tortoiseshells (Aglais urticae), and one European Peacock (Inachis io). Especially the European Peacock was a beauty I was looking forward to meet again.

The above named individuals were, encouraged by the warm spring sun, heavily defending their territory. I saw Multiple times an individual driving off others from its own or other species. This is always a nice play to watch.

After these rather good list of sightings the expectations for day 2 are high. I’m particularly looking forward to spotting two species I’ve not met yet this spring: The Comma (Polygonia c-album) and the Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi).

Photos

Another spring day

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After receiving fresh snow 1.5 weeks ago, and a quick fall-back to winter, spring seemed to be back again. We had sun yesterday, a saturday, which gave me the chance to get some new sightings.

I was hoping to catch a Comma (Polygonia c-album), a Camberwell Beauty (Nymphalis antiopa) or a European Peacock (Inachis io). Unfortunately, I found none of them. Some clouds on the sky made the sun disappear right when I was out in the greenery. However, as the sun made it back and started shining again I was stomping through the dry grass. Suddenly, I met the same beautiful species I sighted almost 2 weeks ago, A Scarce Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis xanthomelas).

It’s fun to see how close you might be to these creatures. But if there is no sun, they won’t show up. With the wings closed and standing still while resting it’s a tough challenge to spot a butterfly. This time, the combination of the sun and my steps must have been a lucky trigger to get the individual fly (and show up).

Despite of the little sightings I was able to locate a promising biotope nearby (see featured image above). Later on in spring, I’m sure this will be a good spot for a caterpillar quest (due to the willows).

On my way home I also spotted two Small Tortoiseshells (Aglais urticae), but these were flying nervously and had no intention to stop. So the only species I was able to get with my camera was, yet again, the Scarce Tortoiseshell. Compared to the previous sighting this individual’s wings were in a much worse shape after winter.

Related photos

Awakening of the Scarce Tortoiseshell

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Today, I wanted to dedicate my lunch break again to get into the greenery. After recently spotting the first butterfly this spring, I was hungry for more. Like yesterday, I only took a 5 minutes walk to my favorite spot.

Despite of the weather conditions, with heavy wind and only 6 degrees Celsius, I got lucky again. This time a Scarce Tortoiseshell (Nymphalis xanthomelas) appeared out of the blue. After flying for some time the butterfly was finally willing to take a rest on the ground.

The Scarce Tortoiseshell used to be a rare visitor in Finland. However, since the mass migration of the species in 2012 it seems it has settled for good in the region. Many sightings of this species have been reported in the last couple days, a good sign there will also be caterpillars around later this spring or early summer. To get the chance to raise caterpillars of this rather large butterfly is definitely one of my season targets.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast predicted snow and cold weather for the weekend. This will force the early individuals back to hibernation for another moment.

Related photos