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