Field Trip Reports 2023

Bingham Linear Park

Sunday 21st May 2023

Jenny Craig

The morning was sunny with a cool breeze. A group of us (8 in number) walked the length of the Linear looking for Grizzled Skippers but failed to see any. There were quite a few Brown Argus flying about which gave us false hope. Orange-tips were the most common species with a few small whites, green-veined whites, brimstone, small copper, small heath, red admiral. A few day flying moths were seen - Silver Y and Treble-bar.

Reports from earlier years

Longstone Edge

Sunday 28th May 2023

J. Green.

Large Skipper

Twelve people arrived for the meet on a lovely morning with sunshine and a little breeze. We were having the usual briefing for safety etc in the large layby when Sylvia, my wife saw a Small Copper right next to us. Everyone went to have a look, and this was how the day went from then on. We saw 13 different butterflies:

Large Skipper 2
Dingy Skipper 8
Brimstone 1
Large white 1
Small White 1
Orange-tip 4
Green Hairstreak 4
Small Copper 1
Brown Argus 4
Common Blue 7
Holly Blue 1
Wall Brown 4
Small Heath 2
Small Copper

Everyone was very pleased with what was found and overall, it was a great success. After lunch some people stayed and we found more Walls further up the road, so the total for this species was more like 10 individuals. This is a very under-rated site with easy access for those of limited mobility and must be in the top 5 sites in Derbyshire.

Ketton Quarry and The Valley

Sunday 4th June 2023

Max & Christine Maughan.

Burnet Companion

Ketton Quarry is a Leicestershire and Rutland Wildlife Trust Reserve.

Green Hairstreak

Ketton Quarry is an active limestone quarry, but the reserve is a long worked-out part of the site. It consists of hills, holes and a few rocky outcrops. A group of fourteen people met at the reserve on a morning when the sun was beginning to shine and temperatures increasing.

Walking from the car park, our first butterflies were a couple of Brown Argus and as we explored the quarried areas we added Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Common Blue and Orange Tip to our list. Other butterflies seen in the morning were Brimstone, Small, Large and Green-veined White, Holly Blue and Small Heath. Moths were also spotted.: lots of Burnet Companion, singles of Mother Shipton, Yellow Shell, Common Wave, Purple and Gold and a main target which was a tiny but attractive micro-moth called a Liquorice Piercer Moth which lays its eggs on wild liquorice plants. This is a very rare moth for this area, having only been recorded for the first time in 2022 in Rutland. A very fresh Broad-bodied Chaser was also recorded.

Liquorice Piercer moth

After lunch, with the weather now sunny, we carried on to explore an area known as the Valley, but it was fairly quiet with the most common butterfly being Brimstone. A lure was put out for Orange-tailed Clearwing, but we only had a very brief view of one flying past the lure. A Hairy Dragonfly and a Brown Hawker were also seen flying and a Blue-tailed Damselfly was recorded.

It was a very rewarding day with a final total of 12 butterfly species and 7 moth species.

Hoe Grange Quarry Nature Reserve

Sunday 2nd July 2023

Ken and Pat Orpe

Although the weather remained mainly overcast, it didn’t prevent about 275 visitors from attending the 5th Open Day at Hoe Grange Quarry this year.

Yet again Longcliffe Quarries and their staff put on a great effort with free food and drinks and ice cream available. Committee Members of Butterfly Conservation East Midlands did a great job with the sales table and welcoming visitors, whilst others carried out guided walks around this special site at the southern end of the Peak District.

In addition to the guided walks, visitors had the opportunity to do some pond dipping in the main pond area with help from the DWT and some new species were added to the Inventory for the site.

During the afternoon as the temperature increased to 16°C and some brightness appeared between the clouds, a total of 11 species of butterflies were sighted including Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Small White, Common Blue, Red Admiral, Comma, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Small Heath.

As well as visitors from across the East Midlands, others came from Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Oxfordshire, Norfolk, Edinburgh and even the Philippines.

This site is being monitored by volunteers who have been carrying out a transect there since 2015 and to date a massive 32 species have been recorded at the site including a good colony of the endangered species of the Wall Brown.

Bagworth Heath Woods Country Park

Wednesday 5th July 2023

Eliot Taylor.

12 people attended plus the leaders. The weather was changeable; warm sunshine one minute and cloudy with a cool breeze the next.

However, the butterflies weren’t put off making an appearance, especially Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Marbled White, the latter in quite spectacular numbers, this species is having a good year at Bagworth Heath.

We looked for Purple Emperor in the locality where it was seen in 2022 but unfortunately none were found. There is now a network of wide rides throughout the woodland and one can imagine that this site will become even better for butterflies in the years to come.

In total 14 butterfly species were seen:
  • Meadow Brown
  • Ringlet
  • Gatekeeper
  • Speckled Wood
  • Marbled White
  • Large Skipper
  • Small Skipper
  • Essex Skipper
  • Comma
  • Red Admiral
  • Small Tortoiseshell
  • Large White
  • Small White
  • Green-veined White
Plus 3 moth species
  • Silver-Y
  • Shaded Broad-bar
  • Cinnabar moth larvae

Aston Brickyards LNR

Sunday 9th July 2023

Ken and Pat Orpe.

Amazingly at 11.00 am, the cloudy skies were quickly burnt away by the sunshine and the 14 BC members and their friends from across the East Midlands enjoyed a fully sunshine visit to this LNR with the temperature reaching 23°C.

The great work that has been carried out by FAB, (Friends of Aston Brickyards) over the years was really appreciated by the visitors and this included a butterfly bank, a wildlife pond, the planting of disease-resistant Elm (for the White-letter Hairstreak) also planting Alder Buckthorn (for the Brimstone) and probably one of the most important plants is the planting of Dog Violets for the Silver-washed Fritillary.

Over the winter of 2023/2024 we are hoping to plant Sallow for the important arrival of the Purple Emperor butterfly (we live in hope!)

On the day over 100 butterflies in 16 species were seen including Small Skipper, Brimstone, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Purple Hairstreak, White-letter Hairstreak, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Silver-washed Fritillary (4no), Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and a new species for the site, a Marbled White which brings the total site number to 27 species since the first transect was carried out in the year 2000.

Marbled White

Cloud Wood LRWT

Tuesday 11th July 2023

Richard M. Jeffery.

I had been closely watching the weather forecast for several days prior to this field trip and most of them predicted heavy rain and a thunderstorm. Up until the day before I had seriously considered cancelling a field trip for the first time ever. On the morning of the 11th, I decided to go along any way to meet up with anyone who may have turned up. As I drove to Cloud Wood I went through a torrential downpour and this dampened my spirits even more.

On arrival I noticed a potential gap in the weather and quickly nipped in to the reserve to check whether the conditions were not too wet and muddy. I met up with two attendees who had also arrived early. All was satisfactory and bode well for our visit, and, as if sent to raise my hopes, a Silver-washed Fritillary flew by us and posed for a photograph.

There were 12 attendees in total and we managed to enjoy a rain-free spell for the duration of our visit. A few gaps in the clouds encouraged some butterflies to venture out. We had targeted Silver-washed Fritillary, Purple Hairstreak, White-letter Hairstreak as the key species and added His/Her Imperial Majesty the Purple Emperor to our wish-list.

A fritillary was the first to visit us and settled long enough to allow for more photographs. In total we saw 6 SWF. I knew the key location where we were pretty much guaranteed to see White-letter Hairstreak. It took a brief sunny spell for a couple of WLH to leave their lofty perch in a tall Ash tree to engage in an aerial battle before settling back down on a visible branch. Identification was made using binoculars as they refused to come down to a lower level. One eagle-eyed attendee spotted a Purple Hairstreak tucked up safely on a Oak branch. This time, identification was confirmed by photograph. The Purple Emperor had so far eluded us until one attendee spotted a large dark butterfly flying high up around a canopy of Oak and Ash trees. The flight pattern, colour and size of this butterfly confirmed beyond doubt that it was a Purple Emperor, although we were unable to determine whether it was an Emperor or an Empress.

In total we recorded 10 species of butterfly and 2 day-flying moths. The species count was as follows: Meadow Brown 7, Ringlet 13, Green-veined White 10, Silver-washed Fritillary 6, Purple Hairstreak 1, Gatekeeper 2, Red Admiral 2, Comma 3, White-letter Hairstreak 2, Purple Emperor 1, Silver Y moth 3, Yellow Underwing moth 1.

As the time approached 15.40pm we noticed some sinister dark clouds heading in our general direction. We decided at this point to call it a day and head back to the car park; it turned out to be a very wise decision as no sooner had we reached the cars, the heavens opened with a torrential downpour. We were, indeed, very fortunate to be able enjoy our field trip, and, for me, it's always a joy when attendees see a species for the very first time. An experience that will remain with them forever.

Coombs Dale

Wednesday 19th July 2023

John and Al Roberts.

The weather was typical for this July as we drove to Coombs Dale; mist, cloud and rain. As we drove, we received a message from one of the participants bowing out of the walk. The carpark was deserted but we received another message from a couple to say they would be delayed but they would catch us up so Al and I set off up the Dale.

The weather had improved and we began to spot numbers of butterflies. After the heat of June and the rain of July the vegetation was rich and dense with lots of flowers. In the early part of the walk there were large numbers of small teasels beside the path which attracted many hoverflies. We were overtaken by the latecomers and walked up the Dale and the number of species grew.

The meadow was full of flowers and Dark-green Fritillaries and one Silver-washed. 147 butterflies of 16 species were seen

Big Butterfly Event

National Stone Centre, Wirksworth

Sunday 23rd July 2023

Ken and Pat Orpe.

This event involved Committee members and friends of Butterfly Conservation East Midlands to advise visitors to this Peak District attraction on the benefits of being part of the Big Butterfly Count in 2023.

Despite the 4th Test Match against the Australians at Old Trafford Manchester being rained off, this special site at the south end of the Peak District enjoyed some lengthy spells of sunshine which enabled visitors to see 14 species of butterflies including Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Brown Argus, Small Skipper, Small Copper, Comma, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and close up views of the rare White-letter Hairstreak which was taking nectar from Marjoram plants.

There has been a butterfly transect carried out at this site since 2015 and to date 26 species of butterfly have been recorded there.