IT MAY have been a wet summer but one of the UK's most striking butterflies is thriving.

The Red Admiral has had a record summer, despite soggy weather conditions causing problems for other species, the Big Butterfly Count has revealed.

The count is run by Dorset-based charity Butterfly Conservation.

The Red Admiral saw its numbers rise by 75 per cent compared to 2016, with more than 73,000 seen during the count’s three-week recording period. 

This number is as many as were counted in the last three years of the Big Butterfly Count put together and the highest number by far for the butterfly since the project began.

But wet July and August weather meant that 2017 was not a good summer for butterflies in general with the UK’s three common species of white butterfly all experiencing declines.

It's believed the admiral boom was helped by a good year in 2016 followed by a mild winter and warm spring this year. 

Sightings of the Green-veined White and Large White down 38 per cent and the Small White down 37 per cent. It was the worst Big Butterfly Count on record for the Green-veined White and the second worst for the other two species.

Participants recorded the lowest number of individuals spotted per count since the scheme began, with an average of just 11 butterflies seen.

Butterfly Conservation’s head of recording, Richard Fox said: “It hasn’t been a vintage summer for butterflies, but there have been some real positives. 

“The flurry of Red Admirals on buddleia bushes, vivid golden Commas holding territories along the hedgerows and beautiful flecks of blue and orange among the long grass as Common Blues and Small Coppers made the most of the sunshine before the next shower. 

“Above all, the highlight of Big Butterfly Count 2017 has been the huge number of people that have got involved, spent time enjoying and counting our native butterflies and moths and done something useful and important in the face of so much wildlife decline.”

Results from the Big Butterfly Count help Butterfly Conservation to find out how the UK’s common species are faring and how to best protect them in the future.