Archive for July, 2017

Butterfly Notes | 25th Jul, 2017

Thanks to Steve Wheatley and Neil Hulme of Butterfly Conservation for these notes about butterfly species and how to encourage them in woodlands.

Butterflies of Plattershill Woods

Tottington butterflies

Combwell butterflies

Butterfly Workshop 23rd July | 24th Jul, 2017

If our last workshop at Plattershill proved to be the perfect conditions for spotting and identifying butterflies, this weekends event was almost exactly the opposite.  It was promising sunshine as I drove along the bottom of the South Downs to the event at a woodland close to the village of Small Dole in  the Adur Valley, however as soon as we got out of our cars it was rain jackets on as it started to drizzle, then fluctuated between a light rain and heavy mist for the rest of the afternoon.

All was not lost however!  Leading the meeting was butterfly expert Neil Hume from Butterfly Conservation.  His special interest is in Fritillaries and we visited one of the areas where work is in progress to create a perfect habitat for the rarely seen Pearl bordered fritillaries.  According to Neil these were in abundance when he first became interested in the subject in the 1970’s, it was the much larger Silver washed which  were a rareity then, but now common to this and many other woods in the area.

Neil is a very enthusiastic proponent of any woodland management.  He maintains that even the smallest tweaks can make a difference.  The felling of  a carefully selected Oak or Ash standard or some coppicing and scalloping  can  allow enough light in to make a huge difference not just  to the butterfly population but for wildlife in general.

He has produced a useful ID chart and information sheet to help understand the kind of flora which will encourage certain species to your wood.

Many thanks are extended to him for his enthusiasm and making a rather drizzly day sparkle with interest.

SWOG Guide to Woodland Butterflies

More Pictures From the Day

Butterfly Workshop 2nd July | 06th Jul, 2017

Last Sunday saw the first of a series of SWOG and Butterfly Conservation joint workshops.   About a dozen SWOG members, owners and other interested parties joined us at Plattershill Wood in West Sussex on a close to perfect day for spotting butterflies.  It was warm and sunny with a very light breeze.  If  anything it was a little too hot early on, but as the afternoon went by, it cooled slightly making it ideal for spotting and identifying butterflies.

Among the 13 or so species we identified and probably the most abundant was this Silver-washed Fritillary.  Others included White and Red Admirals, Meadow Browns, Commas, Grizzled Skippers and Large and Small Whites.

This was one of the woods included in the track and ride improvement scheme last year.  The ride was cleared of imposing and overhanging trees, letting in the light and encouraging new growth and new species to thrive.

New species of ground and shrub layer flora is one of the major drivers in encouraging butterflies into your wood and it was great to see the benefits of the work carried out so quickly. Read more …

Newsletter July 2017 | 03rd Jul, 2017

Summer is in full swing and woodland glades are dappled with sunshine – at least we hope so!

The July newsletter is here:

  • Take Sylva’s British Woodland Owners’ Survey from 7 July
  • Sign up for SWOG meetings – don’t miss a special day at the Bulworthy Project on 15 July
  • Learn about tackling invasive species and see how one group of owners have restored their track.

Finally, our workshops with Butterfly Conservation coincide with the Big Butterfly Count 2017 – do join in and help support butterfly populations.

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