19th April 2021 – Spring Butterflies

Despite the foggy start to the day the sun had pushed through by mid-morning and it soon warmed up.  Today has been the best so far for spotting butterflies in our garden in Finningley.  We had both male and female Orange Tips, Anthocharis cardamines, Small White, Pieris rapae, Large White, Pieris brassicae, Brimstone (male), Gonepteryx rhamni, Small Tortoiseshell, Aglais urticae, Peacock, Inachis io, Speckled Wood, Pararge aegeria and Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus.  It was my first sighting this year of both Speckled Wood and Holly Blue.  I was delighted to have seen 8 different species in the garden in one day in the middle of April. The only white missing from my list was Green-veined White, Pieris napi, but it may well have been present (just not spotted by me) as I did record one yesterday.

Aubretia and Honesty seem to be the food plants of choice for those butterflies that were seen feeding, although the Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni was enjoying one of our Wallflowers.  Almost always I find the whites prefer using up their energy stores rather than refuelling as they seem to prefer patrolling up and down our warm south facing bank.  By contrast I more often see Peacocks basking on warm paving or walls.  The Speckled Wood is another that I see resting, often on foliage, if it isn’t patrolling up and down our Hawthorn hedge.  Typically the Holly Blue was seen checking out the Hollies in the hedge.