Of Garden Visitors and Butterfly Counts

Scarlet tiger moth on a lupin plant

The hot weather's bought all kinds of new visitors to the garden lately. The most notable I've managed to photograph is this Scarlet Tiger moth. It looks a little the worse for wear which leads me to wonder whether it's an over wintered specimen. A wonderful Hummingbird Hawk moth did zoom by just moments after I'd taken the above photo. It was far too quick for me though!

Getting an ID for my new friend allowed me to spend some delightful time on Butterfly Conservation's website, where they have lots of information to help visitors identify common day flying moths seen in the garden.

As a thank you for the information, I'll be taking part in their annual Great Butterfly Count which starts on Friday (17th July to 9th August 2015). It just takes 15 minutes of sitting in the garden, and noting which species visit during that time. It's the perfect excuse to kick back and relax for a while, and there's a handy ID chart or phone App if you need some help to identify what's what.

A comma butterfly on our recycling bag in our kitchen

I hope my count includes the pair of commas which have been regular visitors over the past few days. As you can see one of them was a little bold for a while and took a shine to a recycling bag we have in the kitchen.

Have you had any unusual garden visitors lately?


  1. This year there does seem to be more butterflies than last year. The star so far is the swallowtail, it even laid eggs on a fennel plant and there were a few caterpillars, they have disappeared now, I suspect the sparrows took them :-( - I live in Switzerland, so having them in garden is not quite as spectacular as it would be in the UK, even though it's not common here either.

    1. I've wanted to see a swallowtail since I was a little girl! They're quite rare in the UK too, Helen, so I'm deeply envious.

  2. We just have gatekeepers on the plot at the moment.
    other than a few whites.

    1. Gatekeepers are turning out to be a star butterfly this year, as are the commas. I usually do well with small tortoiseshells too, but I seem to remember they don't usually make much of an appearance until AFTER the Big Butterfly Count. I'm amazed at how seasonal butterflies are... I think of the yellows as very much a spring phenomenon

  3. Every butterfly sighted is a cause for excitement, even the tiny skippers and moths.

    1. Indeed Jean. We're being asked to look out for skippers and blues at the moment.

  4. Thanks VP, that has helped me ID the Scarlet Tiger Moth I photographed in the garden last week.

    1. Only too glad to help Brian. I've seen quite a lot of photos on Twitter lately, so it looks like it's a good year for this moth.


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