2016 Annual Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies Report

The weather for 2016 was on the whole worse than 2015. Apart from brief warm spells at the beginning and end of the season the majority of the year was cold, wet and windy. The spring weather started promisingly and early species of butterflies and dragonflies did well. However, came the time for the summer flyers to emerge, the warmth was replaced by cold, damp conditions and numbers were drastically affected.

(Keith Powrie, an expert in lepidopterology and odonatology, has undertaken regular surveys of Knoll Gardens on behalf of the Foundation since 2009.)


The total count was down on both the running average and last year. The best performer was the Green-veined White, with a really good second hatching. Next came Brimstone (last year’s winner) and Large White. The recent newcomer, Small Skipper doubled their count from 1 to 2 – not much but a step in the right direction, considering most other species were in decline. Small Coppers did well being up by more than 50% on both last year and the running average.

clouded-yellowAlthough spotted in 2009 but not seen since, the Clouded Yellow is cassified as a new species as the original sighting occured during the first, partial, survey.


The Large Red Damselfly was again the first to emerge however, they were a whole month later than in 2015. Other species appear several weeks later but Azure Damselflies were out and about the following week. Although they were also the most numerous, numbers continue to decline from 620 in two years ago down to 331.


Two uncommon species, a Hairy Hawker and a Downy Emerald, appeared this year. The last time a Hairy Hawker was seen was in 2014 while the last sighting of the Downy Emerald was 2010. downey-emerald





The full 2016 report (pdf) can be viewed here: knoll-report-2016

Luxury Accommodation for Bees and Bugs

A brand new luxury hotel was officially declared open on 2 August 2016 when the Dorset Wildlife Trust unveiled Knoll Gardens’ new bee hotel. Built by DWT staff and volunteers and installed as part of the Knoll Gardens Foundation’s on-­‐going work to research and promote wildlife friendly gardening, the unveiling took place on the same day as volunteers from DWT and Knoll undertook the latest garden wildlife survey as part of the DWT Great Heath Project. Set in the Sunny Meadow, the new bee hotel will provide much needed homes for solitary bees, whose numbers have been in decline in recent years through loss of habitat and safe nesting sites.

2016 Dorset Wildlife Trust Great Heath Garden Survey

In August 2016, staff and volunteers from DWT were supported by Knoll’s own volunteers in a garden wildlife survey carried out as part of the DWT Great Heath project.

The team identified 61 species of birds, insects and amphibians in the garden. Birds included Great Tit, Blue Tit, Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Robin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Greenfinch, Songthrush, Goldfinch, Buzzard, Magpie and Bullfinch. Only two amphibians were seen. While one was the Common Toad (Bufo bufo) the presence of an eft (baby newt) was of particular interest.

The full list of species can be found below:

Knoll Gardens Survey – 2nd August 2016

Species Latin Group
Semaphore Fly Poecilobothrus nobilitatus Insect
Common blue damselfly Enallagma cyathigerum Insect
Freshwater snail Mollusc
Blue tailed damselfly Ischnura elegans Insect
Honey bee Insect
Garlic Snail Oxychilus alliarius Mollusc
White-lipped snail Cepaea hortensis Mollusc
Pill woodlouse Armadillidium vulgare Crustacean
Common Woodlouse Crustacean
Great tit Parus major Bird
Green Woodpecker Picus viridis Bird
Robin Erithacus rubecula Bird
Great spotted woodpecker Dendrocopos major Bird
Wood pigeon Columba palumbus Bird
Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs Bird
Blackbird Turdus merula Bird
Nuthatch Sitta europaea Bird
Blue tit Cyanistes caeruleus Bird
Greenfinch Chloris chloris Bird
Buzzard Buteo buteo Bird
European Hornet Vespa crabro Insect
Pond skater sp. Insect
Millipede sp. Crustacean
Greater Water boatman Notonecta glauca Insect
Water hoglouse Asellus aquaticus Crustacean
Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla Bird
White tailed bumblebee Bombus lucorum agg. Bumblebee
Microdon mutabilis Insect
Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis Bird
Song thrush Turdus philomelos Bird
Pollen beetle Meligethes aeneus Beetle
White death spider Misumena Vatia Arachnid
Linyphia triangularis Arachnid
Green veined white Pieris napi Butterfly
Centipede Crustacean
Eft (baby newt) Amphibian
Red soldier beetle Rhagonycha fulva Beetle
Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus Butterfly
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta Butterfly
Large white Pieris brassicae Butterfly
Common Carder bee Bombus pascuorum Bumblebee
Magpie Pica pica Bird
Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula Bird
Wasp Vespula vulgaris Insect
Dock bug Coreus marginatus Shieldbug
Hawthorn Shieldbug Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale Shieldbug
Large Yellow Underwing Noctua pronuba Moth
Buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris Bumblebee
Emperor dragonfly Anax imperator Dragonfly
Southern hawker Aeshna cyanea Dragonfly
Cydia splendana Moth
Harvestman Opiliones Arachnid
Green leaf-hopper Cicadella viridis Insect
Toad Bufo bufo Amphibian
Hoverfly Syrphidae Insect
Garden spider Arachnid
Common hawker (exuviae) Aeshna juncea Dragonfly
Brown hawker nymph Aeshna grandis Dragonfly
Ichneomon wasp Insect
Spanish slug Arion vulgaris Slug

2016 Knoll Gardens – Garden Birdwatch

For several years, regular observations have been made of the birds found in the gardens. One of the ‘stars’ of Knoll birdlife is the resident pair of bullfinch. They are beautiful birds and very easy to spot, usually within 10 metres of the feeder.

The list of birds seen at Knoll between January 2013 and June 2016 is shown below:

Species list for records dated 1 Jan 2013 to 30 June 2016 for Knoll Gardens
Scientific Name Common Name
Ardea cinerea Grey Heron
Buteo buteo Buzzard
Columba palumbus Woodpigeon
Streptopelia decaocto Collared Dove
Picus viridis Green Woodpecker
Dendrocopos major Great Spotted Woodpecker
Pica pica Magpie
Garrulus glandarius Jay
Corvus monedula Jackdaw
Corvus corone Carrion Crow
Regulus regulus Goldcrest
Cyanistes caeruleus Blue Tit
Parus major Great Tit
Periparus ater Coal Tit
Aegithalos caudatus Long-tailed Tit
Phylloscopus collybita Chiffchaff
Sylvia atricapilla Blackcap
Sitta europaea Nuthatch
Troglodytes troglodytes Wren
Sturnus vulgaris Starling
Turdus merula Blackbird
Turdus philomelos Song Thrush
Turdus iliacus Redwing
Turdus viscivorus Mistle Thrush
Erithacus rubecula Robin
Prunella modularis Dunnock
Passer domesticus House Sparrow
Fringilla coelebs Chaffinch
Carduelis chloris Greenfinch
Carduelis carduelis Goldfinch
Pyrrhula pyrrhula Bullfinch

Sessions for Primary Schools

A range of activities are available to pre-school and primary aged children, Alternatively sessions can be tailor made to suit the requirements of your group. Sessions are led by experienced and enthusiastic Education Officers and usually last 1.5 to 2 hours in length, with the exception of habitat activities which we advise require the full day.

Full details are available in our “Sessions or Primary Schools” document which can view/download from the picture below :-