Sunday, 19 June 2011

Butterfly Update

Thanks to Ian Rippey for this update:

In recent days 1st records in 2010 have come of:
Ringlet: 1 seen at Craigavon Lakes on 10th June, with several later records. So far the 1st date for Meadow Brown is on 14th June also at Craigavon Lakes (though earlier dates may be found). It is almost unprecedented for Meadow Brown not to appear before the Ringlet.
Meadow Brown: At Craigavon Lakes on 14th June, with several later records.
Dark Green Fritillary: 2 at Portstewart Dunes on 14th June - this is unless you had it earlier at Murlough. I looked at both Bloody Bridge and Murlough without success in good weather on 31st May, though I later saw 3 or 4 at Bloody Bridge on 15th June - I didn't have time to visit Murlough that day. There were also a number of Keeled Skimmers at Bloody Bridge on the latter but not the former date. 
Large Heath has been seen several times at Peatlands Park from 1st June (none were seen there on 31st May) with 1 also on 3rd June at Frosses Bog near Cloghmills, Co. Antrim and 1 on 16th June at Bunnahesco Bog near Lisnaskea, Co. Fermanagh.
2nd brood of Small Tortoiseshell appeared very early this year - I saw a very fresh one (along with a batch of larvae) at Ballykilbeg near Clough, Co. Down, on 31st May (the earliest I have ever seen 2nd brodo previously was 8th June 1982) and I see that 1 adult, perhaps also 2nd brood though it could equally have been a late 1st brood, was seen at Murlough on 3rd; on 16th I also found larvae in Co. Fermanagh. I saw a very few fresh adults at several places in Western Ireland last week, in at least 1 case along with larvae.
I also found new sites for Marsh Fritillary in both East and West Fermanagh on 16th June, though only saw 2 at each site. For the third successive year only single individuals have been reported at Montiaghs, Co. Antrim; 1 was seen on 2nd June by Max Whitby and Fiona Barclay of BirdGuides at Montiaghs Moss NNR, Co. Antrim.
It is possible several more species may appear before the end of the month, e.g. Silver-washed Fritillary or Grayling, or even Purple Hairstreak (which would be the first definite record of the species in Northern Ireland in the month of June). This would bring the total for the year to near the maximum of 26 species (27 if Clouded Yellow was added).

For more Northern Ireland butterfly and moth news check out the new Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland website (very nice it is too!)