At last, belatedly, the butterfly season has arrived. My first butterfly photo of 2012 was of a grizzled skipper, a relatively rare species, particularly so as far north as Norfolk and a new butterfly species for me. Its the earliest skipper to appear, and rarely visits flowers, instead it stays close to the ground basking. Wild strawberries are one of the favourite foodplants of their caterpillars.
My second was an orange-tip butterfly, which seems to be faring well in recent years and has increased its range. Though they’re far from scarce I’d never seen an orange-tip butterfly until I moved to Oxfordshire and I still have a soft spot for them. Its been interesting to note how much later spring arrives in Norfolk than it did back in Oxfordshire. I saw my first orange-tip butterfly at Whistley woods on 12th April but they didn’t emerge in my patch of Norfolk until exactly a month later, the 12th of May. It will be interesting to see how the wettest April for some time will affect the butterfly population, which suffered last year from the impact of a very dry sunny spring. Time will tell..