Friday, 7 August 2009

Bumper Butterflies at Grafton

A weekly butterfly count has been done at Grafton Wood for 11 years (Butterfly Transect). Our peak month is July and our average count up to 2009 was around 1100 for the 4 weeks.

In 2009, however, the count was 2100. This is a remarkable increase - our previous highest year was 2006 when we counted 1500 for the same 4 weeks.

Looking at individual species the biggest increases are for Painted Lady's due to the massive migration. Now these have produced off-spring and we counted 100 in one week. All the resident species are showing an increase on the average too. The spectacular Silver-washed Fritillary showing a large increase. Even the common species - Large and Green-veined Whites - Gatekeeper and Ringlets.

The question is why? I don't expect we will know until all the analysis is done at the end of the season. I have emailed other Transect walkers and asked what sort of year they are having but they say good but nothing spectacular. I keep weather records for Grafton and these show very little difference to last year - Warm and still quite wet.

Let's enjoy this butterfly year while it lasts.

John, Grafton Wood

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