According to data from the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme 2008 was the poorest summer for butterfly numbers for more than 25 years. This comes on top of the summer of 2007, the wettest on record apparently, where there was a relative absence of breeding.
Butterflies can't fly in rain and therefore they can't reach the nectar they feed on.
Anyway 2008 was the worst year on record for 12 species. Some of these species are well known, e.g Orange Tip and Small Tortoisehell. Some once common species that have have declined dramatically over the last few decades include the Small Heath, Small Copper and Wall. Species like High Brown Frillary are down to only 50 colonies mostly small.
It is not only the weather that is affecting butterfly numbers, loss of habitats such as flower rich grassland and the intensification of farming methods also has an impact as done the lack of management of woodland.
Let's hope for a warm dry (the odd shower at night?) summer and for a good year for our flutters.