A late spring for butterflies

Red Admiral. Photo: Elaine Conlon
Red Admiral. Photo: Elaine Conlon

Adrian Neil has sent us an interesting look at the butterflies seen in the first three months of this year compared to last:-

Although there have been a few sunny days, the weather so far this year seems to have been mostly rather cold and wet which has not given butterflies much encouragement to emerge. Up to the end of March, only 6 species had been reported to the branch website, less than half the 13 listed in 2017. The dates are as follows:

Red Admirals seem to appear very early regardless of the weather. Funnily enough, Peacock and Brimstone were both earlier this year than last. Admittedly several of the 2017 species only emerged towards the end of March, but the same can be said for the Small White this year. The migrants Painted Lady Clouded Yellow were both seen exceptionally early last year. I don’t suppose the weather in this county had much to do with that or maybe they were releases. Of course, records for other species may come in later for the period January to March this year, either to the website or via other recording methods.

Out of interest, a look at the national BC website shows that just two more species have been seen in other parts of the country so far: Painted Lady and Small Copper, both in Sussex in March. Dorset is not the only county to have had a disappointing start to the butterfly year.

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