2010 News

Blues on the Move

Holly Blue, Belfast
Butterfly expanding it's range
Until only a few years ago the attractive Holly Blue had a very restricted range in Northern Ireland, limited to a triangle from Newcastle to Carryduff to Comber, a small isolated populations near Rostrevor and Co. Fermanagh. However from this status quo for many years the species has spread north and west from the core population and can be seen regularly from Belfast across the south shore of Lough Neagh. Colonies are now becoming established as far north as Antrim Town.

This expansion has concided with a change in the breeding behaviour of the species. Previously it was univoltine (one brood per year) flying from early April to June. It has now become bivoltine with a second brood later in the summer.

This week I was luckly enough to watch at least six individuals in the Ormeau Park in Belfast during my lunch hour. Mating and egging laying was observed so hopefully their spread can continue. Two were also seen near Lurgan and at least one at Aghalee, Co. Antrim.

Keep an eye out for them and report your sighting to the Northern Ireland branch of Butterfly Conservation http://www.bcni.org.uk/Main.HTM or see the links page on this site.