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saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Monthly News

This page has  - Monthly News

Monthly News

May 2014
In 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 spiralling upwards.

   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 Blue.

   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.

   So, what 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 - http://www.suffolkbutterflies.org.uk/sightings  
Dingy Skipper          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          Common Blue  
*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: butterflies@sns.org.uk Suffolk Branch Website: www.suffolkbutterflies.org.uk   10 May 2014

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