Five of our butterflies, namely small tortoiseshell, peacock, red admiral, comma and brimstone hibernate. There used to be a sixth but the large tortoiseshell is now virtually extinct in Britain.

All the above are on the wing from March followed by green veined white, small and large whites.

Then in April, one of the daintiest springtime butterflies, the orange tip, emerges from its chrysalis and flies until early June, loving damp habitats along stream margins and woodland rides where there is a plentiful supply of garlic mustard, also known as Jack-by-the-hedge and lady's smock, the caterpillars favourite food plants.

The male, (pictured) has white wings and sports distinctive large orange patches on forewings while hind wings are mottled with green. The female is similar but lacks the orange tips. Both sexes are so well camouflaged that they seem to disappear when perching on wayside flowers such as Queen Anne's lace (cow parsley) The butterfly was at one time aptly named 'lady of the woods' but as attractive as they are in our eyes they are distasteful to predators having accumulated bitter mustard oils in their bodies when in the caterpillar stage.

After hatching, caterpillars are cannabalistic but usually the female can detect a plant on which an egg has been laid so finds another flower, a fail-safe device of nature to ensure there is no competition between caterpillars and therefore a greater success rate of them reaching maturity.