I was out taking photos of a solitary Northern Brown Argus butterfly yesterday with Ian Hastie, and he joked that I should make sure and not see every butterfly in one season, because that would leave nothing to do next year.
I expect Ian knows me well enough to know that I take this not as a piece of sensible and valuable advice, but as a challenge, to see all the butterflies in one season. Unless some incredible stroke of luck comes my way, I think this is already impossible for 2019, but it's a fun project to take on.
I know it won't leave nothing to do next season, because by next Friday I will hate all my photos, and convince myself that I can and must do better - it's how my brain works, on it's endless mission to batter any sense of achievement and self-esteem out of my being. It is my curse and my inspiration.
The Butterfly Conservation send out great leaflets to assist with spotting butterflies and moths as part of their membership pack - mine have lived in my camera bag for a while now so are looking rather tatty. Montrose sits on the boundary between two key areas - the North East and Tayside and Fife, so I've identified 25 butterflies that I should theoretically be able to see without travelling a long way from home or work. Most are easy, some are tricky, some are a real challenge.
So here's a gallery of 2019 pictures so far, species by species. I've failed thus far to get a shot of a large white - they keep buggering off up trees whenever I see them!
Different species fly at different times of the year, and in different places, so the only real omission from the list so far is the Pearl Bordered Fritillary - which was always a bit of a long-shot without driving all the way to Dinnet - a site I planned to visit but the weather decided against it for me. It's not a total write-off yet, but I think it unlikely. Three others, Scotch Argus, Purple Hairstreak and Large Heath are also unlikely, but make the 25 list because they aren't impossible.
Grayling will be a new butterfly for me entirely, and I've seen only a handful of Dark Green Fritillary in the past - although St Cyrus should throw up opportunities for both in a month or so. My favourite site for Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary is also now a building site, so I need to locate somewhere new for them - although I have a good idea where I might look.
Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Common Blue should be an open goal pretty soon, and Painted Lady will be everywhere at the end of the season, if not sooner.
I'm anticipating getting 21/25 - so loads of room for improvement next year, on top of the need to get better photos of all 21 bagged this year!!