Butterflies & moths

Heath Fritillary on Common Cow wheatThe Blean butterfly is the heath fritillary. Its recovery from near extinction is a great conservation success story. Key habitat management by Kent Wildlife Trust, RSPB and Forestry Commission in their various woods in the Blean over the last 25 years has resulted in there being a good number of flourishing colonies of one of Britain’s rarest butterflies.

The butterfly has done well in 2011 probably benefiting from the warm sunny spring. So, despite the distinctly average summer many heath fritillaries were seen flying earlier than usual. In fact there was a second generation of butterflies flying in August and September.

Sadly, most other butterfly species had a poor year in 2011. It seems likely that this is the case in most areas, but the picture will be clearer when we have all the data in for the year.

2011 has been a mixed year for moths, it appears that some species suffered because of the warm dry spring affecting their caterpillars. Other species have had a good year including a number of migrants from the continent, again we will have a better idea when all of the years records are in.