Butterflies: July 2018
Maybe due to the weekend’s rain, there was a significant influx of Red Admirals this morning, with 44 on the Estate and 9 on Worth, where there were also 3 Painted Ladies. Holly Blues also showed well, with 7 on the Estate and 3 on Worth.
The hot weather continues and rare butterfly records follow, with another Ringlet in the gullies this morning and the amazing sight of a Silver-washed Fritillary close to the Estate toll gate – the second record for the Bay of this mainly woodland species, the previous one having been in early July 2011.
The hot, dry weather is making like difficult for species usually found on buddleia at this time of year, with many of the plants having already come and gone. However, a few Painted Ladies, Peacocks and Peacocks were nectaring on hemp agrimony along the Delf Stream this morning and two more Clouded Yellows were seen nearby. Brown Argus seems to be taking advantage of the arid conditions with 30 and excellent count on the Estate today.
A Clouded Yellow was seen again, this time along the Ancient Highway south of HQ, but star prize went to a Ringlet in Waldershare Gully; our second record in as many years and only the third since 1983.
Rather against the run of play, given their extreme scarcity this spring, a Clouded Yellow was seen on New Downs – the fifth consecutive year that they have been seen on the spillway of the flood alleviation scheme there. There was also one on nearby Monks’ Wall on Sunday.
A decent return of 14 species on a walk to the Point. Meadow Brown scored highly with 104 recorded with high totals of Gatekeeper and Small/Essex Skipper also present. Two Painted Lady’s implied a bit of migration whilst three Brown Argus were rare records for that part of our recording area.
The BMS transect walk turned up a total of 396 butterflies – largely small skippers (112), Gatekeepers (86) and Meadow Browns (80), with a supporting cast of 47 Marbled Whites. This puts 2018 in fourth place at this time of year over the last 12 years, but it is so arid that the season will almost certainly be shortened by the desiccation that is inevitable. We still have just one sighting of Wall Brown this year and the prospects for this once common insect don’t look great.
This morning brought the first of the second generation of Small Copper and an obvious influx of around 24 Large Whites (very scarce here in most years).