Butterflies are often seen at Risley Moss in spring, summer and autumn if the weather isn't too cold. During the winter, some butterflies will hibernate as an egg, a chrysalis, a caterpillar, and others as an adult. 

Usually, the first butterfly to be seen is the bright yellow brimstone, which hibernates as an adult and can emerge as early as February and be seen as late as November.

Risley Moss butterfly species

  • the orange tip
  • red admiral
  • the peacock
  • the gatekeeper
  • the comma
  • the small tortoiseshell
  • the speckled wood

Also present is the purple hairstreak. However, any sighting is rare as it usually remains out of sight at the top of its food plant, the oak tree!

Especially look out for caterpillars eating nettles, which is the favourite food plant of many species found at Risley, including the red admiral or the peacock. Some species like the speckled wood have different tastes and will lay their eggs on various types of grass. 

Sadly, butterfly numbers have suffered a considerable decline over the last few years. However, you can help them by having a 'wildlife patch' of nettles, thistles, grasses, holly and ivy in your garden. Even a small window box with a sunny aspect planted up with nectar-rich marigolds and lavender can provide necessary sustenance for butterflies.

24 January 2022

Did you know?

  • Risley Moss is home to the illusive purple hairstreak
  • Female butterflies have sensitive cells in their antennae and feet - these help them recognise the right food stuffs for their young!
  • You can help butterflies by cultivating a wildlife patch in your back garden!