We usually associate butterflies with spring and summer but some species can appear as early as New Year’s Day if the sun is out.
According to wildlife charity, Butterfly Conservation, the earliest flying Bucks butterfly in 2022 was a Peacock (like the one shown here) spotted in a garden in Stowe on 2nd January. Other early species to look out for include Brimstones, Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells and Commas. Unlike other butterflies that survive the winter as eggs, caterpillars or chrysalises, these species overwinter as adults, sheltering in sheds, garages and other outbuildings waiting for a sunny day. The museum houses several historic butterfly collections that help us see how species distributions have changed. You can see examples of all 41 species of butterfly resident in Bucks in the new Discover Bucks Wildlife gallery. If you do see any interesting butterflies the Bucks and Milton Keynes Environmental Records Centre and Butterfly Conservation (Upper Thames Branch) would like to know.