We came off Crosby Garrett Fell and walked along the disused railway line that is Smardale Nature Reserve. At the time, I was writing Cumbrian Contrasts, with a chapter on Smardale. So I was alert to photo opportunities. There were butterflies on the wing when I noticed a pair of common blue butterflies on hazel leaves in dappled sunlight, right beside the path and low at my ankles. So engrossed in mating I had ample opportunity to photograph them. As the butterflies open and close their wings they show the beautiful patterns of the underwing. The upperwing of the male is pure blue, the female brown, tinged with blue.
Jan Wiltshire is a nature writer living in Cumbria. She also explores islands and coast and the wildlife experience. (See Home and My Books.)