Sunday, 21 July 2013

Butterfly Drive

On Friday Sussex "Wood Whites" team raced Hampshire’s "Glanville Fritillaries" in the Big Butterfly Race. My Sussex team toured Hampshire and Hampshire toured West Sussex. Points were scored for each species spotted – two points for an egg, larva or pupa or one point for an adult. The CEOs of Sussex Wildlife Trust (Tony Whitehead) and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (Debbie Tann) were the adjudicators.

BBC news crews followed us! We had Nick Baker (TV naturalist), Patrick Barkham (Guardian journalist) & Dr Martin Warren (CEO Butterfly Conservation) on our Sussex team. Matthew Oates (National Trust naturalist) led the Hampshire Team.

Patrick had a pre-race article in the Guardian:

After a brilliant day and performances by both teams, the results were announced live on BBC South from Bosham harbour - we had no idea of the result until that time.
We started from Bosham Harbour at 9am and returned at 5pm
Alexis Green of the BBC travelled with the "Glanville Fritillaries" team and hosted the announcement of the winners before she presented the weather forecast on BBC South.

It was a tight contest - 34 points each - but Wood Whites spotted 28 species to Glanville Fritillaries 26 so our Team Leader, Nick Baker, was crowned King of Butterflies!

Our adjudicator, Debbie Tann, wrote an excellent account of the day:

Patrick published two reports in the Guardian after the race:

The purpose of the event (apart from giving us a great day out!) was to publicise Butterfly Conservation's “Big butterfly Count” which started Friday and runs for 3 weeks:

All you need to do is spend 15 minutes in your garden or another butterfly friendly place and record how many butterflies and moths of the species on the chart that you see. 
id chart:
You can repeat this count as many times as you like and enter the results on-line.

update 17th Sep: video of the day

A few of the butterflies that contributed to our victory:
Brimstone, Gonepteryx rhamni
Chalkhill Blue, Lysandra coridon
Grayling, Hipparchia semele
Green-veined White pupa, Pieris napi
Martin Warren found a Small Blue larva here
Richard Roebuck found this Hummingbird Hawk-moth larva, Macroglossum stellatarum on his hat!
He reports it is doing well on Heath Bedstraw.
The first of our Brown-tail moth pupae, Euproctis chrysorrhoea, emerged in the evening. It settled on the light shade.

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