Monday, August 26, 2013

Reason to be cheerful....

Less than a decade ago, seeing a speckled wood butterfly in Durham or Northumberland would have been something to get excited about; then they were rare vagrants. Now they can only be described as common - we must have seen more than twenty when we walked along the south bank of the river Tyne between Wylam and Newburn yesterday, and today there were several in our garden in south west Durham. Now you can expect to see them almost anywhere along woodland edges and in sunlit glades. The rapid expansion of their range has to be one of the wildlife success stories of the last decade.


  1. I also counted over twenty Speckled Wood Butterflies in the Holywell area today and I have seen more of this species of butterfly this year than any other apart from the whites.It's certainly good news that something is spreading its range and I've watched over the past few years as this butterfly has become common north of the Tyne (I seem to remember finding my first in the area about six years ago). I noticed them in my garden for the first time ever this year. We need a few good summers and a lot of habitat protection to help the butterfly species in general. Cheers.

    1. I can remember seeing some down near Leyburn in North Yorkshire about 10 years ago and wondering then whether we'd see them up here, but never thought that they'd spread so quickly. I believe they overwinter as caterpilars or chysalises and have three overlapping broods each year in a good year, so they are more or less continuously around from May to late September. Those footpaths beside the Tyne, with sunlight and shade, seem just about perfect for it. I wonder how far north they'll reach? All the best, Phil