Appearing this month, the speckled wood butterfly can be seen along woodland margins and glades.

Sexes are similar having cream spotted chocolate coloured wings and are on the wing from April until late autumn.

The species is unique among British butterflies whereby they spend winter either as a caterpillar or chrysalis.

Hibernating chrysalis produce the first spring brood but these overlap with those that spent the winter as caterpillars so the broods leap-frog one another throughout the summer.

While most butterflies constantly fly around feeding and seeking mates, the male speckled woods don't fly much but instead, employ a perch and wait strategy, choosing a leaf in dappled shade within their territories.

If another male flies by they both flutter up and spiral around one another to some height before splitting up and the original incumbent always claims the same sun spot, leaving his opponent to search elsewhere.

A ploy adopted by a female that I have witnessed on occasions involves one that has already mated.

If hassled by a male, she closes her wings, drops to the ground, falls flat and feigns death!!

After a few fruitless moments probing and fussing around her, the frustrated male flies off to try his luck elsewhere.

Meanwhile, after a few seconds the female stands up, looks around and if the coast is clear, quietly flies back to the shelter of her oak or resumes egg laying among the grasses.