Weekly Photo Challenge – Eye Spy a Butterfly’s Eye

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The Weekly Photo Challenge – ‘Eye Spy’ – A Butterfly’s eye is a wonderful creation, their spherical compound eyes with almost 360 degree vision are able to detect threats from behind at the same time as focusing on nectar probing. Predators and camera wielding humans are all to be avoided. In common with many other insects, each eye comprises of up to 17,000 ommatidia – individual light receptors with their own microscopic lenses. Surrounding the eye and extending through the body are long hair like scales which give a furry appearance.

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In late July and August our favourite spot to observe Chalk Hill Blues is Sharpenhoe Clappers, in the Chiltern Hills, managed by the National Trust, just a few miles from home. This species of Blue Butterfly is only found in the UK on southern Chalk Grassland Hills. The adults prefer a sunny sheltered south-facing spot for nectaring and roosting. Although this little Butterfly is not endangered, its habitat is diminishing. The caterpillars sole food plant is Horseshoe Vetch, only found growing on chalk grassland.

Roosting Male Chalk Hill Blue

Roosting Male Chalk Hill Blue

Sitting patiently waiting for Butterflies to land nearby and then staying to watch the sun go down with roosting Chalk Hill Blues alongside is quite a magical experience.

72 thoughts on “Weekly Photo Challenge – Eye Spy a Butterfly’s Eye

    • Thank you, Butterfly eye size must have evolved to aid survival but all of the Blue Butterfly species seem to have noticeably larger eyes, that are quite characterful.

    • Thanks Brian, the lens for this photo is a Canon 100mm macro recommended to me by Suzy Blue another blogger who takes lots of beautiful Dragonfly photographs. I have used that on propped up elbows to help with camera shake and cropped into the close up of the head and eye on my laptop, the detail of the scale like hairs was a surprise though, they are quite extraordinary creatures.

    • Thank you Cathy, I love those summer afternoons and evenings, so much more uplifting than winter early nights, although temperatures here are unseasonably warm again! Hope you have some good weather too.

    • I really like the Blues too. On our first visit there with the Wildlife Trust, someone much wiser than me advised to stay still and be patient, it was great advice and a far more relaxing!

    • Thank you Judy, we are really fortunate to live close by to Sharpenhoe Clappers, in the summer months as well as Butterflies and Moths, there are some wonderful wildflowers and views from there too.

    • Summer seems a while away now, but they were appropriate to share for that challenge. I missed The Transmutational Gardeners Butterfly Bucket meme during the summer months when my internet was down, I hope she runs another one next season.

    • Thanks Debra, although these habitats are diminishing we are very fortunate to still have the chance to watch these Butterflies closely. Long may that be the case!

  1. Hi Julie
    Just discovered your blog; its lovely. I particularly like the post about the Holly Blue butterfly, as I have sewn a cushion cover for my dad using it as my design inspiration. Stunning photos!
    Best wishes,
    Lucy

    • We are lucky to live near a spot inhabited by these Chalk Hill Blue’s. But this week there has been a dreadful report here which says 3 quarters of all UK Butterflies are in decline. In common with lots of wildlife and habitat loss, our behaviour is the route cause.

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