My top four favourite butterflies will always rank: Brown Hairstreak, Purple Emperor, Clouded Yellow and Duke of Burgundy (in that order). But at number five on the list comes the magnificent Holly Blue. We live behind a churchyard in a small Lincolnshire village and next to our property runs a pathway that is teeming with Ivy on one side. We saw probably four Holly Blue resident in our garden in April and May. However, the second brood has been even better with upto six being counted in the environs. A few days ago, I witnessed a very dark-winged female checking out suitable Ivy flower-heads on which to lay her eggs. I also saw a Holly Blue which was considerably smaller than the rest. Indeed, when there was a coming together you could really see the difference in size. I don't know whether Holly Blue are known for this. The Holly Blue is closely associated with the parasitic wasp Listrodomus nycthemerus, but I don't know if it has been a good year nationwide for the butterfly or not. Looking at the graph in the book Butterflies of Britain and Ireland, it may be that the Holly Blue is building up numbers again after a low of 2008 and 2009. This means the peak year for Holly Blue should be either 2012 or 2013, given a four to six-year cycle.