Today we were out searching for a Large Tortoiseshell Butterfly. We didn't find one and I guess we were not too surprised, it was always a long shot. Three have been seen around the North Stoke area but you have to set that against thousands of hours that have been spent searching for them.
There are reports of Large Tortoiseshells found on the south coast most years. They are probably vagrants from France but to have reports so early in the year suggests that these could have overwintered here and may even be breeding here. The sceptics would say that someone is releasing them but with the climate warming we can expect a gradual northward drift of the butterfly species.
It would put my claim to have seen all the UK butterflies in jeopardy but it could be worse. I just have to find one butterfly. Patrick Barkham (The Butterfly Isles) will probably have to start again to be able to keep his record of seeing all the UK butterflies in one summer.
So, no Large Tortoiseshell, but it was good to get out on a first butterfly trip of the year and there were a good number of butterflies about.
Orange Tips Anthocharis cardemines on one of its main larval plants Cuckoo Flower/Lady's Smock Cardemine pratensis.
|Orange Tip (male)|
|Orange Tip (female)|
The weather has been good and 2017 looks like a much better year for Butterflies than last year. Lets hope for a big recovery in numbers. As for the Large Tortoiseshell, well I may give it another go but the interesting time will be July and August when, if there is a UK population, a new brood should be on the wing.