Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Next Term's Wildlife 7: Butterflies

Common Blue
Marbled White
Small Copper
Wall [Brown]
Small Tortoiseshell
Next term we will also spend time identifying any butterflies we encounter. Compared with birds there are only a relatively small number of species we may see, and there are very few confusion species. The most likely one to cause confusion is the Brown Argus which can look remarkably like some female Common Blues, however the former is so rare we probably won't see one. The first hibernating butterflies have already been seen: Comma, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and the special butterfly at this time of year, the Brimstone, but soon the first Holly Blues and Orange Tips should be emerging, and later they should be succeeded by some of the summer species such as Gatekeeper, Small & Large Skippers, Meadow Brown, and Ringlet. We will be going to some special locations to see the localised Marbled White, which only occurs in large numbers at selected sites. It will be interesting to see how relatively recent colonists such as: the Gatekeeper, Comma and Speckled Wood fare after our harshest winter for 3o years. Hopefully, the warmer spring weather will bring out many butterflies for the classes to enjoy. In the past we've tended to find people don't know much about butterflies before they start the classes, but as they discover more about them & as they see extra species as the summer progresses, then they become more proficient at identifying each butterfly they see - seems to be a lot easier than what some people call the little brown jobs - warblers!

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