There’s a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly which has settled in front of me:
I’m thrilled because I hardly ever see them.
I took a photograph of one in 1977 and stuck it in my childhood holiday scrapbooks. I know it was 1977, not because I wrote it on my scrapbooks, but because I took the photograph on holiday in Tenby in the week that Elvis died:
I remember them being really common back then. I was pleased with the photograph at the time but also dreamed of a camera which would allow me to get a large depth of field and take proper macro photographs.
I found the Small Tortoiseshell in the Rev. F.O. Morris’s 1853 classic A History of British Butterflies here:
I love some of the language he used in the descriptions:
“To which they adhere by a glutinous moisture,” and, “In the third skin they make another remove,” with, “In this state they remain near twenty days.” Here’s it’s called The Nettle Tortoiseshell:
In The State of the UK’s Butterflies 2015, the decline in the population of Small Tortoiseshells was published: From 1976 to 2014 their population declined by 76%. I haven’t been looking at my childhood through rose-tinted spectacles. We really have managed to kill three quarters of them in 40 years.
I’m currently reading the third volume of the Ladybird Book of British Birds and their nests from the 1950s. Times have changed: "All ... Read more