Thursday, 13 September 2012

First and last of the summer butterflies?

After an especially dreary summer for butterflies across the university estate, the better weather of the last couple of weeks produced a flurry of last minute activity, albeit with species occurring in very low numbers compared to most years. The wet summer has caused large population declines in the commoner butterflies such as Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell (below), which can usually be seen in good numbers on Buddleia plants around the botanic gardens.

Small Tortoiseshell (Photo: Steve Willis)
Late flying second and third brood butterflies started to emerge in late August and include recently emerged Comma, Speckled Wood (below) and Peacock; the former two only having colonised Durham from further south in recent decades in response to changing climate.

Speckled Wood (Photo: Steve Willis)

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