Wednesday 25 December 2019

2019 Wildlife Review: Butterflies

A migrant Red Admiral was the first butterfly of year on 23 February, but it was another month until further species appeared with Comma, Peacock, Speckled Wood and Orange-tip all noted before the end of March. At the same time single Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell (both scarce visitors to site) were seen.

Brimstone - Alan Keatley

By mid April Holly Blue and Small Copper were on the wing, and encouragingly more sightings of Brimstone. By mid May the meadow butterflies appeared with Wall Brown, Common Blue, Brown Argus and Large Skipper with Small Skipper and Meadow Brown all on the wing at the beginning of June. Sadly no sightings of Green Hairstreak were reported this year.

Marbled White - Alan Keatley

It was a good year for Marbled White, although still only a handful of sightings, Ringlet was also present in higher numbers than usual by mid Summer. However the highlight of the year was third site record of a Purple Hairstreak by the Main Pond on 27 July.

Purple Hairstreak - Luke Harman

The exceptionally high Summer temperatures saw a large emergence of Gatekeeper and the start of the predicted Painted Lady influx. However the drought last year seemed to impact on the summer generations of other butterflies with fewer than normal numbers of grassland species such as Small Copper, Brown Argus, Common Blue and both Large and Small Skipper.

Brown Argus - Alan Keatley

August saw Painted Lady passing through in good numbers almost daily, but not in the exceptional numbers seen elsewhere. By then migrant Red Admiral, Small and Large White were more noticeable and the first Clouded Yellow of the year was seen on 28 August.

Clouded Yellow - Alan Keatley

More Painted Lady were passing throughout September with a fresh generation on the wing, along with another half a dozen Clouded Yellow. The second sighting of the year of the once common Small Tortoiseshell was both welcoming and depressing at the same time. More encouraging and hopeful were sightings of third generation Wall Brown.

Painted Lady - Alan Keatley

Warm days in mid October saw the last Meadow Brown, Small Copper and Speckled Wood out and about with reasonable numbers of Red Admiral and more Painted Lady on late flowering Ivy until the last in mid November.

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