The Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper, Mersey valley close to Chorlton Water Park.

Following local pressure the Env Agency have listened and reduced the maintenance of several sections of the river bank to one late summer cut per year. This has resulted in a steady increase in both the range and diversity of insect life.

In summer the most obvious result is the huge increase in the number of butterflies. On a sunny day the section between the Bailey Bridge that links Chorlton Water Park to Kenworthy Woods and the derelict bridge just past the sub-station can be spectacular. In late July by far the most common species is The Gatekeeper

A pair of copulating Gatekeepers on a warm and sultry afternoon in late July..

The summer form of the Comma Butterfly.

The “commas” can be made out on the rear underwings.

Speckled Wood – another butterfly being seen in increasing numbers.

On this occasion definitely taking advantage of some warm sunshine to patrol the area between the edge of the woodland and the riverbank. Similar to the Comma in recent years Speckled Woods have expanded their range northwards. Perhaps a response to climate change.

Good to see a few Large Skippers still out nectaring on the thistles.

A newly emerged Brimstone on Red Clover.

Late July seems a little bit early for the late summer/autumn generation that are capable of over-wintering.

Yet more Small Tortoiseshells.

Usually there are 2 distinct generations per year but following the warmest and sunniest spring on record the breaks between the generations have become a little bit blurred. This year we’ve seen them every month since early March.

Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies jostling for  position.

Still a little early for ripe Blackberries however this Peacock Butterfly had the right idea. Perhaps its instinctive.

Green-veined White

Another classic butterfly of river valleys and damp, lush vegetation. Similar to the Small Tortoiseshell and Peacocks this one will be a recently emerged 2nd generation.

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