Thursday, 7 August 2014

Where are the Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells?

At this time of year, one of our great joys is to watch the butterflies that are all over an enormous Buddleia bush in the garden. It should be covered in Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells, Red Admirals and Whites. We've even had Silver Washed Fritillaries feeding on it this time last year. Unfortunately this year it decided to flower so early that most of the butterflies seem to have missed it. It's flowers were all gone over three weeks ago and as a result there are hardly any butterflies in the garden (except the Large Whites that still seem to be laying eggs on the remnants of my Broccoli plants!) I checked back over photos from the last two years and it was in full bloom in the middle of August.

Now that's disappointing, but even more strange is that there are hardly any Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells around elsewhere. We were up at Whiteleaf Cross earlier this week and there are usually masses of them sun bathing on the brambles where the sun breaks through the trees. There weren't any there. We were at two big butterfly hotspots this morning where there are lots of wild flowers for them to feed on, but they weren't there either. I've noticed lots of the Thistles and Brambles have flowered early and gone over, so I wonder if the lack of their favourite nectar plants is keeping them away.

I asked Uncle Butterfly where they've all gone (he knows about these things) and he said they're all on the Buddleia in his back garden, which is in full bloom! Perhaps we've just been unlucky this year, but I hope they're doing OK. After last year being such a bumper year, I would hate it if they had a bad summer!

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