Watch out for March butterflies

Red Admiral on a dandelion flower
Red Admiral. Photo: Lyn Pullen

With the recent snow, it’s a bit difficult to believe in sunshine or butterflies, but they will turn up. This website has so far had four species reported(Red Admiral, Peacock, Brimstone and Small Tortoiseshell in that order), but Adrian Neil has been looking at the website and garden records for last year, and by the end of March 2017, 13 species had been recorded.

Table showing dates various butterfly species were first reported in gardens or via the website

The green lines show species reported on the website before any garden report, the red show when garden sightings were first, and the blue are sightings on the same date. Adrian points out this shows that your chance of seeing an early butterfly in your garden is high, which is possibly because early nectar can be hard to come by, and gardens are more likely to have some than other areas.

Early nectar flowers include:

  • Narcissus – not the deep-trumpet daffodils, but the flatter blooms
  • Aubretia
  • Crocuses when they are wide open for the butterfly to access the nectar
  • Dandelions! Excellent for butterflies and bees. See the photo below: despite all he lovely forget-me-nots, the butterfly went straight for the dandelion.
Peacock butterfly with open wings on a dandelion flowering among a lot of forget-me-nots

Red Admiral on dandelion. Photo: Lyn Pullen

If you could record the butterflies in your garden, we would appreciate it. Either print off the paper form and send it to Adrian at the end of the season, or use the national Garden Butterfly Survey website.

Leave a Reply