Putting aside thoughts of a ‘Two Ronnies’ sketch about policemen in Dorchester, the small copper referred to is a butterfly I photographed yesterday. I only had a tiny old Canon with me (hello, ‘Two Ronnies’ Church Dignitaries sketch), with its ‘battery dying’ light flashing and no charger to hand. So these pics are the best I could get in a hurry…

It’s been a remarkable late summer for butterflies and moths, with many species I have never seen / noticed before – including this little one. It’s possibly because we planted some hyssop in early May that has flourished. At any given time of day, there have been 3 or 4 butterfly species (mostly Red Admirals, Peacocks, Tortoiseshells and Whites); a couple of moth brands; 3 or 4 bumblebee types (mostly white-tailed and carders); and varied honeybees of indeterminate make. Apart from a white buddleia, we have never had a plant that has been so attractive to flying creatures. Even the flycatchers have enjoyed it.

HYSSOP, WITH VERY PRETTY SMALL BEE [ID welcomed via ‘Comments’]Hyssop with Bee, Dorset

SMALL COPPER BUTTERFLYSmall Copper Butterfly, Dorset 1 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 2 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 4 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 5 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 6 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 7



  1. Lovely pictures. I think your bumble bee is a Carder bumble bee – I’m not going into what type of Carder, I find them too confusing. I notice our butterflies up this year but our bumble bees down, hit by the long, cold spring.


    • I was hoping to hear from you re ID, Amelia! I’m familiar with the carders with (from the side) ginger mohicans; I can see how these sweet little honey-coloured bees might be a kind of carder. Do you have hyssop in France? We are definitely planting more next year. RH


      • I don’t have any hyssop but it looks as if you are telling me I should get some. My big favourite is Nepeta – catmint – it just goes on and on flowering and all the bees love it. I have been trying out other stuff too. I think abundance is a factor as well. It’s no good having just a little bit so some of my new stuff needs to grow a bit yet. I will get some hyssop. I have a plant “wish list” and I will put it on so I don’t forget.


      • Ummmmmm, not telling as such. H forfend. Just spreading the word. I’ve never seen such a popular plant (and attractive too). We are going to dig duller stuff up and plant different varieties next Spring. Not going down the biblical “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” road though! RH


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