Spring for the butterflies

IMG_1514It was 18 degrees today and we are expecting a spell of warmer weather so I opened the coal store door to warm up the room and rouse the butterflies.

IMG_1513Within a few minutes this one jumped out. She was making her anti-predatory wing hissing noise and displaying her wings, which look like a pair of owl’s eyes, in case I was a bird or mouse thinking about eating her. She folded up again with her wings together and kept very still again. Underneath, their wings are almost black so they look like a dead leaf. While she remained there a few more fluttered out and up into the blue sky. When I came back to check an hour or so later she had left. About two thirds of the colony had also gone. Some of the others are either still too sleepy or don’t trust that the weather is warm enough. Admittedly it is freezing cold in the coal store. If I hadn’t opened the door they may well have spent the entire summer in there and not noticed!

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