July butterflies – commas, small skippers and silver washed fritillaries

It’s the first week of July, and already there are new butterflies on the wing at Wheatland Farm. And they’re all looking pretty orange. It seems like a good year for the raggedy winged comma, which can be seen on brambles near Beech Lodge.  When their wings are closed you see why they have their name – the small white mark on the underwing looks like a comma.

The small skippers are out in force now down by the pond below Balebarn, and among the oxeye daisies outside Otter Cottage. They look similar to the large skippers we saw so many of in June, but are smaller and don’t have the ‘chequered’ pattern on their wings.

But the most impressive are silver washed fritillaries (main image). They are breathtaking, with their large wings and fast flight in the wooded section of Popehouse Moor. It could be a good year for these last, as they thrive in years with a warm early summer.