A Topsy-Turvy Year For Butterflies At The Pond

Peter Martin writes:

“The atrocious weather during 2012 was expected to have a disastrous effect on the butterfly population in 2013 and, sure enough, there were so few butterflies around during the spring that I have written about this in an article for the autumn edition of the Fleet Pond Society (FPS) newsletter. A really hot July seemed to reverse the trend, as suddenly there were butterflies everywhere.

A “Butterfly Count” run by “Butterfly Conservation” from 20 July until 11 August showed that 15 of the 21 species listed had actually increased in numbers and 12 of those were up by 50%. The Small White topped the chart with the Large White second, which was surprising bearing in mind how few of them were around during the spring. Numbers of these two butterflies were up 300% compared with the “Butterfly Count” last year.

The biggest surprise for me was to see as many as 18 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies on one day. This particular species was brought almost to extinction by a predator from the continent a few years ago and I only saw 7 in the whole of last year. This year I saw a total of 81.

Details of my butterfly count at Fleet Pond are due to appear in the FPS Autumn Newsletter.”

You can obtain the FPS newsletter by joining the Society – details here.

Peter has written a number of interesting articles on butterflies at the Pond eg please see here (different locations) and here (different species).

There is a general article on UK butterfly numbers for 2013 here.

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