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the last couple of weeks a number of butterfly species have put in
their first appearance in Suffolk for 2014. It, therefore, seems
appropriate to briefly reflect of the butterfly year so far.
The winter was mild and this benefitted hibernating species such as
Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, and Peacock. Some excellent
counts of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock have been made and it’s been
great to see these butterflies on the wing throughout the early
months. However, sightings of post-hibernating Red Admirals
appear to be low and this perhaps reflects what a bad year 2013 was
for this species. A number of you have also been in contact
regarding some wonderful encounters with Brimstones and it appears
that they have had a great start to the year too. Numbers will
now drop away and we will have to be patient until the next
generations appear in a few months.
The continuing mild
weather has also helped our Spring favourites and both Orange-tip and
Green-veined Whites appear to be on the wing in good numbers.
Personally, I have probably seen more of these two species this year
than in any previous year that I can remember. Speckled Woods
seem to have emerged early this year and it’s been great to watch them
basking on sunlit nettle beds or battling with each other whilst
Reports have started to come in
from you regarding sightings of Small Copper, Common Blue, Brown Argus
and Green Hairstreak. An early appearance together with a decent
Summer could help all of these species build up their numbers, fingers
crossed! One species that I have serious concerns over is Holly
Last year was a poor one for this species so
I would urge you to look out for it and send in your records.
Hopefully, it can rally itself and build it’s numbers up again.
In respect of Suffolk’s seven BAP species three have so
far been recorded in 2014. Small Heath has appeared over the
last two weeks both along the Suffolk coast and in the Suffolk
Brecklands. Yesterday, I saw my first Dingy Skippers of the year
in the Kings Forest and the first Walls of the year have been flying
at RSPB Hollesley Marshes since 07 May. Hopefully, more records
of Wall will be received over the next few weeks as the early
generation takes to the wing. The Wall, as you will know, is
under incredible pressure in Suffolk and it is slowly slipping away as
a breeding species. All records are important so please submit
details of any sightings that you make.
species have been recorded this year? The following is a list of
those reported to me directly or via Twitter, Facebook and the
sightings page of the BC Suffolk web site -
· Orange-tip · Large White · Small White
· Green-veined White · Brimstone · Wall
· Speckled Wood · Small Heath · Gatekeeper*
· Marbled White** · Red Admiral · Painted Lady
· Peacock · Small Tortoiseshell · Large
Tortoiseshell*** · Comma · Small Copper ·
Green Hairstreak · Holly Blue · Brown Argus ·
*Remarkably, a single Gatekeeper was reported on the
wing at Sutton Heath on 20 March.
**A Marbled White, presumed to
be a release, was seen in Abbey Grove, Felixstowe on 24 April.
A single Large Tortoiseshell, believed to have arrived in freight from
the continent, was found in Felixstowe near Peewit Hill on 10 March,
last seen on 13 March.
I will look to do another brief
update at the end of July. Hopefully, by then you will have already
enjoyed seeing Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral.
Please remember to try and visit as many black-holes as possible, more
work has been done on this so please check out the BC Suffolk website
for more details.
Bill Stone, County Butterfly Recorder for
Suffolk Records via Email:
email@example.com Suffolk Branch Website:
www.suffolkbutterflies.org.uk 10 May 2014