Meet The Gatekeeper


Pyronia tithonus also known as the Hedge Brown or the Gatekeeper. The latter name apparently derives from this butterfly’s habit of feeding on clumps of flowers in gateways or along field margins. It is a midsummer butterfly and common across England from Yorkshire southwards. I spotted this one yesterday morning having a very good feed on one of my doronicum flowers, but refusing to open it wings. Then it moved to the nearby apple tree, and I caught a momentary display. When not visiting gardens it prefers the nectar of Wild Marjoram, Common Fleabane, ragworts, and Bramble. Interestingly, the Common Fleabane flower does look very similar to the doronicum.



36 thoughts on “Meet The Gatekeeper

  1. I took part in the Big Butterfly Count yesterday (anyone can do this!) and this was our most common butterfly. Just a sensible little butterfly, going quietly about its business!

    1. I’d forgotten about the count, Janet. But I am rather puzzled as to how you give even a vaguely accurate total. They’re all over the place and whisking back and forth.

  2. Pretty little thing, and that’s a fabulous opening shot, Tish. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Must be the warm weather (or the gates πŸ™‚ ) cos I’ve seen a few up here too.

    1. I read that they are very climate responsive so that would explain their presence up north – all this spreading heatwave. Just been looking at the forecast. Boiling tomorrow and even more boiling on Thurs. The promise of rain keeps getting further away too. Phew and double phew!

  3. Beautiful, Tish. ( the butterfly too, of course!)

    I shall alert another blog pal who is nuts ablout butterflies. I have never seen this one on his blog. I am sure he will be just as thrilled.

    1. Very nice of you to pop over, Brian, and say such nice things. Just been to look at your photos which are v. stunning. Mine are more in the ‘taking happy snaps’ mode πŸ™‚

    1. Ha! Candid Tish shooting shots. You will just have to take those imaginary views yourself, Shimon πŸ™‚ Actually the photo shoot did involve a few contortions on my part as our little apple tree was rather in the way of the first shot. But now you raise the matter, I do seem to spend a lot of time endeavouring not to fall over while trying to take photos in odd tracts of vegetation.

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