Cre­ate a café for but­ter­flies

Macclesfield Express - - WILDLIFE -

WHEN­EVER I set out to look for wildlife I am never dis­ap­pointed be­cause I al­ways find some­thing to in­trigue me, even if I don’t find what I am look­ing for.

Our colder-thannor­mal spring has set things back a lit­tle but we are now be­gin­ning to see but­ter­flies and dam­sel­flies emerg­ing in the sun­light.

One of the first to show it­self is the com­mon blue but­ter­fly and I have been lucky enough to get some great pho­to­graphs of these lit­tle fel­lows.

The com­mon blue is a but­ter­fly that you will see fly­ing through­out the sum­mer and into Oc­to­ber.

It is found pretty much any­where, in­clud­ing heath­land, grassy mead­ows, parks and even large gar­dens.

It has been de­scribed as the most wide­spread of blue but­ter­flies, although I’m not sure there are many blue but­ter­flies around these parts.

The male com­mon blue has bright blue wings with a brown bor­der and white fringe.

The fe­male is brown with a blue dust­ing close to its body. It has or­ange spots on the un­der­side of its hind wings.

Adults feed on this­tles, thyme, bird’s-foot tre­foil, rag­wort and vetches. The cater­pil­lars love bird’sfoot tre­foil.

It is great to visit Wildlife Trust na­ture re­serves to see won­der­ful in­sects flut­ter­ing, buzzing and hum­ming by, but you can make havens in your own gar­dens or com­mu­nity ar­eas.

Get some but­ter­flies into your gar­den by cre­at­ing nec­tar cafés. Bud­dleia is a lovely flower to get some flut­ter­some folk pop­ping in for a nec­tar latte or cap­puc­cino, but lots of flow­ers will do.

This­tles at­tract painted ladies and buck­thorns will bring in the brim­stone but­ter­flies.

Dur­ing warmer months you can keep that café supplied with prim­rose, sweet rocket, laven­der and ice plants.

Nec­tar cafés can re­main open at night with hon­ey­suckle, evening prim­rose and to­bacco plants the main at­trac­tions to moths.

My part­ner Julie and I spent most of the week­end adding flo­ral ac­com­pa­ni­ments to our in­sect and bird-friendly gar­den and most gar­den cen­tres will ad­vise you on wildlife-friendly plants and na­tive plants which are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar. Hav­ing a busy gar­den is great for pho­tog­ra­phers, who can get great shots of wildlife while hav­ing a cup of tea at the back door.

The Wildlife Trust for Lan­cashire, Manch­ester and North Mersey­side is ded­i­cated to the pro­tec­tion of the wildlife in Lan­cashire, seven bor­oughs of Greater Manch­ester and four of Mersey­side. It man­ages around 40 na­ture re­serves and 20 lo­cal na­ture re­serves, cov­er­ing acres of wood­land, wet­land, up­land and meadow. To be­come a mem­ber, go to www.lanc­swt. org.uk or call 01772 324129.

●● Male com­mon blue but­ter­fly

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