The Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly (Aglais urticae) has become scarce in recent years, possibly due to the attentions of a recently established parasitic wasp. On bank holiday Monday (30th of August), Philip Rispin, a Curatorial Assistant in the Manchester Museum’s Entomology Department, walked from Timperley to Dunham Massey along the Bridgewater canal, and was surprised to see so many of them, it was by far the commonest butterfly, both on the canal towpath and in the formal gardens at Dunham park, where they were feeding on dahlia flowers. After a succession of relatively mild winters, last winter was cold and this might have helped the survival rates of hibernating butterflies. It will be interesting to see if numbers decline again next year, if we have a milder winter.
I thank Philip for sharing this interesting news with me.