Welcome to Seth and Sami's Big Butterfly Year - Part 2!!!
Silver-studded Blue - Prees Heath, Shropshire - 29th June 2010
So what are we all about? Here's a quick history of our plotting -
Back in the closing days of 2009 we decided that 2010 was to be a very special year for us. Nope, nothing to do with kids or marriage. Hell, this was far bigger than that! We decided to spend the year chasing down and photographing ALL of the breeding British butterflies including their subspecies and forms. If you haven't already seen our site for the 2010 Big Year Blitz you ought to have a quick perusal by clicking here. Its not too shabby (and Sami promises to keep her Daily Diary in better shape this year, which won't be too difficult...)
So how did we fare on our 2010 BlitzList? In a nutshell - we failed. To coin a phrase, shit 'appens. 2010 was still a truly awesome adventure. We managed a grand total of 56 species, plus a whole fistful of forms and subspecies. Which is more than many keen butterfly enthusiasts ever see in a lifetime of British butterflying.
Mountain Ringlet and Clouded Yellow eluded us. And we missed quite a few of the subspecies, mostly in Scotland. Our bold idea to photograph the upperside and underside of both male and female for each species fell far short, although we did manage at least record shots of all species encountered.
Plus there was the problem of Ireland. Neither of us had enough holiday entitlement (or money!) to have incorporated several jaunts across to Ireland into our already rather tight schedule. We both work full-time. Our work rotas conspired to ensure that we rarely had the same days off as each other. Heck, we were bound to miss a few!!!
So that's the history...
....now for the present.
Our missing British breeding species are Mountain Ringlet and Cryptic Wood White (we've both seen Clouded Yellow in previous years, just not in 2010's attempt.) We still 'need' various subspecies on mainland Britain and, of course, there are all thirteen of the Irish endemics too. We haven't included species such as Geranium Bronze, Queen of Spain Fritillary, Marbled Fritillary etc on our 2010-11 BlitzList as they are either non-established as breeders or have been illegally liberated. Of course, it would still be lovely to see and photograph them, along with others such as Monarch, Camberwell Beauty, Long-tailed Blue...
Our plan for 2011 is to head back up to Scotland for the missing subspecies, track down both the English and Scottish populations of Mountain Ringlet and head across to Ireland on two separate trips. Alongside that we hope to secure many more photographs illustrating the sexes, subspecies and forms. Sam has still to see a White-letter Hairstreak too. If all goes well we'll have successfully seen and photographed every single British and Irish species, subspecies and form. If that sounds familiar it's probably because you've seen it on the cover of Adrian Riley's book, which was our inspiration throughout 2010's attempt. Indeed we met Adrian at Strumpshaw Fen and subsequently received many texts of encouragement and advice as we floundered and flapped our way around remote Scottish hillsides and valleys. And we still owe him those beers!
The format of this site will largely follow that of our 2010 BlitzList site. We do not intend to turn 2011 into another butterfly Big Year. As long as the weather, the car, our enthusiasm and our luck hold up we should do well.
Read on to see how its going so far....
Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Bentley Wood, Hampshire - 21st April 2011
Glanville Fritillary, Freshwater Isle of Wight - 27th May 2011
Website last updated July 15th