The National Trust has recently discovered exciting news that the Duke of Burgundy butterfly has produced a second brood this year. Matthew Oates, National Trust Nature Conservation Advisor, who has studied the Duke of Burgundy butterfly for over 30 years points out, ‘This is a really significant moment for one of the Duke of Burgundy strongholds’.
The beautiful orange and brown chequered delicate butterflies are commonly spotted at Rodborough Common in the Cotswolds and Ivinghoe Beacon in the north Chilterns around May and early June. This year however, adjustments to their flight season have been recognised since a generation of the Duke of Burgundy has been produced eight months early allowing time for a second brood to appear later on in the summer.
It seems to be undoubtedly certain that this premature arrival of the butterflies is due to the warm spells of weather experienced in late May and early June, and then again in late June and early July.
This is extremely exciting news for the Duke of Burgundy, a species that has caused concern for the many local Butterfly Conservation groups due to its decrease in numbers of 60% n the last 20 years as a result of changes in land use.
It is only the third time that a second brood of the butterfly has been produced in the UK and now people such as Mr Oates are hoping it is a sign of things to come, ‘it’s becoming increasingly likely that we’ll see more second broods in the coming years as our climate gradually gets warmer, providing conservation efforts to keep this little gem in the UK are successful’.