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Butterfly Spotting with DWT


Dingy Skipper Butterfly (Photo: Dave Evans)

Ever heard of Dingy Skipper, Wall Brown, Small Heath or White Letter Hairstreak? They are all rare types of protected butterflies you may spot when you are out and about in Derbyshire. Find out about sightings at The National Stone Centre in Wirksworth, visit the Butterfly Conservation East Midlands website for information on events in your area, and read on to discover butterfly sightings recorded by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust this Spring….

Until the sudden ‘heatwave’ in early May, you could count on one hand the number of butterfly (and human) friendly days that we have experienced this Spring, so a sustained spell of sunshine is long overdue! Nevertheless the occasional warm day during April ensured that a couple of new butterfly species managed to emerge – the first Large White was seen on the 10th of April 2016 at Hardwick Hall Gardens (Ian Hunt) and the only sighting of the Speckled Wood in the County to date came from Foxstone Woods, Renishaw on the 11th of April 2016 (Mark & Kelly Radford).

Further sightings of the Large White were made on the 13th April 2016  with records from Allestree (Sue Sharp), Leabrooks (Helen Naylor), Carr Wood, Ripley (Gary Wain), Crich Chase Meadows (Oli Foulds) and Rosliston Forestry Centre (Ruth Frudd). The only Green Veined Whites seen in the last week were noted  on the 13th of April 2016 at Brierley Wood, Sheepbridge (Paul Townsend), Nab Dale (Derek Brownlee) and Renishaw Park (Roy Frost). The only white which is reasonably widespread at the moment is the Small White which was noted at over 30 locations in the County. Meanwhile the Orange-tip is starting to appear across Derbyshire but  only seen in mainly singletons from a dozen locations, with just a couple seen on the 13th of April 2016 at Forbes Hole LNR, Long Eaton (Marion Bryce).

Meanwhile many recorders have seen their first Brimstone during the last week with sightings of over 80 individual butterflies from more than 50 sites within the County, the highest counts being 8 on the 13th of April 2016 at Kings Newton (Roger Martin) and 6 at Markham Vale on the 10th of April 2016 (Glyn & Colin Morris and Mark Radford).

Pleasingly,  sightings of the Peacock have increased this last week with records from 85 sites, the highest counts being  11 at Wyver Lane, Belper on the 13th of April 2016 (Alan Walker) and 15 at Foxstone Woods, Renishaw on the 11th of April 2016 (Mark & Kelly Radford). Small Tortoiseshell butterflies have done rather well this month with further records coming from another 65 sites with the highest count of 18 coming on the 13th of April 2016  from Hammersmith Meadows, Ripley (Gary Wain). Comma sightings have come from 17 sites with the highest count of 4 butterflies coming from both Chellaston Brickworks LNR (Mark Sherwood on the 10thof April 2016) and also Long Eaton Railway Sidings (Marion Bryce on the 11th of April 2016)  The only sighting of an over-wintering Red Admiral came from Northwood, Darley Dale when Christine Gregory saw a very worn individual on both the 9th and 11th of April 2016.

This time last year the first Green Hairstreak sightings had been made on the moors of the Peak District but at the moment no sightings of this species have been received from Derbyshire but Brian & Jean Hallam visited Cannock Chase on the sunny day of the 13th of April 2016 and were rewarded with a view of 3 individuals of this species, the first hairstreak to emerge during the year. Hopefully our first sighting will be made in the County very soon.

Week 2 of the new transect walking season has now finished and yet again a zero count has come in from 17 sites during the week which is very frustrating when volunteers have made the effort to travel and visit a particular site. Again, I would ask that if you did a transect but failed to see any butterflies then please let me know by email, or by emailing a completed recording form, as it forms part of the data at the end of the year.

If you would like to visit some different sites in the Region this year and possibly see some of the rarer butterfly species, then why not join up with a party of butterfly enthusiasts who share a similar interest to you? Butterfly Conservation East Midlands are running many outdoor events in 2016 (visit their website for details) – you do not have to be a member to attend!

Thanks to Ken Orpe from Derbyshire Wildlife Trust for this month’s blog.

Speckled Wood Butterfly (UK)

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