Saturday, 16 September 2017

Will autumn bring more butterflies? Log onto the Garden Butterfly Survey for any late sightings...

Here's a look back over the spring and summer for butterflies - with a look forward into autumn:

Welcome to September's ‘all aflutter’.
The summer may have come to an end but it's not over yet for our butterflies. Many species can still be seen on sunny September days. You can help us chart the flight periods of different butterflies across the UK by logging your autumn sightings with the Garden Butterfly Survey. The Secret Gardener suggests some pretty late-flowering nectar sources and we've got a handy guide to white butterflies for you to download.
Will Autumn Bring More Butterflies?
This year's butterfly season began well, with most of us enjoying more sunshine than average for the time of year. Spells of warm, dry weather encouraged many butterflies to emerge earlier than usual. The Small Heath, Large White and Holly Blue were all reported almost a month earlier than in 2016.

Unfortunately the weather didn't stay on our side. We experienced the 9th wettest summer since 1910, with rainfall above average in most areas of the UK. When the sunshine disappears so do our butterflies and sadly, sightings took a dive in August.

Many species are still 'on the wing' and could have time to recover this autumn. It is likely that with the early start, some butterflies will be able to fit in an extra generation this year. Hopes are high for an autumnal emergence of species such as Comma, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood.

Please keep butterfly spotting by taking part in the Garden Butterfly Survey, sponsored by B&Q, and let us know how late in the year you are seeing butterflies.
Dig It: Defend With Daisies
Please don't lose interest in your flower beds as the season changes. Nectar is harder to come by for our butterflies at this time of year. Many wild plants have finished flowering and your garden can provide a vital lifeline for late-flying species.

The Secret Gardener recommends Michaelmas-daisies as a great addition to your pots or borders in September. 

This plant acquired its name from the Christian feast day of St Michael, which falls on the 29th of the month. These pretty daisy-like flowers share the virtues of the angelic warrior they are named after, providing for pollinators so they can survive the colder seasons.
Look Out For: White Butterflies
Have you heard of the Cabbage White butterfly? Although this moniker is often used to describe white butterflies, with cabbage munching caterpillars, there is actually no such species in the UK.

We have four common species of butterfly with white wings: Large White, Small White, Green-veined White and Orange-tip. The latter only flies in spring but the other white butterflies can all be seen in September.

Populations of both the Large and Small White were down last year and remained low in the first half of 2017. However, recent sightings suggest that numbers may be improving. Need some help telling your whites apart? Download the guide...
Bake For Butterflies
Don your apron, get your whisk at the ready to fundraise for threatened species with our Bake For Butterflies initiative.

Challenge your friends to create a showstopping treat or serve up your signature dish in return for donations. Take some cakes into work, run a coffee morning for the community or have a few friends over.
Every cake or biscuit shared will help us save butterflies, moths and our environment.

Sign up to receive a free information pack and resources including butterfly bunting, recipes and a step-by-step guide to running your event.

Species images from top to bottom: Speckled Wood (Steve Maskell), Comma on Aster (Will Langdon), Large White (Andrew Cooper), butterfly cakes (Sue Smith).
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 a beautiful site. Our regional branches run events across the UK all year round.
Quick Links

Appreciating Autumn Butterflies

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