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Nature Notes

PUBLISHED: 10:16 17 April 2009 | UPDATED: 09:01 06 July 2010

THE sunny days of late March saw a mass emergence of formerly hibernating lepidoptera.

On one day alone I saw 10 small tortoiseshells, 10 peacocks, a few commas and a single brimstone in one site.

THE sunny days of late March saw a mass emergence of formerly hibernating lepidoptera.

On one day alone I saw 10 small tortoiseshells, 10 peacocks, a few commas and a single brimstone in one site.

It was only 16 weeks between the last of the 2008 butterflies and the 2009 species.

The brimstone was a great surprise as it was a new record for my tetrad square.

The brimstone is scarce in Lothingland but as we travel further west into the neighbouring Yare Valley, in Norfolk, they are common place. The food plant is no more frequent than the Yare Valley and we all have plenty of ivy where hibernating brimstones overwinter.

Soon we will be observing and recording the butterflies that last year turned into crysalids and will be emerging as first generation adults. These in turn breed almost the same day and the females will lay eggs for the second generation emergence. It is this second generation that is the most important barometer for butterflies.

I have within the scientific community forecast a record year as we are well over due a butterfly year.

The small tortoiseshell has really crashed in the past two or three years and is certainly cause for concern but us naturalists cannot be everywhere. This is where the readers can help produce an accurate report of the Lothingland butterflies.

There is, in most counties, a butterfly recorder who will collate all the butterfly records and produce an annual population report. Here in Suffolk we have Rob Parker. Any butterfly records can be sent to him by November. The usual details of species, site, numbers and any breeding recorded along with a six figure grid reference will be required. Preferably the records should be sent on an exel spread sheet.

I am always happy to identify any photographs of unknown butterflies.

Rob can be contacted on robparker@waitrose.com and I can be contacted on naturenoteslowestoft@googlemail.com

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