Butterflies, like many other insects exist in many different species, from the recognisable Red Admiral, to the rare Green Hairstreak butterfly.
And if you stop to look around you, you will notice that many of them are right on your doorstep, here in west London.
Of course winter is not the best time of year to spotted the winged-insects, but a new book reveals all for insect lovers to prepare for when they start to make an appearance.
If you are a fan of butterflies, you may have noticed an increase in those with vibrant coloured wings.
That is due to a growing number of some of the species in the region.
Local butterfly expert, Andrew Wood has conducted research into the local butterfly trends over the past 40 years, the findings of which he has put into a book, Butterflies of Hertfordshire and Middlesex.
Almost five thousand local enthusiasts have contributed to a survey monitoring the activity of butterflies across Hertfordshire and Middlesex over the past 40 years.
Among many discoveries, it finds that butterflies such as the Purple Emperor and the Marbled White butterflies are all growing in number across Middlesex.
There was no records of the Purple Emperor in the area in the 1980s, but now reports show a growing number in areas such as Enfield, Hampstead Heath and Ruislip Woods.
Similarly, the Marbled White was almost unheard of in London around 30 years ago, but it can now be seen in parks across the capital. Experts believe the species have benefitted from drier and warmer conditions.
However, the Wall Brown butterfly appears to have disappeared from the area, with the last reported sighting over 10 years ago.
Experts blame the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, nitrogen pollution and the negative effects of global warming.
But there are still plenty of other species of butterfly flitting around the area, so why not head outside and take a look?
Here's where to go Butterfly spotting in west London:
- Ruislip Woods: Head out to the woods if you want to spot woodland butterflies such as the White Admiral, the Purple Emperor and Silver-washed Fritillary.
- Kensal Green Cemetery, Brent: You can see a range of different species of butterflies here including the Common Blue, Small Copper and Purple Hairstreak butterflies
- Hounslow Heath: Head to the Heath to spot the rare Green Hairstreak, which have established a colony in the area.
- Bushy Park: You are sure to find a butterfly or two here, from the Marbled White to the Purple Hairstreak, Small Copper and Small Heath butterflies.
Horsenden Hill, Ealing: The Purple Hairstreak butterflies can also be seen here as well as the White-letter, the Marbled White and other grassland species.
Author of the book, Andrew Wood, who is chairman of Butterfly Conservation’s Hertfordshire and Middlesex Branch, said: “The history of butterflies in our area during the past 30 years is, in many ways, a microcosm of the issues and challenges facing those of us who enjoy wildlife and want to understand how best to protect the variety of our different species.
"Meeting their varying needs is often a complex task and we know from the past 30 years how limited knowledge can lead to poor decisions.
"But by helping more people to appreciate our butterflies and look out for them, we can increase the chances that future success stories in conservation outnumber our failures.”
Butterflies of Hertfordshire and Middlesex by Andrew Wood was published on Friday November 25.
Keep up to date with the latest news in west London via the free getwestlondon app.
You can even set it to receive push notifications for all the breaking news in your area.