Butterfly Conservation calls 2019 a smashing summer - here's why...
The headline was that 2019 turned out to be a Painted Lady Year. Large numbers arrived in June, laying eggs and producing a new 'home-grown' generation of butterflies that emerged in August. In addition, enormous numbers of Painted Ladies arrived on the east coast, producing spectacular scenes of clouds of butterflies for local observers.
But that's not all. The Peacock enjoyed its best summer since 2014 with numbers up 235% on last year. Red Admirals bounced back strongly after a disappointing 2018, with numbers up by 138%, and even the beleaguered Small Tortoiseshell, which has lost three-quarters of its UK population since the 1970s, fared (relatively) well - it's best year since 2014. Other winners included the Marbled White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Six-spot Burnet. In contrast, the three common white butterflies, Large White, Small White, and Green-veined White, all of which did extremely well in 2018, each suffered a large drop in numbers, declining by 42% compared with last year. Both of the blue butterflies included in big butterfly count also decreased, with the Holly Blue down 54% on 2018 and the Common Blue by 59%.
Although these are national figures, they give a good reflection of what we experienced in Leicestershire and Rutland. What will 2020 bring?
Source: Butterfly Conservation big butterfly count: https://www.bigbutterflycount.org/2019mainresults