27th October was the last day of the last week for undertaking my butterfly transect survey. I had missed the previous week (week 29) as I was away from home on Lundy which meant I had missed the after effects of Hurricane Ophelia and Storm Brian. I didn’t anticipate seeing any butterflies except perhaps the odd Red Admiral. So I was really surprised to find two very faded and bedraggled Speckled Woods in the wooded part of the transect.
|The broken bridge|
|The fallen tree|
What did come as a surprise was the broken bridge at the bottom of the footpath to Rectory Farm. Cattle had trashed the boardwalk between this path and the Bush Inn steps some months earlier and perhaps weakened the bridge. In any event it is badly broken. A little further on my way was blocked by a fallen tree. This was obviously the result of one or other of the storm events. It was no great problem to bet by but both of these problems have been reported to the owners, the National Trust, who will no doubt address them in due course.
I was pleased to see both Peregrine and Buzzard in the open area between wood and sea. Even better were the Ivy Bees colonising the northern edge of the new path section which climbs the cliff.
The last section from
cliff top to Crosstown was most rewarding – a Small Tortoiseshell and four Red
Admirals, one pair of which were engaged in a mating dance.
|A new colony of Ivy Bees|
|Pair of mating Red Admirals - one much the worse for wear|
This final survey of the year enabled me to compare this year's survey with last year's survey
2017 21 species totalling 845 individuals over 26 weeks of a possible 30 week season
2016 22 species totalling 977 individuals over 26 weeks of a possible 30 week season.
The numbers are down – one species fewer, I failed to see a Green Hairstreak this year. The totals might just reflect a much wetter summer this year compared to last.
A new sighting in the valley on an Ash stump was Cobalt Crust – a rare and spectacularly coloured encrusting fungus. At first sight I thought someone had marked the stump with blue paint so vivid is the colouring.