From my observations it is clear that 2017 has been a very poor year for several species of once familiar butterflies.

However, four species, notably the gatekeeper, red admiral and small copper fared reasonably well and the green-veined white rallied at the end of summer, flying into October which is quite late.

There are three species of whites, namely the green-veined, small and large, the latter often referred to as the 'cabbage' white, our only 'pest ' species and notorious for laying large batches of eggs on cabbages and nasturtiums but nowadays very scarce and hardly a problem any more.

The green-veined is a most attractive insect having underwings that are especially beautiful. Each vein is highlighted by a scattering of black and yellow scales on a light background which gives the impression of being green (pictured).

Eggs are laid by successive broods throughout the summer on garlic mustard, lady's smock and other low-growing plants and in common with the small white eggs are laid singly.

When I was very young butterflies featured strongly in my life. They were prolific and to be found everywhere and it was basically butterflies that initially sparked by lifetime interest in the natural world.

It is sad that modern children do not see clouds of whites fluttering through gardens and parks together with many brightly coloured species and their world is somewhat impoverished as a result.