As if to remind us that all is not gloomy in the natural world, the Speckled Wood butterfly is on the increase. As a recent coloniser of our area, it’s numbers are growing rapidly.
Butterfly Conservation is currently running the Scottish Speckled Wood Survey. The idea is for you to look out for this distinctive butterfly during coming summers. Add your sightings online and help with mapping the spread of this new local arrival.
Most often Speckled Woods will be found in sunny spots among woodland, but some have also been seen in gardens.
This use of “citizen science”, where the public is urged to provide mapping of increasing or decreasing species, has been a great success.
Think of the way BBC Springwatch encourages participation of schoolkids and pensioners alike, to send in their reports.
It is also a great way to get the public interested in wildlife, which can only be good.
Among naturalists, sharing of information has never been easier, with online forums and identification services at the touch of a keyboard. Even columns like Country Corner are open to emails from readers who have spotted interesting wildlife.
My own favourite website is iSpot,whereby photos of any plant, bird, insect, or indeed any living thing, can be uploaded for identification with links to information and maps of the species.
I must admit, I had to be dragged into the world of cyberspace. Now, I have to say that modern technology has made wildlife study a whole lot more accessible.
So, when the weather is too miserable to explore outdoors, have an explore on the internet. But when the sun comes out again, look out for Speckled Woods.