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Have you seen many Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies?

  • 22-08-2010 8:08pm
    #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 6,501 Mothman


    I want to get an idea if they are abundant everywhere or just locally.

    They are abundant in my garden. I counted 80 on or about a single Buddleja this morning. Also loads already settled down to hibernate in sheds. I got a text from friend locally (a few miles away) about the abundance of same. I've never seen more than about 20 at a time before

    So is this just an east coast phenomenon (I love spell checker!) perhaps from immigration or is it more widespread. Positive and negative reports welcome


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Comments

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,139 Feargal as Luimneach


    I'm in Baltinglass west Wicklow. There the most common butterfly in my Garden. On a warm day I get around 20-30 on my Buddleias bushes. Will try and get a more accurate count tomorrow.


  • Registered Users Posts: 937 ✭✭✭ Rainbowsend


    I was going to say yes.....but then I am only up the road from you so not much help to you :) I think there are more butterflies in general this year, a lot of Large Whites and Common Blue aswell.

    More Grasshoppers and Crickets also....putting it down to the good summer?


  • Registered Users Posts: 187 ✭✭ wgsten


    I saw some today in Stradbally Co.Laois. On Friday last I noticed six of them hanging upside down in a boiler house in Killiney Co. Dublin. I presume they were hibernating, is it early for them to hibernate?
    wgsten
    http://www.irishflyfisher.ie/
    P8224857.jpg


  • Registered Users Posts: 143 ✭✭ Cardynal


    Quite a number around this past week or so , i'm on the kk/carlow border.
    Counted up to 40+ on my Buddelia this morning and a couple of Peacocks and Red admirals , a definite increase in numbers from last year.
    Regards Tom.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,080 ✭✭✭ homolumo


    I volunteered for the Butterfly Monitoring Scheme and the Small Tortoiseshell has been the most common butterfly that I have recorded this summer. My father in law had 20 plus in his garden this morning.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ Black Heart


    I managed to get seventeen in to this picture. There were about one hundred at least in the garden today.

    There were a number of nettle patches with what looked like small tortoiseshell caterpillars on them. Can they accelerate their metamorphosis if they have to?


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,051 trebor28


    cant say i have seen anything like the number that ye have said on here already but these would be common enough in tipp.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,051 trebor28


    sorry to hijack this thread mothman but when i was looking up the tortoiseshell i had a look through the rest on that site.
    i had taken a photo of the below butterfly but hadnt seen it on the list.
    obviously it looks like a ringlet but the colour and edge dont seem to match. any ideas?

    13B0A2C8A8CE4F2A82B6748E1E84CAE6-0000335208-0001863353-00800L-5DFFA49EFB8247DA96D5445CD23D27E9.jpg


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ Black Heart


    I think that's how they look when they first emerge from their pupa.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,314 ✭✭✭ Thoie


    In Cork and Dublin I'd have said that I'm seeing cabbage whites outnumber the small tortoiseshells about 3 to 1, but I'm still seeing way more butterflies this year than I've seen for the last few years. Also seen more honeybees and bumblebees.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 462 ✭✭ LisaO


    Lots of Small Tortoiseshells on our Buddleia yesterday (in Nth Kilkenny) and a scattering of Red Admirals & Peacocks too. Seems to be more than in recent years.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 32,688 ✭✭✭✭ Lorelai Sharp Wage


    I've been around Bantry/Glengarriff for the past week and called at Portlaoise going and coming from the North East and they are very much the most abundant Butterflies I recorded in all locations.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,501 Mothman


    Seemed to be even more today. The garden was so alive today :D


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,501 Mothman


    trebor28 wrote: »
    sorry to hijack this thread mothman but when i was looking up the tortoiseshell i had a look through the rest on that site.
    i had taken a photo of the below butterfly but hadnt seen it on the list.
    obviously it looks like a ringlet but the colour and edge dont seem to match. any ideas?

    As black Heart said without actually saying it, this is a Ringlet, but freshly emerged. moths and Butterflies can fade/wear quite quickly


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,139 Feargal as Luimneach


    Less today only around 15, but weather cooler.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ Black Heart


    Mothman wrote: »
    As black Heart said without actually saying it, this is a Ringlet, but freshly emerged. moths and Butterflies can fade/wear quite quickly

    I wasn't sure, I just read about it somewhere. I've never actually seen a ringlet in that state. :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,051 trebor28


    I wasn't sure, I just read about it somewhere. I've never actually seen a ringlet in that state. :)

    very nice looking insect with the naked eye close up. one even landed on my arm.
    lovely purple hue.


  • Registered Users Posts: 692 Durnish


    Well, this is good news, an abundance of tortoiseshells. This blossoming has not reached west Donegal yet. Have seen loads of Peacocks, a few Red Admirals, the large Silver Washed Fritillary etc, but very few Tortoiseshells.

    I actually cut down my Belfast buddleai fowers to encourage a second batch of flowers in case of late arrivals at the butterfly ball.

    Anyone record all this on Butterfly Ireland?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,501 Mothman


    Durnish wrote: »
    Anyone record all this on Butterfly Ireland?
    Butterfly records can be submitted to national database here
    Home page of Butterfly Ireland
    I don't have any input with butterfly records.

    As for the story in my garden.
    A minimum of 200 Small Tortoiseshell
    As well as on the Buddleia, there are loads on Oregano with 70 counted in a single square metre


  • Registered Users Posts: 692 Durnish


    Amazing. A nature watch "spectacular" Last year it was Painted Ladies.
    I'm off looking for butterflies in the Sheskinmore reserve area. I might go and check out a quiet lane nearby for Tortoiseshells.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,389 ✭✭✭ Grolschevik


    Whoops! I always thought that (what I now know as) Small Tortoiseshells were Red Admirals... but then I'm new to this mallarkey.

    What's this, then?


  • Registered Users Posts: 143 ✭✭ Cardynal


    Whoops! I always thought that (what I now know as) Small Tortoiseshells were Red Admirals... but then I'm new to this mallarkey.

    What's this, then?

    Peacock , quite a few around this year aswell.


  • Users Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 1,139 artieanna


    I haven't seen many tortoiseshells or peacocks at all this year here in the west country, I think I need to get me a couple of buddleia..:rolleyes:

    lots of common large white ones, way up on previous years

    Bee numbers seem to have improved this year too


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 4,832 littlebug


    Same as artieanna, I haven't noticed more tortoiseshell but there does seem to be lots of red admirals around at the minute.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,293 Fuzzy Clam


    Increase in Small Tortoiseshells here. About 20-30 on the Buddleia earlier this week. Only a few Red Admirals and a half doz Peacocks.

    I wonder if I'll have an explosion of Peacocks next year as there were hundreds of the caterpillars attacking my nettles a few weeks back.


  • Registered Users Posts: 692 Durnish


    so, only two new ones on my buddleia, but up in Dixon Park walled garden, south Belfast, the buddleia bush in the corner was smothered. Large size variation as well.


  • Registered Users Posts: 30 tertials


    They seem very numerous. Was watching a Coal Tit the other day and suddenly it very quickly swooped down to the buddleia and grabbed a Small Tortoiseshell, flew to a branch and pecked off its wings and ate it in dense cover - I could see the butterfly wings falling to the ground. It's very quick and you'd hardly notice it.

    It did this a few times and came back later and took a few more. Today it was back again causing a scatter of butterflies from the buddleia - think it got one. Doesn't seem to affect the population though with plenty more Small Torts taking over on the buddleia.

    Never seen Coal Tits doing this before.


  • Registered Users Posts: 82 ✭✭✭ Black Heart


    tertials wrote: »
    They seem very numerous. Was watching a Coal Tit the other day and suddenly it very quickly swooped down to the buddleia and grabbed a Small Tortoiseshell, flew to a branch and pecked off its wings and ate it in dense cover - I could see the butterfly wings falling to the ground. It's very quick and you'd hardly notice it.

    It did this a few times and came back later and took a few more. Today it was back again causing a scatter of butterflies from the buddleia - think it got one. Doesn't seem to affect the population though with plenty more Small Torts taking over on the buddleia.

    Never seen Coal Tits doing this before.

    That's interesting. I have been finding quite a number of small tortoiseshell wings under the buddleia, but I have not seen them being attacked. There is a blue tit that keeps visiting the bush, so maybe it is responsible.

    I know that they eat the pupae of butterflies.


  • Registered Users Posts: 692 Durnish


    Our allotment in Belfast was covered in them wee torties today. Can you get a swarm of butterflies? (joke)


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 6,501 Mothman


    Haven't been as many in my garden, but was in a garden in Delgany and there were at least 50 on one shrub. Don't know what hte shrub was though.


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