Butterfly House

painted feather butterfly

I love nature and I love it when nature inspires my crafting. I’ve been experimenting with feathers and paint. My original idea morphed into something quite different. This was all inspired by a trip to the North Somerset Butterfly House. One of the best kept secrets in Somerset.

owl butterfly

This is my kind of place. It’s no secret that I would love to be an entomologist. Where better to spend a Sunday afternoon than in a butterfly house. I love learning more about minibeasts. Fortunately, so does the rest of the family. As we waited to pay, the Bug Man showed us a hissing cockcroach. Very neat. It’s neck was perfectly protected by the shaped armour on its back and when it pulled in its head, it fitted snug. Nothing sticking out to enable a predator to strike. Fabulous engineering. It’s shiny back enabled it to slip though the forest’s leaf mould easily.

Then on to the butterfly house. First butterfly spotted was this amazing Owl butterfly (above). Amazing patterns on it’s underside.

zebra longwing

There were masses of Zebra Longwing (above) fluttering lazily around our heads. Totally unbothered by our presence. The yellow and black peril colours. Apparently they are not fakes. They are poisonous. Only if you eat them though.

zebra mosaic butterfly

The Zebra Mosaic fooled me. I focused on the fake head! Do you see the yellow tip. It looks like the head, while the real head has the same markings as the wings, and blends in perfectly. It is a clever little butterfly. Most butterflies land on tree trunks so that they are facing up. This one lands facing down, with its fake head up the tree. Predators aim at the top where the tasty butterfly’s head should be. In this case, as they will be hopefully fooled, only the tip of the wings are damaged. Leaving the Zebra Mosaic to fly away.

butterfly incubator

No butterfly house would be complete without the butterfly nursery.

feeding the terrapins

The children loved feeding the terrapins.

common mormon butterfly

So many different types of butterfly. Above is the Common Mormon.

butterfly feeding station

The banana skins on the feeding stations made it easy to study the butterflies. Might try using this technique to attract our garden butterflies, although I suspect the fruit flies might engulf the skins.

The butterfly on the left is a Blue Morpho.


Each butterfly finds its way to survive. Whether by behaviour or markings. Or both. It wasn’t until we got home and looked at the photos that I realised that the Owl butterflies had clever markings too.

disguised butterflies

I don’t know about you, but I think its markings look a lot like a scaly lizard as you look down on them feeding.

In case you can’t make out……

disguised butterflies lizard

If you go up to the original, it should jump out at you. Not literally, of course!

Blue Morpho butterfly

Last of all are the Blue Morpho. My inspiration for a spot of crafting. I love the blue, but also the way that another butterfly seems to be superimposed onto it. I think the light behind has allowed the eye markings of the underside, to show through.

blue morpho on leg

They have such a slow flutter, you wonder how they stay up. This one took a rest on my leg. Almost pleading to inspire me.

feather butterfly

Back home, I cut feathers into the shape butterfly shape and anchored them with white tack. Using watercolours, I added colour.

painted feather butterfly side

Simple. Not sure I’ll get it off the cardboard, but that’s OK. I rather like the effect of the paint hitting the cardboard as the feather bits peter out. I’d like to try this again.

If you are in North Somerset, then I can recommend the Butterfly House. No need to be a budding entomologist. The butterflies are just lovely to watch. The butterfly house is next door to Cadbury’s Garden Centre. Makes a nice stop off as you head down to Cornwall on the M5.

This is NOT a sponsored post in any way, I’m just an unabashed enthusiast!

Linking up to #CountryKids. For more getting out and about family fun, I can recommend hopping on over.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

28 thoughts on “Butterfly House

  • Thursday 31 July, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    One of the things I love about blogging it that we get so much inspiration from one another.
    Your feather butterflies are just wonderful, and the painted one is fab.
    I don’t know if you already visit this blog, but I think you would like it.
    She has the most amazing moths.

    • Thursday 31 July, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Moths. Ow! I will have to check that out!

  • Thursday 31 July, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    That looks amazingly effective, a really lovely idea. We’ve visited a couple of butterfly houses over the past month, and I find them totally captivating.

    • Thursday 31 July, 2014 at 7:43 pm

      Captivating is a good word. Loved our visit.

  • Thursday 31 July, 2014 at 10:05 pm

    Love butterfly houses 🙂 And, your painted butterfly is beautiful, oh to have some time to myself to do my own crafts!

    • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 7:57 am

      It didn’t take long to make and the children soon joined me to make their own.

  • Friday 1 August, 2014 at 9:34 am

    These are just beautiful! I love butterflies too..there’s something so magical about them. It’s such a shame that our local butterfly house closed down as I was looking forward to taking my two to visit it…I must look around for another one close by x

    • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 8:16 am

      We were delighted to discover this one. I hope you find one.

  • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Your photos of the butterflies are stunning – so beautifully clear. Love the painted feather butterly too – looks like you had a wonderful day out 🙂

    • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 8:10 am

      It was a great outing. I can’t resist photographing butterflies. Could have spent hours there!

  • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 7:54 am

    I love a good butterfly house too! We visited some chalk downs yesterday and they were full of butterflies, but very hard to take decent photos as they’d fly away as soon as I got near. #countrykids

    • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 8:14 am

      Frustrating. I know the feeling. Wondering if I should take banana skins out with me on our next walk. 😀 I end up putting the camera on a tripod with the camera facing a likely flower and setting to sports mode. Sometimes I’m lucky!

  • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 8:49 am

    What amazing photos and colours. I have not taken my daughter to a butterfly house yet but I am hoping to visit one over the Summer. It looks like you had a lovely time. And the butterflies you made are so beautiful.

    • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 11:52 am

      I hope you find a local one. Well worth visiting. Butterflies are so beautiful. 🙂

  • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 10:52 am

    A lovely watercolour painting and the feathers add depth to it. Such a beautiful variety of butterflies and you managed to capture them beautifully – definitely worth a visit. Thanks for linking up and sharing with Country Kids.

    • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 11:54 am

      I shall be doing more feather and paint this summer. It has an interesting effect. One of the great things about a butterfly house is that they tend to stay still more than the ones in the garden. Easier photography! Thanks for hosting.

  • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Wish I had known about this before – the M5 coming back from Cornwall was heaving. IS that your craft – omg it is just stunning. And how did you take such great photos of the butterflies – I tried for ages and just gave up.

    • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 11:55 am

      Oh. It would have made a wonderful stop off, in that case. Cup of tea at the cafe next door too. Thank you for your kind comment.

  • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Beautiful photos of the butterflies. I really must learn a lot more about them with the kids – a butterfly house would be the perfect starting point for us.

    • Saturday 2 August, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      Butterfly houses are a great way to see the whole lifecycle and stimulate questions. Hope you find one.

  • Sunday 3 August, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    Such beautiful pictures. I love butterflies.

  • Sunday 3 August, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    What gorgeous photos and I am LOVING the feather butterfly you did for your laptop. How creative. Gorgeous. x

  • Monday 4 August, 2014 at 7:26 pm

    Goodness I live in North Somerset and near this area for years and I don’t know they have this place! Definitely visiting! And your art is so nice. Original and the coloring is awesome =) #countrykids

  • Monday 4 August, 2014 at 9:33 pm

    I love watching butterfly’s and this sounds like the perfect place to go, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the place we took my son on his first birthday, as we were in North Somerset. I had never realised about the lizard on the wing pattern so thank you I learnt something too!

  • Tuesday 5 August, 2014 at 8:44 am

    Stubbing photos. We recently watched our caterpillars turn to butterflies and it was amazing to see the journey x #countrykids

  • Monday 11 August, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Great post, I love butterflies and have pinned most of yours, I love your painted butterfly.

    • Monday 11 August, 2014 at 11:39 am

      Butterflies are beautiful and I’m fascinated by the defensive markings refined over generations. Not something I’d considered while watching our Peacock and Red Admiral butterflies. I’m looking at them in a whole new light!

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