Its a seminal moment every year. When there is enough warmth and little or no wind butterflies begin taking to the air. Whether you’re into nature in a big way or just like seeing the wildlife on your doorstep catching a glimpse of a butterfly is moment that makes the spirits sore.
And its likely (when you see your first butterfly) to be something that you remember every year; a bit like when the swifts or house martins return from their long winter break.
Normally you’ll see the odd butterfly, usually a red admiral, as early as February or even earlier if you’re very lucky (depending on the severity of the weather).
This year there has been a total absence of butterflies for most people until the clocks changed and well beyond.
I was beginning to get the butterfly blues wondering when I might finally get to see my first one of the year. As the cold snap continued throughout March, with temperatures barely above freezing, my hope turned to despair.
The first day of spring came and went, the clocks changed and the Easter holiday arrived. And still no sign. It wasn’t for lack of looking but they just ain’t no butterflies around.
And then it happened. It came like a bolt out of the blue. A sudden movement of a shape darting through the air like a whirlwind and a flash of orange. My heart skipped a beat and there it was, only briefly, a comma fluttering through our garden and rising like a rocket over our neighbour’s roof and gone. Wow, it was one of the natural high’s that you get from a fix of wildlife.
The 6 April 2013 begin a butterfly nirvana for many with their first records of the year. These little creatures so fragile and magical capture your imagination and generate a sense of wonder.
I only hope that this is the first of many and we have a year of the butterfly rather than of the slug (again).