Spring is waiting in the wings and if, during this month we are fortunate enough to be blessed with a couple of sunny mild days we may be rewarded by the sight of a male yellow brimstone butterfly flitting along a hedgerow or through a woodland glade.

February is the month when they awake from hibernation, weather permitting, and to see one on a sunny morning is one of the most cheering sights of early spring to look forward to.

I always think the yellow male (pictured), our original' butter-coloured- fly' (hence butterfly) resembles an animated daffodil as it flies along searching for a vital early nectar source.

Brimstones spend the winter under bramble leaves or in clumps of ivy, their colour and wing shape mimicking the leaves under which they shelter.

Only the male is yellow whereas the female is a pale greenish white , and the species is our longest living at around ten months.

The brimstone is one or our five hibernating butterflies , the others being red admiral, comma, small tortoiseshell and peacock, although increasingly the painted lady has been found hibernating, probably as a result of milder winters.

The comma spends the colder months exposed on the trunk of a tree or in leaf litter, its ragged wings matching a dead leaf while the other species choose to hide away in holes in tree trunks.

They will take to the wing from March and April, all lending a brilliant splash of colour as we enjoy our daily exercise walks in a favourite local green space.