The Northern Irish Summer has hit us – hazy blue skies sending temperatures soaring into the 20s. I was in Lisburn on Friday for a student conference, and during my lunch break a small dark shape flitted from the river over my head, and over the rooftops.

A Small Tortoiseshell, my first butterfly of the year.

Another two Small Torts entered my records in College Square East the next day, from where I was leaving on a school CU retreat to Castlerock on the North Coast.

Small Tortoiseshell, 24 Mar 2012

Spot the Butterfly!

Castlerock Strand

Castlerock Strand

When we arrived back at school I got quite a surprise. Where there had been Small Torts before, there was one very early male Green-veined White, sunning itself on a juniper bush.

Ahh. My summer has begun!