A Clouded Yellow and the first 2 Gatekeepers of summer were seen on New Downs, along with a few freshly-emerged Peacocks.
The first half of the BMS transect season was completed this morning with a total of 267, bringing the cumulative total at the half-way mark of the season to 854. Whilst not as high as the Painted Lady year of 2009, when 949 had been recorded at this stage, it compares very well with the seven year range of 178-949 and the mid season average of 488. Marbled White (123) was the most numerous, with a supporting cast of 42 Small Heaths, 40 small skippers, 24 Meadow Browns and 23 Small Tortoiseshells, which long ago had passed the record cumulative total for a full year.
For the first time since the winter floods the transect route was fully passable and high numbers of Small Tortoiseshells continued, contributing no fewer than 60 of the total of 150 on the transect walk. A few fresh Small Coppers were evident and, notably, 7 Clouded Yellows were seen on New Downs.
The first Marbled White of the year was flitting around in Restharrow Dunes, a tatty Painted Lady was seen on Worth and Large Skippers continue their resurgence with around 25 so far this spring. The BMS transect underlined the increasing numbers and diversity, including a remarkable 48 Small Tortoiseshells and 2 Holly Blues.
Our first definite Essex Skipper was found in the Whitehouse, along with at least 10 Large Skippers, while Red Admirals were a bit more numerous than recently.
Just to underline the point made a couple of days ago, there were at least 80 Small Tortoiseshells on New Downs and 100 on Worth this morning.
The first Small/Essex Skipper and Meadow Brown of the season were on the wing, while over 50% of the 67 butterflies recorded on the BMS transect were Small Tortoiseshells, mostly nectaring on asters along the shore, where there was also a very tatty Painted Lady. To put the count of 36 Small Tortoiseshells into perspective, it amounts to more than the annual total in four of the seven years that the current transect route has been walked.