Until a few years ago I'd tell you I'd only ever seen red admirals and cabbage whites, but that is only because I wasn't really looking at our native butterflies, or not looking in the right places. Since then I've discovered plenty more species and turned them into paintings. There are some others I'd like to paint, but I have either yet to spot one, or they won't open their wings for me (like brimstones).
The comma is easily recognised by the 'ragged' or sculpted edge to its wing. Its name comes from a small white splodge on the underside.
The Speckled Wood, is more of a shady woodland butterfly, but this one came to visit our tent on a campsite down at The Lizard.
The downlands around the South of England are home to many types of blue butterflies. Here a couple of chalkhill blues are feeding on wild flowers at Tout Quarry on Portland Bill
Red Admiral - Green Eyes
I'd never seen this in a red admiral before. Look online or in the books and they show the wings from above, or rarely a glance of the underside but with only a hint of greeen in a partly folded wing. Here though I caught the full underside as the butterfly was feasting on ivy in late Autumn. The full wing shows what looks like a convincing pair of eyes.
There are many whites - most are seen as pests that devour cabbages, but the marbled white is altogether different - small and elegant.
There are two times of year when peacock butterflies appear. This is an early one that is a little battered from overwintering in some warm dry place. It has come out to find a mate, laying the eggs for the summer brood.
Small but brightly coloured, these butterflies seemed manic on the lazy Summer's day we visited the local lavender farm.
One of our smaller butterflies but still worth looking out for. I found this specimen resting on a stone on a path I was walking, somewhere around the Welsh coast.
When To Spot Them
Here is a brief pictorial guide to the more commonly spotted (and easily identifiable) butterflies, and when to spot them in Britain.