Springwatch! The Red Admiral and the Snowdrop

red admiral snowdrop

(Image by Butterfly Conservation)

Springtime’s here again! Well, nearly. To start a series of seasonal posts, here’s a picture that made headlines when taken a few years ago. The image, taken in mid February, shows a Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atlanta) visiting a snowdrop on a sunny winter day. What’s the big deal? Well, this photo, beyond its colourful and cheery veneer, is actually a strong visual reminder of the extent of climate change.

The Red Admiral, is one of our most well known butterflies, but it is traditionally a non-resident species. Originating in North Africa and South Europe, each year they would traditionally migrate to our shores from May onwards. Our winters have always been too cold for the butterflies to survive, and autumn stragglers would always either perish or attempt to return to sunnier climes. In recent years, the warmer winters have led to handfuls of the species surviving overwinter, but this phoograph is one of he first times that this symbol of summer was able to wake up and fly around amongst the first tentative flowers of spring. Food for thought, indeed.

When will he first butterflies and bees be seen this year? Or maybe they are appearing already! Drop us a line and let us know.


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