I received my new butterfly conservation magazine today. I joined last year because of the decline in butterfly numbers, here on Skye. This issue is advertising the Great British butterfly count which, is sponsored by B&Q. There is a sheet to record my sightings over a 15 minute period on a sunny day. Chris Packham has written an article about the Great British butterfly count. He also stressed how important the natural world is for our mental health, well being and survival.
We have allowed nettles to grow around the perimeter of the nature reserve and the garden to encourage butterflies to lay their eggs. These provide the right food for the caterpillars. When we first moved into Dunshee, 22 years ago there were lots of butterflies in the summer. There were peacocks, small tortoise shells, red admirals, small white and green veined butterflies However, there has been a steady decline over the last few years. This year I have seen 1 tortoise shell, a few red admirals and 2 painted ladies. I am hoping by creating the new habitat the numbers will increase.
We went for a walk to Orbost on Tuesday on a very hot afternoon. As we walked down to the beach we were amazed at the number of butterflies on the thistles and knapweed. Red admirals, small tortoise shells, painted ladies and small coppers, in abundant numbers. We counted 17 painted ladies. There has been an influx of painted ladies from Africa and Europe this week. They have been found all over Scotland.This was wonderful to see. I took some photographs.