Counting butterflies

Sunday saw our Young Naturalists meet again at Blashford for their July session, starting as usual with a rummage through the light trap. Twenty one species were recorded altogether, with newcomer Tommy impressing us all with his moth knowledge! Our haul included this flame shoulder, black arches and pale prominent:

We then used secateurs, loppers and shears to cut back the vegetation creeping through the fence around the back of the pond, making the path that runs round here more accessible. It was much needed, as the brambles and nettles had certainly taken over!

Our main activity for the day however was to take part in the Big Butterfly Count, recording the number of species spotted in a sunny spot. We had two different spots in mind, so headed over to our meadow before lunch to see what was about. Here we recorded seven different species, 18 butterflies in total, including two small coppers and a common blue:

After lunch we headed down towards Ivy South Hide, spying a fishing heron on the way and we were just in time to see a grass snake basking on the logs outside the hide windows, before it slithered lower down into the reeds.

We carried on past Ivy South Hide, walking the circuit around Ellingham Lake and spotting ten species of butterfly on the way, including a speckled wood, brimstone and four small skipper:

There’s still time to take part in the Big Butterfly Count, which is running until 7th August. Details and a great butterfly ID chart can be found on their website: http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/  All you need is a spare 15 minutes and a sunny spot, which could be a garden, park or wood. It has rapidly become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies and day flying moths so get out there and get spotting!

Thanks to Talia for being our chief photographer and to Nigel and Geoff for leading the session!

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