The warm summer of 2014 helped the Butterflies, two of our common species had a bumper year, during May the Nettle Beds were a mass of colonies of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock caterpillars, to be followed in late June with large numbers of Butterflies, it was a joy to see them nectaring on the Knapweeds.
In May a small number of members went to Fleam Dyke near Fulbourn Cambridgeshire to see Green Hairstreaks a species that does not occur in our local area we were lucky to see a few and were able to get Photo’s, we also saw Holly Blues, Brimstones and Speckled Woods.
In Hatfield Forest the Silver Washed Frittillaries seem to have established a viable population and were in reasonable numbers during July. It would be interesting to find out if they are also in other local woods.
The migrant species had differing fortunes, Red Admirals did well, but Painted ladys and Clouded Yellows were only seen in small numbers.
2014 followed the trend of diminishing numbers the reasons for which are not fully understood.
On sorting the moth trap on the 13th July we had a pleasant surprise to find
A Bedstraw Hawkmoth a migrant species a first since we started running the moth trap in 1993, making that the tenth species of Hawkmoth recorded in the garden, bringing our cumulative no of Macro species 1993 to 2014 to 435
There are losses and gains to species noticed over the years that we have been recording for instance, the Garden Tiger used to be a very common moth , and it was usual to see the caterpillars (Woolly Bears) hurriedly crossing pavements and roads, the last moth of this species we caught was in 2001,also the Lappet (looking like a Brazil nut) was last caught by us in 1993 and not seen since.
Amongst some gains are Blairs Shoulder Knot a species whose caterpillars feed On Conifers first recorded in the Bishop’s Stortford area in 1977 and in 2014 we recorded 51 individuals also the Tree Lichen Beauty a very attractive moth whose caterpillars feed on Lichens ,first recorded by us in 1996 in 2014 we recorded 13 individuals.
By keeping records it is valuable to monitor changes to our wildlife. The Records are given to our County Recorder who in turn forwards them to the National Recorder at Butterfly Conservation .