What did we seek on Kendal Fell on this July day, and whom did we meet? A farmer made hay ( these days it may be haylage or silage) while the sun shone
The golf course is on higher ground, above banks of flowers of the limestone grassland. A busy day for farmers, a warm and sunny day of leisure for climbers scaling the quarry crags. Locals walked their dogs and relaxed on benches, enjoying the wonderful banks of flowers- and perhaps, like us, contemplating the farming landscape and the distant fells and trying not to see the urban sprawl of Kendal.
I had a butterfly hot-spot in focus, a sunny glade where there were certain target species I hoped to see and photograph. Where last summer we had found small copper and Scotch Argus.
Banks of flowers rose above our path, the deep purples of betony ( Stachys officinalis) a dominant theme. The yellows of lady's bedstraw ( Galium verum) and of agrimony( Agrimonia eupatoria).
I watched a tortoiseshell alight on limestone to warm itself. The butterfly closed its wings and seemed no more than a dark shadow on the rock. Was it using a darker patch of rock to conceal itself? The image is cropped to make the butterfly visible. And the wings slightly open. Wings closed, the butterfly is merely a dark shape on a dark stain in the rock. Another tortoiseshell came down on a pat of cow dung, spread its wings in display, then closed them The central image shows how colour and bold pattern seep away to shadow once the butterfly brings its wings together. Display or hide? Every detail is designed toward crypsis: the irregular edge of the wings that blur its outline, the asymmetric patterns that are hard to decipher when the butterfly closes its wings and blots out pattern and colour.