Thursday, 2 April 2015

Butterfly News

Good news from Butterfly Conservation about the High Brown Fritillary (which I'm old enough to remember seeing) and the Duke of Burgundy. The report shows once again that the most important factors are the weather - last year's was friendly to most species, apart from that dismal August - and human intervention, in particular carefully planned grazing and woodland management. As was learnt (eventually) from efforts to conserve the last remaining Large Blues, the worst course of a action is to withdraw and leave nature to it; the result in invariably scrubby, light-blocking growth, inimical to flowers and butterflies alike.
 Meanwhile, this butterfly year - for me, at least - is getting off to a strangely bumpy start. After that startlingly early Red Admiral (February 18th), I've seen two or three more (one in the same garden), a few unidentified flying objects whizzing past, and a definite Small Tortoiseshell in a car park in New Romney last weekend. No Brimstone, no Peacock, no Comma, nothing more - and it's April now. The reason is not far to seek - this perishing weather, with a persistent cold wind keeping the hounds of spring firmly restrained on winter's traces. When at last things warm up, it should be quite spectacular - and I hope it will involve many more butterflies.

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