Thursday, 7 April 2011

Mill Hill butterflies

Peacock, Inachis io
I completed my first butterfly transect at Mill Hill yesterday. Peter, an experienced transect walker, accompanied me. A  transect walk is made every week from April 1 to September 30 along a standard route divided into sections based on habitat and geography. The transect rules state that in each section you walk at a steady pace and count the number of each butterfly species seen 2.5 meters either side of the path and 5 meters ahead. This information enables them to determine the health of the butterfly population at that site. The survey should be done on a warm day and time, percentage sunshine, wind speed and direction and temperature are recorded. The transect walk is repeated every year for a site and the results submitted to Butterfly Conservation for analysis.
view over the River Adur to the sea 
daffs and chrysanthemums near the car park
I was surprised by the number of Peacock butterflies we saw all over the hill, a total of 22.There was plenty of aerial fisticuffs between males, including one bunch of five flying together in a tight formation. We saw a male and female Brimstone, two Small Tortoiseshells and one Grizzled Skipper at the bottom of the hill at 1:45pm. Later I saw an Orange Tip flying west to east at the bottom of the hill following the shrub line with me puffing along behind it. It stopped twice, though I never got nearer than ten meters. A buzzard soared overhead and we heard a blackcap singing.
Field violets cover the slope 
a Long-tailed Tit

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