Putting aside thoughts of a ‘Two Ronnies’ sketch about policemen in Dorchester, the small copper referred to is a butterfly I photographed yesterday. I only had a tiny old Canon with me (hello, ‘Two Ronnies’ Church Dignitaries sketch), with its ‘battery dying’ light flashing and no charger to hand. So these pics are the best I could get in a hurry…

It’s been a remarkable late summer for butterflies and moths, with many species I have never seen / noticed before – including this little one. It’s possibly because we planted some hyssop in early May that has flourished. At any given time of day, there have been 3 or 4 butterfly species (mostly Red Admirals, Peacocks, Tortoiseshells and Whites); a couple of moth brands; 3 or 4 bumblebee types (mostly white-tailed and carders); and varied honeybees of indeterminate make. Apart from a white buddleia, we have never had a plant that has been so attractive to flying creatures. Even the flycatchers have enjoyed it.

HYSSOP, WITH VERY PRETTY SMALL BEE [ID welcomed via ‘Comments’]Hyssop with Bee, Dorset

SMALL COPPER BUTTERFLYSmall Copper Butterfly, Dorset 1 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 2 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 4 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 5 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 6 Small Copper Butterfly, Dorset 7


  1. Lovely pictures. I think your bumble bee is a Carder bumble bee – I’m not going into what type of Carder, I find them too confusing. I notice our butterflies up this year but our bumble bees down, hit by the long, cold spring.


    1. I was hoping to hear from you re ID, Amelia! I’m familiar with the carders with (from the side) ginger mohicans; I can see how these sweet little honey-coloured bees might be a kind of carder. Do you have hyssop in France? We are definitely planting more next year. RH


      1. I don’t have any hyssop but it looks as if you are telling me I should get some. My big favourite is Nepeta – catmint – it just goes on and on flowering and all the bees love it. I have been trying out other stuff too. I think abundance is a factor as well. It’s no good having just a little bit so some of my new stuff needs to grow a bit yet. I will get some hyssop. I have a plant “wish list” and I will put it on so I don’t forget.


      2. Ummmmmm, not telling as such. H forfend. Just spreading the word. I’ve never seen such a popular plant (and attractive too). We are going to dig duller stuff up and plant different varieties next Spring. Not going down the biblical “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean” road though! RH


      3. I’m always keen to try out flowers that attract the bees. Some will fare better some years than others because of weather conditions, so the more variety you have the better.


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