Butterflies: May 2017
An exodus of Painted Ladies with just five recorded though two Large Skippers were in Waldershare Gully and more interestingly, the first Clouded Yellow of the year was in Restharrow Dunes. The latter becoming the first May record since 2009.
28 Painted Ladies were recorded this morning, almost all nectaring on asters along the beach.
The spring’s first Large Skipper was seen in the Oasis and at least 17 Small Tortoiseshells were on the wing on New Downs.
The BMS transect yesterday was still showing the effects of last week’s rain, but this morning it was evident that the hot weather is beginning to bring things on, with freshly-emerged Speckled Woods in good numbers, the first summer Small Tortoiseshells along the border of Royal St.George’s and, along the Green Wall, 10 Holly Blues (a notable 18 were seen along Worth track on the 17th) and 13 Red Admirals.
A walk along the entire length of the spillway on New Downs came up with totals of 102 Common Blues, 34 Small Heaths and 3 Brown Argus.
Warm overnight, cloudy and warm this morning and then increasingly bright and sunny, it turned out to be a very good day for butterflies. Notably, a Green Hairstreak – a real local scarcity – was found on Worth and the BMS transect was again productive, with 55 butterflies, including 6 Brown Argus, a Painted Lady and 9 Common Blues.
A change to warm southerlies with accompanying rain, heading from across the Channel, brought an influx of 6-7 Red Admirals yesterday afternoon and at least 13 were basking on hawthorn blossom or sheltering from the wind this morning.
Well, although the transect walk this week produced only 28 butterflies, it was probably better than might have been expected after a week of pretty vile weather. Most (16) were Small Heaths, while a Common Blue was the first to have been recorded on the transect this year.
The transect walk was pretty good, with a total of 32 butterflies, 50% of which were Small Heaths, along with the first Brown Argus and Wall Brown of the year – something of a relief in the latter case as Wall has been hanging on by its fingernails in recent years.