Country corner

Country corner, September 15 - butterflies
Country corner, September 15 - butterflies

Reader Callum Herd sent me an email in mid August, this time on the subject of butterflies.

“In what has been the poorest year for some time for butterflies in my garden – finally things improved significantly this weekend, when numerous Red Admirals, Peacocks and a Comma along with several of the “whites” came visiting.

“At one point, there were three Red Admirals and five Peacocks in the garden at once – up to now there have been a maximum of two or three at any time.

“I actively encourage butterflies to the garden by planting all types of plants deemed to be their favourites, including several buddleias.

I was delighted to see them finally return in numbers and took several photos – I attach one of a Peacock sunbathing on the earth (not on any of my plants!)”

Callum’s mention of a Comma butterfly rather rubs my face in it, as I am vainly keeping my eyes open for one at Torness, where I am engaged in regular butterfly and moth surveys this summer and autumn.

The reason I need a Comma is because I have already amassed a very impressive count of butterfly species, with the exception of Comma,which tends to be a late season sighting.

Sightings so far include Orange Tip, Green Veined White, Small White, Large White, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath, Common Blue, Ringlet, Red Admiral, Peacock, Painted Lady, Small Copper and Meadow Brown!

A Comma, which hopefully I will have found by the time you read this, would bring the total to a remarkable 14.

So far, fortune has not shone in the shape of any of the handful of southern species slowly spreading their range northwards up the east coast.

These include the Wall Brown, which has established a small colony just south of Torness.

The Speckled Wood and Holly Blue are two more new species to the Lothians, though not yet in numbers to make them easily found. Mind you, one of each would take my Torness total up to 17 – now that would really be something!

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