This week’s heatwave – after three months of what Butterfly Conservation‘s Richard Fox calls “nigh on perfect butterfly conditions” – is delivering peak butterfly.
Butterfly Conservation’s garden butterfly survey reports orange tips in 73% of gardens this spring compared with 56% in 2019 and 2018. Some may be the lockdown effect (we are paying more attention) but this third hot summer in a row is enabling butterfly numbers to build up.
Seeking a butterfly challenge? Anyone living south of York could visit a local wood and look for purple emperors and the graceful, gliding white admiral. If you’re near the east coast, check for southern small whites – conditions are perfect for this continental species to become Britain’s 60th resident butterfly. Scottish butterfly fans could find new white-letter hairstreak and small and Essex skipper colonies – all expanding northwards. If you’re near Portland, search for the elusive large tortoiseshell – this “extinct” butterfly is making a comeback.
But mainly, just enjoy this abundance which is hopeful, uplifting and, as Richard Fox says, “fills that hole in our souls”.