A fritillary in rising flight against a foil of wild roses. Another flies low and languid across my track, as if searching. Over juniper bushes and into seeding grasses.
I return along the ridge we walked yesterday, listening to linnet and goldfinch. The flora of the limestone grassland has a herbal fragrance, with thyme and lady's bedstraw. Do butterflies track pollen in the air and is that what's happening as they fly low? It's so hot I'm daubed with sun-screen and I wonder if they pick that up too.
As I stand looking out across the landscape a cluster of fritillaries comes in wavering course about the bramble flowers and several of them settle, for only a moment. There are pools of light and shadow amongst brambles and bracken and sunlight renders their delicate wings translucent. They are restless, off and away in seconds. So photography is a challenge.
A six-spot burnet fumbles a thistle and light pouring through its wings reminds me of stained glass windows. Rich colour flows liquid through its wings, dark veins and borders of black. The moth looks nothing like itself. Out of a crucible of heat, a metamorphosis.
On an anthill of purple thyme a meadow brown seems to have colour burnt out of it by sunlight and its a picture of fragility. Like fine ash that a puff of wind would blow into nothing.
The sun blazes down on Scout Scar and I'd like a parasol, to shade me from the sun. A leafy ash tree casts a pool of shadow and as I stand in its shade looking up into its canopy of green I hear a young bird above me, piping to be fed. Parasol: against the sun. By mid- morning I've been out several hours and I'm melting too.
That first fritillary of several days ago must have been drunk on fresh bramble nectar. All the others are restless and nimble, far too quick. Bramble flowers are often interwoven with bracken, protected by a thorny barrier so I peer in from a distance. I like today's image of two fritillaries in pools of light and shadow. There were at least five but they didn't linger. Often, it's an impression left on the mind's -eye, a glimpse of colour and an elusive flight.
Once again, my thanks to Chris Winnick for an interpretation of fritillary behaviour. I know more of the relationship of bees and flowers, of bees as pollinators. As for butterflies, this hot weather is an enchantment and a study.