Butterflies and Bumblebees

This week was very inspiring. I hadn’t been out much during last week, but took my dog on a longer walk at the riverside. The sun broke through as we got there and sheltered from the breeze by the trees it became warm and pleasant. Two angry-sounding grey heron flew under the old bridge as we crossed it, I haven’t seen them there before and we watched them fly down the river out of sight. There were the usual white butterflies around but I also saw two small copper butterflies, I believe female and male, which were flying among the mass of brambles. This was my first time spotting them. Since then I have been working on an A4 sized watercolour painting based on the female small copper that I saw. The photos I took weren’t sharp enough for fine details, only the general shape, colours, patterns etc, but I have used reference images and my butterfly handbooks to study the more intricate details. I hope to finish it this week and move on to other butterflies I’ve seen.

watercolour sketch of male small copper

There are quite a few wild growing buddleia, nicknamed the butterfly bush, dotted around the riverside waste ground but so far I’ve only seen bees near them. The familiar tall blooms of rosebay willowherb, or fireweed, are everywhere and I saw most of the more common types of bumblebees buzzing in and out the flowers. I also saw what I think was a carpenter bee on some bramble flowers but I wasn’t able to photograph it.

red tailed bumblebee on common knapweed

There were until recently lots of rosebay willowherb growing wildly by my living room window and I took the opportunity to make a small, loose sketch before they were cut down. Although considered a weed I do quite like them, they remind me of nights spent in late summer at my grandparents, roasting tatties in an open fire, they burn very well when they have died and dried out.

coloured pencil sketch of rosebay willowherb


The weekend looks set to rain (in Scotland at least) but today is a very pleasant 23 degrees and sunny. Thankfully we have not been enduring the same heat as the rest of the UK. I hope to get out on longer walks as I’ve been inactive for a few days after hurting my ankle. I wish it had been because of something interesting but no, I simply fell down a hole after being distracted by a butterfly. 🤷