Tag Archives: buddleia

Painted Lady and Friend

Painted Lady & Friend

Painted Lady & Friend. Photo: John Van Crugten

Another excellent shot, this time showing a Painted Lady butterfly in the foreground with a Humming-bird Hawk-moth darting past in the background! Photographed on 19/09/2015.

If you have spotted either of these species, please report your sightings to Butterfly Conservation’s Migrant Watch Survey.

Count butterflies in a field full of buddleias

Buddlia flowers with three Red Admiral butterflies on them
Red admirals on buddleia

Two of our Dorset Branch members, Peter and Judy Westgate, have set up a buddleia collection covering two-thirds of an acre, which is now becoming well established and is a stunning sight when in full bloom.

The point of the collection is to assess which buddleias butterflies like best, so someone has to go and watch to find out – and this could be you. It’s not too onerous: choose a nice sunny day, take a deckchair and a cold drink and move from bush to bush counting butterflies! There are no special arrangements, just turn up and count. Continue reading

Help Needed at Buddleia trial in North Dorset – lots of butterflies to record!

Dorset Branch members Peter & Judy Westgate started their private collection of well over 100 buddleia varieties in Fontmell Magna last year, with the aim of finding out which were the best for butterflies.

This year the bushes have grown larger, and are attracting even more butterflies: those who have already visited have counted nearly 100 Peacocks, plus growing numbers of Small Tortoiseshells, Brimstones, Red Admirals, Commas from the mid-summer Hutchinsoni variety and occasional Painted Ladies, Clouded Yellows and Dark Green and Silver-washed Fritillaries. Of course there are also clouds of fluttering Whites, mostly Large and Small but also some Green-veined.

Buddleia test plot

Buddleia test plot

We would welcome more recorders to visit & help to collect data on which varieties and colours attract the most butterflies.

Last year’s champion, the amazing dark purple Dartmoor with florettes hanging down in bunches like bananas, has not yet reached full bloom, but there are many new varieties now taking the field.

The collection is open at any time but if you have not visited before please contact Bill Shreeves to obtain directions on how to get there, how to record & a plan of the site. E-mail: [email protected] or write to 5, Butt’s Mead, Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 8NS.

If you visit, it would also be much appreciated if you could help the plants to keep flowering by doing some ‘dead heading’ – bring your own secateurs!

As an extra inducement Peter Westgate has also provided a comfortable seat under the shade of the orchard from which the amazing butterfly spectacle can be contemplated!

Buddleia trial succeeds despite the weather

Dorset Branch member, Peter Westgate, is undertaking a buddleia trial, growing lots of different types of this shrub to see which seems best at attracting butterflies. The bushes are not yet mature, but Dorset Branch has been monitoring it this year as a trial run. The 211 buddleias were surveyed by 18 different recorders between July and October, who counted a total of 844 butterflies of 12 different species – not bad, given the weather!

Top butterflies were:

  • Red Admiral – 318. (There was a huge inward migration of these butterflies late this season.)
  • Small Tortoiseshells – 274. Great to see, given how the numbers of this once-common butterfly have fallen in recent years
  • Peacocks – 59
  • Top buddleias were:
    • ‘Dartmoor’ – 16.3 (average of butterflies per recorder visit)
    • ‘Autumn Beauty’ (also called Beijing – a lilac colour) – 16.2
    • ‘White Profusion’ – 9.5.
    • ‘Pink Spreader’ gets a special mention, as it was the only variety to entice a Clouded Yellow, although the bush was small compared to the others.