Over the last week or so I have noticed a change in the species of butterflies seen during my butterfly surveys. With summer in its later stages, there are still plenty of white butterfly species to be seen, but fewer meadow browns and ringlets.
This month has also seen the small tortoiseshells emerging as well as a few red admirals, especially in the tree nursery. Yesterday I was amazed to spy another species sitting on the thistles beside Midlodge in amongst the feeding small tortoiseshells. Its ragged looking wing edges with a small white ‘comma’ shape on the underside meant it was unmistakably a comma butterfly.
These beautiful orange and black butterflies are mostly seen south of the border, but over the last decade more are being seen in the south of Scotland as they extend their distribution northwards. These butterflies favour woodland clearings, hedgerows and gardens, where they can be spotted feeding on thistles, dandelions or daisies from March to October. With the recent warm weeks, I am hopeful that we may get the chance to spot more of these beautiful insects in the future.
Bye for now!
Alex Kekewich – Falls of Clyde Ranger