Last year and this year have produced more Common Brown Butterflies (Heteronympha merope) than any year I can remember. Though not the earliest butterfly of the season, that usually goes to the Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi), the Common Brown is the most numerous by at least an order of magnitude.
This male is feeding on nectar from a Smooth Cat’s Ear (Hypochaeris radicata) flower.
Females are larger and have a darker, more striking pattern on the upper-wing.
After alighting on a flower, or perch, they often fold their wings above the body and display brilliant camouflage on the under-wing.