The Big Butterfly Count

26th Sep
CommaGatekeeperMarbled WhiteWhite Letter Hairstreak

In July Nick Baker, a wildlife expert, came to visit Hollingbury Woods as part of the Big Butterfly Count.  Along with the Sussex branch of the Butterfly Conservation Society he found a good number of butterflies in and around the woods including the White-Letter Hairstreak, which is fairly rare.Local residents have also been supporting butterfly conservation.Resident Peter Whitcomb chose a route around the set-aside field north of Hollingdean for a weekly butterfly count this summer. Peter reported “Butterflies have been in the news recently, and warm weather always makes the counts worthwhile. The highest count so far was 261 on 3rd July, which included 101 Marbled White, 85 Meadow Brown and 10 Ringlet. The surrounding area has two scarce butterflies – the White Letter Hairstreak can be seen along the western edge of Hollingbury Woods in June; and the Purple Hairstreak can be seen high up in the oak and ash trees near the dew pond at end of July. The best two months for both numbers and variety is June and July. The Big Butterfly Count, ranging from all over the UK, reported a 61% drop in Common Blue numbers, similarly reported locally”.

Friends of Hollingbury and Burstead Woods have also started creating a butterfly glade at the top end of Burstead Woods just as you come out on to the edge of the golf course. They have cleared the area and recreated an old path that used to run through this area of the woods.

There’s not much to see at the moment, but gradually their work should encourage a good place for butterflies to live.  They are also working with the council on a new Management Plan which will be available for people to look at later this year. In this they set out how they might improve Hollingbury Woods to allow more butterflies to thrive. Anyone wishing to help them with this work is welcome to get in touch or just drop by at one of their work sessions

Have a look at the Butterfly conservation website which is good if you want to know more


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