Now we begin the annual conundrum - is it a large or a small?
It will take me a few days to get my eye in properly to identify the cabbage whites. I find them particularly difficult even if they settle and let you get close enough but today they were focused on patrolling their territory looking for a mate. Butterflies seem incredibly hard to photograph - I wonder if they can feel the vibrations as you tiptoe closer or if their eyes are particularly sharp.
I know I get both Large and Small Cabbage Whites - check the underside of plants they visit and you'll notice they have different eggs: white eggs belong to the Small, while the Large has yellow eggs. And the caterpillars are very different. But I still struggle with the adults unless they settle in exactly the right position.
I'm pretty sure the one above is a Small and the one below is a Large but I'm happy to be corrected.
Which makes taking part in the Big Butterfly Count a bit of a challenge but does make me look much harder.
The Small Heath was a bit of a surprise too - I thought it was a small Gatekeeper but there's no such thing! The Small Heath is not on the Count so I need to be careful to check the butterflies in my garden.
I do hope this won't put you off spending 15 minutes each day (when you can and when the weather is good) until 8th August. This Citizen Science project is a really important record of the state of our nature as butterflies are considered Indicator Species. There's a very useful App to help you record them and lots of helpful identification tips.
Last year's count was the trigger for some close-up studies of butterflies which are currently on sale via Kevis House Gallery in Petworth. I can feel a Cabbage White study coming ... maybe that will help?
oh, and don't forget the moths ....
If I had known then what I know now
I would have started this diary years ago
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