Early UK butterflies

Andrew Wood AndrewGWood at compuserve.com
Sun May 4 15:35:30 EDT 1997

I thought it might be interesting to compare data between 1996 and 1997 so
far regarding certain butterfly species seen on my woodland transect walk
in Balls Wood, South East Herts  after 5 weeks, particularly in view of Tom
Pittaway's comments about the paucity of Speckled Woods in S Oxon and the
general decline of this species in Herts and Middx last year.

Using data for some common species since April 1 shows:

1996    1997
Brimstone     (Gonepteryx rhamni)               4         4
L White          (Pieris brassicae)                    0         2
GV White        (Pieris napi)                              0         7
Orange Tip    (Anthocharis cardamines)     6       40
Peacock         (Iachis io)                                64       66
Comma         (Polygonia c-album)              34       13
S Wood          (Parage aegeria)                   10       51 

What is striking is the success of the Pierids and the Speckled Wood.  The
drop in Commas is reflected generally in my observations so far this year
but there are signs of a return for the Large White both on this transect
and elsewhere.  I have also seen single Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas)(27
April) and Red Admiral (Vanessa Atalanta)(4 May).  

Moths, too, continue to appear early e.g. Heart and Dart  (Agrotis
exclamationis)(1 May), Eyed Hawk Moth (Smerinthus ocellata)(24 Apr),
Setacous Hebrew Character (Xestia c-nigrum)( 2 May), Pale Oak beauty 
(Serraca punctinalis(3 May), Lime Hawk Moth (Mimas tiliae)(1 May), Cinnabar
(3 May) (Tyria jacobaeae).

Andrew Wood
Bengeo, Herts, UK
AndrewGWood at compuserve.com

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