This large, powerful butterfly is usually seen flying swiftly over the tops of bracken or low vegetation in woodland clearings. In flight, the males are almost impossible to separate from those of the Dark Green Fritillary, which often share the same habitats. However, both species frequently visit flowers such as thistles and Bramble where it is possible to see their distinctive underside wing markings. The Dark Green lacks the orange ringed 'pearls' on the underside of the hindwing.
The Large Tortoiseshell was once widespread across Britain and most common in the woodlands of central and southern England but while its numbers were always known to fluctuate, it declined to extinction by the 1960s. This butterfly has not been recorded from Ireland.
It is still common in some parts of Europe, but declining in others. There continue to be sporadic records in Britain, the majority from the south coast but some are considered to be of specimens released from reared stock rather than genuine immigrants.
This striking moth rests with wings open and half-raised and forewings slightly curled. Can be distinguished from the similar Lunar Thorn by a dark central spot towards the outer edge of the hindwing upperside. The central silver crescent on the forewing is also larger on the Purple Thorn. Second generation moths are typically smaller and paler.
The caterpillars can be found from late May to early July and again in from August to September in southern England.Overwinters as a pupa, just below ground.
The adult moths are rarely seen apart from when attracted to light.
The male of this common species has a brownish forewing that is quite variable but can be distinguished by a row of black dots along the edge of both fore- and hindwing. The similar looking Mottled Umber lacks these markings and are less conspicuous in the Scarce Umber.
Caterpillars can be found between April and mid-June. Overwinters as a pupa underground
Males come to light and sometimes in large numbers while the female can be found by day resting on tree-trunks.
The resting position of the Early Thorn distinguishes it from all other British thorns, with wings held back and close together, similar to a butterfly. The summer generation is smaller and paler, typically with larger tawny orange patches on the underside. Darker forms are encountered in the north.
The caterpillar can be found between May and June and again from August to early October in the south but in the north, where there is only one generation, caterpillars can be found between June and August. Overwinters as a pupa, spun between leaves or plant debris,
If there are pine trees nearby, you have a chance of seeing this beautiful, orange-red moth which flies from late February until the beginning of summer. Thanks to its colours and patterns, the moth blends in perfectly as it rests among the buds of the pine trees.
Contrary to the general decline of UK moths, the Pine Beauty has done well over recent decades, increasing in numbers as a result of pine trees being planted for timber production and as ornamental plants in gardens.
Adults feed in spring at sallow blossom and are attracted to light.
The extensive black spotting that covers the forewing distinguishes this moth from other chestnuts and sallows but the ground colour varies from almost brick red to light chestnut orange, sometimes even paler when faded after hibernation. Attracted to light and also to sugar and the flowers of Ivy, Sallows and Blackthorn.
There is one generation that flies between October and November and then again, after hibernation, in March to May.
The Long-tailed Blue is an exotic migrant from the Mediterranean with a handful typically reaching UK shores each year, but experts believe climate change is behind this butterfly reaching our shores more regularly and in vastly increased numbers.
One of the largest migrations took place in 2015 when 60 adult butterflies crossed the Channel in August and laid 1000s of eggs in gardens and allotments along the South Coast.
The large copper butterfly has wings of a bright coppery-orange, fringed with black. The undersides are silvery-blue with black spots.
Emerging in July, the adult butterflies lays eggs on the leaves of great water dock. The caterpillars feed until September, on the undersides of the leaves; creating a characteristic 'window' since the upper part of the leaf is not eaten. They over the winter in this stage among the old leaves of the dock before resume feeding in the spring and then pupate in June.
The Monarch is the largest butterfly seen in the British Isles, and is also one of our rarest migrants. Known for its ability to travel large distances, the migrations in north America are one of the greatest natural phenomena in the world - where the adult butterflies can migrate from as far north as Canada to the overwintering grounds in Mexico, the west coast of California and Florida.
First recorded in the UK in 1876.