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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 39

Butterfly Report for 2002 Red Admirals seen by Rob Macklin at North Warren heath on 12 February and by Michael Twist at Borley Green in the last week of February added to evidence of probable over-wintering. Rob Parker’s earliest ever Speckled Wood was soon eclipsed by Geoff Hayes on 28 March at Chevin’s Wood a day which included 22 Commas and nine Peacock. Despite its considerable spread in recent years the Speckled Wood is still colonising and in 2002 was recorded 171 tetrads (making it second only the Large White with 186). The transect index for the species at Center Parcs, Elveden was a very high 449. A dry April produced at least 20 Brimstone on an all day Butterfly Conservation meeting at Lineage Wood and along the old Lavenham railway line, on 20 April, one of the best single day counts of this species in Suffolk. My early Wall in the Fynn Valley on 24 April was the equal earliest and by the middle of May Rob Parker was recording 40 Orange Tips at Wordwell and Reg Etheridge had 31 Green-veined Whites at Boyton Marshes. The walk around North Warren and Aldringham Walks on 15 May, led by Rob Macklin, produced 13 different species and, also at North Warren, Rob had an early Green Hairstreak on 20 April. This species was only recorded in 22 Suffolk tetrads, just three in west Suffolk, but at Orford Ness (The Street) it was recorded on 15 separate dates, with a maximum of eight on one day. The 83 Holly Blues recorded at Exning by a Butterfly Conservation group must be a new single site record and by the third week of May the Painted Lady was being recorded in several gardens. By the end of this month a Clouded Yellow had been recorded during the Ipswich and District Natural History Society’s meeting at Piper’s Vale on 30 May. And this species beat its single record in 2001 with 30 tetrad records, including var. helice at Shotley 24 August (Roger and Stella Wolfe). The Dingy Skipper was just recorded at Center Parcs, Wordwell and R.A.F. Barnham and this year a complete Silverstudded Blue count was made within the specified time limits. Rob Macklin had his highest total so far at Aldringham Walks, with a maximum of 206 on 2 July, and there was exciting news of a new colony found by Dave Mason at Upper Hollesley and a second closer to Ipswich. Audrey Morgan also found one in a new tetrad at Sutton, possibly a vagrant but with seemingly suitable habitat nearby. However, sites at Martlesham and Purdis still need urgent work to remove encroaching scrub and the colony at Blackheath, Wenhaston, will probably need topping up, under licence. The three Skippers had poor years in terms of recording coverage: Large and Essex recorded in just 58 tetrads each and Small in 63, but there was a welcome Small Skipper sighting at Landguard. In contrast Michael and Jenny Kelsey recorded approximately 200 Gatekeepers at Sizewell cliffs of 4 August. Detailed records from North Warren, with a transect annual index of 241, the transect at Center Parcs with an annual index of 346 and a monthly count in July of 352 at Bradfield Woods point to an excellent year for the Ringlet. For tetrad terms, being third with 167. The Wall made a good recovery on the North Warren transect, with 73 being the best annual index since 1993. Roger

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 39 (2003)


SPECKLED BUTTERFLY WOOD REPORT IN SUFFOLK 2002

27

and Stella Wolfe recorded three separate generations of this species in their garden at Belvedere Road, Ipswich, but the worrying lack of West Suffolk records continues, with just one in 2002. The concentration on the White-letter Hairstreak (See Plate 3) as 2002 target species produced four new records, from Mike Dean in the middle of Bury St. Edmunds, in Wicken Wood and at Thieves Lane, while Zoe MacLaughlin recorded one at Dunwich. This now takes the total of tetrads recorded since 1995 to just above the mid-eighties survey. After careful checking I can also verify a new earliest date for the White-letter Hairstreak, beating the previous one by 12 days, with Ann Henson’s sighting of a pristine individual in Eastgate Street, Bury St. Edmunds on 22 June. Just as exciting was Neil Sherman’s White Admiral at Ipswich Golf Club on 15 July, prompting questions as to where it had come from, since the nearest colonies would be at Rendlesham or Stour Wood. Another rare event was the Large White attracted to their moth lamp by Allen and Penny Cornish on 27 June, to add to the Red Admiral of the year before. For the second year these two recorders observed the Small Copper var. caeruleopunctata, seen for ten days in September until caught by a spider; there were also records of this variation from Rob Parker at Wordwell, 17 May, Neil Sherman at Ipswich Golf Club 24 April and 7 August and at Hen Reed Beds on 21 September. Another unusual sighting was the very pale, half-size Painted Lady seen by Stuart Gough at Trimley on 25 June. For six recorders the year’s highlight was almost certainly their Camberwell Beauty: Barbara Lines over the Easter weekend at Swilland, four August records from Roy Milbourne at Ipswich, Michael Lingwood at Barningham, Frances Ringrose at Lowestoft and Jane Giles at Kelsale and final one which was on 12 September, seen by Steve Fryett at Stowmarket. The three ‘Whites’ had a good recording year – Large White was the best recorded Suffolk species, with a coverage of 186 tetrads, Small White, seemingly absent at Minsmere, with 163 and Green-veined White with 159. There were some indications that the Small Tortoiseshell is recovering but it was largely absent from most sites visited by myself, Rob Parker and Neil Sherman, all of whom covered a wide range of habitats. There were two records of higher numbers, with 21 at Boyton Marshes on 14 July from Reg Etheridge and 45 during the meeting led by Jim Foster at Carlton Marshes, but these could have been migrants, given the coastal locations. The annual transect index at Center Parcs was just seven. There were reports of Buddleias attracting few butterflies but conversely Arthur and Janet Watchman counted 14 species in their Monk’s Eleigh garden on 17 August and Rob Macklin had an impressive 26 species as the year total in his garden at Snape. Several late records are worth noting: a Brimstone on 28 October from Rick Grundy at Hollesley – there still hasn’t been a December sighting of this species in Suffolk – a Peacock noted by Steve Goddard at Minsmere on 16 November, a late Painted Lady from Barbara Mathews at Felixstowe on 24 October and both Peacock and Red Admiral recorded by Roger and Stella Wolfe at Sutton Hoo on 15 November. The two December records to reach me were a very late Peacock seen in their Ipswich garden by Alan and Beryl Johnson on 24

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 39 (2003)


Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 39

28

December and a Red Admiral on Christmas Day from Mike Dean, at Great Barton. This is the equal latest ever record of this species in Suffolk. In addition to species already mentioned, several others had poor tetrad coverage: Brown Argus just 26, suggesting recent expansion was short-lived, Purple Hairstreak and Small Heath had just 34 and 43 respectively, with Grayling slightly better on 45. Surprisingly, two of these poor performers produced several new records, with nine for Purple Hairstreak, including colonies on the Ipswich edge of Rushmere and Warren Heath, and nine for the Grayling, with a first record in 10 km square TM07. Another ongoing problem is the lack of recorders in the TL tetrads of West Suffolk, as indicated on the accompanying map: just 74 in 2002, compared to 235 in the TM tetrads. Tetrads covered by Butterfly Recorders in Suffolk – 2002

0

9

8

7

6

5

4

3 6

7

8

9

0

1

2

3

4

5

Finally, as this is my last yearly report, a brief analysis of 2002 follow, with my thanks to all who have contributed to butterfly recording in my nine years as County Recorder: Number of recorders: 129 Number of records: 7,324 Number of tetrads covered: 309 Richard Stewart ‘Valezina’, 112 Westerfield Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 2XW.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 39 (2003)


R. G. Stewart Plate 3: White-letter Hairstreak, Satyrium w-album Knoch. Four new sites found in 2002 takes the total of tetrads recorded since 1995 to just above the mid-eighties survey (p. 27).

Butterfly Report for 2002  

Richard Stewart

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