Red Admirals and sliced apple

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  • #42523


    I have noticed on two occasions Red Admirals appearing to sup from half an apple stuck on a nail for birds to feed on in my backyard in Brooklyn, Wellington.

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  • #42544


    Things have changed as you expected Elizabeth. I am 54 years old and a resident of the UK and indeed I can also remember the picture you described from when I was a youngster growing up in rural Surrey. The small farm right next door to where I lived in my early childhood is now devoid of any butterflies having been turned from farmland with hedgerows and orchards into playing fields for a private school. The majority of the rest of the local countryside around here has also been either developed for housing, roads and a motorway M25 or turned over to prairie type farming for mono-cultured crops, very different to the dairy farms of my youth which was just as herbicides and pesticides became the norm. I still clearly bear the mental and spiritual scars of witnessing the huge destruction from the early 1970s when this country joined the EU and the common agricultural policy paid grants to farmers to destroy the British countryside for the pursuit of huge profits. This policy also ended our Dairy farms as they could not compete with poorer EU nations who undercut our farmers on price. Overproduction produced milk and wine lakes at the cost of the environment. The only place to see Butterflies in any numbers now are on the dwindling wildlife reserves or a few bits of waste ground awaiting planning permission to be developed. There is no let up to the destruction and all I have left are my fond memories of youth, when butterflies were reasonably common. However even this is misleading as my Grandfather when I was growing up would tell me how rare butterflies were then compared to when he was a child in the early 1900’s. I can only imagine how good it was then but need to take in to account how hard it was for working class people in those days when only the wealthy had time to really appreciate the wildlife around them.



    Years ago, back in rural Wales, I well remember myriads of butterflies being attracted to our orchard in late Summer/early Autumn for the ripe fruit. (Along with wasps, of course.) It was particularly the overripe and rotting pears and plums that they gorged on (but apples too)- sometimes the ground seemed to be literally heaving with butterflies – Red Admirals, Peacocks, Tortoiseshells and Commas being the most frequent guests at the banquet. That would have been 35 – 40 years ago, and maybe things have sadly changed since then, with the worrying dearth of butterflies.



    Wonderful Janice! That’s good to know.

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