2014 was an excellent year for both butterflies and dragonflies and would be a hard act to follow in 2015.
(Keith Powrie, an expert in lepidopterology and odonatology, has undertaken regular surveys of Knoll Gardens on behalf of the Foundation since 2009.)
During the early weeks, numbers were often above average. Things continued with around average counts but the warm spell during week 18 produced a count of 57, close to the maximum of 61 seen in 2010. After that the weather changed and counts were below average and sometimes down to previous minimums before a complete turnaround in week 23 with Red Admirals, Painted Ladies, Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks and Commas appearing in profusion.
The new species found last year, the Small Skipper, was seen again this year but only a fleeting glimpse. Species not seen this year that have appeared before, were Small Copper, Silver-washed Fritillary, Grayling and Small Heath. The other non-appearer was Clouded Yellow.
Damselflies appeared a week earlier than in 2014, albeit with just a single Large Red Damselfly but they continued on a week longer, until week 23. Both Demoiselle species were seen this year, whereas Banded Demoiselles were absent last year.
The most numerous damselfly, once again, was the Azure Damselfly, with a count of 462, compared to last season’s 620.
Dragonflies emerged a week later than they did in 2014, with a single Four-spotted Chaser seen quartering the Dragon Pond. The warmer weather at the start of the season, compared to that of last year, produced a few more dragonflies in the earlier weeks.
Apart from Migrant Hawkers, the only other species that performed better than in 2014 were the Four-spotted Chasers, who didn’t appear at all last year, and the Emperor Dragonfly.
You can read Keith’s full 2015 report here: Knoll Gardens 2015 report