Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Brandon Butterflies

White Admiral
This year's wild spring weather has baffled our butterflies with some species emerging earlier than usual while others have been further delayed by the deluge. A warm March saw a number of spring specialists emerging very early, but these butterfly-friendly conditions were followed by the wettest April on record probably affecting the first generation of many species.

As we're all aware the wet weather continued well into May and this is already the wettest June on record. It's also been a colder month than normal and this further reduces feeding and mating activity.

My First Gatekeeper 2012
By coincidence thanks to Tony Pratley this is the first year that Brandon Marsh Voluntary Conservation Team have been involved in a weekly Transect for Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire and the early results already raise cause for concern.

After last weeks disastrous transect were amazingly no Butterflies were recorded at all I'm happy to report that although not prolific by any means today's results were slightly more encouraging. The transect area itself only produced 2 Common Blue, Meadow Brown and the first Gatekeeper of the year but while touring the remainder of the reserve Large White, Brimstone and White Admiral boosted the count. Lets hope that that this trend continues but unfortunately the weather once again may play a further part later in the week.

Bee Orchid
On to other matters at Brandon and East Marsh Pool produced ♂♀Muntjac on wigeon bank and a couple of Green Sandpiper this morning along with 5 Oystercatcher, 2 Little-ringed Plover, 4 Shelduck and unusual for this time of year a ♀Shoveler along with 3♂. A Grey Wagtail was also seen passing over the Big Hide mid-morning and at least 2 Hobby were on the wing, one taking Damselflies over the River Meadow.

A number of Moths were also recorded today including Chimney Sweeper, Yellow Shell, Mother Shipton and Cinnabar. Dragonflies included ♀Broad-bodied Chaser and Common Darter.

I'm also happy to report that a Treecreeper family I've been monitoring housing four young have now fledged and all four were seen being well attended by the parents. Several Nuthatch young are also doing well and an excellent count of at least 11 Bee Orchids around the 'Tip' area is a very encouraging count for the reserve.