Sunday 25 June 2023

A Marbellous Summer.

 Each year I look forward to the first Marbled White butterfly flying, as I regard this species as one of the most photogenic species we have, this despite it being principally 'black and white'!!

I am lucky to have several sites within walking distance from home, and indeed, my first sighting this year was on my home patch on the 12th June. 

Since then numbers have built steadily, especially in my local meadow that is called The Marbled Meadow due to the large numbers seen here. This particular site was a few days behind, but once the Marbled Whites start to emerge I try to get some images before they become a little worn.

My first attempt was only half hearted at the end of a long walk and was only a few shots as I passed through the meadow.

Male Marbled White on Agrimony.

The following morning I decided to have a more focussed attempt at getting a few images. I was eventually rewarded by a newly emerged individual that performed well for me as it tried to warm up in the hazy sunshine, fluttering around the Agrimony. 

Male Marbled White on Agrimony.

I then found another one that had a slight kink in the wing. This one was on a Pyramidal Orchid and I managed a couple of quick shots before it moved on.

Male Marbled White on Pyramidal Orchid.

I was also pleased when a very fresh male Small Skipper landed on a tall grass stem at the edge of the path. 

Male Small Skipper.

It was a fabulous hour or so spent in the meadow.

Numbers of the Marbled White have grown quite considerably since then and last night I witnessed an extraordinary sight of 100s of them going to roost. Certainly the highest number of Marbled Whites I have ever seen in a small area. Some grass stems had double figures trying to roost, whilst all around there were countless flying low over the meadow trying to find space to roost.


  1. Stunning set of photos Bob. Take care.

  2. Lovely pictures Bob. I have never seen a Marbled White, other than various Spanish species. I wonder if they are moving northwards as other species are. It would be good to have them up here!!
    How are Small Skippers doing there. They only arrived here in about 2013 and since their numbers have exploded. However, this year they seem quite scarce so far. Strangely, the Large Skipper, which arrived a few years after the Small Skipper is normally still quite scarce, but this year they are everywhere!!

    1. Hi Nick. Small Skipper numbers are picking up fast now and it's looking like it will be a pretty good year for them. Hopefully the Essex Skippers will also do well, although I haven't seen one yet this year yet, but they are always a bit behind the Small. Most species are heading north, so maybe one day the Marbled will be with you.