The Big Butterfly Count 2021 runs from 16 July to August 12 this year and so here are the ten Stroud butterflies that I have seen this July.
Keep counting butterflies. All you have to do is set aside 15 minutes of a sunny day in your garden or elsewhere and count numbers of the different butterflies that you see and record them on the Big Butterfly Count website: https://bigbutterflycount.butterfly-conservation.org/.
It has been a mixed year for our local butterflies. The ten illustrated here have been relatively common on the village green (along the bramble and nettle-rich boundaries) and our garden during July but others have not been so. More species may be seen as the Buddleja ‘butterfly bushes’ come into flower over the next few weeks.
The ten butterflies that have been apparent on the Village Green this July are:
- the nettle feeding Red Admiral (image 1) and Small Tortoiseshell (image 2) and the Comma which also feeds on hop (image 3);
- the grass feeding Ringlet (image 4), Meadow Brown (image 5), Gatekeeper (image 6), Large Skipper (image 7) and Small Skipper (image 8); and
- those feeding on brassicas (especially cabbages and nasturtiums) Large White (image 9) and Small White (image 10).
Until a few days ago, the Large White was by far the commonest butterfly on the village green and our garden but appears now to have been overtaken by the Small White. Gatekeeper (also known as the Hedge Brown) butterflies are currently very common along our hedgerows and Meadow Browns are common across areas of long grass.
Those that I have found less often or not seen this summer have been Dark Green Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Marbled White, Small Copper and the Common and Holly Blue butterflies.
There used to be good colonies of Marbled White and Small Copper butterflies on the village green, but successive years of hay cutting at prime butterfly time have almost destroyed these colonies and so far this year, I have not seen a single Small Copper here, and only one Marbled White. Petersfield Heath in comparison, has been awash with butterflies and with good numbers of Marbled Whites.