This cool, unpredictable spring continues with only rare breaks of warm weather. Saturday was forecast to offer one of those breaks, once the morning's cloud dispersed. It was only as I parked the car that the sun finally made its appearance and the cloud thinned rapidly to reveal a very pleasant afternoon for a butterfly count.
We recorded butterflies across nine of the twelve sections but Fames Rough (section 3 and 4) with its warm, south-facing slope was where we counted the most individuals and species. The summer flowers are not yet showing in any great numbers and it will be interesting to see what comes through in the next few weeks. The ongoing scrub clearance work in Fames has disturbed the ground and it may take a while for some meadow flowers to re-establish themselves in the cleared areas, especially after their scorching in last summer's drought.
Coneyboro Hill Field (section 2) once again has a small flock of goats who are intended to eat the dogwood scrub that has advanced over recent years. They gnawed the plants down to a height of six to eight inches last summer, perhaps they'll finish the job by taking them down to ground level this time around.
Survey by Graham H and Brian Gardner
submitted to Butterfly Conservation (UKBMS).
Report and pics by Brian Gardner.
We missed Transects 1, 3 and 4 because of the cool spring weather and went for No. 5 on the afternoon of 29th April. The weather was bright but not quite sunny, and fairly warm and calm, so not too bad for butterfly spotting. We started our walk at Section 1 (Great Parsons Field) where we saw 9 Brimstones, a Holly Blue, an Orange Tip and a Peacock. We saw no butterflies in section 12 and then picked up the prescribed route at Section 1 (Hither Field), where we had an excellent view of a Raven being harried by a Crow. Goats have once again been put into Section 2 (Coneyboro Hill Field) and, as the gates each end were locked, we had to miss this section. Surrey Wildlife Trust's clearance of the scrub from Fames Rough (sections 3 and 4) is proceeding steadily and we were pleased to see a good number of Twayblades and Adder's Tongue (plants) putting in their first appearance on the newly cleared area down by the railway arch. In Fames Rough we recorded 13 Brimstones, 6 Peacocks, 2 Orange Tips, a Small Tortoiseshell and a Holly Blue. No butterflies were seen in section 5 to 10.
Here you'll find details and pictures from the team carrying out our regular butterfly surveys (known as transects) over 26 weeks during Spring and Summer.