Belfast Telegraph

Flying high...butterfly sightings on the rise

Sightings of the Painted Lady butterfly increased this year
Sightings of the Painted Lady butterfly increased this year
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Butterfly sightings in Northern Ireland have increased dramatically over the last year, a wildlife charity has said.

As part of the 10th UK-wide Big Butterfly count, at least 11,475 of the Painted Lady species were spotted which is over 100 times more than the same time last year.

Butterfly Conversation confirmed 2019 has been a 'Painted Lady Year,' a phenomenon which usually only happens once every decade.

This is caused by unusually high numbers of the migratory butterfly arriving in the UK, and they accounted for more than half of butterflies spotted in Northern Ireland.

The Small Tortoise Shell also enjoyed its best year since 2014 with 1,631 spotted, a boost of 138 per cent.

The Meadow Brown increased by 20% (883) and the Red Admiral was up by 14%.

Richard Fox of Butterfly Conservation said: "Last year the Small Tortoiseshell experienced its worst summer in the history of the Big Butterfly Count, so to see its numbers jump up this year is a big relief."

Over 113,500 people took part in the Big Butterfly Count across the UK this year, with 1.6m sightings during the three-week, high summer recording period.

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