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Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 47

Butterfly recording in the Fynn Valley: 2007–2009 This is a brief summary of the final three years of recording on the Fynn Valley transect. A comprehensive study of the years up to the end of 2006 has already been published (Stewart, 2007). 2007 produced the lowest ever total of 1452 butterflies counted over 26 weeks and the lowest annual index for Large Skipper with 8, Orange Tip 4, Common Blue 1, Comma 37 and Meadow Brown 535. Two species produced good results: Small Skipper at 13 was the equal highest annual index and Brown Argus at 16 was the highest annual index. Summarising the follow on to 2008, Parker (2008) described a ‘poor baseline left over from a weak 2007 season which was then followed by a wintery start to spring, a very wet spell, a June in which hardly anyone saw butterflies, a July which was all over very quickly, and no migrants to speak of’. On the Fynn transect many recording visits were a frustrating mix of sunshine and cloud, with that on 26 August producing the following sunshine percentages for the fifteen sections: 0-0-0-100-80-100-10-20-10-5-40-20-050-20. The annual index for Large Skipper fell to 1, Small and Essex Skipper combined to 7, Small Copper 6, Small Tortoiseshell 12 and no Painted Lady or Brown Argus, which had its highest ever annual index the previous year. However, the Ringlet had a very good year, with just five weeks of recording taking its highest ever annual index to 453, compared to the previous best of 248. For the first time two Purple Hairstreaks were recorded nectaring low enough to be included in the count. Parker (2010) prefaced his 2009 Butterfly Report with the comment ‘After two poor years, 2009 came as something of a relief’, and on the Fynn Valley transect the number of butterflies counted was 2659, the third highest in nine years. The 25 species counted was also a new record, though this did include an unexplained Marbled White. A single Green Hairstreak was only the second transect record. Highest ever annual indexes were recorded for Brimstone with 3, Large White 193, Small White 80, Green-veined White 212, Comma 92 and Speckled Wood 225. The Ringlet numbers rose again, the annual index being 493. Three species did however record their lowest annual index: Small Copper 3, Holly Blue 2, and Red Admiral 16. Despite the large migration of the Painted Lady in 2009 the annual index was, at 70, second best to the 105 annual index in 2003. As a final comment on how walking the same route for twenty six weeks over nine years can still produce surprises, one incident on 29 July was unexpected. Section six is a short and usually unproductive part of the transect but in about twenty seconds I recorded 19 Painted Lady, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 2 Large White nectaring on one clump of burdock. The total of 22 was higher than that recorded in this section for all the 26 weeks in 2008. References Parker, R. (2008). A season to forget. The Suffolk Argus 43: 5. Parker, R. (2010). 2009 Butterfly Report. The Suffolk Argus 48: 4–7. Stewart, R. G. (2007). Butterfly recording in the Fynn Valley. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 43: 63–71. Richard Stewart ‘Valezina’, 112, Westerfield Road, Ipswich, Suffolk IP4 2XW

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 47 (2012)

Butterfly recording in the Fynn Valley: 2007–2009  

Richard Stewart

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