A pictorial guide to some Guernsey butterflies

July 3rd, 2011 by Richard Lord

This pictorial guide has been arranged chronologically by time of year with the butterflies at the beginning photographed earliest in the year and those at the end photographed late in the year.  This ordering does not mean that some of these species are not found at other times of year.  Several species are included more than once.  I have included only butterflies I have photographed in Guernsey.

A separate pictorial guide will be produced for some Guernsey moths when time permits.

Butterflies generally have thin antennae with an expanded club at the end.  Moths antennae vary but their antennae do not end in a club or a small ball.

January

A red admiral butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, photographed on Hebe in a St Peter Port garden on 19 January 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A tattered red admiral butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, was the first butterfly I saw this year.

May

A speckled wood, Pararge aegeria, butterfly on the lawn of a St Peter Port garden on 7 May 2009 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A Peacock butterfly, Inachis io, on a bluebell in the Petit Bot valley, Guernsey on 15 May 2010 ©RLLord

The peacock buttefly, Inachis io, which is one of the most attractive butterflies in Northern Europe, is not common in Guernsey.  I have seen them a few times in St Peter Port gardens and also on the cliff path at Le Gouffre on Guernsey’s south coast on 2 July 2011.

The underside of the wings of the peacock butterfly, Inachis io, are dark brown. In this image taken on 15 May 2010 the peacock butterfly is on a bluebell in Forval Lane, which runs down to Petit Bot. (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A painted lady butterfly, Vanessa cardui, drinking in a garden in St Peter Port on 20 May 2009 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria, resting with wings closed in a St Peter Port garden on 27 May 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegaris, is a frequent visitor to the sunlit areas of my St Peter Port garden.  I have seen it also in ivy growing by the cliff path at Pointe de la Moye on Guernsey’s south coast.  See under ‘July’ for a speckled wood with open wings.

A green hairstreak butterfly, Callophrys rubi, rests by the cliff path of Contree du Mont on Guernsey's south coast on 29 May 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

For information on the Green hairstreak butterfly, Callophrys rubi, visit the Butterfly Conservation website or the UK Butterflies website.

A Glanville fritillary butterfly, Melitaea cinxia, on sheep's bit by the cliff path at Pointe de la Moye on Guernsey's south coast on 29 May 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

In Guernsey, the Glanville fritillary butterfly, Melitaea cinxia, has a short flight time in late May and early June.  Although they are not abundant on Guernsey’s south coast cliffs, 2011 was a good year to find them.

A Red admiral, Vanessa atalanta, in a St Peter Port, Guernsey garden on 31 May 2008 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The red admiral butterfly, Vanessa atalanta, is one of the more noticeable butterflies in Guernsey.  It can be found in the winter as well as in the summer.

June

A holly blue butterfly, Celastrina argiolus, by the cliff path on Pointe de la Moye, south coast of Guernsey on 4 June 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The holly blue butterfly, Celastrina argiolus, is widespread and common in Guernsey.

A Glanville fritillary butterfly, Meliteaa cinxia, by the Contrée du Mont cliff path on Guernsey's south coast on 4 June 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The Glanville Fritillary butterfly, Melitaea cinxia, has a short flight season in late May and early June.  In the British Isles it is found only in the Channel Islands and on the south coast of the Isle of White.

A painted lady, Vanessa cardui, in beautiful condition rests on a dried leaf in a St Peter Port garden on 6 June 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A painted lady butterfly, Vanessa cardui, in a St Peter Port, Guernsey garden on 19 June 2010 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

In 2009 the painted lady butterfly, Vanessa cardui, arrived in Northern Europe by the hundreds of thousands if not millions.  Guernsey saw a large influx of this species.

A painted lady butterfly, Vanessa cardui, rests on a hedge by the side of the road opposite the Saints Bay Hotel on 20 June 2007 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

July

A small copper, Lycaena phlaeas, butterfly by the Contrée du Mont cliff path on Guernsey's south coast on the 2 July 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A grayling butterfly, Hipparchia semele, on the cliff path on Pointe de la Moye on Guernsey's south coast on 2 July 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The grayling butterfly, Hipparchia semele, is a coastal species.  I have seen it at Le Gouffre, Pointe de la Moye, and on the south facing, sun-warmed, lichen covered rocks at Moulin Huet.

A meadow brown butterfly, Maniola jurtina, by the cliff path on Pointe de la Moye, Guernsey on 2 July 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

For more information on the life history of the meadow brown butterfly please visit the Butterfly Conservation website or the UK butterflies website.

A meadow brown, Maniola jurtina, butterfly in a conservatory in Forest parish on 6 July 2008 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A common blue butterfly, Polyommatus icarus, in a St Peter Port, Guernsey garden on 6 July 2010 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The common blue butterfly, Polyommatus icarus, was not a visitor to my garden in St Peter Port until I let the grass grow to seed last year.  Then it became a frequent visitor with a number of individuals resting on the tall grass each day.

This female green-veined white butterfly, Pieris napi, rarely stays still making it difficult to photograph (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Green-veined white butterflies, Pieris napi, are common in Guernsey but they are difficult to photograph because they rarely settle during the day.

A 'small copper' butterfly, Lycaena phlaeas, rests by the side of the Contrée du Mont cliff path down the hill from Le Gouffre on 23 July 2010 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

For life history information about the small copper, Lycaena phlaeas, butterfly visit the Butterfly Conservation website.

A grayling, Hipparchia semele, butterfly by the cliff path at Le Gouffre on 23 July 2010 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A speckled wood butterfly, Pararge aegeria, resting in a St Peter Port garden on 24 July 2010 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Comma butterflies, Polygonia c-album, occasionally turn up in St Peter Port gardens. This individual was photographed on 26 July 2011 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

A gatekeeper, Pyronia tithonis, butterfly on gorse by the side of the Contrée du Mont cliff path, which leads from Le Gouffre, on 26 July 2008 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The gatekeeper, Pyonia tithonus, is abundant on Guernsey’s south coast cliffs and in Guernsey’s rural hedges during the late summer.

A gatekeeper, Pyronia tithonus, butterfly in a hedge along Rue de Massey on 29 July 2008 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The common blue butterfly, Polyommatus icarus, in a St Peter Port garden on 31 July 2010 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

August

A red admiral, Vanessa atalanta, drinking from Buddleja sp. in a St Peter Port garden on 18 August 2010 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

September

A comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album, photographed on Verbena bonariensis in the parish of St Andrew on 21 September 2010 (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

For information on the comma butterfly, Polygonia c-album, please visit the UK butterflies website.

 

1 Response to “A pictorial guide to some Guernsey butterflies”

  1. Stuart Henley

    I am an amateur butterfly spotter, and I saw an extraordinary specimen around Gouffe today. I have a photo. It is large with white and black striped outer wings and bright orange inner. I can email photos I took – perhaps its a moth? I have never seen anything like this before.

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