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Saturday, 1 October 2016

Worrying news at the end of the butterfly year

The summer species of butterfly have fared badly on Ffos Las this year with some species which have done quite well in previous years, such as the wall brown being totally absent.

The maximum count of common blue seen on any one day was down from 73 to18,
small tortoiseshell down from 10 to 5,
peacock down from 14 to 7,
gatekeeper down from 113 to 66,
meadow brown down from 40 to 22,
small heath down from 28 to 4 and ringlet down from 136 to 65.
All the above sightings are compared to last year

Speckled wood numbers are about the same as last year, but the individual below didn't make the count!

Above an emperor dragonfly also enjoying an autumn feast
Daytime moth numbers are also down this year except for silver Y which I have seen more frequently in the late summer, flushed by the dog on our walks. I even saw 3 on the same day on 15th September. The above photo taken 29th September.


  1. Poor butterfly numbers have really been a feature of 2016. Let's hope they bounce back next year.

    Interesting to see the Emperor with a red-legged shieldbug

  2. Thanks George. I wondered what the emperor was eating.

    There have been lots of changes in the Ffos Las habitat over the past few years since the footpaths were reopened and grazing by sheep and cattle stopped. The grass and flower meadows are much diminished and are taken over by rush, willow and gorse. There has also been a lot of tree planting and a long hedgerow has been dug up with the latest housing development so there are fewer nectar flowers for the butterflies to feed on. Incidentally there are also many fewer birds on site with numbers of skylark and meadow pipit in particular much reduced.

    As you say, lets hope for better numbers of butterfly next year.