November’s Butterflies

An orange and brown butterfly with black and white markings on a yellow and brown leaf
Red Admiral. Photo: George McCabe

In November 2022, 223 butterflies were reported to this website: far more than in any of the previous four years, and from a good range of species.

Looking back over five years:

2022: 223 butterflies of 9 species

2021: 131 butterflies of 11 species

2020: 104 butterflies of 8 species

2019: 70 butterflies of 6 species

2018: 128 butterflies of 10 species.

The Red Admiral was the species most reported this November, with 165 sightings meaning that more Red Admirals were seen that the total number of butterflies in any of the preceding four years.

The Clouded Yellow came second, with 11 sightings and the Brimstone third, with ten sightings reported. Other species, in descending order were the Speckled Wood; Painted Lady; Peacock; Small Tortoiseshell; Large White and Holly Blue.

The Clouded Yellow in the photo below is the pale form known as helice, caught by Andy Martin on 4 November on the Southbourne Undercliff (Bournemouth).

A pale yellow and whitish butterfly on a white flower

Clouded Yellow f. helice. Photo: Andy Martin

The high numbers as a whole presumably reflect the very mild temperatures in November, when there were very few frosts and daytime temperatures were relatively high for a lot of the month.

It is interesting to note that there are three migrants in this list: the Red Admiral, The Clouded Yellow and the Painted Lady, though adult Red Admirals are now known to be surviving our winters, and even the Clouded Yellow is over-wintering as a chrysalis on cliffs at Bournemouth.

An orange butterfly with brown, black and white markings on a pink flower

Painted Lady. Photo: Gary Holderness 14 Nov 2022 Southbourne.

Please go on keeping your eyes open for butterflies over the winter and let us know what you have seen, using our Recording Form.  Our transect walking programme brings in a lot of valuable data, but only runs from April to September, so reports to the website are very important.

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