WHEN out on your daily exercise walk in the Wee County, or sitting in the garden, now is a great time to spot butterflies, especially when the weather is warm.

On one recent sunny afternoon in my garden, I spotted small tortoiseshell, peacock, and comma butterflies in the space of an hour.

All three of these species hibernate over winter and are on the wing early in the season as they seek to find a mate and lay eggs to start the next generation.

The comma is especially interesting as it is relatively new coloniser to Scotland, having expanded northwards in recent decades, probably because of global warming.

It is a most distinctive butterfly, featuring exquisite orange-patterned wings with scalloped edges.

When the wings close, the darker undersides make the butterfly all but disappear as it takes on the appearance of a crinkled leaf.

Such camouflage is a clever adaptation, but the comma caterpillar goes to even further lengths by resembling a bird dropping.

It is an act of evolutionary genius, and I am forever in awe at the natural forces that led to this fascinating design feature.

My favourite butterfly at this time of year is the orange-tip, which is normally on the wing by the end of April.

The males have the most wonderful tangerine-edged wing-tips, whilst the wings of the females are whiteish, smudged with darker edges.

When she closes her wings, the undersides are wonderfully inscribed with mottled green.

Down on the haugh of the River Devon, the flood meadows sparkle and dance as these little orange-tips flutter in the breeze in search of cuckooflower, the favourite food plant of their caterpillars.

I adore watching their colourful wings catching the light in a myriad of mirror reflections, and for me, it is the very essence of spring.