Sunday, 10 July 2011

Comma

I have mentioned the lack of butterflies extant around the countryside this year, there was however, a rather nice one to be seen around the lakes of Straw's Bridge the other day.  It was a Comma (Polygonia c-album).
Sun-bathing on a Blackberry leaf, this one was unusually 'easy-going' as I pointed my camera at it.  Comma numbers crashed in the UK during the 19th century until they reached a low point in the 1920's.  Only two sightings were made at this time in the whole of Britain.  This decline has never been explained, but, thankfully, numbers have increased again and this is now one of our most common butterflies.
There is a tall plant growing by the path along the Old Colliery walk.  Standing about 6ft tall and topped by a spike of bright, yellow flowers, it makes quite an imposing sight.  It is a Great Mullein (Verbascum thapsus).
The whole plant is covered by a dense coat of grey hairs giving it a woolly appearance - and feel.  The flowers of this one were crawling with tiny, black pollen beetles (Meligethes aeneus - I think!).
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