Ringlets in Rochdale

Ringlet Butterflies (Aphantopus hyperantus) in Rochdale Area

In 2011 I first came across this butterfly in a grassy field in Wensleydale and knew I hadn’t previously come across it on local walks with the Rochdale Field Nats.

My Butterfly guide (Thomas 2007) showed a distinct absence over most of Lancashire.

Having got it into my head that it was a “foreign” species I was taken aback to see it on Spodden Meadows in 2015 when we did our surveys with the S. Pennine Grassland Project, and asked Sonia to come and check! But the Butterfly Conservation Trust says that it has increased its range in England and Scotland by 16% since the 1970’s – especially in warm years! The records you have sent bear this out. (weeks numbered from Jan to Dec)

Week Total Records Total Individuals 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
25 1 2 2
26 5 19 19
27 6 17 1 7 9
28 8 79 1 0 4 2 72
29 15 71 7 9 15 40
30 14 57 1 1 13 40 2
31 5 9 7 2
32 1 1 1

We have got the ideal habitat around here as they favour damp (not waterlogged) grasslands and the caterpillars eat native coarse grasses including Cock’s-foot (Dactylis glomerata), False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum), Tufted Hair-grass (Deschampsia cespitosa), Common Couch (Elytrigia repens), and meadow-grasses (Poa spp.).

The guides give the flight times for Ringlets as July and August – but there are already plenty about now. In fact, I have a hunch we may beat our previous record date for earliest flight time this year! Keep a look out!

RFNS Records – Flight times for Ringlets

Year Earliest Latest
2013 11-Jul 22-Jul
2014 10-Jul 23-Jul
2015 03-Jul 08-Aug
2016 27-Jun 26-Jul
2017 19-Jun 04-Aug

Karen Cowley