"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Small Copper, Recent Reading and Unicorn Cakes

Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) is one of my favourite butterfly species. They are widespread but it is a species I struggle to see locally so it was a thrill to have the second visit of the year to the garden recently. The previous sighting of Small Copper in the garden was in 2006!!

It was happily feeding on Golden Rod flowers which are a real magnet for hoverflies, butterflies and bees so I was able to get fairly close with the Panasonic bridge camera to get some photos.

This butterfly in the 17th century was called the Small Golden Black-spotted butterfly which is rather a long name but really rather lovely.

It is found in habitats such as grassland, wasteland, heathland, road verges, old quarries and woodland areas but does sometimes visit gardens.

There are usually two to three generations a year and caterpillar food plants are Common Sorrel and Sheep's Sorrel although occasionally eggs are laid on Broad-leaved Dock.

Adult food plants include Fleabane, Buttercup, Daisy, Dandelions, Ragwort, Red Clover Thistle and Yarrow.

Males are territorial and will often wait on a bare patch of ground for a female to appear.

Recent Reading

I'v read the two books I bought at the Dippy and Tolkien exhibitions - both were very interesting. The Tolkien one included a great many copies of Tolkien's original illustrations and maps.

Beautifully written and researched - anyone who loves butterflies would enjoy this book.

After visiting Alderley Edge I decided to read the sequel to "The Weird Stone of Brisingamen". I didn't enjoy it quite as much as the first book but the fact that we had visited the area and I could picture some of the locations gave extra meaning to the story.

I returned to the Maisie Dobbs series and I really enjoyed this story. Thankfully, there are quite a few left in the series to read.

The Fen books just seem to get better and better. I just could not put this book down. Normally I read non-fiction or nature writing in the early evening and save fiction for an hour before bedtime. But when reading this non-fiction was totally abandoned!


My daughter made these unicorn cakes from a kit she had for her birthday but I think we will make these again using a standard cup cake recipe and decorating them in a similar way.


Rosie said...

Your photos of the small copper butterfly are lovely, what a beauty it is. Glad you had another visit to your garden. Maisie Dobbs never disappoints and I agree the Fenland books cannot be put down:)

Ragged Robin said...

Rosie Thanks so much. So pleased I have quite a few Maisie and Fenland books still to read :)

David Gascoigne said...

Goldenrod is in full bloom here too and attracts a wide range of butterflies, including recently many Monarchs. Soon they will be on their way to Mexico, an incredible journey for a butterfly.

Ragged Robin said...

David Gascoigne - Thank you. I have read about the Monarch butterfly and its journey - as you say it is incredible.

Pam said...

Beautiful photos and a beautiful butterfly, fantastic to have it in the garden. I don't think i've ever had one in mine.

I think sometimes sequels can be a bit of a disappointment but of course you don't know till you read them! Cute cakes, I haven't made any in a while......but then I only eat them all when I do!

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks so much :)

I agreed with my son about the Alan Garner book - he had already mentioned to me he thought the ending was a bit abrupt. Still good though. I know the feeling about cake eating! Haven't made many myself recently as it has been too hot to have the oven on!!

amanda peters said...

Beautiful little butterfly, we are quite lucky to have them at the park and some of my nature places I visit, but I don't think we have had one in the garden. Had a Speckled wood fly through yesterday and there has been a Small Tortoiseshell in the front garden. Both managed to go before camera was ready !

All your books look lovely, it's on my list (again ) to do more reading in September, have just ordered Northern Lights: His Dark Materials 1 , Philip Pullman. Not sure if you have read any of his books.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much. I can remember you mentioning seeing Small Copper at your park. I still haven't seen a Small Tortoiseshell this year!!

Yes I've read the Dark Materials Trilogy - quite a few years ago though. They are very good. There is another one in the series out now called Dust which I have on my Kindle as my son bought it but I haven't yet read it. He is one of my son's favourite authors and when he was young we went to hear Pulman give a talk about the Trilogy at Waterstones. Also went to see him and Neil Gaiman give a talk in Oxford. Birmingham Rep put on plays based on the Trilogy and they were good too. I do hope you enjoy the first book. Although they are meant for children - you can interpret the story on many levels so it is a good read for adults too.

CherryPie said...

I love your photographs of the butterfly, so beautiful :-)

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you. For once a butterfly was obliging :)

Ian said...

Beautiful Butterfly and great photos.

Ragged Robin said...

Ian - Thanks so much :)

Countryside Tales said...

No small coppers here so it was lovely to see yours. Thanks also for the book recommendations, I will check out the fiction ones.

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks. I think I have actually seen more Small Coppers this year than usual. Although having said that I have only seen 4!

Chris Rohrer said...

It's nice that you have time to read. What a lovely thing to do! Unicorn cakes sound fun and delicious. I'd make rabbit cakes.....with a carrot cake recipe! Were they vanilla or strawberry flavored inside? Maybe an almond twist? Yum yum! Lovely butterfly!

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much. The unicorn cakes were vanilla flavoured. Carrot cake is my favourite too :) My books and reading keep me sane.