The weather this year has been a roller coaster from high to low and back again with several species benefitting from the warm spells while others suffering from the colder ones. However, 2018 saw three ‘firsts’ for the garden.
(Keith Powrie, an expert in lepidopterology and odonatology, has undertaken regular surveys of Knoll Gardens on behalf of the Foundation since 2009.)
That day was 100% sun, a temperature of 28°C and very little wind. Nine days later, on the 15th July, the second newcomer, a White Admiral, was spotted. Again, there was 100% sunshine, with a temperature of 26°C and no wind at all.
Other notable appearances include the Brown Argus, which normally averages one sighting per year (apart from six being spotted in 2010) but which this year was logged at 30 sightings! Green-veined Whites and Orange Tips took advantage of the early warmth and almost doubled their average counts.
Dragonflies / Damselflies
Most species, apart from the Brown Hawker, whose appearances almost doubled over 2017, were around their annual mean figures. However, the third ‘first’ for 2018 was the appearance of a single male Keeled Skimmer, perched up by Dragon Pond.
The most common damselfly, the Azure Damselfly saw its worst year to date. Only 310 were seen compared to 730 last year and an astounding 1192 seen in 2010, the first year of counting.
For more information about butterflies and ways to encourage them into your garden, visit the Butterfly Conservation website: www.butterfly-conservation.org