Tuesday 9 October 2018

Aurelian Matters

I see Butterfly Conservation has managed to extract a bad news story from the most amazing butterfly season in years. Analysis of figures from the Big Butterfly Count shows a steep drop in Red Admiral numbers, and a less dramatic fall for the Small Tortoiseshell (though it seemed a pretty normal Tortoiseshell year for me). The strange shortage of Red Admirals – despite perfect weather conditions – was a conspicuous feature of the summer, but might just have been a one-off. Otherwise, as BC acknowledges, it was a bonanza summer for all the Whites and for Holly and Common Blues – and if the Big Butterfly Count had been conducted a few weeks earlier, it might have given a much more cheerful picture, as the butterfly season was running very early, thanks to all that hot, dry weather.
  For me (as I've mentioned here more than once) it was a quite glorious butterfly summer in terms of sheer abundance and variety, though it ended strangely early and abruptly (hardly any late fliers, despite the autumn sun). That may well be the picture that emerges when BC's wider-ranging figures (covering many more species than the Big Count) are analysed. Let's hope so, and that for once it will be hard for the media to find a Bad News story – though there are always the Red Admirals and Small Tortoiseshells.

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