National Trust Purbeck Wildlife

Sleeping Peacocks

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peacocks winterA recent visit to one of our bird hides was more noteworthy for the butterflies that were there. Around 80 peacocks were gathered beneath a bench in the darkest corner of the building having settled there for the winter.
While most butterflies overwinter as a caterpillar or a pupa, and some avoid this altogether by migrating to warmer climates, the occurrence of overwintering adults is becoming more common in the UK. Peacocks and small tortoiseshells are already well known for this but in recent years, probably as a result of milder winters, we’re also starting to see the successful overwintering of clouded yellows and red admirals.
It’s likely that these butterflies will remain here in hibernation until early March when the first warm days of spring will rouse them.


Author: Kevin Rideout

National Trust Visitor Experience Officer based at Studland

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