At a time when much of the natural world including butterflies is being confronted by a variety of problems, it has been heartening to see that two of our butterfly species, namely the brimstone and holly blue have been enjoying a wonderful spring.

The brimstone in particular has been super-abundant with probably the largest number on the wing that I've ever seen. Indeed, one observer during a warm spell in February counted fifty six brimstones in two hours on Epsom common.The London wetland centre also played host to a large number.

The little holly blue (pictured) often seen in our gardens in unique among British butterflies in that it lays eggs on different plants at different times of the year. In spring it chooses holly while the late summer brood uses ivy, pyracantha or related plants. The brimstone lays eggs on buckthorn or alder buckthorn.

Both species have now laid their eggs and are fading away, to reappear in the next generation from July when hopefully both will be as prolific as in the spring brood.

The brimstone will enter hibernation in late summer but the holly blue will die out in autumn leaving the pupa to hatch next spring. 

It is a shame that other once common spring species with the exception of the speckled wood, including tortoiseshells peacocks and whites are scarce again so far this year.