Butterflies you may see

There are about 68 species of butterfly in the UK but in Shotesham there are only about 25. Of these several are familiar to most people (Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock, “Cabbage Whites”) so there are not too many, even for a beginner to learn. It is worth it! If you want to know more about  butterflies including identification tips, try the excellent  Butterfly Conservation website

Take a walk around Shotesham in the summer and look out for butterflies. The ones you might see will depend where your walk takes you. Start by having a quiet sit in your own garden. If you have planted plenty of nectar bearing flowers you may see as many varieties at home as out on your walk In the garden you may well see:

  • Small Tortoiseshell. These can be extremely common in a good year
  • Peacock
  • Red Admiral
  • Brimstone. Large and lemon yellow
  • Orange Tip. The early season “white” butterfly
  • Small White
  • Large White (Cabbage White – not always the most popular)
  • Green-veined White
  • Holly Blue. If you are lucky enough to see a tiny blue butterfly in your garden it will be a Holly Blue (see Common Blue later on)

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In some years we get many migrants of some species. The Painted Lady is one of these, coming from Africa (in a few generations) and some years is very common and might well visit your garden!

If  your walk takes you along a woodland ride you can expect to see a Speckled Wood Butterfly or if you are particularly fortunate a White Admiral.

If you pass one of our fine old Oak trees, pause and look up. You might see one or more of the tiny Purple Hairstreaks sunning itself on a leaf.

As you go a little further perhaps you will come onto a grass meadow or walk along a good wide field margin by a hedgerow. Here there 10 or so possible species, many of them quite small , perhaps only 25-35 mm wingspan. These could include (all small)

  • Common Blue
  • Small Copper
  • Brown Argus
  • Large Skipper (not so large, around 32mm)
  • Small Skipper (Tips of antennae are orange underneath)
  • Essex Skipper (Slightly duller than Small Skipper and tips of antennae are black underneath)

Larger species could include:

  • Meadow Brown
  • Ringlet
  • Gatekeeper (also known as Hedge Brown)
  • Comma