Lichen and Butterfly wings


Small twig covered in lichen

It hasn’t been a surprise lately that the ground around the old Sycamore tree has been littered with small branches and twigs, as the wind has been punishingly strong.  The messy scattering of  strewn pieces are gnarled, twisted and covered in lichen.  I’ve collected them up and put them in the woodshed.

Lichen pieces

At this time of year I find lichen pieces in the workshop too.  There are bits everywhere – actually more in vaguely grouped areas.  My first job is going round picking all these up.  It is fascinating how many different varieties there are – some with feathery fronds, some like seaweed and others with crisp convoluted leaves.  These little pieces also carpet the area round the trunk of the tree – presumably birds are pecking for insects amongst and beneath the lichen, and others are bringing pieces into the shed to finish eating, or for makeshift roosts.  Do birds eat lichen?   In any event it is untidy activity.

Bits of Lichen

Amongst the lichen pieces are ‘shining eyes’ – glows of gold, red, purple and blue.  They’re actually butterfly wings – just the wings.  I think this must be the birds too – having feasted, tossing away the unpalatable bits.

Butterfly wings

There are of course various bird droppings too, but I know now to cover things over when I leave at the end of the day,  otherwise I’m constantly rubbing the stone clean of their little marks.

Butterfly wing pieces



  1. Comment by Ellen Abbott:

    Such beauty. My grandkids always save the butterfly and dragonfly bodies they find for me.

  2. Comment by Jennifer:

    You must have quite a collection Ellen! I was amazed how perfect the wings were, and colours so vivid – my fingers felt very clumsy in picking them up and got covered in the silky dust. When I went closer to look, my breathing made them flutter away as if coming alive.

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