Peter Martin writes:
There was a considerable reduction in the number of butterflies normally seen at Fleet Pond Nature Reserve in 2007. With the cold, dull, wet and windy weather, the number of sightings in 2008 has not been much better. Mid-October has produced a few warm and sunny days, however, resulting in the appearance of a number of Red Admirals (pictured above, picture credit here).
Until recent years the autumn brood was normally killed off by our hard winters but milder weather has enabled some butterflies to survive. Last year, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Branch of “Butterfly Conservation” had records of them being seen in all twelve months of the year, so keep your eyes peeled if you are walking round the Pond and you may see them even during the winter.
Some other members of the Nymphalidae family of butterflies such as the Peacock, Comma and Small Tortoiseshell hibernate during the winter months, but may be encouraged to wake from their slumbers if we get some reasonably warm, sunny days. These and the yellow Brimstone butterflies may also be seen within the Reserve during the winter months.
Peter Martin is the President of The Fleet Pond Society and is a local expert on butterflies. Peter will be providing a series of ‘Butterfly of the Month’ articles from April to September next year.
Further information on butterflies can be found here.