As ever, the first half of the year produced little of note in the way of insect records.
Sunny days in mid February brought out Small Tortoiseshells and there were also relatively early sightings of Comma and Peacock. (14th and 22nd March respectively). A Brimstone butterfly made a timely appearance for the members of one bird-race team who presumably were resting from their twitching in a Chorley garden on 13th April.
More interesting were the sightings of the Holly Blue in Euxton and Chorley on 7th and 13th April. This is an interesting butterfly in many ways. I still think of it as a newcomer to the area, although it was first seen locally in 1991.
It occurs in two broods. The eggs of the insects recorded in April will have been laid on the flower buds of the Holly. The larvae feed on these buds and on the developing fruit. It is possible for the larvae to mature having hatched from eggs laid on male flowers, but often they will perish with the flowers, which of course do not form fruit. The larvae, which do survive to pupation, will produce the insects seen in our gardens in late summer. These will lay eggs on the flower buds of the Ivy, and again the larvae will feed on the flower buds and later the fruit.
It is the only blue butterfly you will see in Chorley during April and early May. The Common Blue does not occur generally before the second half of May. The Common Blue was in fact recorded at Cuerden on 4th June and at Ellerbeck on 8th and 16th June. This is almost certainly an under-recorded species locally and any further records would be welcomed.
I am grateful also for the few records received for the Green Hairstreak. It was seen in small numbers at White Coppice in Early April. Any more records for this year?
Finally it seems that the Banded Demoiselles and Emperor Dragonflies had a good season at Cuerden. None of the latter was recorded last year but evidently this year they were back again. Four-spotted Chasers were also recorded at several of the ponds at the site.
A visit to the ponds at Cuerden is highly recommended at any time during the summer, when the Odonata species abound.