Season closes in for Butterfly Counting

Moving towards the end of Butterfly Counting at Knoll for this season.

Report and pictures from our lepidopterology and odonatology expert, Keith Powrie

Week 24

Butterflies, similar to last week except the warmer temperature enticed a late Meadow Brown and a Peacock to put in an appearance.

Dragonflies also similar to last week.  A couple of Southern Hawkers, one of which was very inquisitive and kept investigating us at Mill Pond.

A pair of Common Darters were egg-laying on Upper Falls Pond, whilst a couple of males were just sunbathing around Dragon Pond.

Common Darter (at Dragon Pond)
Common Darter

The photograph shows the yellow stripe down the black legs.  The very similar, Ruddy Darter has legs which are completely black.

Week 25

The penultimate week for butterfly counting.   Judging by the weather forecast for next week, it may well be the final one!

The autumnal nights are taking their toll, and even the ‘white’s ‘ numbers are dwindling.

However, a couple of Peacocks and a pristine Red Admiral, apart from a nibble on the port forewing, put in a welcome appearance.

Red Admiral

The male Southern Hawker that scrutinised us last week at Mill Pond, did so again this week, at Dragon Pond – either him or his twin brother!  This time it was short-lived, as a female flew by and he instantly turned his attention away from us, shot towards her, grabbed her by the scruff of the neck, after a short tussle and the pair flew off and were never seen again.

Southern Hawker (at Mill Pond)
Southern Hawker at Mill Pond
Week 26

Well, last week yielded a total of just 11 butterflies. With all the cold nights since then, we were expecting to see even fewer on the last week of  counting. How wrong can one be!

Eventually, 18 were counted of 7 species.

Among them were, 6 Speckled Woods – the third brood has certainly been fruitful, 4 Large Whites, 3 Meadow Browns and a very late Holly Blue.

But the biggest surprise was a pristine Clouded Yellow, feeding on the Scabious, where the first one was seen back in 2009. This is only the 3rd record for Knoll.

Clouded Yellow

Dragonfly numbers have dropped slightly, but Common Darters were plentiful. sunning themselves on the warm wood chipping pathways.

Common Darter

See Keith’s previous report HERE