Not since I was a small boy enjoying my parent's flower filled garden have I seen so many white butterflies. They are super-abundant this summer often with five or six flying together courting and sparring.

They are a delight to watch and for me, summer is never complete without them. Clearly the recent heat wave has been ideal to enhance their populations.

The small and green-veined whites are the main species around with the large white less common. In fact, way back in 1955 the large white suffered a setback due to a virus infection from which their population has never fully recovered.

The photograph shows a large white laying a batch of eggs just visible beneath it.

This year grassland butterflies including meadow brown and skippers were common too but the heat wave coincided with their laying period as the grasses withered. I am concerned that the emerging caterpillars may not have found sufficient green grass to eat.

In 1976, when we experienced a similar lengthy drought and heat wave the butterfly populations soared. However, the following year was abysmal with most species way below normal.

Let us hope that such a scenario is not repeated.

Meanwhile we can enjoy this 'white' summer which could last well into late September weather permitting, with successive broods on the wing.