Nottinghamshire Flutterings 28th March 2016. Small White and Green-veined White.

Hello Butterphiles

Two ‘new’ species for the year over the last few days:

Small White, 2 in Dyscarr Wood on 25th seen by Pauline Bradford. The earliest record I have was 01/04/1995,

Green-veined White seen by Jane Howe in her Chilwell garden on 26th.
Species status to date:

06. Green-veined White [17/03/2011-08/10/2008] 26/3/2016-
05. Small White [25/3/2016-31/10/2007] 25/3/16-
04. Comma [06/02/1998-24/11/2011] 20/3/2016-
03. Peacock [03/01/2013-29/12/2015] 10/2/16-
02. Red Admiral [25/01/2014-29/12/2011] 29/01/2016-
01. Small Tortoiseshell [12/01/2016-24/12/2001] 12/01/2016-

[ ] indicate first and last dates in Notts records dating back to 1995.

Records from 25th-26th March

Small Tortoiseshell 16-03-25 on laurel by Pauline Bradford

Small Tortoiseshell 16235 on laurel by Pauline Bradford

 

Richard Rogers

The Long Good Friday

Update Number 5

As I write, storm Katie is preparing to do her worst, and she is not in a good mood. Wind, rain and thunderstorms are all due over the next 18 hours. It is difficult to believe that spring has actually sprung, but it certainly has, and the glorious weather of Good Friday allowed many to see their first butterflies of the year. For many, numbers were impressive. Others were grateful to see single specimens.
Prior to the Good Friday emergence I had received only two reports, one of a Peacock in Congerstone (Tony Teperek) on the 16th of March, and a Small Tortoiseshell in the Loughborough garden of Helen Ingall on the 21st. Friday the 25th of March may well go down as THE day that the butterfly season truly began. Two ‘new’ species for the year were recorded on this day, with a Red Admiral being spotted at Sapcote Garden Centre by yours truly (Richard Jeffery) and the first Commas being seen by Geof Adams in his Broughton Astley garden, Steve Lee in his Enderby garden, Malcolm Hupman at Rutland Water and 3 individuals seen at Melton Country Park by Paul Ruddoch.
Peacocks were recorded by Win Walsh in her Earl Shilton garden, Geof Adams in Broughton Astley allotments, Paul Ruddoch at Melton CP, and AJ Cann at Ulverscroft. Many sightings of Small Tortoiseshells were sent in, mostly of single specimens taking advantage of the early spring sunshine. Ann Gleave noted one at Thurnby Lodge, AJ Cann saw one at Ulverscroft, Brian Thompson reported one in Kibworth Beauchamp, Geof Adams spotted a singleton in his Broughton Astley garden and also on the allotments, two were seen in the Oadby garden of David Foulds, 4 by Steve Lee in Enderby and 11 in Melton CP by Paul Ruddoch. David Foulds also noted a solitary individual in Fludes Lane, Oadby an ancient Right of Way now looked after by the team at Brocks Hill Country Park.
Brimstone 01

Brimstone – Photograph by Richard M. Jeffery

Good Friday also saw the emergence of the Brimstone. Single specimens were seen by AJ Cann at Ulverscroft, Geof Adams in Broughton Astley, Win Walsh in Earl Shilton, and I recorded one at work in Sapcote Garden Centre. Ann Gleave reported 2 at Thurnby Lodge, David Foulds noted 2 in Oadby, Matthew Harpin saw 2 in Ravenstone and also 12 in Jubilee Woods, Normanton le Heath. Paul Ruddoch also reported a round dozen in Melton CP. Steve Lee spent 3 hours watching butterflies in his Enderby garden (not a bad way to spend a morning in my humble opinion) and made over 40 sightings of Brimstone – how many individuals this equates to is not certain as they were coming and going constantly, but there was a maximum of 3 at any one given time.
Thank you to everyone for getting out in the spring sunshine and for submitting this information for sharing amongst the group. If I have missed anyone who has reported a sighting, then please accept my apologies, and I’ll include it next time.
The key purpose of the L & R Updates is to keep everyone up-to-date with current sightings, provide information on suitable sites and habitat, and to discuss conservation issues. The Updates rely on you, the subscribers to send in the information. Many of you have already signed up to the East Midlands Butterfly Conservation Blog page. I have mentioned on several occasions that this Update will be posted on a regular basis on this page. Those of you who haven’t yet signed up, and wish to remain part of this Update ‘group’ are urged to sign up as soon as possible, as this will be the last issue sent out by direct email. I would like to ask each one of you to visit the EMBC website’s Blog page and ‘Subscribe to Blog via Email’. All you need to do is fill in your email address, click Subscribe and you’ll be ready to receive future posts for Leicestershire and Rutland, as well as Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire if you wish, by email alert.
Please use the following link to go the Blog page and enter your email address where requested, www.eastmidlands-butterflies.org.uk/blog/ , and once you have done so could I please ask you to let me know that you have so that I can update my records accordingly. If, at any point in the future you no longer wish to receive the Updates, you can simply ‘unsubscribe’.
Please continue to send in your sightings information, and feel free to share your photos on our Facebook page (Butterflies and Moths of Leicestershire and Rutland).
Once again, many thanks for being part of this group, and continue to enjoy your ‘butterflying’.

Nottinghamshire Flutterings 21st March 2016. Comma and Toton Sidings bonanza.

Hello Butterphiles

Highlights:

Comma [06/02/1998-24/11/2011] –  our first Comma records for the year on 20/3/16

A remarkable count of 18 Small Tortoiseshell and 11 Peacock in yesterday’s sunshine at Toton Sidings (Mark Searle).

Hummingbird Hawk-moth observed on 11/3/16 by Tony Critchley in Nuthall.

This is a table all reported sightings since last time:

SpeciesDateSiteNumberObserver
Brimstone10/03/2016Bilsthorpe1Ken Lomas
Brimstone20/03/2016Burton Joyce1Bob & Glenis Beck
Brimstone20/03/2016Chilwell2Jane Howe
Brimstone20/03/2016Newark1Carl Cornish
Brimstone20/03/2016Retford1Diane Hibbert
Brimstone20/03/2016Toton Sidings1Mark Searle
Comma20/03/2016Bestwood1Antoni Lachetta
Comma20/03/2016Bramcote1Richard Rogers
Comma20/03/2016Budby Pumping Station2Dave Morton
Comma20/03/2016Sandybanks LNR1Antoni Lachetta
Comma20/03/2016Toton Sidings2Mark Searle
Peacock20/03/2016Burton Joyce1Bob & Glenis Beck
Peacock20/03/2016Chilwell1Jane Howe
Peacock20/03/2016Chilwell1Iris & Derek Martin
Peacock20/03/2016Sandybanks LNR1Antoni Lachetta
Peacock20/03/2016Toton Sidings11Mark Searle
Red Admiral11/03/2016Bestwood1Antoni Lachetta
Red Admiral14/03/2016Langold1Pauline Bradford
Small Tortoiseshell20/03/2016Burton Joyce1Bob & Glenis Beck
Small Tortoiseshell19/03/2016Chilwell1Jane Howe
Small Tortoiseshell20/03/2016Compton Acres1Laurence Archibald
Small Tortoiseshell20/03/2016Keyworth1Neil Pinder
Small Tortoiseshell16/03/2016Mansfield1Ken Lomas
Small Tortoiseshell20/03/2016Netherfield1Lorna Griffiths
Small Tortoiseshell20/03/2016Retford1Diane Hibbert
Small Tortoiseshell20/03/2016Sandybanks LNR2Antoni Lachetta
Small Tortoiseshell20/03/2016Toton Sidings18Mark Searle

 

Spring has Sprung……….or has it?

Update Number 4

Depending upon your personal preference, either we have just entered into spring today, with it being the vernal equinox, or we are nearly three weeks into the season if you prefer to go by the meteorological office definition. Personally, I do not side with either, as I simply prefer to go outside the back door without my winter woollies. If I have to dash back indoors and put them back on, then it’s not quite spring. If I can stay out all day without catching a chill, then spring has sprung. Seriously, if it feels too chilly for us, then it’s probably too chilly for our local Lepidoptera. This may account for a lack of reported sightings of most of our overwintering butterflies. The one exception to this is the apparently hardier Small Tortoiseshell. The first reported sighting received so far was of a singleton seen by Derek Spicer at South Kilworth, on the 11th of February. My first Small Tortoiseshell was seen in my Earl Shilton garden nectaring on purple crocus on the 24th of February.

Small Tortoiseshells have also been seen at Melton Country Park by Paul Ruddoch on the 7th, 11th, 14th and 17th of March. Geof Adams spotted one in Sutton in the Elms on the 11th of March, and another in Broughton Astley on the following day. Matthew Harpin noted his first of the season on the Bridleway in Ashby on the 14th of March, whilst Malcolm Hupman saw his at Rutland Water this afternoon whilst chasing Brown Hares.
A solitary Peacock sighting was reported by Graham Bowers in the Comedy Wood (love the name….) area of Hick’s Lodge on the 13th of March, and the only sighting of a Brimstone came in today when an individual was spotted by Rhys Dandy in Ibstock.
The forecast for the coming week is somewhat mixed as the high pressure that has been with us over the few days looks like being dislodged later in the week to make way for wet and windy weather coming in on an Atlantic low……and all in time for the Easter weekend. The 1st of April sees the start of the 2016 Butterfly Transect season, so let’s hope the weather settles down again after the Easter holiday.
If anyone would like to be part of a rota to walk a butterfly transect, then please get in touch and I’ll discuss the available options with you. It is a rewarding and enjoyable exercise, as well as making an invaluable contribution to EMBC’s butterfly (and moth) records.
It is planned that the email Updates for Leicestershire and Rutland, and also Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will be posted directly to the Blog page of the East Midlands Butterfly Conservation website. This will save on time spent sending emails out to groups of individuals, as once the Update is posted, recipients will receive an automatic notification email allowing instant access to the Blog. I would like to ask each one of you to visit the EMBC website’s Blog page and ‘Subscribe to Blog via Email’. All you need to do is fill in your email address, click Subscribe and you’ll be ready to receive future posts for Leicestershire and Rutland, as well as Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire if you wish, by email alert. I plan to stop sending out the email Updates directly after the next update (number 5), so to keep up-to-date on what is happening in the county then please subscribe as soon as you can.
Please use the following link to go the Blog page and enter your email address where requested, www.eastmidlands-butterflies.org.uk/blog/ , and once you have done so could I please ask you to let me know that you have so that I can update my records accordingly.
Please continue to send in your sightings information, and feel free to share your photos on our Facebook page (Butterflies and Moths of Leicestershire and Rutland). I still have not received news of sightings of either the Comma or Red Admiral, so please keep your eyes peeled for these and also be prepared for potential early appearances of any of the Whites, the Orange Tip, the Holly Blue and even the Green Hairstreak (more to come on the GH in the next update).
Happy butterflying.

Ron Overton

It is with great sadness that I report the sudden death of Ron Overton after a very short illness. Ron and Barbara Overton have been members of Butterfly Conservation since the 1980’s. Ron has sent in his records every year since joining. Although I have only known Ron for a few years we enjoyed trying to see who could find the rarest, first of the year or most butterflies. He had already seen two this year! He will be greatly missed. The funeral is on Thursday 17th March at 10am at Sherwood Crematorium, Ollerton. With deepest sympathy to Barbara (and Cassie the dog).
Jane Broomhead.

Nottinghamshire Flutterings 12th March 2016. A brief update.

Hello Butterphiles

Given the weather over the last four weeks, it is not surprising I have only received five sightings:

Red Admiral [25/01/2014-29/12/2011] 29/01/2016-
Diane Hibbert reported one at Retford on 25/02/2016

Small Tortoiseshell [12/01/2016-24/12/2001] 12/01/2016-
Three records – singletons seen at Compton Acres, Arnold and yesterday in Misterton (Laurence Archibald, Mark Speck and Bernard & Maureen Featherstone)

Peacock [03/01/2013-29/12/2015] 10/2/16-
One record from East Leake (Neil Pinder) on 22/02/2016

Hope things start ‘hotting up’ soon.

Richard Rogers

The Wall Brown in Leicestershire – 2015

Wall Brown butterfly

Wall Brown – photo by Richard M. Jeffery

Update Number 3

The Wall (Brown) was once a common sight along hedgerows and field margins all over the country. Sadly, numbers have declined by an alarming 87% since 1976 for reasons that are still unknown. Maybe changes to farming practice and land management played a key role in loss of habitat. Hedgerows that were ripped out en-masse over many years have slowly been put back; but had the damage already been done? The quest for maximum output from every square metre of land meant that field margins disappeared, although these too are now being reinstated. The attempt to eradicate pests and diseases led to myriad chemicals being unleashed on farmland and, inadvertently the surrounding countryside. Slowly, it is being recognised that this arsenal of chemicals IS actually detrimental to wildlife and to pollinators in particular. Could it simply be that Climate Change has had the greatest effect on this delightful butterfly? It does appear that the Wall is becoming confined to coastal areas and, inland to areas at higher altitude. This certainly seems to be the case in Leicestershire and Rutland. Whatever the reason for the decline in Wall numbers, we must consider ourselves lucky to still have populations present in the county.
The Wall has been recorded at Bardon Hill in limited numbers for a few years. A total of 35 individuals were recorded on 2014 Butterfly transect with a highest single count of 8 being noted. Numbers dropped alarmingly in 2015 with only 9 individuals seen on the transect in the whole of the season (the highest count being 4 on the 5th of June). This decline could simply be down to the erratic weather conditions that had to be endured during the respective flight and breeding seasons. Sunny spells alternated with mild and wet conditions, sometimes with periods of heavy rain over consecutive days. This could have had a significant effect on the breeding habits of our grassland butterflies, but other results show that this weather pattern didn’t affect the Ringlet, Meadow Brown or Gatekeeper (the three most prolific butterflies in the county last year). Could the decline on Bardon Hill be put down as a temporary ‘blip’? Only the coming season will answer that question. A repetition of last year’s figures could potentially put a question mark over the way the site is managed; if this proves to be the case then EMBC will need to work closely with the owners to address the problem. The Wall needs short grass (2cm-9cm) to sustain a population. Some areas at Bardon in 2015 were clearly well above the upper limit. This site will be monitored closely over the coming Transect period.
There is good news, however in the fact the Wall has expanded its territory in the Charnwood area, with sightings coming in from six (possibly seven?) different sites all within a 2km radius of Bardon Hill. Warren Hills with its numerous rocky outcrops had already been registered for sightings of the Wall over the last couple of years, and 18 individuals were recorded here last season. 2015 also saw records coming in from Charnwood Lodge (2 separate sites) with 10 being noted here, Altar Stones produced 2 sightings, Hill Hole Quarry where a single specimen was spotted during a L&R Wildlife Trust survey and from Bradgate Park (2 separate sites) with 3 being recorded here. It will be interesting to see if these sites produce sightings in 2016, and to see if there is any further expansion. One site I will be looking at is Billa Barra. Surveys I carried out last summer were inconclusive and it may be that the grass high up on Billa Barra may be a little too tall.
Anyone who knows these sites, and plans to visit this spring and summer is encouraged to submit any news of sightings either directly to my email address ( winrich168@btinternet.com ) or via the Facebook group ( Butterflies and Moths of Leicestershire and Rutland ). The status of this hardy butterfly will be monitored closely, not just this year, but over subsequent years. It is important that we do not lose this butterfly from our county, but how much we can influence and even halt the decline awaits to be seen.
I would like to, if I may repeat my request from my last Update. East Midlands Butterfly Conservation have been developing the Website over the winter months and several changes will be filtered through over the coming weeks and months, so please keep checking. One facility that is now up and running is the County Blog pages. It is planned that the email Updates for Leicestershire and Rutland, and also Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will be posted directly to here. This will save on time spent sending emails out to groups of individuals, as once the Update is posted, recipients will receive an automatic notification email allowing instant access to the Blog. I would like to ask each one of you to visit the EMBC website’s Blog page and ‘Subscribe to Blog via Email’. All you need to do is fill in your email address, click Subscribe and you’ll be ready to receive future posts for Leicestershire and Rutland, as well as Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire if you wish, by email alert. I will eventually, once everyone has subscribed, stop sending out the email Updates directly, and thus eliminate the risk of your email address being shared.
Please use the following link to go the Blog page and enter your email address where requested, www.eastmidlands-butterflies.org.uk/blog/ , and once you have done so could I please ask you to let me know that you have so that I can update my records accordingly (I don’t want you to miss out on what’s happening in the county).