Back to work parties at Grafton after a week’s holiday. The summer weather goes on and we had good sightings of Butterflies. We found Brimstone, Peacock, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood – also a pic of Pink-barred Sallow on the coppice plot. Dave and Colin went off the pond at lunchtime and found and photographed an October Brown Hairstreak. On the way back to the car park we found Clouded Yellow and rare for this year a Painted Lady.
Stihl working at 70
The Blackthorn cutting is now finished at Grafton and the coppicing started last Wednesday. At lunchtime a female Brown Hairstreak was found by the pond. Mike G has made and fitted a recording box fixed to the back of the main notice board. So please add your records.
The Sunday work party today was very disappointing – only 3 volunteers attended. Despite the numbers a good patch of coppice was cut.
BUT the best sighting was a first for Grafton – a Kingfisher by the pond.
Dark Bush Cricket
Transect today and found 3 Brow Hairstreaks – quite unusual for a transect. Several visitors had good views and photographs.
BHs sightings Eastern Hedge – Ride 14 by the main gate – the Pond Area and the top of the Orchard Ride on the Main Ride.
Other Species – Comma, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and Peacock.
A great success yesterday 50 plus people attended and I am sure that most of them saw and photographed a Brown Hairstreak. They also came back to the Village Hall for Grafton’s famous cakes and tea.
The thing we have learnt this year is that the Orchard is no longer the prime habitat for the species, by far the best place has been around the pond in the north of the wood. We have a lot of managed Blackthorn in this area which is paying dividends.
The orchards is now closed again to the general public and I am sure that the egg laying will continue into October, so if you are planning a trip please go and look at the pond area.
It is important to note that the Orchard is an SSSI and the management specification is determined by Natural England not the land owner. This has changed markedly in recent years and has very much affected butterfly population.
Pics Dave Williams
Tony Pool sent these pic talken by the pond on Friday.
Brown Hairstreak Day
It’s Brown Hairstreak Day on Sunday 24th August – meeting at 11:00 on Grafton Flyford church car park. This is by far the best chance to see this difficult species with many eyes searching.
The future of Brown Hairstreak
Historically the orchard has been the best place to see Bhs BUT the management is now not conducive to the species. 70% of the hedges have been flailed already and no blackthorn management has been done. We no longer have public access to this area.
So it is increasingly important to attract the butterfly into the wood keeping blackthorn in prime condition for females to lay. This work has to be done in early August to avoid damaging eggs. From the photograph below it can be seen how poorly attended these work parties are. Even Bhs enthusiasts are not attending. Only 5 people attended this week all over the age of 70.
So if you are interested in maintaining a population of Brown Hairstreak at Grafton please come next Wednesday 10:00 at the church.
Dave’s BHs pic from Wednesday who is ONLY 62
Yesterday we started the new work season at Grafton where we left off last year, with RAIN!!! We have to cut overgrown Blackthorn at this time of year to avoid stray Brown Hairstreak eggs. Generally this species likes young shoots to lay the eggs on.
Today I went on a Brown Hairstreak hunt without success. However I did find Brown Argus, Small Copper and Common Blue.
The best hedgerow in the orchard was being flailed today which doesn’t augur well for Brown Hairstreak Day on the 24th August.