An Icy Blast From The Past….

Update Number 6

Male Orange Tip showing underwing markings…
Photo by Richard M. Jeffery

Just when you thought winter had retreated and gone into dormancy, it has awoken from its slumbers and reminded us that it’s not quite time for bed yet. Needless to say, butterfly sightings have been non-existant over the last couple of days. The back end of last week and the weekend did prove fruitful to those who ventured out. Sunny days accompanied by a keen northerly wind meant numbers were low, but a few sightings did come in.

Lyn Bull reported 3 Green-veined White from Blaby on the 18th, and the following day she was ‘buzzed’ by a low-flying Holly Blue. On the same day (19th) Toby Carter encountered his first Holly Blue of the year whilst on ‘Peregrine Watch’ at Leicester Cathedral (not a bad afternoon in my humble opinion…). Also on the 19th, Matthew Harpin paid a visit to Cloud Wood and noted a couple each of Orange Tip and Peacock.

Steve Lee ventured out onto Croft Quarry Nature Trail on the 19th where he recorded 6 different species…..namely, Speckled Wood, Green-veined White, Holly Blue, Orange Tip, Peacock and Small Tortoiseshell.

Up until the last few days, it has been a good spring for Orange Tip butterflies. Lady’s Smock (or Cuckoo Flower) seems to be fairly abundant this spring, and the Orange Tip seem to be taking full advantage. Croft Quarry has good numbers of Lady’s Smock this year, and over 50 Orange Tip have been recorded in the last 3 weeks on the butterfly transect (I counted 24 this Sunday 23rd)……especially lower down by the boardwalks. It appears that it is not just Leicestershire that is experiencing this…..having checked with the County Recorder for Northamptonshire, it would seem that they are getting similar numbers. I just hope that this cold snap doesn’t bring about a premature  end to their flight period. I’ll keep you posted.

It would appear that Green Hairstreaks have been enjoying the early spring sunshine too, with over 10 individuals being recorded by Matthew Harpin on Warren Hills on the 22nd. This site has always been a stronghold for this delightful butterfly, but there must be other sites in the county where the butterfly is (or should be….) present. Please keep an eye out on sites where Bird’s Foot Trefoil is abundant, and also where there is plenty of Gorse. You never know, you may spot one of these little emerald jewels.

I looks like the cold spell will be with us for a few more days and then temperatures will gradually become more ‘spring-like’. Please continue to send in your butterfly sightings through the usual channels, either directly by email (to winrich168@btinternet.com) or via the Facebook page (Butterflies and Moths of Leicestershire and Rutland), and I’ll keep you posted on what’s happening.

Until then, wrap up warm…..

 

Butterfly Bank at Moira Furnace

Update Number 5.

Moira Furnace lies in the heart of the new National Forest, in the west of the county, bordering Derbyshire. Monitoring flora and fauna is one of the keystones to the development of the National Forest and will directly influence future action plans as and when the need arises. As far as Lepidoptera are concerned, we already have butterfly transects set up at Hicks Lodge, Sarah’s Wood, Pick Triangle, Donisthorpe Woodland Park and Willesley Wood, so we should be able to build up an accurate picture of the status of our butterflies and moths in the Leicestershire section of the Forest. So why, then, do we need a Butterfly Bank?

Butterfly Banks can be regarded as an ‘all-in-one’ butterfly habitat, providing places to bask in the sunshine, and to provide both nectar and larval food plants. Stepping stones in the natural landscape. Moira Furnace adjoins the site of one of our existing transects, namely the one at Donisthorpe. One of the key species we hope to attract to the Butterfly Bank is the Dingy Skipper, and this has been recorded on the transect at Donisthorpe, a mere half a kilometre away. It is no great leap of faith to expect the Dingy Skipper to appear at Moira Furnace.

The Project was a joint venture between East Midlands Butterfly Conservation, the National Forest (Black to Green Project), OPAL (Open Air Laboratories) of Nottingham and the Ashby and Coalville Lions. Work began in March when the construction process took place.

Removal of the existing Topsoil

I would say the simplest way to describe the process of constructing the Butterfly Bank is to think of gardening ‘in reverse’. Normally you would expect to have the nutrient rich soil on the top and poorer subsoil below. To give the wildflower plants the conditions they need to grow in, these have to be reversed. Too much nutrient would give lush, rich growth that would succumb to pest and disease attack, and also result in fewer flowers. Low nutrient levels mean tighter, more compact plants and greater flower production and seed set. Once the topsoil had been removed and stacked, a trench in the shape of a large ‘C’ or ‘armchair’ was taken out and the subsoil set to one side.

Topsoil being placed in the bottom of the trench

The topsoil that had been removed was then placed in the bottom of the trench and covered with the subsoil forming a ridge approximately 75 cms (30 inches) high. The ridge was higher in the centre (forming the back of the ‘armchair’) and tapering to about 40 cms (16 inches) on the ‘arms’. Once the soil had been shaped the whole Bank was covered with TWO layers of stone. The first layer was of crushed limestone (similar to Type 1 roadstone). Calcareous stone is most suitable for Butterfly Bank construction, but in this case there was far too much fine material (almost dust) and the fear was that under heavy rains this would compact and become impenetrable to plant roots. It was also a concern that the action of winter rains and frosts would cause further fragmentation. The decision was taken to add a layer of harder ‘drainage’ stone (granite) to cover this layer, giving protection from the harsher elements whilst still allowing moisture through to the plant roots below, and to provide a rough surface for plants like Bird’s Foot Trefoil and Creeping Cinquefoil to scramble through. This layer was also more aesthetically pleasing, taking into consideration that the site will be subject to considerable passing foot-flow.

Calcareous sub-layer  

 

Granite Top layer     

Once the bank was covered it was left for a couple of weeks to allow for settlement prior to planting.

The completed Bank prior to planting.

The wildflower plug plants duly arrived and with the help of the Lions and the local Scout group, planting took place on an overcast but dry morning (perfect conditions, I’d say….). The areas adjoining the bank and directly opposite were also to be planted to create wildflower meadows to compliment the Bank. Plant species were selected to attract some key species of butterfly. Bird’s Foot Trefoil was planted specifically for the Dingy Skipper; Sheeps Sorrell for the Small Copper and Common Rock Rose for the Brown Argus. Perhaps more ambitiously, or even optimistically, Creeping Cinquefoil was planted to attract the elusive Grizzled Skipper. The latter species may never appear here, but ‘you never know’. The meadows were planted with a host of nectar and larval food plants for butterflies and moths, and also by default, bumblebees.

Healthy wildflower plug plants sourced locally from Naturescape in Notts.

 

Local Scouts planting on and around the Bank.

 

….and in the Wildflower meadow…

The measure of success of the Butterfly Bank will only become clear as we monitor the butterflies and moths that move in over the coming months and years. To ascertain this, a program has been set up to record the Bank throughout the season. Visits will be made on a fortnightly basis to record species using the bank and neighbouring meadows. Should the Bank prove successful, plans are afoot to create another in neighbouring Donisthorpe Woodland Park, and subsequently in other key sites in the National Forest, creating ‘stepping-stones’ for our region’s butterflies and moths and aiding their survival and potential expansion of territory.

I will keep you updated on the progress of the Bank and on the species recorded on and around it……..and should a Dingy Skipper appear, you’ll be the first to know.

 

A Wonderful Weekend……

Update Number 4

Speckled Wood  Photo by Richard M. Jeffery

I don’t know about you, but I am finding it increasingly more difficult to understand and predict our weather patterns. The weekend of the 8th and 9th of April brought us almost summer-like conditions with warm sunshine and blue skies, albeit accompanied by keen cool breezes, yet a few days later temperatures had dropped by almost 10 degrees, reminding us that we have only just left winter behind us. Looking ahead, we can expect a few sunny days and maybe even a few frosty nights. How the county Lepidoptera cope with these fluctuations is beyond me………but cope they certainly do.

Saturday 8th April:

Orange Tip butterflies took advantage of this sunny spell and were reported by Adey Baker (Burbage), Alison Rhodes (Anstey), Eliot Taylor (4 @ Glenfield), David Scott (3 @ Great Glen) and Toby Carter (Leicester). More Holly Blues took to the wing as recorded by Adey Baker (4@ Burbage), Alison Rhodes (Anstey), Eliot Taylor (Glenfield) and Craig Howat (Oakham). Speckled Wood sightings are beginning to increase, and Adey Baker trumped everyone with over 20 specimens noted on his Burbage visit. Other sightings came in from Eliot Taylor (3@ Glenfield) and from David Scott (Great Glen).

This day also brought sightings of Peacock (Adey Baker, Alison Rhodes, Lyn Bull (Barnsdale Gardens), and David Scott (5)), Brimstone (Adey Baker, Alison Rhodes (2), Lyn Bull, Eliot Taylor and David Scott (6)) and Small Tortoiseshell (Adey Baker, Alison Rhodes and David Scott (5)). A solitary Comma was noted by Adey Baker at Burbage.

Sunday 9th April:

A glorious day that wouldn’t have been out of place in early summer, and a day that encouraged more of us out into the great outdoors. Orange Tips were noted by Vanessa Parkinson (Leicester), Claire Install (2@ Mountsorrel), Toby Carter (2@ Leicester), Lyn Bull (Kirby Muxloe) and Stephen Rawlinson (Aylestone Meadows). Brimstones continued to be seen as reported by Claire Install, Toby Carter (3), Lyn Bull and Paul Walsh (2@ Huncote). Holly Blue were seen by Claire Install, Lyn Bull (2), Mark Tricker (Wigston) and Stephen Rawlinson. Small Tortoiseshell sightings came in from Claire Install, Toby Carter (3) and Mark Tricker. Only a couple of Peacocks were reported on this day, by Claire Install and Toby Carter.

This day also brought more ‘firsts’ for the county. Stephen Rawlinson noted the full set of ‘whites’, including the first reported Large White (species number 12), along with 4 Green-veined White and a solitary Small White. Matthew Harpin reported the first Green Hairstreak (13) of the season, with 4 individuals being seen on Warren Hills.

Only one more report of Brimstone has come in since this weekend and this came from Adey Baker who spotted several at Croft Hill on the 10th. Speckled Wood were noted by Ben Devine on the 11th (Moira Furnace) and John Hopkins on the 13th (Burroughs Wood). AJ Cann recorded an Orange Tip on the 13th at Lucas’ Marsh.

Steve Lee visited a Narborough garden on the 14th and recorded Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Peacock and Holly Blue.

Only a single Red Admiral sighting has been reported, and that came in this morning (16th) when Derek Spicer spotted a solitary specimen on his nursery in South Kilworth.

 

The latest ‘First Sightings’ list is as follows (and includes a slight amendment to last weeks list):

10. Small White – David Foulds – Brocks Hill C.P. – 3rd April

11. Speckled Wood  – Various  – Various  – 5th April

12. Large White – Stephen Rawlinson – Aylestone Meadow – 9th April

13. Green Hairstreak – Matthew Harpin – Warren Hills – 9th April

 

Please continue to send in your sightings information via the usual channels (either directly by email or the Facebook page ‘Butterflies and Moths of Leicestershire and Rutland’), and I’ll keep you posted. Watch this space……

 

 

 

Here Comes The Sun…

Update Number 3.

Since passing through the Vernal Equinox, we have enjoyed some lovely days blessed with warm spring sunshine (although one or two days have been accompanied by a rather chilly northerly breeze). Needless to say, our butterflies have taken full advantage of the increase in temperatures and the lengthening days. Five new species have been added to our ‘First Sightings’ list, bringing us up to 10 for the year so far.

I have to say, you’ve all been very busy sending in your sightings information over the last couple of weeks and I’ll try to list as many as possible below. It’s probably best to list them by species (single specimens, unless quantity is shown in brackets) and in chronological order.

Peacock: 17 Mar. Ben Devine, Hicks Lodge; 25 Mar. David Foulds, Newton Harcourt Church; 26 Mar. David Foulds, Oadby, Matthew Harpin, Jubilee Woods nr. Heather; 30 Mar. David Foulds, Oadby; 31 Mar. Lyn Bull, Kirby Muxloe; 02 Apr. Matthew Harpin (2), Cloud Wood, Helen Ingall (2), Grand Union Canal, Loughborough, Adey Baker (2) Fosse Meadows; 03 Apr. Martin Woolley (2), Cossington Meadows; 05 Apr. Matthew Harpin (2), Coleorton.

Comma: 17 Mar. Ben Devine (4), Hicks Lodge; 26 Mar. David Foulds, Oadby, Matthew Harpin (2), Jubilee Woods; 31 Mar. David Foulds, Oadby; 02 Apr. Matthew Harpin (3), Cloud Wood, Helen Ingall (5), Grand Union Canal, L’boro.

Brimstone: 17 Mar. Ben Devine (10), Hicks Lodge; 25 Mar. David Foulds, Newton Harcourt, Roy Edwards, Oakham; 26 Mar. Matthew Harpin, Jubilee Woods, David Foulds, Oadby; 30 Mar. David Foulds, Oadby, Heloise Harpin (3), Hough Mill, Swannington; 31 Mar. AJ Cann, Victoria Park, Leicester, David Foulds (2), Oadby; 02 Apr. Adey Baker (4), Fosse Meadows, Helen Ingall (2), Grand Union Canal, L’boro. Matthew Harpin, Cloud Wood; 03 Apr. Martin Woolley (2), Cossington Meadow.

Small Tortoiseshell: 26 Mar. Matthew Harpin (5), Jubilee Woods, David Foulds, Oadby; 30 Mar. Heloise Harpin (2), Swannington; 02 Apr. Matthew Harpin (3), Coleorton, Helen Ingall (6), Grand Union Canal, L’boro; 03 Apr. Martin Woolley, Cossington Meadows; 05 Apr. Matthew Harpin (5), Coleorton.

Sightings of Red Admiral were limited to just one and this was reported by Adey baker at Fosse Meadows on the 2nd April.

Species number 6 of the year, and surprisingly early is a Painted Lady, spotted by David Stock in Sileby on the 26th of March. The species had already been recorded further to the south and to the east, and the warmer weather has clearly encouraged some of them (or maybe just this one?) to venture further north. The much anticipated harbinger of spring, namely the Orange Tip became species number 7 to be reported. Ann Gleave recorded the first one in her Leicester garden on the 31st of March. On the 2nd of April, Lesley Doubleday spotted another in Watermead Country Park and Helen Ingall rounded off a very fruitful day by the Grand Union Canal in Loughborough with 6 Orange Tips (5 males and a female). On the 3rd of April Martin Woolley encountered 2 more at Cossington Meadows.

The Holly Blue is species number 8 on our list, and comes courtesy of a single specimen in the garden of Karen Antcliffe in Melton Mowbray on the 31st of March. Karen also spotted another (or maybe the same one?) on the 5th of April. The only other reported sighting of a Holly Blue was by Stephen Rawlinson on the 3rd of April in St. Marys Church in Knighton. NatureSpot provides us with details of species number 9…….a solitary Green-veined White spotted by Saharima Roenisch in Welford Road cemetery on the 2nd of April.

We reach double figures for the season with the arrival of the Speckled Wood (10), with a couple of sightings noted on the 5th of April. Derek Spicer spotted one on his nursery in South Kilworth, and Matthew Harpin another in Coleorton.

Just for the record, the list of reported ‘first sightings’ for 2017 in the county is as follows:

  1. Small Tortoiseshell – Rhys Dandy – Coalville – 2nd Jan
  2. Red Admiral – Margaret Adams – Broughton Astley – 7th Feb
  3. Peacock – Paul Ruddoch – Melton Mowbray – 4th Mar
  4. Comma – Adey Baker – Burbage – 6th Mar
  5. Brimstone – various – various – 9th Mar
  6. Painted Lady – David Stock – Sileby – 26th Mar
  7. Orange Tip – Ann Gleave – Leicester – 31st Mar
  8. Holly Blue – Karen Antcliffe – Melton Mowbray – 31st mar
  9. Green-veined White – Saharima Roenisch – Leicester – 2nd Apr
  10. Speckled Wood – various – various – 5th Apr

 

Please continue to submit your sightings, especially as the forecast over the coming days is for warm, sunny days and clear skies. Keep a look out for the ‘Whites’, and also for Green Hairstreak, and Dingy and Grizzled Skippers…..it won’t be long before they put in appearance. Please email me direct or use the Facebook page (‘Butterflies and Moths of Leicestershire and Rutland’). Many thanks to each and every one of you for making this happen.

Happy butterflying!!

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).

When Skies Are Grey?

Update Number 1.

Small Tortoiseshell.                                     Photograph by Richard M. Jeffery

Sunny skies have been few and far between this winter. Well, they have certainly been outnumbered by the grey ones in my experience. It goes without saying, therefore, that butterfly sightings are a bit of a rarity in the county so far. The honour of reporting the first sighting of the year (to my knowledge) goes to Rhys Dandy who spotted a solitary Small Tortoiseshell sunning itself in the precinct at Coalville on the 2nd of January. What happened to the poor little creature after that is anyone’s guess. Since then, 2 more Small Tortoiseshells have been seen by Pete Leonard in Scalford on the 20th January, and today (7th February) Margaret Adams saw a Red Admiral in her garden in Broughton Astley. We could certainly do with a few more sunny and crisp days to tempt some more out to play.

 

Exciting plans are afoot to create 2 new butterfly banks in the heart of the National Forest. East Midlands Butterfly Conservation, in conjunction with the Black to Green Project and other sponsors hope to have the butterfly banks in position by the end of winter, or early spring at the very latest. One will be situated at Moira Furnace alongside a recently planted wildflower meadow, and the other will be located in nearby Donisthorpe Woodland Park. It is hoped that with the correct siting and suitable planting, the Dingy Skipper may move in. A Dingy Skipper was recorded on the butterfly transect at DWP in 2015 so there is a distinct possibility that this may happen. Work is due to commence over the next two or three weeks and I’ll keep you updated on progress in future posts. If anyone wishes to help ‘hands-on’ then please feel free to get in touch.

 

The new butterfly transect season will soon be upon us. We are actively looking for new volunteers in the county to become part of the recording teams. We may even be able to set up new transects. All visits are carried out on a rota basis so, depending on how many are in a team, your commitment could be to walk your route once every three or four weeks, hopefully in decent spring or summer weather, and counting butterflies as you go. A pleasant way to take a walk in the fresh air and contribute some invaluable information in the process. The season runs from April 1st to September 30th. If you would like to volunteer or would like more information then please contact me.

 

Please continue to keep a look out for early butterflies and let me know as soon as you can, either by using the email link or via our Facebook Page: Butterflies and Moths of Leicestershire and Rutland.

 

 

Better Late Than Never.

White-letter Hairstreak at Ketton Quarry. Photograph by Richard Jeffery

White-letter Hairstreak at Ketton Quarry. Photograph by Richard Jeffery

Update Number 12

 

There are times, I must admit, when I fear for our butterflies. Off I’ll go, full of enthusiasm, thinking ‘This is the day’. The day when I’ll not be able to keep up with the vast numbers of butterflies on the wing; the day when I can actually sit down and feel deeply satisfied that all of the species that ‘should’ be there, are actually there; the day when I can feel sure that future generations will be able to feel the same as I do when I’m surrounded by butterflies. I have to say that ‘That day’ just doesn’t seem to come round anymore.

This year I have been suffering from the fear that we may be on the verge of ‘losing’ some of our most precious butterflies. The Chalkhill Blue, almost certainly has been lost from its only site in the county, namely Bloody Oaks Quarry. There is much debate at the moment as to why they have not appeared this year. Maybe the population was too small over the last three years to be sustainable. Maybe the damp start to summer brought about a premature end to their season. Worryingly, one school of thought is that over zealous naturalists and photographers could have contributed to their demise. I guess we’ll never know the real reason. I also feared that after a late spring emergence of the first brood, the second brood of Wall Brown would fail to appear at Bardon Hill Quarry; and boy did they keep me waiting. Until the 15th of August to be precise, and what a relief I felt when a familiar orange and brown butterfly flew several times around my head and landed on a bare patch of ground in front of me, by a rocky outcrop. I counted 5 in total that day, and whilst not large in numbers, they were most welcome. The following day (16th) Stephen Rawlinson encountered 9 individuals on Warren Hills. On the 24th, Matthew Harpin reported 2 on Beacon Hill, whilst on the same day Andy Smith found a singleton at Thornton Reservoir, a site where it has not been seen for many years. I made a follow up visit to Bardon Hill today (30th) and counted 7 (3 high up on the rocky area on and around the Trig point, and 4 lower down on a path where the new earth relocation is taking place).

The White-letter Hairstreak was seen on the 4th of August by Alan Semper in the Barnsdale gardens of the late Geoff Hamilton at Exton. Iris and Derek Martin found 4 at Cloud Wood on the 6th (a previous visit had yielded 2 on the 21st of July). I found a singleton at Ketton Quarry on the 7th, and this was repeated by Alistair Lawrence the following day. A further sighting was made by David Gray at Cloud Wood on the 13th. The Purple Hairstreak was encountered on 3 consecutive days in August, and no more sightings have been reported since. Iris and Derek Martin reported a single specimen at Cloud Wood on the 6th, whilst Adrian Baker did the same at Croft Quarry Nature Trail on the 7th and Burbage Common on the 8th.

A further two sightings of Silver-washed Fritillary came in from July, when Iris and Derek Martin noted 4 at Cloud Wood on the 21st of July( they also recorded 5 here on the 6th of August), and Martin Grimes spotted one at Clipsham on the 31st. I paid a visit to Bloody Oaks Quarry on the 7th of August and spotted 3 somewhat bedraggled specimens and then moved on to Ketton Quarry where I encountered another 3 individuals (looking much fresher I have to say).

The early part of the month brought a further two sightings of the Marbled White. On the 7th of August I spotted a singleton at Bloody Oaks Quarry, whilst Ruth Moore noted one at the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Woods. The second brood of ‘Blues’ was a welcome sight after a longer than usual gap, and 7 Common Blue were recorded on the Croft Quarry Nature Trail by Steve Lee and Joe Bodycote, on the 5th of August. The only reported sighting of Holly Blue came in from Matthew Harpin who spotted 5 individuals in the hedgerows at Coleorton on the 13th. Sightings of the Brown Argus had been few and far between, but Steve and Joe recorded 3 at Croft Quarry Nature Trail on the 5th, whilst Bill Bacon came across 2 at Grimmer Dyke on the 10th. The Small Copper made a timely return when Sarah Proud noted one on the Lyndon Nature Reserve at Rutland Water on the 30th of July. Matthew Harpin also reported a single specimen from Charnwood Lodge on the 29th of August, and a day later, I encountered a slightly tatty individual high up on Bardon Hill. The only reported sighting of the Small Heath came from Matthew Harpin, again at Charnwood Lodge, and also on the 29th.

The summer migrant, the Painted Lady put in a few appearances, and sightings came in from Bob Sheridan who saw one in his Langham garden on the 5th of August, and on the same day Bill Bacon noted 3 on the Bottesford disused railway. The following day (6th), I found an individual sharing a Buddleia with a few Bumblebees at Goscote Nurseries, not far from Cossington. David Foulds reports a singleton on the 7th at Brocks Hill C.P. and on the same day, I encountered a single male at Ketton Quarry. A few days later (on the 13th) I spotted another solitary specimen, also on a Buddleia, but this time at Sharnford Garden Centre. There have been a couple of sightings of Red Admiral in August, with Bill Bacon reporting two at Plungar on the 5th of August, and a couple of days later (on the 7th) Laura Hackett noted one at Shady Lane Arboretum. There were no signs of the summer stalwarts that are the diminuitive Skippers until Steve Lee spotted his first ever Essex Skipper in his Enderby garden on the 30th of July. Another of our summer migrants, the Hummingbird Hawkmoth, appears to have been somewhat elusive, although Heloise Horton was lucky enough to see one on the 2nd of August in Coleorton.

Maybe we will have an Indian Summer, and if we do, there could still be time for a few interesting sightings. Please continue to send in your information via the usual channels (email or Facebook).