Friday, 13 March 2015

"The first sighting of a Small White last week heralds the true start of the butterfly year."

This month's Butterfly Conservation newsletter looks forward to a new season:


Welcome to March's ‘all aflutter’. By the end of the month spring will have sprung. In this issue we welcome early appearances and look forward to the butterfly and moth season ahead. The Secret Gardener reveals what to plant now for nectar over the coming months and we ask you to support the science that goes into saving butterflies and moths in our latest appeal.
Step Into Spring
Did you know March was the first month of the Roman calendar? Although no longer the case under the Gregorian system, March is the first month most of us will spot the colourful flutter of wings amongst spring blooms.

The first sighting of a Small White last week, heralds the true start of the butterfly year. Unlike the Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admirals that have been seen on warmer winter days, this butterfly overwinters as a chrysalis, emerging only when the weather becomes warm enough for its survival.

Another well-known herald of spring is the Brimstone. The male with its butter-coloured, leaf-shaped wings is most apparent early in the season, patrolling for his paler-coloured mate.

By the end of March last year, nearly half of all our native butterflies had emerged, so keep your eyes to the skies!
Dig It: Get Your Garden Blooming
In the next few weeks our gardens will burst into life with emerging butterflies and moths. Hedgehogs will snuffle out of hibernation and bees will get buzzing, forming a wildlife orchestra with the returning migratory birds like Chiff Chaffs and Willow Warblers.
Helping these first arrivals survive through the unpredictable early spring weather is vital.
The Secret Gardener looks at plants available now that will help pollinators stick around for the warmer, sunnier times ahead.
Look Out For: Spring Moths
Yellow is the colour most strongly associated with spring - from the soft beauty of Daffodils, and Primroses to fluffy chicks bathed in pale golden sunshine.

It is fitting that the bright lemon-coloured Brimstone moth is one of the first to appear at the start of the season. This species paves the way for the emergence of many more marvellous spring moths bearing magnificent names like the Oak Beauty, Hebrew Character and Early Thorn.

Richard Fox reveals why March is the month to dust off your moth trap...
Fund The Future
Butterfly Conservation is the expert on butterflies and moths because of the extensive research we do to find out how different species are faring.

Thousands of hours are spent on our monitoring and recording work each year. The information gathered tells us what we need to do to save the most vulnerable species. But funding for research is very hard to come by.

Help us make the right call about where to direct our conservation effort. Please donate today so we can use science to save butterflies and moths for the future.
Images featured: Brimstone butterfly (Matt Berry), Small Tortoiseshell (Ian Steel), Brimstone moth (Mark Parsons), Small Blues.
Useful Links...
Lifting the lid on behind-the-scenes work keeping our staff busy - from midnight mountain searches for rare moths to needle-in-a-haystack hunts for Hairstreak eggs.
You can brush up your identification skills, help on a conservation task, see a rare species or just enjoy beautiful reserves across the UK. Find out what's happening near you.
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