Spending more time working from home does have it's perks. One such perk is that I can keep an eye on the comings and goings of butterflies in the garden during the summer.
Several years ago now I watched in utter amazement as a female Purple Emperor cruised over the garden. Such an amazing encounter, I thought could never be matched. Fast forward to Wednesday 21st July - a hot day and so I thought I'd work my way through my work e-mails first thing out on a bench out in the garden. I happen to glance up at the globe thistles on the far side of the garden and there sat on top of one was something orangey. To my astonishment it was a really fresh Dark Green Fritillary!! The nearest camera to hand was my SLR with 100-400 lens, with which I rattled off a couple of photos and then ran inside for my macro. Unfortunately, on my return it had vanished into thin air and failed to reappear. But I had a photo to at least look back on.
To put this sighting into perspective, I have seen two DGFs in my 10 years living in the Brackley area, both some miles away near Croughton. I'm sure there is a colony, or even multiple colonies lurking around somewhere but for one to turn up in the middle of Brackley is bonkers - and for it to be in my garden, well I'm very grateful indeed! Butterfly species number 22 for the garden.
Other garden scarcities have included a couple of Common Blue and a brief Essex Skipper. Both only the 3rd and 2nd occurrences here.
All the way through the summer, there's been a wide variety of species - a nice reward for planting out the garden with loads of nectar-rich plants. The verbena, Buddleia and Globe Thistles being the most popular.