It is my sister’s birthday and this time I have resorted to
buying on the internet – having learnt my lesson. But even that is not as easy
as it seems there is such a variety. In the end I plumped for a selection of wildlife
pictures which will surely do for anyone.
I chose one with a butterfly on for my sister, but I was
late which is surprising as I have nothing else to do. The card needed to get
there the next day. The little box on our lane did not have a collection so off
I went to our main post office.
There I was on the pavement which I last stood on a year
ago. I rushed to the box and heard the plop of the card before darting back to
the safety of my car. All was well but I doubt that the card will be on time.
Thinking of that card, I have seen some butterflies flying
in our garden already. There are the two ‘reds’ which
have spent the winter as adults in a safe dry crevice. There is the tortoise
shell with its black and blue edged wings and the peacock with its two circles,
like eyes. They are looking for early flowers with nectar to feed on.
But the one I have been watching mostly is the orange tip
butterfly. Early April is the time to see him. You can tell it is the male
because he has orange blotches on his white forewings, the female has black
markings. He was flying up and down not stopping even to feed.
What is the hurry? Well, he is exploring his new territory
and is looking for a female. Unlike the reds, orange tips have just hatched
from their chrysalis where they were safe in the winter. The female will be
waiting for him, where she will lay her eggs, in plants such as honesty, hedge
garlic and ladies’ smock. They will all be flowering very soon.
These butterflies time their emergence to coincide with the
growth of plants that their future caterpillars will eat. They are much better
timekeepers than me. Nature is programmed and synchronised and, if left unhindered,
will never miss a birthday, whatever the weather.
(Taken from my Thursdays' column in the Shropshire Star)