One of our most attractive spring butterflies is the orange tip.

Only the male sports the tangerine colour on his wing tips whereas the female's wings show a delicate filigree pattern and can be mistaken for a small white butterfly.

April was sunny, dry, cold windy and frosty, and that weather pattern continued into May, certainly not butterfly weather so most species were very scarce although I did see a few orange tips and brimstones in bluebell woods.

The orange tip lays eggs on garlic mustard and ladies smock.

Females are careful to lay a single egg on one plant because caterpillars are cannibalistic.

If a second female mistakenly lays an egg on the same plant, the first caterpillar to hatch will eat the second one, a cunning ploy of nature to ensure enough food is available and larvae don't starve.

Ladies smock is also known as 'cuckoo flower', a popular folklore plant that blooms in April and May when cuckoos call, or used to!

The flower is often covered in 'cuckoo-spit', a foamy substance which our forefathers believed was deposited by cuckoos spitting!

But of course cuckoos don't spit but the froth is caused by a tiny green insect called a frog hopper that pierces the plant to feed on the juices and covers itself in foam as a protection against predators.

The photo shows an orange tip perched on cuckoo flower in a bluebell wood.