Create a café for butterflies
WHENEVER I set out to look for wildlife I am never disappointed because I always find something to intrigue me, even if I don’t find what I am looking for.
Our colder-thannormal spring has set things back a little but we are now beginning to see butterflies and damselflies emerging in the sunlight.
One of the first to show itself is the common blue butterfly and I have been lucky enough to get some great photographs of these little fellows.
The common blue is a butterfly that you will see flying throughout the summer and into October.
It is found pretty much anywhere, including heathland, grassy meadows, parks and even large gardens.
It has been described as the most widespread of blue butterflies, although I’m not sure there are many blue butterflies around these parts.
The male common blue has bright blue wings with a brown border and white fringe.
The female is brown with a blue dusting close to its body. It has orange spots on the underside of its hind wings.
Adults feed on thistles, thyme, bird’s-foot trefoil, ragwort and vetches. The caterpillars love bird’sfoot trefoil.
It is great to visit Wildlife Trust nature reserves to see wonderful insects fluttering, buzzing and humming by, but you can make havens in your own gardens or community areas.
Get some butterflies into your garden by creating nectar cafés. Buddleia is a lovely flower to get some fluttersome folk popping in for a nectar latte or cappuccino, but lots of flowers will do.
Thistles attract painted ladies and buckthorns will bring in the brimstone butterflies.
During warmer months you can keep that café supplied with primrose, sweet rocket, lavender and ice plants.
Nectar cafés can remain open at night with honeysuckle, evening primrose and tobacco plants the main attractions to moths.
My partner Julie and I spent most of the weekend adding floral accompaniments to our insect and bird-friendly garden and most garden centres will advise you on wildlife-friendly plants and native plants which are becoming increasingly popular. Having a busy garden is great for photographers, who can get great shots of wildlife while having a cup of tea at the back door.
The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside is dedicated to the protection of the wildlife in Lancashire, seven boroughs of Greater Manchester and four of Merseyside. It manages around 40 nature reserves and 20 local nature reserves, covering acres of woodland, wetland, upland and meadow. To become a member, go to www.lancswt. org.uk or call 01772 324129.
●● Male common blue butterfly