Monday, 29 August 2016


It's good to see that the national media has caught up with something we've been well aware of - that the number of butterflies has plummeted this year. Their interest - see Guardian report here - has been excited by a press release from Butterfly Conservation which reports that small tortoiseshell numbers have dropped by 73% since the 1970s, but we're sure it isn't only the tortoiseshell that's suffering.

Looking back in the blog, the only picture I have published this year of a small tortoiseshell was back in July - here - and I reported seeing one in a post in March.

Our big buddleia, which produces masses of flowers each year and usually attracts plenty of butterflies, hardly had a visit during its flowering - I celebrated the arrival of a peacock here - and walking in Ardnamurchan's hills we've seen far fewer butterflies than usual.

In our wanderings today we saw several whites, and just one other butterfly - this peacock, which seemed intent on warming itself on the tarmac, and....

....yesterday, on a beautifully sunny day when there should have been butterflies everywhere, we saw a painted lady, two scotch arguses, a brown butterfly of some description, and a few whites.

I don't think it's butterflies alone that are suffering this year. Although there are bumblebees around - this one was visiting a montbretia in our front garden this morning - there don't seem to be as many as one would expect on a warm, sunny morning in August.

Anything I report is the result of very unscientific, very personal observation, but it's getting to the point where I think that us old ones, who can remember a world in which butterflies seemed everywhere in summer, need to start wondering what sort of countryside we're leaving to future generations.

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