Sunday, 11 August 2013

All of a flutter!

Peacock and two Red Admiral feeding on Ragwort

Wall Brown - cryptically beautiful!

They're invading! Lots of White butterflies!

Feeding up! Farne Islands fuel stop!

Speckled Wood, looking good!

Sunday 11th August comments: It’s an invasion!!!

Now, not everyone thinks about butterflies as long distance migrants and some think it impossible that they fly hundreds of miles across the sea; but that’s exactly what they do! In the last couple of weeks we have seen tremendous numbers of butterflies migrating through the Farne Islands, coming straight in off the sea from continental Europe.

This invasion has been particularly noteworthy in White butterflies, with several hundred watched flying in off the sea and settling on the various nectar sources on the islands. The same as migrant birds, butterflies use the islands as a fueling station, stopping to feed before continuing on epic migrations. The thistles and ragwort provide an invaluable source of nectar for these dainty nomads, the islands an important stopping point for thousands of butterflies.

So why do they do this? Why do they put themselves through such epic over-sea struggles? Surely it would be easier to stay put?! Well, butterflies migrate for many different reasons. They do it to avoid inclement weather, to expand the range of their population, to avoid over population in areas and also to find food. By migrating, they are able to exploit new and untapped food resources, giving them an advantage when it comes to breeding themselves.

Adult butterflies generally have a lifespan of just two weeks so they need to make the most of it! We have seen several species already this year and August can be a good month for seeing these amazing little creatures on the Farnes. All our records are submitted to a national database which is used to build up an overall picture of how butterflies are faring in Britain and beyond. Our recording helps contribute to vital conservation work, so why not come along and give us a hand counting them, we need your help!

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