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The swifts have departed to undertake their epic journey to Africa, and the Martins and Swallows that remain won’t be too far behind. Summer is inevitably coming to a close, but there is still plenty going on and with the warm weather still here we may just get a little longer to appreciate some of our summer specialists.

This summer I found myself getting more and more fascinated by the world of butterflies. It started when I first noticed orange tips back in May by Sun Lane Nature Reserve. Then I’d notice the odd Speckled Wood near the weir and stepping stones. Before I knew it I was actively walking around Burley in Wharfedale with my butterfly goggles on! (Looking for butterflies that is, not literally wearing goggles with butterflies on!)

Over the course of the summer I have spotted: Large Whites, Orange Tips, Peacocks, Gatekeepers, Speckled Woods, Commas, Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Tortoise Shells, Small Heaths, a Holly Blue and not to mention several others I haven’t been able to identify.

This summer I set myself a challenge to see a Brimstone, it wasn’t until last week that I finally spotted one at Sun Lane. Unfortunately the closest I’ve come to getting a photograph is a picture of the Reserve notice board!

brimstone on reserve board

Do You Separate Your Whites?

White butterflies are the most common type of butterfly to be seen over the summer months. Most sightings of a white butterfly result in them being labelled as a Cabbage White. But the UK has 4 main species of white butterfly as well as several less common ones. These include the Large White, Small White, Orange Tip and Green Veined White. Less common species include Wood White and Cryptic Wood White as well as rare migrants such as the Black-veined White and Bath White. So next time you see a plain old white butterfly why not try and get a closer look… You might be surprised.

Green Veined White Butterfly
Green Veined White Butterfly

There are some great other winged creatures to spotted around Burley: dragonflies, Damsel Flies and a wide variety bees and hover flies. They’re not going to be around for much more of 2013 so get out and enjoy them while you can!

Here are some photos from my own sightings of winged creatures, all taken around Burley in Wharfedale over the last couple of months…

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