A Spring in the Step.

Update Number 2

Brimstone on Hyacinth. Photograph by Richard M. Jeffery

The past two weeks have been a period of ‘first’ sightings for many of us, and as a result, I can now confirm that all 5 of our overwintering butterflies have been recorded in the county. What a difference a little sunshine makes.

Species number 3 for the year was reported by Paul Ruddoch when he spotted a Peacock in Scalford Road, Melton on the 4th of March. Further sightings of Peacocks have been noted by Toby Carter who saw 2 individuals at Melton Country Park on the 9th, Graham Bowers with his first butterfly of the year at Donisthorpe Woodland Park, and on the 13th March by Paul Ruddoch at Melton C.P, Sarah Proud at Lyndon Reserve, Rutland Water and by yours truly in our Earl Shilton garden.

The Comma became species number 4 to put in an appearance with Adey Baker’s sighting at Burbage Outwoods on the 6th of March. Paul Ruddoch recorded a Comma in Melton C.P. on the 9th, as did Steve Lee in his Narborough garden on the 13th.

The Brimstone was certainly the most prolific of all the butterflies over the last couple of weeks, and becomes species number 5 to be recorded in the county. The 9th of March seemed to be the day when the Brimstones emerged, as reported by Lynne Beaumont in Blaby, and by Toby Carter (5 individuals) and Paul Ruddoch, both at Melton C.P. Karen Antcliffe noted 3 at Knossington on the 12th and then a couple more the following day. Also on the 13th sightings were made by David Foulds at Oadby, Craig Howat in Oakham, Steve Lee in Narborough, Sarah Proud at Lyndon Reserve and 3 individuals spotted by Paul Ruddoch at Melton C.P.

Sightings of the Red Admiral were limited to a mere one, as reported by Sarah Proud at Lyndon Reserve, Rutland Water on the 13th.

The Small Tortoiseshell, as reported in Update Number 1, was our first recorded sighting of the year on the 2nd of January, as reported by Rhys Dandy. This sighting has since been confirmed as the first sighting of the species in the UK this year. Since the last Update, further sightings have come in from Paul Ruddoch at the Memorial Gardens, Melton on the 9th, and by Toby Carter at Melton C.P. and Steve Lee at Lower Grange Farm, Hugglescote on the same day. Two more sightings were made on the 13th with David Foulds noting one in Oadby and Craig Howat recording another in Oakham.

I will close with perhaps the most remarkable sighting of the winter so far. Since the first Update, Alison Rhodes has reported a Hummingbird Hawkmoth feeding on Winter Honeysuckle and Sweet Box in her Anstey garden on the 17th February. Early, yes, but welcome, most definitely.

As the Spring season progresses I am sure that more sightings of the above species will come in, but keep your eyes peeled for the Small White, Speckled Wood and even Holly Blue. It can only be a matter of time before these little fellas put in an appearance.

Thank you for your continued input, sightings information and positive comments. This Newsletter is for YOU and simply would not be possible without you. I await your news with baited breath (I really must get out more).

Posted in Leicestershire and Rutland Butterfly Line.