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June 2016 news

Lulworth Wildlife Update: June 2016

The early summer butterflies have been abundant on the right sites. The classic spring butterflies have been replaced with summer species, an accelerant has been the warm weather of late. Species on the wing as I write are as follows: Common, Holly, Small and Adonis Blue, Brown Argus, Orange Tip, Large White, Wall Brown, Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Large and Lulworth Skipper, Small Tortoiseshell, Small Heath, Meadow Brown and Red Admiral. There has been a notable influx of Painted Lady in recent days, no doubt driven by the southerly winds, many of the individuals arriving looking faded and in some cases with tatty wings. They have been numerous but not abundant.

Staying with Lepidoptera, it is worth mentioning the influx of the Diamond-back moth that we have endured over recent days. Again, like the Painted Lady, this moth (under 1cm long) has arrived from southern Europe and is a serious agricultural pest. The caterpillar will bore into the leaf typically of a brassica and significantly damage the crop. The moth is one of the most studied pests in the world and the first insect to develop resistance to DDT and most other insecticides.  Estimates range from an influx of between 150-300 million moths which have arrived in the UK, if your cabbage plants fail, you’ll know the culprit!

On to birds now and the Nightingale are still singing at White Nothe. Greylag and Canada goose all have young on the lake. Firecrest are present on a handful of sites. Bullfinch have been noted around the lake along with singing Reed Warbler. A Reed Bunting was singing in the middle of Coombe Heath, a very odd place to see this species.

The Nightjar walk was a resounding success. On Coombe Heath we were treated to a very active pair of Tree Pipit and as dusk fell, Nightjar churring started and spread throughout the heathland boundaries. We had fine views of two pairs, the second pair flew in circle around the group, affording fantastic views of this secretive bird. In total around eight males were audible.