This is the first Gatekeeper I have seen this year. We have had an unusually prolific season for meadow browns over the last few weeks, which in ‘closed wing’ position I find easy to confuse with gatekeepers, unless I can see the wing spots clearly. But this one was obligingly drying its wings – they are very undamaged so I assume it is a very recent arrival (in butterfly form, anyway), maybe even today.
The Gatekeeper is (yet) another butterfly species that I have photographed this year for the first time in our garden in Dorset. There are several possible reasons for this: I haven’t bothered to notice them before; I have noticed them, but confused them with the similar meadow browns I do recognise; I have become more observant and butterfly-aware since we restored the garden and planted a lot of bee / butterfly / moth attractant plants; the species is in fact new to the garden, perhaps for the previous reason. Anyway, whichever is right, they suddenly arrived in the garden / I finally recognised this ‘new’ species in early August. Here are some.
THE FIRST GATEKEEPER I NOTICED THIS YEAR
I’ve been waiting for these tiny butterflies to appear, but this is the only one I have seen this year, and then for only a minute or two. Then Hurricane Bertha’s tail-end arrived and the butterflies have all but disappeared except for the occasional large white fluttering round. The flowers this one was visiting are tiny; and the butterfly looks small, even on them.
RECENT BUTTERFLY POSTS
Speckled Woods have just started to appear. Unlike most of the other species in the garden, they are eschewing the flowerbeds in favour of the hedgerows. I saw my first one a couple of days ago in the vegetable garden, but it was by the hedge there and not on the flower side. So maybe its name – and its unshowy dappled colouring – says something about its preferred habitat.