Most people know what a butterfly is. Wonderful flashes of colour bobbing through wildflowers, on the prowl for nectar and the opposite sex. Having been fascinated by the transformation from caterpillar to butterfly as children, many can lose interest as they get older. For those that continue the passion, the fun never ends.
In Britain we get approximately 59 species of butterfly, including the odd rare “blow over” from Europe. At Rutland Water Nature Reserve we can get around half of these. Not bad going!
On a recent butterfly walk for volunteers we saw Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Holly Blue, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Brimstone, Large White, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Speckled Wood and Comma. Other species can be found here too, varying throughout the year.
There are other local reserves, also managed by the Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust, that are home to some wonderful species. Ketton Quarry at the moment is host to a large emergence of Dark Green Fritillary, a butterfly that was once aptly described to me as a “cross between a leopard and a stained glass window”. There are also huge numbers of Marbled White on display, along with other species such as Silver Washed Fritillary.
Bloody Oaks in Empingham is another local gem, also home to large numbers of fritillaries and Marbled White, as well as Banded Demoiselle damselflies, Common Whitethroats, Red Kite and more.
For those interested in butterflies, I encourage you to get out to these reserves and enjoy these wonderful local species. With the well reported decrease in butterfly numbers over the last few years, see them and help protect them while you can.