I have been eagerly awaiting June and July when more of my garden flowers will be in bloom and I expect more butterflies (assuming that the weather is better than last Summer!). Â Last week I had a pleasant surprise when I saw a blue butterfly in my garden fluttering around and rarely stopping (hence the poor quality photograph). Â This was particularly surprising as I associate blue butterflies with chalk areas, not with the claggy clay of Northamptonshire.
I looked the butterfly up in my insect book and discovered that identification was easier than I had expected owing to the fact that both the top and the underside of its wings were blue (most have brown undersides). Â This, and the fact that it was spending most of its time flitting about the holly bushes (doh!) led to the conclusion that it was a Holly Blue (celastrina argiolus). Â These are more common than I realised (having never seen one before. Â As the name suggests they lay their eggs mainly on holly bushes (we now have 5 of these so this could explain its sudden appearance) where the caterpillars feed on the flowers of the aforementioned shrubs. Â In Summer when hollies are not in flower or when there is a dearth of holly they will make do with other shrubs such as dogwood (grows well on clay), gorse and bramble (not good as I have recently planted a blackberry in my fruit corner of the garden).
I think I will trade a few holly flowers and berries for a few blue butterflies to lighten up the Spring days, I just have to be ready to get a better photograph next time!