As Summer finally gives way to the relentless pressure of Autumn it has been easy to make comparisons with the memorable summer of 1976. This year’s summer equalled the record breaking summer temperature of 1976. Time does play tricks with the mind but 1976 seemed more carefree and idyllic. Although we had to contend with communal standpipes, the appointment of a Minister for Draught, empty reservoirs and a plague of ladybirds life seemed to be so much more carefree and relaxed. Maybe then the majority of us were oblivious to the problems of global warming and the harmful effect of the suns rays on our skin and so summers now appear more serious and less fun.
The sunny days this summer has though certainly helped to provide plenty of sightings of butterflies and they appeared abundant in the meadows and woodlands. The following photos were all taken in West Sussex over the summer months.
This year the first butterflies appeared in numbers during the warm spell in early April a few weeks after the late snow in March. There were plenty of Peacocks, Brimstones and Red Admirals in flight. In the hedgerow and meadows in late Spring and early Summer saw plenty of Gatekeepers, Small Heaths and Meadow Browns cohabiting together. In the woods in early summer White Admirals and Silver Washed Fritillaries could be seen in sunny glades and rides. I noticed though that the Honeysuckle where the Silver Washed Fritillaries lay their eggs was already dieing back. This could possibly have an effect on next years population. We will have to wait and see. As the summer progressed Speckled Woods appeared in large numbers in the woods. On the chalk grasslands of the South Downs it was good to see plenty of Common Blue amongst other species.
One butterfly that did escape me this summer was the elusive Purple Emperor. This magnificent butterfly can be found in the trees tops of woodland. Hopefully next year I will have better success in tracking them down. Lets hope the Winter isn’t too harsh for the butterflies and other wildlife and we have as good a summer in 2019 as we did this year.