The wings of (climate) change
A Red Admiral among snowdrops confirms Britian's warming climate
Sunday 24 February 2008
A Red Admiral butterfly rests among flowering snowdrops in a Dorset churchyard. It is a sight that would have been impossible just a few years ago.
Until about 15 years ago, Red Admirals were summer migrants to Britain. But, with a warming climate and earlier springs, they have increasingly over-wintered in the south. This picture, taken by Dr Martin Warren, chief executive of Butterfly Conservation, is, he says, "real proof that the climate is changing".
The species does not fully hibernate, but will be seen on any day when conditions are right. Well into November it can be seen refuelling on the nectar of late-flowering plants such as ivy and Michaelmas daisies while also hanging drowsily about orchards, where fallen fruit ferments temptingly on the ground.
And, in mid-winter, oblivious to the calendar, it will wake and take wing on any day warm enough to heat up its body. Its hunger for nectar will make it search out early blooming plants and trees. Hence, says Dr Warren, its appearance in the delightfully named Turner's Puddle churchyard on the Isle of Purbeck, flitting from snowdrop to snowdrop.
Not surprisingly, a Red Admiral was the first British butterfly spotted in 2008, turning up in Kent, on New Year's Day.
Other species already seen on the wing are: Peacock (Leicestershire, 6 Jan); Brimstone (Wiltshire, 8 Jan); Painted Lady (Hampshire, 25 Jan); Small Tortoiseshell (Yorkshire, 25 Jan); Comma (Sussex, 26 Jan); Speckled Wood (Devon, 26 Jan); and Small White (Hants, 8 Feb).
Temperature set to hit 100 degrees - and global warming is to blame
Thousands of people killed by extreme weather in 2015 as El Nino arrives to bring more chaos
Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past
The Eastern Cougar will be officially listed as extinct — almost 80 years after last sighting
Earth enters sixth extinction phase with many species – including our own – labelled 'the walking dead'
- 1 David Cameron refers to 83-year-old Labour MP Dennis Skinner as 'Jurassic Park'
- 2 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 3 Optical illusion turns blue demon into brunette
- 4 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 5 Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal will donate entire $32bn fortune to charity
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS
Tunisia beach attack: How can British Muslims respond to the latest outrages?
£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for o...
£35000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leader provides c...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Coordinator is requir...
£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...