The year’s first BMS transect walk took place in wall-to-wall sunshine on the 1st and although 8 butterflies will not shake anything to the core, it was a good opening salvo, reflective of an encouraging start to the season. However, it gave no indication of our earliest ever Small Copper, seen in the Whitehouse on the 5th, followed by another in Little Gully on the 8th. The first Orange Tip of the year was found on New Downs on the 9th, one day later than the earliest on record, a few freshly-emerged Green-veined Whites were on the wing the next day and a Large White was seen on the 11th, also just one day later than the earliest Bay record. The spring’s first Holly Blue was seen close to Middle Field on the 13th and another was seen along Worth track on the 17th, not far from a male Brimstone, fluttering around the Delf Stream bridge.
A Painted Lady arriving from off the sea enlivened the Pegwell WeBS count on the 22nd and the first Orange Tips for the Estate were seen the next day, which also featured an impressive count of 16 Small Coppers. A fresh-looking Red Admiral on the 27th was a further indication of immigration and in addition to three more on the 28th a Wall on New Downs was the first record from this part of the recording area for many years. The BMS transect on the 30th produced the first 2 Small Heaths of the year and at least 26 Small Coppers were evident across the Estate.