His Grace at Rodborough Common, Cotswolds

Two males were seen in the main territory at Rodborough Common, near Stroud, yesterday, May 3rd.  These were the first sightings there this year, and I think the first in the Cotswolds.  Today was a little too windy there and only a single male was seen.  I checked two other Rodborough colonies without success.

I have an accurate set of records of His Grace's appearance at the main Rodborough site (Manor Spur) since 1993 (earliest and latest dates are in italics):

1993                     1994                     1995                    1996                     1997                1998                 
28th April             2nd May                14th April           7th May                21st April        25th April        

1999                     2000                     2001                     2002                     2003                    
24th April             27th April             5th May               21st April             15th April

2004                     2005                     2006                     2007                     2008
2nd May                30th April             1st May               16th April            27th April
(?26/4)                                                                                                         (?26th)

2009                     2010                     2011                     2012                     2013
20th April             23rd April             9th April              12th April             3rd May

So, this is the third latest the butterfly has appeared here, after 7/5/1996 and 5/5/2001.  It's been out in April here in at least 15 of those 21 years. 

I have a much longer data set for the start of the flight season at Noar Hill, Selborne, running back to the long hot summer of 1976.  That data really does show that the butterfly's season there is getting earlier and earlier.  Of course, what I don't have is such good information on the last sightings of the year...


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