A BUTTERFLY which has been struggling for 40 years could be making a comeback, according to a wildlife charity.

Butterfly Conservation reported that numbers of the Common Blue soared across the UK in 2018, experiencing an increase of 104 per cent on the previous summer.

Chris Winnick, chairman of the charity in Cumbria, said that good places to spot Common Blues (the males are blue, the females brown) in the county were coastal regions, as well as upland limestone landscapes - such as can be found on places like Kendal Fell, Scout Scar and Hampsfell.

Butterfly Conservation is encouraging people to take part in its Big Butterfly Count, by finding a sunny place, spending 15 minutes counting every butterfly seen and submitting sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org.

Dr Zoe Randle, senior surveys officer with Butterfly Conservation, said: “People should be able to spot these butterflies in national park-areas as their caterpillars mainly feed on the wildflower Common Bird’s-foot trefoil.”

She added: “Numbers of the first brood which emerged in June were slightly down on last year, so it will be interesting to see how the second brood emerging in August will respond to the heatwave.

“It would really help us if people could get outside and look for this butterfly, so we can see if its fortunes really have turned around or if the Common Blue still needs our help.”

Elsewhere, last week’s warm conditions have encouraged a profusion of the Scotch Argus butterfly at Smardale Nature Reserve near Kirkby Stephen. Andrew Walter, of Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “This is a rare sight for Britain, as the butterfly is at the southern limit of its natural range.”