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Rutland Butterfly Atlas

Rutland Butterfly Atlas

Rutland Butterfly Atlas

The Rutland Butterfly Atlas is now printing and should be available at the end of February or beginning of March. It will be available from the AWBC/Egleton Reserve, Rutland Museum, and Walkers Bookshop, Oakham and costs just £12.

The Atlas has 92 pages, and includes distribution maps and discussion for all 35 regularly recorded butterflies, over 90 colour photographs taken in Rutland, detailed information about scarce migrants and former Rutland butterflies, and a section on key sites as well as tips on where to find each species.

In his foreword, Adrian Russell describes it as ‘an invaluable insight into Rutland’s butterflies’.

RBA cover mock-up

RBA cover mock-up

Followers of progress with the the Rutland Butterfly Atlas will be pleased to hear that it is nearing completion and should be available in March unless there are unforeseen problems.

One purpose of the RBA is to stimulate more interest in and recording of butterflies, so I hope that many of you will use it and contribute additional records.

In the meantime, if you are interested in the wildlife of Shetland you might like to try: https://birdingontheedge.wordpress.com

Cape May Warbler, Cuba

Cape May Warbler, Cuba

This year I have chosen one highlight from spring, one from summer, and one from autumn.

The Cape May Warbler in Cuba at Easter was one of several colourful wood warblers which we saw. It epitomises how birds and other wildlife regulate their lives independently of the political and other ‘boundaries’ created by Homo sapiens.

The Purple Emperor in Rutland in July was one of the discoveries I made during fieldwork for the Rutland Butterfly Atlas. Although this species receives more than its fair share of attention, it is undeniably exciting to discover at new sites.

The Lanceolated Warbler on Fair Isle in September was an example of the quintessential autumn rarities which draw visitors to Shetland, and performed admirably for all present. It was a new bird for several experienced birders.

What will 2017 bring?

Purple Emperor, Rutland

Purple Emperor, Rutland

Lanceolated Warbler, Fair Isle

Lanceolated Warbler, Fair Isle

Speckled Wood, Rutland

Speckled Wood, Rutland

Thanks to all those who have contributed already!

During the coming weeks I shall be completing maps, text and images for the Rutland Butterfly Atlas, so any additional significant records will be very welcome.

I am hoping to publish the finished Atlas in spring 2017.

The under-appreciated Small White, Rutland

The under-appreciated Small White, Rutland

As temperatures climbed towards an unseasonal 30 degrees, I managed to fit in a couple of hours looking for butterflies this afternoon. The most numerous was Small White, which is Rutland’s most widespread butterfly. Other species, including Vanessids, were only seen in small numbers. Of note were Common Blue and Brown Argus.

A covey of eight Grey Partridges near Clipsham Ford was also notable.

Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars

Small Tortoiseshell caterpillars

In common with many other species, numbers of Small Tortoiseshell have been low so far this year. In recent weeks I have seen clusters of caterpillars, however, and the adult butterflies are now beginning to appear in more promising numbers.

Other butterflies on the wing today included several Painted Ladies, better numbers of Common Blue, a late Silver-washed Fritillary still at Ketton, and Small Heath.

Fresh Small Tortoiseshell

Fresh Small Tortoiseshell

Holly Blue, Rutland

Holly Blue, Rutland

There was a distinctly autumnal feel in the air today. Some of our summer butterflies are coming to the end of their season, and numbers generally seem low.

Two species which are having a good year are Holly Blue (still) and Brown Argus. To date I have seen more second brood individuals of the latter than Common Blue, which is unusual.

Brown Argus, Rutland

Brown Argus, Rutland