Friday, 15 July 2011
There can be no finer sight on a lovely summers day than a Buddleia laden with butterflies. Unfortunately, this sight is getting less common as the years go by. Thankfully, however two species that still seem to be fairly common are the Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) and the Peacock (Inachis io) and are both pictured above.
The Red Admiral is a familiar garden butterfly, but it is an immigrant whose numbers depend on migration from North Africa and southern Europe. In recent years there have been reports of Red Admirals in December and January, suggesting that some overwinter in this country. The major influx of this butterfly occurs in late May and June, with migrants, that have already mated, spreading northwards, with others appearing in August and lasting until November. From mid-August these butterflies begin to move south to re-migrate to the continent. Sometimes, large numbers can be seen gathering along the south coast, before heading across the Channel. Purple buddleias, sedums and Asters are often visited in gardens and in the autumn the flowers of ivy and rotting fruit are the favoured food.
The freshly emerged Peacock is a stunning butterfly and can be seen in this country for most of the year, with hibernating individuals emerging on sunny days in February or March. The offspring of these butterflies emerge in July, when this beauty is at its most common. When alarmed, the Peacock flashes its eye spots and produces a hissing sound by rubbing its wings together.
All the photo`s were taken using my hand held Canon Powershot A640.
For those people who are interested, the Big butterfly count starts tomorrow (16th July) and lasts until 31st July. This is an event organised by the Butterfly Conservation in order to gauge the health of our environment. The numbers of butterflies has a direct link to the health of our countryside and the disappearance of our butterflies has an alarming link to the state of our environment. Click here to find out how you can get involved.