Usually the butterfly population of the park is estimated by walking transects during the summer. This means regularly walking a set route through the park, on days of butterfly-friendly weather, and counting the number of species and individuals within a certain distance of that route.
Over the season, the technique yields data about the spread and density of an area’s butterfly population; over the years it can reveal important population trends and demonstrate where habitat might need improving.
This year, we have decided to keep a running total as well as the results of the more official transects: a butterfly spotter’s list, like a bird spotter’s list. This will give us an idea of how many butterfly species, residents and visitors, there are in the park.
The first two sightings on the list are a male brimstone seen by Ian Bushell on 28th March and a small tortoiseshell seen by Countryside Officer Ali Rasey on April 12th. Both species hibernate as adults and emerge in the spring when the weather is right; they will be looking to mate and lay eggs in April and May, hopefully somewhere in the park
If you see a butterfly in the park and can photograph it, send us the picture with the date and place you saw it, and we will identify it (if you didn’t do that already) and add it to the list.
We will put the latest sighting on the sidebar and keep the butterfly spotter’s list on the main menu under Biodiversity – fauna – insects – butterflies.
Happy butterfly hunting!
Pictures from Creative Commons
One of last year’s sightings: