Thursday, 5 July 2018

Hot enough for June
Ringlet. Butterfly Conservation.

Hot enough for June

Comparing the whole of last years fairly cool summer with the high temperatures we have had in June 2018,
this year it looks like it could be a good year for butterflies. The average day time temperature in June has been 19.9 Celsius, on a par with the famous hot summer of 1976. Also our central southern region has had
the driest June on record.

One of our three commonness grassland butterflies the meadow brown has been on the wing throughout June,
flitting over any sunny grassy field, lane or wasteland. It will also fly in dull weather, but no need as with these high temperatures , it has really been out in force. The female shows more of the orange patch on the brown fore wing, the males can often just look dusty brown. Both sexes have the white-pupilled black spot, circled with orange on the fore wing, but this species is rather varied.

Following closely on to the meadow brown is the ringlet butterfly, on the wing in July and August. Finding a freshly emerged ringlet is a treat, as they are a really dark sooty-brown with a thin pale rim to the wings. The underside of the hind wing gives them their name, with five ringed spots, best seen on closed wings when they feed on bramble blossoms.

The third grassland species the gatekeeper is also on the wing in July and August. They too like bramble blossoms to feed on, but are not indifferent to the flowers of marjoram. I grow a patch of the golden form and often attract gatekeepers to the garden in July. The female differs from the male in its rather larger size and without the dark band across the fore wing. The general colour is brownish orange, with two tiny white dots in the black fore wing spot.
As Summer wears on and after flying through the grasses, all three species can become quite ragged as they loose scales and their colours. All are best viewed on early Summer days.

Report by Colin Strudwick.

5th July, 2018.