Huge numbers yesterday on this walk, on some very quiet meadows at between 400 and 600m. First Gonepteryx rhamni, our Brimstone:

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Next is I think a Clouded Yellow, Colias croceus:

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Then Papilio machaon, macaón in Spanish, Common swallowtail and a host of other names in English. We saw a couple of dozen:

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A swallowtail story from The child’s companion and juvenile instructor (1861):

“But, papa, I wish so much to know how the butterfly can force itself down into very narrow flowers without spoiling its pretty wings.”
“That is a thoughtful inquiry, Frank, for many flowers keep their honey stores in deep cells quite out of sight. I shall try to explain it to you. Now, if there were a little honey in the bottom of this vase, and you wished to get it without using your hands, how would you accomplish the difficult task?”
“Well, really I do not know, for the vase is too narrow for my head and too long for my tongue.”
“The butterfly might have been equally unable to sip the flower juice if it had not been supplied by the Creator with a most curious hollow tongue, long and narrow, and made up of very many little rings fastened together. Through this tongue it can drink the nectar or juice of the smallest flower. This tiny trunk is coiled up under the head when the insect is at rest, and we should require a strong magnifying glass to be able to examine it. I hope when you grow older you will take great pleasure in learning about the wonders of creation; for God teaches his children lessons out of two books — his word and his works. Even this butterfly seems to say to us, ‘Try to be like me; once I was a creeping thing, fond of earth, and neither able nor willing to soar above it; then I lay cold, stiff, and motionless; but look at me now — I love everything pure, and bright, and beautiful.’ So, dear boy, I hope it will be with us; if our souls are washed from sin by Jesus, and quickened by the Holy Spirit, we need not fear the long sleep of death, but lie down in the hope of a glorious resurrection, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.'”
Frank looked at his father’s face while he said these last words; then turning to take another glance at the butterfly, the bright wings were spread, and the gay little creature was soon in the garden. His admirer quickly followed, and, rich in the possession of some new ideas, roamed up and down among the flowers as happy as the merry butterfly.

The one of the Fat White contemplating Christian entomology while taking a bath in the waterfall was censored by the photographer, SCG.

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  1. I once saw an enormous black butterfly in the Collserola. Not sure what species it was. Just thought I’d share.

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