Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Kirkstall sightings 2

A few minutes walk away at Kirkstall Abbey this weekend I glimpsed a small blue butterfly in the terraced garden area overlooking the Abbey. Unfortunately it disappeared quickly & I wasn’t quite quick enough with my camera. So on Sunday we revisited the Abbey Gatehouse Cafe lured by chocolate brownies & the potential reappearance of the butterfly. Within a couple of minutes there it was daintily flitting above lavender flowers, it was a Common Blue, Polyommatus icarus.

Although its a widespread butterfly its only the second Ive seen this year (earlier in the year at Rutland Water) but this is a first on my home patch.

Interestingly Rodley Nature Reserve had no reported sighting last year & it was last recorded in August 2003.
The metallic blue sheen of the Common Blue is due to diffraction of sunlight by thousands of corrugated scales on the wings that absorb all colours of the spectrum excluding blue and not as a result of pigment.

The sheltered walled garden was favoured by Large Whites and bees, the plant of choice being a white flowering hebe in bloom.


  1. Beautiful butterfly pics - that first one of the Common Blue is a cracker - but why did you have to mention chocolate brownies? Now I've got to raid the larder!

  2. Rob, well I didnt really want to admit what it was that wielded the stronger force - butterfly or brownie??? Obviously chocolate pays no heed to the universal laws of relativity and exerts a far greater gravitational pull than can be explained by modern scietific methods. L

  3. Just found your blog. Great job!

    The Common Blues pics are excellent. There was a colony of Common Blues at the former Yorkshire Water site between New Road Side in Horsforth and the River Aire last year. Sadly, this week the contractors have been in and scraped it back to bare earth destroying a great local wildlife site in the process.


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