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Butterfly ID please

This morning there are lots of butterflies in the garden of a type that I've not seen before. Mostly orange, with fairly wide brown edges to both pairs of wings and a small "eye" on each upper wing. Won't sit still long enough for a picture. Gatekeeper or small heath look like the best possibilities according to my wildlife books, but neither is supposed to be common north of central England. Do you think the exceptionally hot weather after a long dry spell might have led to them coming further north than normal?
Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,589
    edited July 2022
    I've got lots of gatekeepers at the moment.  Notts/Derbys border, not that far from you.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,966
    I’ve seen a few here too.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,923
    Various species spreading north … one of the effects of climate change …   :/

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,460
    Looks like they're probably gatekeepers then, thanks folks. Will try and get a picture if they're still around tomorrow - too hot to venture outside now.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Balgay.HillBalgay.Hill Posts: 1,085
    The Meadow Brown might be another candidate?
    Sunny Dundee
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,537
    I've got meadow browns and they look almost black in flight. The  dull orange spot is hard to spot, as they never seem to stop moving!
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,460
    I've seen one or two that look almost black as well, so those ones might be meadow browns. The ones I posted about have more orange and the "eyes" are darker.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,460

    Managed to get a pic - definitely gatekeeper :). There was a little blue one flitting about too but I couldn't photograph it. Silvery-white on the underside of the wings with lots of little dark spots, no brown or orange on it.  And lots of large whites but they're common.

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • LG_LG_ Posts: 4,346
    If you get decent photos, Google Lens is very good for butterfly ID, especially common ones. I check against my Field Studies Council ID sheet, but that's not comprehensive either so I like to use Google Lens in conjunction with it. 

    I have seen tonnes of gatekeepers in the past month or so. They do flutter about a lot 🤣
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
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