Last spring it was hot and dry – do you remember that? At the moment we seem to be getting drizzly days which aren’t ideal for butterflies. But last year was good for spring butterflies, even though not so good for summer-flying butterflies because the weather turned cold, according to Butterfly Conservation.Last year’s warm spring made it a good year for the Duke of Burgundy – a declining butterfly which I intend to track down in a few weeks time, if the weather will let me.
Dr Tom Brereton, Head of Monitoring at Butterfly Conservation, said: “The great spring weather provided respite for our beleaguered butterflies but wide-ranging conservation efforts are needed to reverse long-term declines.”
And that’s the point. Just as one poor summer isn’t a disaster for butterflies like common blues or white admirals, one good spring isn’t salvation for Dukes of Burgundy or grizzled skippers.
We can’t do much about the weather (although we need to do more about the climate) and our butterflies have coped with the ups and downs of April showers, April downpours, April heatwaves, April snow and April gales for thousands of years. What they need is well managed habitat and that requires work and effort and, yes, money. I notice that Butterfly Conservation are appealing for money to continue and expand their excellent and successful recovery project for large blue butterflies. They want to buy some land in the Cotswolds and reintroduce large blues. The large blue is one of the best conservation success stories of recent decades in the UK and I hope Butterfly Conservation can smooth the way for the large blue at Rough Bank.
Butterfly Conservation is punching above its weight in our ‘marmite’ polls of conservation NGOs. At the moment they are the only one of the 14 listed organisations not to have picked up a single negative vote (MCS were with them in that respect until very recently) and are doing respectably in the positive votes although not as well as Buglife at the moment. Do vote if you haven’t already.