Burnet moths and other sunny insects on Southampton Common

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This week has been sunny and hot, and Southampton Common is starting to look uncharacteristically scorched. It’s odd to think that just about four months ago it was covered in a blanket of snow.

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With the sunshine the number of butterflies, damselflies, dragonflies and other insects has risen beautifully, and I have been happily running around, trying unsuccessfully to capture photos of every fluttering wing.

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My favourite camera fodder have been six spotted burnet moths, who are out and about in large numbers flying, resting, mating, and, when they get particularly fed up with me photographing them, trying to sabotage my camera, staring with a sit-in on the lens hood.

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Although my obsession of the week has been the Burnets, I have also been exclaiming over and stalking butterflies. Someone asked me the other day where the best place on the Common to see butterflies is. The answer is: just about everywhere, but especially behind me.

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The number of dragonflies seems to have risen every day this week, and if the weather stays warm, as they say it will, I am hoping that this trend continues because if there is one thing that makes me very happy indeed it is staring through the lens of my camera at a dragonfly that plans to move just as I hit the shutter release button.

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And of course, the cygnets. They are getting so big that it’s hard to believe that it was only six or so weeks ago that they hatched. Mind you, they at least are not yet taller than their mother, unlike my thirteen year old whose outgrown hiking sandals I have been wearing this week, as a part of my latest venture in sartorial inelegance.

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So, here’s to plenty more of the long hot summer days, and to everyone taking their litter home with them (or at least putting it in the bins) so that neither the wildlife nor I get caught up in it!

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