May’s Fluttering Wonders

Nature Watch with Danielle Rouse

Swansea has a diverse range of flora, and in May we will see butterflies fluttering around the blooms. Butterfly numbers are in decline as we create concrete jungles, but Swansea Council does a great job of planting wildflowers on verges, in planters on railings and on roundabouts. These small havens encourage wildlife and provide refuge and homes for many species.

Butterflies favour flowers, although some butterflies prefer different species of plants and habitats to others. Flowers are key to butterflies and a great place to start your search for them. Let us dive into the likely butterflies you will encounter in Swansea.

See pics on the right:-

  1. Peacock

One of the most common and widespread species and can be seen almost all year round.

  1. Red Admiral

Another common species typically seen from May to September.

  1. Small Tortoise-shell

Common butterfly although declining in South Wales and Southern England.

  1. Painted Lady

Hugely widespread, another member of the orange butterfly group.

  1. Common Blue

A tiny butterfly, easily identified by its blue upper wings and orange underwings.

  1. Brimstone

A personal favourite, a greenish-yellow butterfly and widespread throughout Wales and the UK.

  1. Orange Tip

One of the prettiest butterflies, the males and females differ in this species although very commonly seen.

  1. Large White

A large butterfly with black wingtips and black circles on the upperwings.

  1. Small White

Smaller than its white counterparts with a distinct difference in the black dots and size.

Not all butterflies are seen out in the open but can be seen amongst the floral borders whether planted by the council or homeowners. Some species prefer to breed and feed amongst shaded areas and are common-ly seen in wooded areas or near to plants that favour a wetter and more shaded area. The Orange Tip for example, can often be seen out in the open or within shaded areas as they favour shrubs and bushes to feed.

  1. Comma

Typically favours nettles to feed off, a distinct but widespread species.

  1. Ringlet

A member of the brown butterfly group, easy to tell apart from its counterparts by the ‘eye rings’ on the upperwings.

  1. Meadow Brown

A species that is often seen near damp woodlands, fairly wide-spread although can be confused with Skippers.

  1. Speckled Wood

Commonest brown butterfly you are likely to see in woodlands. Prefers large wooded areas and plenty of shade, easily identified by its brown wings and numerous white dots.

Although butterflies are commonly seen throughout our woodlands, green spaces and gardens, there is still so much more we can do to encourage them.

Feeling creative?
Why not create seed bombs with your children. Mix together soil, wildflower seeds and a small amount of water and press them together to form balls to then throw into your garden, these will break up with watering and the seeds will spread, a fun alternative to throwing seeds into your garden. If you are feeling even more creative, then make yourself and your garden visitors a butterfly feeding station. You can use a plastic plate or tray, glue down two plastic milk bottle caps which you then fill with sponges soaked in sugar water. Hang it up in a sunny spot in your garden, you can also place banana skins, orange peels or rotting fruit onto the tray for butterflies to feed on.

 

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