Friday, 24 July 2015

Butterflies in my stomach.

I have had a fluttering in my abdomen for the entire month of July. It was due to a kind of stage-fright, mixed with excitement in anticipation of my son's wedding at Cley in Norfolk. But now that's all over I still have the "butterflies".  Could it be the excitement of returning to work?

It turns out that I have had a gastro-intestinal infection; less butterflies-in-the-tummy and more a bugs-in-the-basement.

Now I'm back at work and it's true that I am looking forward to getting on with some projects. First on my list is to contribute to the National Butterfly Survey which is running until August 9th.  All I need is 15 minutes outside, but of course it's raining!

Last Saturday I found myself  at the back of a warehouse in North London where I had to kick my heels for a while waiting for some gates to be unlocked. There's always a Buddleia bush in places like that, often growing through cracks in the tarmac and here was no exception. Three of those untidy looking bushes were lined up in front of a flaking concrete wall. It was a scene of utter dereliction except for a mass of deep purple flower spikes that droopped on inadequate boughs over my head. The place hummed with bees and swarmed with hoverflies but not a single butterfly popped by in 15 minutes. Strike one!

Holly blue.
At home, I love to hang out the laundery, even if I'm ill. It gives me a chance to take in some vitamin D and to look up at the sky for birds. I also scan the flower borders to look for butterflies, my plan being to start a count as soon as conditions look right.

My garden butterfly list over the week has included cabbage whites, small tortoiseshells, gatekeepers, a small skipper and three holly blues, but I still have not found the 15 minutes required to do a proper survey.

Feeling better by Thursday, I popped into my local garden centre and scouted for butterflies among the potted flowers outside. This month, purple seeems to be the colour and the best attractors are Scabious and lavender. I was hoping to see humming bird hawk-moths but it was just too windy. I added a comma and a peacock to my tally though.

You and I have two weeks left to take part in the survey by submitting a few timesheets. Its really easy and its fun, especially if you try a few unfamiliar or even unlikely sites. Yiu just never know what will turn up.