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Butterfly Report For 2001 Although the combination of poor weather and foot and mouth restrictions meant that 2001 was hardly a classic year, there were many positive signs from submitted records. Jean and Ken Garrod recorded an early Small Tortoiseshell at Alton Water on 13 January and a Peacock the next day at Sotterley. The spread of the Speckled Wood continued, with sightings in Holywells Park (Susan and Peter Thurston) then two observed by me in Christchurch Park, only a few hundred yards from the middle of Ipswich. Both Paul Gilson and myself had our first garden records in Ipswich. The annual index on the Center Parcs transect was 155 and Rob Macklin had a staggering 356 on the North Warren transect as annual index. With 32 new records from the churchyards survey, and a further 45 from other recorders, the total of 77 new 2001 tetrads was far superior to any other species - next was Holly Blue with 35. It has now been recorded in every 10 km square in the county, except for the partial TG 50, a target for 2002. Holly Blues also recovered, aided by many churchyard sightings, being the seventh most recorded species, on 201 tetrads, the top being Meadow Brown on 305. Jean and Ken Garrod reported the unusual sight of a Brimstone being taken by a goldfinch on 24 April at Dunwich Heath. This butterfly had 13 new records, 10 of which were in TM tetrads, a possible indication that the mass planting of buckthorn may be working. Rob Duncan’s Green Hairstreak at Landguard on 12 April just made it into the new butterfly book as equal earliest and Rob Macklin had a late record from North Warren on 2 July. It was also recorded for the first time in 10 km square TM 05. Dingy Skipper still remains the rarest breeding species and was recorded at just three Breckland sites. Once again there were no records from the former Chalk Lane site .There was also excitement at Minsmere when Martin Grimwood and many others saw a Camberwell Beauty on 23 May, with another report from the same site from Arthur Rivett on the 26th. A poor year for some migrants produced just 81 tetrad records for the Painted Lady, with an annual transect index of just five at North Warren. The Large Tortoiseshell at Felixstowe on 20 June was also seen by many and is the third in Suffolk in six years. Several species had a poor year, probably as a result of bad weather during early stages of their life cycle. Tetrad results for these included: Small Skipper 81, Essex Skipper 63, Grayling 32 and Brown Argus just 30. Common Blue had 106, with no large colony counts, and these plus other species were often absent from garden records. Similar comments apply to the Large Skipper, recorded in just 63 tetrads, with an alarming two as the annual North Warren transect total. Small Copper was also absent from many sites but conversely the 294 annual transect index at North Warren was a record and 35 were counted between the Dunwich cliffs car park and Minsmere sluice during an Ipswich and District Natural History Soc. meeting on 26 September. The Small Tortoiseshell had another bad year in many areas, not just Suffolk but nationally. Again, conversely, there were 54 at R.S.P.B.’s Boyton Marshes on 22 July (Reg Etheridge) and 50+ at Wortham on 8 September. Another conundrum was the very poor year for Small White at coastal North Warren

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and the count by Marie and myself of over 600 on 1 September, coming in at the rate of about 100 every twenty minutes, at Bawdsey beach. Two gardens had high species totals: Rob Macklin had 25, including first time records of White Admiral and White-letter Hairstreak, at Snape, and at Wenhaston a White Admiral was part of Richard Havard’s 23. There were several sightings of White Admiral at Minsmere, Jean and Ken Garrod found one unexpectedly in the Orford Quay car park and the other came via Clive Naunton from Benacre. Probably the White-letter Hairstreak was the species of the year, with eight new tetrad records, which added to the ones in 2000 bring the total from 1995 to 2001 to just below the mid-80s survey coverage. This will have special recording status in 2002. The specimen in Steve Goddard’s Ipswich garden was a goodbye present from a butterfly-rich habitat and two sites recorded high numbers: at least 30 from Adrian Richards at Haughley and around the same number from the edge of Dunwich Forest (Dave Riley). In the TL tetrads new records came from Janet and Arthur Watchman in their garden at Monks Eleigh, two from Rob Parker at Cavenham and a third near Bury St. Edmunds (Moreton Hall), Fred Currie at Great Barton North, myself at Thornham and finally P. J. Vincent at Fressingfield. The Purple Hairstreak was again under-recorded but had eight new records, including an area well apart from previous recording, at Stutton (Mr and Mrs Ruffell). Two records were the first in 10 km square TM 26 for the Small Heath and Rob Macklin’s North Warren annual transect index for the Wall was 50, the highest ever. This species appeared to be recorded in many areas, including churchyards, early August: 23 on the SNS meeting in the Fynn Valley on 11 August. The Silver-Studded Blue was recorded at nine sites, Plus the Minsmere Colonies. Most counts reflected good management but there are still problems related to scrub invasion at purdis, Martlesham and Wenhaston. The butterflies seemed to take quick advantage of spells of sunshine: Ann and Alan Fairchild noted almost immediate appearance at Beccles of several species after 64 mm of continuous rain eventually stopped and there were good counts elsewhere: 66 Peacock at Minsmere, 4 August (Colin Jacobs), 1000 plus Meadow Brown and Gatekeeper at Boyton Marshes on 22 July (Reg Etheridge) and 200 plus Essex Skipper at Bush Heath, Mildenhall, 23 July (Rob Parker). Superb late autumn and early winter conditions led to many late records, the best being a new latest ever for the Small White from Beryl and Alan Johnson on 1 November, Landseer Park, and they also recorded a Large White in their Ipswich garden on 27 October. Small Copper late records included one on 27 October at Orwell Country Park (Mr and Mrs Ward) and Alan and Beryl Johnson again at Bromeswell Heath on 30 October. An exceptional number of December records completed the year: Peacock in Dunwich Forest (Roger and Stella Wolfe), Small Tortoiseshell at Stonham Aspal (Rosalind and Jim Foster) and Red Admiral in Ipswich (Peter Steggall) – all on the 8th, and from Felixstowe, a Peacock on 18 December, the recorder being Bert Warren.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 38 (2002)


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Silver-Studded Blue Count, July 2001 Thanks to Sandlings group for provision of data Site

Recorder

Aldringham Walks Rob Macklin Brinor Warehouse Richard Stewart Lower Hollesley A Richard Stewart Lower Hollesley B Richard Stewart Martlesham Heath BC Volunteers Minsmere/Westleton BC/RSPB (RSPB colonies) Purdis Heath Richard Stewart Walberswick 5 Adam Burrows Crossways Westleton Heath NNR Adam Burrows Westleton Common John Davies/David Mason

Grid Ref.

No.

Date

TM464612 TM2402 TM342465 TM342458 TM2445 TM4567, 4569, 4468 TM2142 TM491752

113 8 210 657 626 1,706

9/7/01 3/7/01 4/7/01 4/7/01 3/7/01

TM4569 TM445686

178 23/7/01 1,172 2/7/01

Total

4,857

145 6/7/01 42 23/7/01

Perhaps the most amazing record of the year was a Red Admiral emerging on 25 December in John Mullen’s Lowestoft Garden. I verified this personally but it didn’t survive hibernation. Richard G. Stewart Valezina, 112 Westerfield Road, Ipswich IP4 2XW

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 38 (2002)

Butterfly Report For 2001  

Richard Stewart