A drenching in June and July has not helped our butterflies but the good news for gardeners is that the big influx of butterflies into our gardens typically takes place in August up to mid-September. For those of you who are doing the National Garden Butterfly Survey, keep a special lookout on sunny days over the coming weeks. The form is here:
National Garden Butterfly Survey
Here are a selection of butterflies to look for in your garden now.
All photographs © J.Harding.
The Silver-washed Fritillary (a female is shown here) is the only fritillary that is recorded in gardens although it does not appear very often. A female was recorded recently in a garden in Castleknock, County Dublin. It may have wandered in from the Furry Glen in the Phoenix Park.
This is a female Holly Blue. Holly Blues love gardens. It really is a garden butterfly; it will complete its entire life cycle in a garden containing holly and ivy.
This Peacock butterfly is feeding on Common Ragwort growing in a garden. Expect peak numbers in the last two weeks of August.
The female Large White, shown here on Common Knapweed, is not as abundant as it used to be. A large and showy butterfly, it should be welcomed even though it does breed on cabbage leaves and nasturtium.
This is a female Common Blue. The female is very variable in its upper wing colouring, particularly in the amount of blue it has. Many females are brown on their upper surfaces. The male is blue on his upper side, with the wings edges outlined in black followed by white.
The male Common Blue is a bright shining blue. While nowhere near as prevalent in gardens as the Holly Blue, the males of the two blue species look similar in flight but the Common Blue can be separated from the Holly Blue by its tendency to feed on grassy areas while the Holly Blue is usually seen on shrubs. A tall, open grassland containing Black Medic can attract the Common Blue to breed in your garden.
The Small Copper is one of our most attractive butterflies. Small but unmistakable, it breeds in gardens with good wildflower ‘meadows’ containing Common Sorrel.
Grayling (female), feeding on Wild Carrot. You won’t find this butterfly in your garden but it is worth looking for on eroded sand dunes and on rocky outcrops, including outcrops on wet bogs. We receive few records of the Grayling and a decline is feared.