Report from Brian G. GH and I walked our transect on Tuesday morning as the weeks of fine warm weather were forecast to break the following day. Conditions for the walk were ideal but we didn't see the higher numbers of butterflies that we were hoping for (details below). This may be down to the 'June Lull'.
Bill Downey of BCT was specifically keen for any reports of Small Blues that he hoped would be enjoying our flowering Kidney Vetch, but I'm sorry to say that, despite giving the plants an especially long look-over, no Small Blues were seen. This is a disappointment, as over the recent seasons we've spotted them in ones or twos and were therefore expecting that, as the Kidney Vetch became more established, so would the Small Blues. These butterflies are most active from the end of May to the end of June so there's still plenty of time for them to put in an appearance – here's hoping.
It was pleasing to have a pair of Dark Green Fritillaries flitting up and down the length of Fames Rough (Section 3 and 4) as we were walking through. This was also where we saw the Green Hairstreaks and most of the Large Skippers. Fames Rough is where in previous years we have seen the most species in the greatest numbers. However, the area of flower meadow on which the butterflies depend is steadily being reduced by of the encroachment of hawthorn and other scrub and this might adversely affect the butterfly populations there. The hawthorn also makes it increasingly difficult to walk the route set by BCT, so we may have to consider a route change within a couple of years.
Survey by Graham H and Brian G, submitted to Butterfly Conservation (UKBMS). Pics by Brian G.