I’ve been searching for a hobby or activity that would encourage us to get back out into nature again. Something in our nature likes to have a goal, something that awaits us at the end of the journey, the prize or elixir as it is known in the mono myth of the Hero’s Journey. The Great British Butterfly Hunt has become one of those goals for me. There are 58 species native to Britain, part of the aim of the Great British Butterfly Hunt is to encourage people to engage with the beauty and fragility of Britain’s rich natural heritage.
Our first butterfly hunt was in the Ufton Wood nature reserve, which is local to us. According the information board, Ufton Wood is home to 26 species of butterfly, that means we can potentially see nearly half of Britain’s butterflies within 2 miles of our house.
It was a nice morning for a walk. The sun was out and patches of blue sky and fluffy white clouds could be seen through the break in the trees. I had the feeling that it was a bit chilly for butterfly hunting. The temperature being around 7.5 C at the start of the walk. I don’t yet know the habits of butterflies apart from my faulty memory of my experiences of seeing them flittering about in the back garden or in the meadows of my childhood.
We had a copy of Collins Complete British Wildlife Photo Guide to help us identify any butterflies we might encounter.
About three quarters of mile into our hunt, we spotted a butterfly high up in a spread of trees with white flowers. Two things I became aware of, one I didn’t have my binoculars with me to be able to get a good look at the butterfly before, nor did I have my camera with telephoto lens to get a decent picture. The butterfly, however was cooperative enough to give us a good view of its wings spread. It turned out to be a Peacock Butterfly. I took a couple of snaps with my little digital, but couldn’t zoom in enough to be able to spot the butterfly from the flowers.
Cool. Our first site-ing.
We continued on. And further into the walk we got quick glance at a Small White. And again having some bino’s and a telephoto lens would have been handing. I make a mental note to include in our next butterfly hunt my field binoculars and my big Olympus 500 Digital SLR. This could be an opportunity to combine several hobbies together – walking/hiking, photography, geocaching, and butterfly hunting.
So on our first butterfly hunt, we walked for 2.5 miles and spotted two species of butterfly. On our next outing, I’ll be better equipped for sure, but our first one it was cool and gave some extra flavor to walking.