Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Mark Searle

August 13th UPDATE While many parts of Europe are recording some of their highest temperatures ever experienced, and devastating wildfires rage the UK sits largely under cool and cloudy Jetstream with an occasional high pressures systems creating a few dry days, but mostly its been very showery. Out in the fields spring sown crops are late but are gradually being harvested. Crop yields are good where they avoided the worst floods and the seasonal vagaries but overall its an average farming year. Plant growth has been abundant this summer and we have all had to cut our lawn very much more frequently. This has had a knock on in the abundance of most of our species and although our memory will always be of the 2021 as the spring with no butterflies, high summer has certainly redeemed itself . The Whites and Browns have been abundant with Small White now catching up. Gatekeepers are having a particularly abundant year and are maintained there numbers presently. There has certainly been a influx of Red Admirals reflected in the Big Butterfly count but Peacocks still lag well behind as do Comma and we are currently in a dip waiting the next generation of Tortoiseshells. However, in a nearby stewardship strip I counted thousands of tortoiseshell larvae leaving just webby stumps of nettles behind them so we might be in for a surprise as September approaches. Small Copper are now emerging in numbers and Holy Blue in large numbers and is at a peak. Second generation Wall are appearing presently in pleasing numbers. Scotch Argus still showing in Wharfedale. White-letter and Purple Hairstreak remain strong. Today, just 10 miles over the border in Derbyshire the first Brown Hairstreak was seen at Pleasley Pit transect, Mansfield where it has been present in good numbers for a few years now.