A Butterfly Count on the Horsefield and Devastation in the Woodland Burial Ground.
Hoping to find gatekeeper butterflies emerged I went for a walk around the local patch this afternoon. Whilst there I made a practice count for the Butterfly Conservation Big Butterfly Count which is coming up in a week or so. During the 15 minutes I counted the following individuals:
- Large White 2
- Ringlet 7
- Meadow Brown 3
- Small Tortoisehell 1
- Small Skipper 7
- Six Spot Burnet Moth 1
There were plenty more on the wing including 2 commas. I decided to walk round to the Woodland Burial Ground in order to carry out another count and in the hope of finding gatekeepers. I was dismayed, however, to find that the council had not only mown the ride around the burial ground but flailed it so there were no flowering shrubs for the butterflies to nectar on. What an absolutely appalling management strategy. Not only that but earlier in the year, just when meadow plants were coming into flower, they mowed the central meadow before the plants set seed and then left the cut vegetation lying on the ground, encouraging rank grass growth at the expense of flowering plants. Consequently I saw zero butterflies on my walk round, whereas just over the fence, 20 yards away, on the Horsefield it was alive with insects. Surely the clue is the word 'woodland'; it implies wildness, even if just a modicum, trees and flowering plants and shrubs. A bit of untidiness, but it would appear that the management abhor this despite the fact that at the beginning of lockdown a branch fell off a tree in the main cemetery and has never been cleared away. Tidy when it suits them. There was a clear path around the burial ground which could have been kept clear with a little judicious mowing or even the passage of feet; it didn't need flailing into extinction! I just hope that things grow up again fairly quickly as in August every year there are common darter dragonflies here and last year migrant hawkers as well.
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