A message from Ian B on Tuesday of last week:
“Had a walk around the park this afternoon and did a bit of a butterfly transect. The park is looking good. I saw 3 speckled woods, 7 small skippers and 43 meadow browns – the latter were in perfect condition as though they had just hatched – the majority of the meadow browns were in Village Green.”
A transect is a method used in assessing butterfly populations. A set route, usually 2 – 5km, is walked regularly through the the area to be assessed and butterflies within a certain range of the route, usually 5m, counted and identified.
Meadow browns are the butterflies most commonly seen in the park. They are short-lived, rarely surviving more than a couple of weeks, but successive hatchings mean they can be seen throughout the summer.
Meadow browns are one of the butterfly species that overwinter as a caterpillar; they pupate in the spring and the adults hatch from early summer onward. The mechanisms that prompt their pupation and hatching are complex and not well understood but the weather is always a major factor. A mass hatching of pupae on a sunny day can result in many, sometimes hundreds, pristine adult butterflies flying low across a flowering meadow like Village Green.
Photographs by Ian B; header image: DKG