A new visitor

Meadow Brown (c) Duncan Hutt

This year will probably go down as the worst summer for butterflies for a very long time.Up until recently it was rare to see any; in recent days numbers have increased a little but the variety is still poor.  It’s therefore strange to record a new species for the garden.  The meadow brown is not a rare butterfly, far from it, but it does like long meadows or at least large open spaces with plenty of grass available.  This butterfly is one of the more frequent in the local area but never before has it ventured into the garden.  Whether this is a result of poor food sources for the adults in the wider area is unclear but today’s was one of a handful that have turned up this year.  The caterpillars feed on grass but it is likely that the butterflies will disappear to better egg-laying grounds rather than choose the albeit rather unkempt lawn.

Meanwhile the more brightly coloured species like small tortoiseshell, red admiral and peacock have been virtually absent.  Whether the early broods failed in the poor weather or whether they are simply not travelling north this year is unclear.  By August these should be a common sight but an occasional glimpse of a lone butterfly seems to be the limit.  If we manage a late settled spell of warm weather that may help but as things stand next year isn’t looking too good either due to a lack of wintering adults, caterpillars or pupa depending on the species.


About thehutts

The Hutt Family from Northumberland
This entry was posted in Invertebrates, Northumberland and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to A new visitor

  1. viv blake says:

    The moral of this story: don’t cut the lawn! Even this far South, butterflies have been seen in much smaller numbers than usual. The only really successful variety is the Cabbage White, fluttering around in clouds – hence our curly kale and purple sprouting broccoli have been reduced to lace.

    • thehutts says:

      We should have cut it last week when it was dry – may not get it cut now. Still long grass is also good for the Guinea Pigs. By the way, the cabbage white will be either a small or a large white (depending in size!). The green-veined white is not a consumer of brassicas.

  2. Last week we had 9 tortoisehell, 6 peacock and a comma – all around the lavender here near Whitby.

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