Cabbage White Butterfly

On Saturday I took part in the Big Butterfly Count.  This couldn’t be easier.  All you need to do is download the app and then sit in a sunny spot and count butterflies for 15 minutes.

My most common species was the Gatekeeper butterfly, which featured in Coming in to land…  This was followed by the large and small cabbage whites, which I really hope I identified accurately.  There is a clue in the size, but this is not definitive.  The large white has a darker black spot and wing-tips.  There is also the green-veined cabbage white, but I don’t think I spotted any of those.

As is always the way of these things, as soon as I stopped the official count I saw a comma and a peacock butterfly.  The pesky things would not sit still for a photo.

But this large [says tentatively] white was really begging me to take its photo.  It sat nice and still for five minutes or more.


I think the green raspberry leaf intensified the yellow-green tinge to the underside of the wing.


It seems to have its tongue (proboscis) out, but I’m not sure what it was sucking on.


I do love a compound eye.


They produce a mosaic view.  Doe this mean that butterflies see in kaleidoscope?


Learn about Butterflies informs me that “the laws of optics show that it’s likely that everything from about one centimetre to 200 metres will be rendered in sharp focus by butterflies”.


Furthermore, butterflies have a “a high flicker-vision frequency of about 150 images per second”!  No wonder those Peacocks see me coming.


Which just makes this Cabbage White all the more generous with his pouting.  Thank you Mr Butterfly.

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors.

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28 Comments Add yours

  1. Great shots of a beastly little butterfly that won’t keep still for me 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      They are so skittish, aren’t they? I couldn’t believe this one just sat there after all of my wasted efforts to capture the others!

  2. Did well finding one staying still. I’m not getting that high butterfly numbers on counts this year, though I have had new species to the garden. But I’ve had a greater number of day moths. Silver Y, burnet and cinnabar that I’ve not seen previously.

    1. Ali says:

      Me too! It’s interesting, isn’t it? I might do another count this weekend to compare…

  3. Penny Post says:

    Beautiful sharp images. Having tried to take some of insects myself I’m very impressed.

    1. Ali says:

      The right lens made all the difference for me. And luck comes into it, of course.

      1. Penny Post says:

        I suspect a lot of patience has more to do with it than luck.

  4. pommepal says:

    Lovely detail and what an interesting project. I have not seen any butterflies in my garden for ages

  5. Lovely!!! I once had a couple cabbage whites in my home in February that came home with me in produce from the grocery store. They were pure delight in mid winter, but did not live very long indoors.

    1. Ali says:

      There is just something so uplifting about a butterfly, isn’t there? Imagine being one…

  6. Heyjude says:

    I would say this is a Large Cabbage White and I have an almost exact photo of one, but on a Scabious flower. Now have caterpillars of the large and small species on my Nasturtiums!

  7. Fabulous images Ali.The cabbage white is much maligned. One was close to me yesterday fluttering against a bus window. They are quite beautiful close up. I hope that it eventually found its way back to the big outer world.

  8. Thanks for writing about your experience with one my favorite subjects ….. butterflies! Lovely photos, as always!

  9. 🦋 Oh, this is such a beautiful blog you have. I like so many posts but this one is gorgeous.
    🦋 I love all kinds of butterflies but there are very few around here any tme of the year.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you so much. It is lovely to have you here!

  10. What beautiful captures of this subtle but amazing butterfly.

  11. We have loads of cabbage whites this year…..but not a lot else. I wonder why?

    1. Ali says:

      Do you grow brassicas? I do get excited every time I see something that isn’t a cabbage white or a gatekeeper.

      1. Yes I do plus loads of nasturtiums

      2. Ali says:

        That’ll do it!

      3. Oh yes….😳 they have taken over my meadow area…..

  12. Great photos Ali! I am really enjoying your macro lens! I’ve never heard of a butterfly count, but we used to participate in the annual bird count through Cornell University.

    1. Ali says:

      The butterfly count was a first for me this year. Such a lovely way to spend 15 minutes!

      1. Yes that would be a fun time! I should count them in my garden sometime. We mostly get the cabbage butterflies too, but also the swallowtails.

  13. Oh I’m torn! I love butterflies and we’ve had a lot of whites this year, large and small, but now my rocket has nothing but stalks left thanks to their very hungry caterpillars!!

    1. Ali says:

      Ah. Yes, we net all our edible brassicas, but even then they seem to have holes!

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