Sunday, 5 July 2009

Return of the Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell, garden in Titchwell, Norfolk.

Already this year we have seen a miraculous butterfly event the invasion of the UK bu millions of Painted Lady butterflies. This weekend an almost equally miraculous event happened the return of the Small Tortoiseshell. This butterfly has declined by 80% in recent years the victim of a small parasitic fly [Sturmia bella] that has spread north in recent years on the back of our warming climate.

So it was good to see large numbers of freshly emerged Small Tortoiseshell's at all of the three sites I visited this weekend; a back garden on the coast road, a nature reserve and a country lane. The picture is of an individual feeding on Lavender in a back garden in Titchwell.

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