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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

My Beautiful Butterfly Square

Painted Lady
Gorse Shieldbug Instar
I managed to fit in my WCBS survey of the year between all the gales and rain. It has to be less than Beaufort 5, no more than 60% cloud and above 14C to stand any chance of seeing butterflies. My square is always a bit difficult. With it being on the Atlantic Coast as any slight breeze blows in from Labrador!

Nonetheless, today conditions matched the minimum and I was rewarded by a Peacock as my first sighting in my BTO BBS square near Stowe Barton the former home of Sir Richard Greville of the Armada.

I did try to record nothing but butterflies, but could not fail to notice the hovering Kestrel only yards away and the charm of 19 Goldfinches chattering and fluttering over the square. One section was particularly barren of butterflies; the NE wind on the cliff top was quite bracing but as I threaded my way through the occasional gorse bushes, I could not help but look for Gorse Shield Bugs.
Small Copper

And what a sight, a few adults were there, but there were 10s of early instars showing a thriving population on almost every bush of Gorse – Ulex europaeus. None found on Western Gorse Ulex gallii even though U. europaeus is lost most of its flowers and U. gallii is beginning to flower.

All in all a most successful survey albeit mainly of Meadow Brown and Gatekeepers, but also Peacock, Painted Lady and Small Copper in my beautiful bird and butterfly square.