This is a great time to look for butterflies – after a cold winter when we’re all a bit short of sunshine.
By April, two groups of butterflies are on the wing – firstly those that have survived the winter tucked away in deep foliage, holes in trees or your garden shed, and then there are those which emerge from their chrysalis as soon as the days get longer, and the weather is warm enough.
In the first group are many familiar ‘garden’ butterflies – Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, and the original ‘Butter-fly’, the bright yellow Brimstone. This year, all these were seen around the Hilltop villages before the end of March, when the weather was suddenly really warm.
So far there are only a few members of the second group around, but most prominent is the Orange-tip, which always looks so fresh and jewel-like with its brilliant white wings and bright orange wing-tips. At least, that is true of the male – the female has no orange – and both sexes have a glorious green lacy pattern on the underside.
At this time of year, you can be sure that any blue butterfly you see is a Holly Blue, which often flies quite high around bushes and trees, and then, any brown butterfly, patrolling in the dappledsunlight of wood edges and rides, is almost certainly a Speckled Wood.
The three white butterflies (often known as cabbage whites) will very shortly be in evidence (Large White, Small White and Green-veined White) and then the season is really under way.
Help identify and locate butterflies by taking a photo – even a blurry one! – with the location and date sighted and post to our comment box below.
Photography and Guest Blog by David Dennis.
David Dennis is Chair of Butterfly Conservation www.butterfly-conservation.org