They may not technically be Wild British Butterflies, but they are still absolutely stunning and I think worthy of a post.
We were up and out bright and breezy and arrived at the New Forest Wildlife Park at Ashurst as the doors opened at 10, thereby avoiding 1) The Heat and 2) The Crowds.
As a strategy it paid off. There was only one Incredibly Annoying Child who insisted on throwing stones at every wild creature she encountered and then screaming when she was told not to. After listening to several rounds of the placating tones of her mother saying "darling, I've told you not to do that," followed by the irritating child demanding "why?" followed by the mother: "because you'll get into trouble," (not, I noticed crossly: "because it will hurt the animals") followed by a petulant "who with?" followed by a soft "the people who look after the animals, my darling," I was quite close to picking said child up and chucking her in with the otters, who were about to be fed and would no doubt have taught her some manners and respect for aforesaid wild creatures.
Fortunately the butterflies were more than enough to take my mind of it. Even L remained in the butterfly house quite chirpily for longer than his usual few seconds, and M was very pleased because as well as gorgeous butterflies there were also giant snails, and next to leaf cutter ants he likes giant snails Best Of All.
I had to do some detective work on the internet when we got home to furnish the pics with IDs as there weren't any obvious labels in the house, so if any are wrong feel free to correct. The label refers to the photo above.
Caligo Memnon (The Owl)
Siproeta Stelenes (Malachite)
No ID for this one, but it's a beauty, no?
Idea Leuconae (Great Tree Nymph)
Morpho Peleides (Blue Morpho)
Tithorea Harmonia (Harmonia Tiger-Wing)
Siproeat Stelenes (Malachite) with wings open
The Owl, enjoying some orange
Blue Morpho, just hatched!
Blue Morpho with wings open
Great Tree Nymph close up
Tiger Wing with wings open
Papilio Rumanzovia (Scarlet Mormon)
As well as the Butterfly House, the Wildlife Park boasts lots of other beautiful, well housed and well cared for animals in as natural and spacious an environment as I have yet seen in these kinds of places. They all looked happy and relaxed. Most were native to the British Isles, although a few (such as some of the owls) were more exotic types. During the hour or two we were there we saw.....
This young otter was rescued and now lives happily at the centre
An extremely friendly hedgehog
Mummy Wild Boar and Two Piglets
Very Friendly Deer
A Beautiful Tawny Owl
A Lesser Spotted Child In His Natural Habitat On The Zip Wire
Lesser Spotted Child and Father Competing To See Who Could Climb To The Top First (L won)
There were also Wolves who were sensibly sleeping hidden away out of the sun (much to L's disappointment as they are his favourite animal). It's a fab place to visit so if you ever find yourself in Ashurst on the edge of the New Forest it's well worth a trip, whether you have small people in tow or not. Get there early though because it does get busy.
I'll end with some snaps of our sunflowers at home which are just starting to come out, and the Hollyhocks which are also starting to bloom....
And finally, my favourite photo of the day, a magnificent Stag at the Wildlife Park.
Wishing you all a good week ahead, with this incredible heatwave apparently set to stay with us (hope it doesn't use itself up completely before the summer holidays which are only a week away now! CT x