Warm weather sees butterflies spring into action

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Thursday 23rd April 2009

Holly Blue (┬ęPeter Robinson)The warm weather over the Easter period has seen the emergence of several butterflies across the region and most species so far have seen an earlier emergence than last year.

As usual the first species to be seen each year are those which over-winter as adults. Species such as the Peacock can be seen at any time from late February onwards on warm days as they emerge from their hibernation sites. The rarer Comma butterfly was recorded near Hightae Loch in mid-March by keen eyed local recorder Anna White. Records of one of our migratory species - the Painted Lady - have also been reported by local ranger Keith Kirk, some of which were very fresh and seemingly newly emerged.

But spring really gets going when the first of the species which overwinter as a chrysalis begin to emerge. The warm weather over the Easter break saw many of the whites - Small, Green-veined and the familiar Orange-Tip - put in appearances around the region, a week or two earlier than in 2008.

But of particular interest in the last two weeks has been records of less common species such as Holly Blue and Speckled Wood which are relatively scarce and known from very few sites. Holly Blues are one of only two blue butterfly species found in the region and emerge much earlier than their commoner cousin the Common Blue. Sightings at Carsluith (Peter Robinson) and The Crichton (Jenny Bruce) have already been reported in the last two weeks.

Recorders should report any blue butterflies flitting around shrubs in gardens and parks during the next month. Also, anyone taking a walk in the woods should look out for the dappled brown Speckled Wood butterfly which favours sunny rides and glades amongst woodland.