Summary of 2012 Butterfly Surveys  
       
A bad year with prolonged wet spells giving the lowest total of insects counted and the 10th lowest in terms of insect recorded per visit. However, not all species did badly. Brimstone, Green Veined White, Orange Tip and Holly Blue had good years. Meadow Brown and Small Copper had average years. Our newcomers in 2011, Dingy Skipper and Brown Argus were not recorded although Dingy Skipper was seen off transect in the new ditch in Bloomers. The highlight of the year was spotting a Brown Hairstreak in the Quiet Garden. This was a real surprise as this species is uncommon and local and usually found further West. It is also rarely seen at ground level as it favours tree tops. Overall 4 species increased, 3 were unchanged and 14 decreased.
  2012 Position of year since 2012 Comments
 
Small/Essex Skipper 0 Joint 10th Some seen off transect along new ditch in Bloomers
Large Skipper 1 Joint 7th  
Brimstone 3 3rd A good year
Large White 3 11th  
Small White 2 11th  
Green Veined White 2 1st Possibly under reported as difficult to distinguish from Small White and Orange Tip
Orange Tip 6 1st A good year. Possibly unreported in the past due to the difficulty of distinguishing the females from other whites
Small Copper 2 5th This butterfly seems to particularly favour the new ditch near Coldharbour
Brown Argus 0 Joint 2nd First seen in 2011. Not seen again this year.
Common Blue 0 Joint 7th Some seen off transect along new ditch in Bloomers
Holly Blue 5 3rd A good year for this species.
Red Admiral 6 Joint 5th  
Painted Lady 0 Joint 5th  
Small Tortoiseshell 0 Joint 9th A poor year
Peacock 2 Joint 7th  
Comma 1 11th A poor year
Speckled Wood 19 Joint 8th A patchy year for this normally very reliable species. The increased shading in Cold Harbout Copse, a favoured haunt historically, could be a cause.
Gatekeeper 16 9th A poor year
Meadow Brown 127 5th  
Ringlet 1 6th  
Brown Hairstreak 1 1st A fanstastic record. A restricted and elusive species. Seen in the Quiet Garden.
Total insects seen 197    
       
Number of visits in 2012 20    
       
Butterflies per visit 9.9    
       
Butterflies per visit compared with previous years 10th   An poor total
       

 

 

 

 

Summary of 2002-2012 Butterfly Surveys                      
                        Position of 2012 total Status Position of 2011 total
  2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Small/Essex Skipper 11 19 9 7 11 7 0 14 15 4 0 Joint 10th Decrease 9th
Large Skipper 11 9 1 1 4 1 1 3 6 7 1 Joint 7th Decrease 3rd
Brimstone 0 0 4 0 6 0 0 0 0 1 3 3rd Increase 3rd
Large White 24 17 31 9 22 8 10 11 11 18 3 11th Decrease 4th
Small White 14 5 15 21 19 6 4 13 7 11 2 11th Decrease 6th
Green Veined White 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 2 1st Increase Joint 1st
Orange Tip 2 0 0 2 1 3 2 3 4 0 6 1st Increase Joint 8th
Small Copper 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 3 8 4 2 5th Decrease 3rd
Brown Argus                   1 0 Joint 2nd Decrease 1st
Common Blue 0 5 3 0 0 0 1 2 14 5 0 Joint 7th Decrease Joint 2nd
Holly Blue 2 1 7 1 2 3 1 3 3 6 5 3rd Decrease Joint 2nd
Red Admiral 6 10 1 8 11 6 3 5 4 8 6 Joint 5th Decrease Joint 3rd
Painted Lady 1 4 0 0 2 0 0 4 0 0 0 Joint 5th No change Joint 5th
Small Tortoiseshell 4 28 10 7 2 4 0 1 3 0 0 Joint 9th No change Joint 9th
Peacock 0 7 3 3 1 6 1 4 5 2 2 Joint 7th No change 7th
Comma 5 5 4 3 17 2 5 10 9 8 1 11th Decrease 4th
Speckled Wood 18 16 22 32 19 41 38 75 54 70 19 Joint 8th Decrease 2nd
Gatekeeper 32 27 93 48 47 19 6 6 62 67 16 9th Decrease 2nd
Meadow Brown 94 136 91 160 124 109 119 92 188 157 127 5th Decrease 3rd
Ringlet 0 0 1 0 5 0 6 7 6 10 1 6th Decrease 1st
Brown Hairstreak                     1 1st Increase  
                             
  224 294 295 302 293 215 198 256 399 380 197 11th    
                             
Number of visits 15 15 14 21 22 25 18 23 22 26 20 7th    
                             
Butterflies per visit 14.9 19.6 21.1 14.4 13.3 8.6 11 11.1 18.1 14.6 9.9 10th    
                             
Average count compared with other years 3rd 2nd 1st 5th 6th 10th 8th 7th 3rd 4th 9th 9th    
                             
Total compared with other years 8th 5th 4th 3rd 6th 9th 10th 7th 1st 2nd 11th 11th    

 

 

 

  Cumulative Butterfly List for the reserve      
           
  Species Comments Flight Period New in 2011 New in 2012
           
1 Small Skipper Seen frequently on the meadows Jun-Aug    
2 Essex Skipper Meadows Jul-Aug    
3 Large Skipper Meadows Jun-Jul    
4 Dingy Skipper Ditch by Coldharbour - W5 May-Jun 08-May-11  
5 Clouded Yellow Thistle patch in Derek Slade Spinney May, Aug, Oct    
6 Brimstone Anywhere All year    
7 Large White Anywhere May-Sep    
8 Small White Anywhere May-Sep    
9 Green-veined White Anywhere May-Sep    
10 Orange-tip Hedges and verges May-Jun    
11 Brown Hairstreak Oak and ash trees in quiet garden Aug-Sep   05-Aug-12
12 Purple Hairstreak Oak and ash trees by allotments Jul-Aug 21-Jul-11  
13 Small Copper Meadows May, Jul-Aug    
14 Brown Argus Meadows May-Jun, Aug-Sep 29-May-11  
15 Common Blue Meadows and W5 ditch Jun, Aug-Sep    
16 Holly Blue Trees and hedges Apr-May, Aug    
17 Purple Emperor Trees/Butterfly garden Jul-Aug    
18 Red Admiral Flowers,buddleia Apr-Oct    
19 Painted Lady Flowers,buddleia May, Jul-Aug    
20 Small Tortoiseshell Anywhere All year    
21 Peacock Anywhere All year    
22 Comma Anywhere All year    
23 Speckled Wood Trees and hedges May-Sep    
24 Gatekeeper Hedges and verges Jul-Aug    
25 Meadow Brown Meadows May-Jul    
26 Ringlet Hedges and verges Jul-Aug    
           
Introduction                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           To help with the management of the reserves, we carry out annual surveys of butterflies and of breeding birds. This allows us to monitor trends and gives us data to consider when we review our management plan and decide on work to be carried out during our monthly work parties or as specific projects. Ideally over time the surveys will help us to increase biodiversity on the reserves by guiding us in tailoring our management plan to suit the species we know are present.                                                                                                                                                                              We began in 2002 and now have a useful baseline of data covering each year since. This data can be seen in the other sheets in this file.                                                                                                                                         Richard Low surveys the breeding birds and visits the reserves several times during the breeding season usually early in the morning.  Evidence such as the presence of singing males, nests, sightings of birds carrying nesting material or food for nestlings or sightings of juvenile birds are used by Richard to compile the estimates of breeding pairs.                                                            John Madden carries out the butterfly surveys and follows the approach recommended by the charity Butterfly Conservation. This comprises following a fixed route called a transect every week from April to the end of September. The surveys are only carried out during suitable weather conditions and times of the day which generally mean when it is warm and sunny. Only butterflies within 2.5 metres in any direction are counted by the surveyor who walks at a steady pace along the transect. This is intended to give comparable and consistent butterfly counts. Details of this approach can be found on Butterfly Conservation's website at www.butterfly-conservation.org/.         In our breeding birds lists you will see some birds are identified as red listed.This is their conservation status and red listed species are of greatest concern. There are a number of criteria which can lead to a species being designated as red listed but generally with the birds on the reserves it is because there has been a severe decline in the UK breeding population over the last 25 years (a reduction of over 50%).                                                                                                                                                                                   

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