Wednesday April 15th 2020
A water boatman skims in bursts; spindly long legs supporting his weight. Erratically moving along the surface so as not to become food to those lurking beneath. I'd noticed a tell-tale ripple shortly before - a fish.
No doubt happily swimming below with no need to worry about people fishing from the banks. There is a wonderful quietness, despite the numerous birds chattering away. No diesel engines of the narrowboats chugging along and only the odd vehicle beeping its horn as it travels over the canal bridge.
Further down the towpath, imagine my excitement at seeing a large prestine yellowy green Brimstone following the line of the hedgerow. It must have been a male for the lady butterfly is much lighter in colour.
This butterfly is one of our largest and lives for ten to twelve months. It overwinters in the evergreen plants of woodlands. Once the mating season arrives the Brimstone returns to the wetlands where the common buckthorn and alder buckthorn tree can be found. The leaves of these trees are what its caterpillars feed on.