Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Where did all the Butterflies Go?

It's been a frankly rubbish summer for most species of butterflies.

The spring flyers were ok; I remember seeing a decent number of brimstones early on, and there were far more orange tips this year than last. Holly blues have always been as chirpy this year as last, always fluttering past my window to my holly tree, but otherwise, terrible.

Peacocks have been scarce, red admirals likewise, the first flight of speckled woods very thin - although the second has done far better - and small tortoiseshells not very numerous. Common blues have been non-existent round here, I haven't seen one.

The very wet June and early July has obviously done for a lot of species. The only species that have done well have been the high summer grassland species - the meadow brown and the ringlet, and particularly the small skipper which was practically in clouds in the grasslands by where I work.

However, the warm sun of recent days has brought a few beautiful small tortoiseshells into view; possibly third flighters although I have no idea how. These specimens were watching the cricket with me yesterday, enjoying our much admired pavilion flowers.


All text and images copyright CreamCrackeredNature 30.08.16


  1. A poor year for butterflies here too although Holly Blues have done well in the garden again this year. Will be interesting to see the results of the Big Butterfly Count.

    Small Tortoiseshells seem to be doing badly this year (I have hardly seen any) so good to see your photos.

  2. The combination of colours is wonderful - such a beautiful butterfly and cheerful flowers. Lovely photos!
    As to your comment today, the flowers are Petunias, variety 'Phantom'. They are supposed to have a yellow star on a dark background, but the colour of the flowers varies. In the collage, there's one almost completely dark and in the first butterfly photo, there are some almost yellow. (It's the same plant.) Your neighbours may have the all black variety 'Black Velvet'.

  3. This is exactly what my friend and I were saying earlier today Si. Only now, when it is almost too late, are the butterflies beginning to arrive.

  4. Much the same around my patch. Moths on the other hand !
    nice tortoiseshell photos.

  5. Black velvet petunias! THank you!

    I'm glad I've got one half decent shot of a butterfly this year!