Thursday 25th April 2013

First butterflies that do not hibernate as adults

Yesterday I saw the first butterfly of the year that does not pass the winter as an adult: Holly Blue, Celastrina argiolus. Following the long cold spell we have been enduring throughout the month of March and the first half of April, the temperature has suddenly risen dramatically, and butterflies are making up for lost time. The Holly Blue of yesterday was rapidly followed by another today, fluttering around and settling photogenically with its wings open. I tried to photograph it using my mobile phone, but whenever it perched, a pedestrian, a cyclist or a dog-walker would come along and disturb it.

Later I also observed a Small White, Pieris rapae, flying around and settling in a front garden close to the university in Nijmegen. It is unusual to see Small White before Green-veined White, but this individual left me in no doubt as to its identity.

Butterfly list as of 25th April: 6 species

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Monday 15th April 2013

The Spring has sprung – finally

Osnabrück, N Germany

After many weeks of exceptionally cold weather, yesterday the temperature finally climbed above 15 degrees Centigrade, and immediately, almost as if they could wait no longer, butterflies began to appear. The first was a male Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni, which flew through the garden even before the sun had properly come out. I went to see at least five Brimstones, both in Osnabrück and at the Dümmersee, a reed-fringed lake to the North-east of the city. Several Small Tortoiseshells, Aglais urticae, were also enjoying the late afternoon sunshine here.

Having returned to the Netherlands late yesterday evening, today I did my usual round through the polders of Flevoland, enjoying the arrival of many summer birds, and was able to observe around five Small Tortoiseshells, Aglais urticae, and one Peacock, Inachis io.

Butterfly list as of 15th April: 4 species