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