Raising Orange Tip Butterflies {Photography}

Hello my friends!

Nature is magical isn’t it?!

This weeks post is a butterfly centred photography collection. 

I recently had to have a bit of a clear out in my new garden, for many reasons but mainly that (1) it was full of some seriously dead plants and (B)  there was a little section of fencing that connected to the dry stone wall (I mean its literally one of my life goals to have a garden with a dry stone wall) that meant my dog could get out. I felt so bad for having to take away some of the dead plants but needed to make it safe for my pooch.

While I was having this clear out I found four Orange tip butterfly pupae! Being a towny I’ve never really seen these before and the pupae themselves were tiny, but being the bug freak that I am I brought them inside and created an environment for them to finish their transformation and wanted to share the photos with you.

I’ve raised butterflies before (but not this type) basically I bought a pop-up mesh enclosure from that online place named after the rainforest and laid an unused microfibre dish cloth on the bottom and very carefully put the pupae on it.

I then gently sprayed the cloth (not the pupae) with a plant mister until it was damp – you have to keep the pupae hydrated or else they won’t finish the cycle, but you also have to watch out that you don’t drown them and I’ve found this method works. I know that you can glue them into hanging positions but don’t like that idea in case it burns them.

It took about a week for the first one to emerge, a male with gorgeous wing patterns.

I missed the actual emerging bit but got a decent picture of him before his wings spread out.

Something I’m doing this year is designing a new pollinator garden, using plants that bees love and different types of butterfly need as their larval food plant. These chaps like Cuckoo flower and Honesty (which is this beautiful purple flowering plant) so I’m growing plenty of them.

I love to be out in nature so creating a garden of wildflowers is something that makes my heart soar, and if I can help to improve the lives of our pollinators I will.

Fun fact – Orange tip butterflies are scientifically called Anthocharis cardamines and are considered a medium sized butterfly with a wing span of up to 5cm. They like to live near meadows, woodland and hedgerows all of which can be found close by.

Aren’t the undersides of the wings are just beautiful? The amazing green markings are so tiny and perfect. I was so pleased to get a shot with both the upper and lower wings! Isn’t it amazing how fluffy the edges are!

One of the pupae ‘coloured up’ differently to the others and turned out it was female – with the males you can really easily see the orange part of the upper wing as the females don’t have this marking and are just black and white its easy to tell what sex they are before they emerge.

I even managed to get all four of them in a photo together.

Its super exciting that all four of them successfully emerged and I ended up as the adoptive parent of 3 males and a female! I gave them a slice of orange to pep them up before releasing them into the big wild world.

Even if this one wanted to stay on my t-shirt!

Two of the males flew off quickly but the last male stayed with the female and I got some great shots of them on some dandelions!

It makes me feel so happy that although I accidentally disturbed these little creatures I was then able to give them a safe space to complete their life cycle and have been able to release them back into the wild, hopefully they’ll mate and create more Orange tips!

Maybe their dependents will come back and visit my wild space garden in the future.

This is my favourite image from the set as you can really see the butterflies features – he has such big green eyes and is so fluffy!

So that’s it for this week…I really hope you enjoyed a little slice of nature! It felt really rather magical to be around these creatures and I feel super privileged to have been able to watch them up close. Do you have a favourite picture? As always thank you so much for reading this post and have a great weekend!

p.s the photos were taken with my Nikon camera.


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