Juliet's Jottings

First Butterfly - 17th March 2016

Male BrimstoneIt is always exciting when the first spring butterflies are sighted. On a mild and sunny morning in mid-March I saw three Brimstone butterflies, two males and one female, flying around the Home Wood area of the Gardens. The male Brimstone (left) is a lovely bright yellow, the female (below) is a pale greenish white. They have a very characteristic shape, resembling a leaf when roosting with closed wings.

Female BrimstoneBrimstone butterflies are one of the species that hibernate over winter. They seek a sheltered woodland spot amongst holly or ivy and re-emerge on the first warm days of spring with a peak flight period of April and May. They lay their eggs on Alder Buckthorn . These then mature into adult butterflies which emerge in August, providing another peak. In autumn the butterflies can be seen feeding on nectar as they build up their fat reserves in preparation for hibernation.

‘What could be better on a trip down to the New Forest than a walk in a beautiful garden, a ride on a steam train (which my grandson adored!) and a chance to see the Beaulieu river close up? A memorable day out and a gem of a place’

Rob Gregory, Oxford

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