Nature Notes

The Dapper Gatekeeper

I have not seen many butterflies in my garden so far this summer. Just an occasional Peacock, Red Admiral and Painted Lady. Recently I have spotted a couple of Cabbage Whites dancing around each other and seemingly floating on the wind. So it was nice to see several Gatekeepers, (Pyronia tithonus), yesterday taking advantage of some warm sunshine and feeding on the nectar from my Cone Flowers (Echinacea purpurea.) Gatekeepers are small very common butterflies and have two eyespots on the front and back of their wings. The eyespots have two 'pupils' and this distinguishes them from the similarly looking Hedge Brown butterfly which has just the one pupil on it's eyespots. Pictured below is the male of the species, the female being a paler colour, resting on a nearby plant.

Gatekeeper Butterfly