We've noticed that there's far fewer butterflies around than expected - allotment holders and gardeners, and random people who stop to talk to us in parks and on streets, have all been asking the same question recently. It seems no-one has seen many butterflies fluttering by as they thought they should have done. Even the so-called Butterfly Bush (buddleia, to those who like these things more scientific) has been noticably empty of colourful wings, so each sighting, like the Holly Blue down at the allotments last week, has become something of a major event.
I hear that the blues, as a group, have done better than other groups so far this year, due to their larval food plants (what the caterpillars feed on) have not been knocked back by the strange and mixed-up weather. So well done, the blues! (This is starting to sound like a football blog....!)
Meanwhile, other people are asking our question... Guardian gardening blog
Update (4 September)
Though we have been seeing members of the blue and white groups for a while now, the more familiar butterflies (peacock, red admiral, tortoiseshell) have been notable by their relative absence. Until now. Peacock butterflies particularly seem to becoming far more apparent, and in good numbers (see Leeds post, 4 Sept Leeds - A taste for buddleia), and though red admirals and tortoiseshells are still in low numbers, it looks like things are looking up for them. The Butterfly Conservation Trust thinks this is due to a late improvement in the weather (hurrah!) - see their webpage here for more info Butterfly Conservation soggy summer Sightings of skippers also are on the increase, though not so many individuals in one place. We also have sightings of small coppers and burnet moths from rough amenity grassland.