Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The National Trust says butterflies are back this summer

The National Trust has announced this summer looks set to be the best for butterflies in more than 30 years as population's boom, sales of butterfly products increase and butterfly imagery is adopted by big high street brands.

At the half way point in the butterfly season there has been a number of record breaking early appearances from spring species thanks to the warm and dry weather, especially in April.

The favourable conditions are also leading experts to predict that a number of species will produce extra generations this year.

Matthew Oates, wildlife adviser and butterfly expert at the National Trust said: "It has been a fantastic start to 2011 for Britain’s butterflies with a White Admiral appearing at Bookham Common in Surrey at its earliest since 1893, the White-letter Hairstreak appearing more than two weeks early at Rodborough Common in Gloucestershire and Marbled Whites and Meadow Browns a week to ten days early at Denbies in Surrey and Exmoor.

"The populations of spring butterflies are as good as they can be. There may even be significant second broods for the Duke of Burgundy and Dingy Skipper butterflies - it’s all gearing up to what could be the best butterfly summer for a generation."

Butterflies are also enjoying a revival in popular culture with sales of butterfly-themed products high and many large businesses such as John Lewis, Easy Jet, Samsung, Accessorize, Paper Chase, Laura Ashley and White Stuff using butterflies in their branding,

Rich Sutcliffe, Editor at Brand Republic said: "Butterflies are about reinvention and change, from caterpillar to a thing of beauty. Companies thinking about rebranding or repositioning a product have a clear message as they signify a natural new beginning."

Butterflies are very popular in tattooing and are often created to mark a change in someone's life. Famous names such as Cheryl Cole, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Drew Barrymore all adorn butterfly tattoos.

Lou Molloy, celebrity tattooist to the likes of David Beckham and star of 'London Ink', said: "Butterflies are one of the great recurring images in tattooing. I've tattooed them on many, many girls but they're increasingly popular with men - I've recently finished a half sleeve that features four different types of butterfly and one of the most referenced photos from my website is another sleeve tattoo with a big Monarch in the centre. They're one of the universally popular tattoo images."

The first ever National Trust 'Love Butterflies' weekend will take place on the 6 and 7 August when the greatest number of species will be in flight.

Over the summer months the Trust will be encouraging people to upload their sightings and pictures of butterflies to its butterfly watch map. This can be done via twitter by entering the name of the species, postcode and #lovebutterflies. There will also be top tips on how to go butterflying and places to see butterflies on the National Trust website.

The National Trust has also published a new book by Matthew Oates, 'Butterflies: Spotting and Identifying British Butterflies'. It will help both beginners by explaining the key points and fundamental principles of butterfly spotting, and more experienced butterfly watchers in need of expert tips and sharpening the focus. 

(EDITOR: Garden centres and plant nurseries will have ranges of plants that you can grow in your garden and also special accessories like butterfly boxes to encourage and nurture butterflies in your garden. Just ask them for their expert advice, next time you are there.)


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