I finally got round to having a look at the Ringlet butterflies on Ainsdale National Nature Reserve today – three of the beasts were tottering about a favoured area of bramble, two very worn, one fresh as a daisy.
Andrew Spottiswood has been reporting them there since June 22nd this year, and I really should have popped down sooner to see what appears to be a new butterfly species for the coast (yup, it’s still summer).
There have been records from Southport in the past, but this year’s arrival appears to be something more substantial, with Ringlets being seen at a number of locations on the NNR, and being recorded at other new sites for the species in the north west.
They may be present in other sites along the coast if anyone gets a chance to look…
Thanks to Andrew for alerting me to them, and to Pete Gahan of Natural England who patiently described one of the areas they’ve been turning up in so I could indulge in a butterfly twitch.
While they have been seen at a number of locations, they seem to be easiest in the first firebreak on the right as you walk down the Woodland Path from Ainsdale to Freshfield (the hard surfaced track that runs parallel to the railway line).
This is about 200m down the Woodland Path past Pinfold Pond and Meadow, which is also stonking for butterflies and moths.
Go through the open metal gate at the start of the firebreak and immediately on your right there is an area of brambles, running for about 50m.
The Ringlets are hanging out there, perching on bramble leaves along with exquisite Small Coppers, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, lovely big Dark Green Frits and Small Skippers.
Don’t be a dork and walk into the brambles though – you’ll just disturb the butterflies and other insects and young Robins and Wrens there.
The Ringlets land close by the path fairly frequently, as do the other butterfly species.
Equally mega is the Essex Skipper trapped by Richard Walker nearby – another new butterfly for the Sefton coast, although I don’t think I’ve got the patience to check the antennae of every skipper on the coast on the off-chance of scoring an Essex…