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Your Butterflies: Home and Abroad

Butterflies matter everywhere not just in Yorkshire and we want to broadcast that.

Butterflies always surprise us with their variety, behaviour or just the glory of their colours and beauty and we want to record that too.

So whether you've been on holiday in the UK or abroad, we are inviting you to make a short write up of your butterfly experiences with a few pictures to share with other members, Please send to and they will appear below.

We know lots of you make trips sometimes primarily to see butterflies and we would like you to share. It would be a bit more than what see on Facebook and last much longer plus we would like to include some in our regular newsletters.

A Trip to Rodley Nature Reserve 12th June with Joseph Worrillow

Common Blue butterfly

Common Carpet moth

Situated just four miles from the centre of Leeds, Rodley Nature Reserve is different to most wetland reserves in that the wetlands were all dug out from scratch from rough grassland close to the River Aire. When Yorkshire Water plc decommissioned the Rodley Water Treatment Works in 1993 it was with a wish that their land should be developed as a nature reserve. The land is situated in the Aire valley and is owned by Rodley Nature Reserve Trust and managing with help from donations and from volunteers by Friends of Rodley Nature Reserve plus the income generated from the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme. More HERE

BC Yorkshire has a transect on the site walked by Harold and Penny Smith details HERE

Thanks for the super photos!

Butterflying in Skye last week in June 2021

Given the inability to safely travel abroad this year, we opted for booking a week on Skye, the chosen timing to coincide with the flight of the Large Heath, and the Dark Green Fritillary. Both have scotica forms and have therefore slight differences to those we have in Yorkshire. The first encounters were with the Small Heath, some of which were quite dark, and as the week went on more and more Common Blues were flying… as shown here ...

It wasn’t very easy to locate Large Heath distributions, but the NBM gateway eventually proved the best resource, showing sightings to be quite localized to two areas, around Sligachan, and near Elgol. On the first suitable day we investigated the latter, and I spent a very boggy two hours, stalking very uncooperative Large Heaths, eventually obtaining just one image when finally I was granted permission by this one… This scotica subspecies has been postulated to have evolved a preference to hiding, rather than our local polydama at Fen Bog, which favours distraction of birds attention towards the eye-spots, a less vulnerable target perhaps.

The only Dark Green Fritillaries flying seemed to be males, and as is often the case, these were very active and skittish, especially in my presence… so a few less than perfect images resulted...

It seemed to me the scotica Dark Green male is barely different to ours, though the female can be very much more heavily marked, alas I saw none to photograph. Otherwise, we encountered Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, towards the end of their flight period, and another small Large Heath colony, both of which were away from previous recorded distribution… sadly as no photographs could be achieved, my irecord reported sightings were marked as “plausible” only, denting my ego somewhat! Skye can be a great place for resting and walking, as well as drinking whisky if it is to your taste! Butterflying, well maybe not the hottest destination, but with some merits maybe.

Paul Kipling 2021

White-letter Hairstreaks in Richmond

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to see White-letter Hairstreaks in Paul and Sue Kipling’s garden on the outskirts of Richmond.

Paul and Sue, who have a beautiful garden with areas carefully laid out with wild flowers, planted four elm trees 15 years ago. These were planted deliberately to attract White-letter Hairstreaks and it has been successful because there is now a small colony.

I was really excited to see an adult perched high up in a tree (with binoculars) and Paul has sometimes seen them come down to yarrow flowers to nectar in mid morning and late afternoon on sunny days (when these photos were taken). We wonder if this only happens with the very fresh, emergent adults, and then the more worn wanderers once the business of procreation is dealt with.

These beautiful photos were taken by Paul.

Catherine Jones

July 2021

Summer of 2021

Joseph Worrillow sent us the beautiful photos below from this summer. Thank you for the stunning images.

Speckled Wood

Common Blue

Joseph Worrillow took this stunning photo of a Green Hairstreak - thank you, Joseph

Costa Rica 2022 by Paul Kipling

We took a rather late decision based on adverts to go to Costa Rica this year at the start of their rainy season, a good time to go by all accounts, for butterflies at least. A well known company arranged it all for us but if we ever go again, it would be so easy to do ourselves, and much cheaper. The country is rather Americanized, but retains it’s own rather lovely and eco friendly character. A lot of the arranged tours are on paved forest tracks (safe) and a lot of the wildlife seen needed the guide’s spotting scope… we overdid tours! In fact, far better views of desired wildlife, such as Sloths, Monkeys (4 species), Toucans and Iguanas were encountered away from tours. Tour guides did however find a Fer-de-Lance (viper) and Resplendent Quetzal (bird), neither of which I would have wanted to miss out on.

It does indeed rain in the rainy season, however early we were…. Rain and cloud every day, but also some sun, and temperatures in the high 20s. So the dilemma was always whether to wear waterproofs and overheat, or get wet! Very wet!! I invariably chose the latter, protecting only my camera where I could.

So - butterflies….. for any enthusiast it is fascinating, not many species in the lower regions of the rainforest, where there is little light and no nectar sources, and only tantalizing glimpses of high flying canopy wonders. But given a clearing and usually habitation with flowers, or a roadside waste area, the species were only too easily encountered. Strangely to me, it seemed the next butterfly would usually be a different species to the last, amazing diversity compared to anywhere else I have been. Quite a number however I only saw once! Skippers were most easily photographed, then Riodinids, then Pierids, and the rest were downright difficult, very active in the heat. Lycaenids were not in abundance generally.

I would do the trip again in a heartbeat, Tortaguerra, La Fortuna, Monteverde and Manuel Antonio, all giving something unique to those who fancy experiencing a real rainforest.

In days I managed to achieve photographs of 54 Hesperids, 8 Lycaenids, 37 Nymphalids, 3 Papilionids, 10 Pierids and 10 Riodinids, a total of 122 species. I present a sample for you to see….

Detritivora hermodora

Myscelia cyaniris

Astraptes fulgerator