Adonis Blue Polyommatus bellargus, male.annual butterfly survey report for France. This year the weather was against the butterflies and the surveyors. I didn't manage to survey all my transects every month because if the weather is wet (actually raining), cold (below 16C) or windy (more than 30km/hour) it is not worth doing even in the middle of summer. Luc Manil, who co-ordinates the project from the Museum National de l'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) announced quite early on that it was the worst year for butterflies since 2006. My observation for this year is that now that I look back and compare this year and last year it is obvious how much cooler, windier and cloudier this year has been in comparison. Whenever STERFists go out to survey their transects they first note the temperature, level of wind and percentage of cloud cover. This year my survey days have been about 10 degrees cooler (generally in the low 20s rather than the low 30s). Last year I mostly had a light breeze, this year it has been moderately breezy. Last year it was sunny, this year it has been cloudy or very cloudy.
Ilex Hairstreak Satyrium ilicis, ovipositing on Downy Oak Quercus pubescens.Map Araschinia levana and the Peacock Inachis io. Both were unusually abundant all season. The species that was most noticeable by its absence was the Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus. This small brown grassland butterfly is normally so common you disturb one with every step, but this year the most I recorded in a single transect was 9. Mostly I saw just a single individual in each transect. Other brown grassland butterflies, such as Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina, normally the most abundant species in France, were also quite scarce.
Brown Argus Aricia agestis on Yorkshire Fog.grassMarbled White Melanargia galatea, with 289 individuals, all but 5 of which were seen in June. No other species even came close to this level of abundance, not even the usual suspects, Meadow Brown (last year's winner) and Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus.
Essex Skipper Thymelicus lineola on Field Scabious Knautia arvensis.here, June report here. For comparison, here is the 2011 overview.
Essex Skipper on Red Clover Trifolium pratense.
Knapweed Fritillary Melitaea phoebe on Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata.
Large Skipper Ochlodes venatus.
Marbled Fritillary Brenthis daphne on Blackberry Rubus agg.
Marbled White male, on Field Scabious.
Short-tailed Blue Everes argiades, male.
Scarce Swallowtail Iphiclides podalirius on Knapweed Centaurea sp.
Small Skipper Thymelicus sylvestris on Yorkshire Fog Holcus lanatus.
Violet Fritillary Clossiana dia.