Tuesday 1 August 2023

Lots of Birds but not many Butterflies


I'm currently doing regular butterfly surveys at Lauriston Farm Agroecology Project. The aim being to find out how the rewilding aspects of the project are helping improve biodiversity in the fields. To produce the best results, butterfly surveys are best done in warm, sunny weather. At least today was dry and relatively warm, but it wasn't raining, as it has done many days during the last month or so. (Some people claim that this means the UK isn't experiencing climate change, but we are! We had a severely hot and dry June and many places across the world at the moment are experiencing severe heatwaves, and forest fires caused (or certainly made worse) by these heatwaves.)

The vegetation all around me was wet from recent rain and this, combined with the dull weather, meant that I didn't see many butterflies. However, there were lots of birds around! A flock of over 50 Goldfinches and at least one Linnet were feeding in the thistles, while over 20 Swifts with several Swallows and House Martins were feeding on aerial insects. 

And everything looked lovely decorated with the recent rain, including these sweet peas at the edge of one of the growing areas: 

and these cornflowers in the 'Unexpected Garden' area of the project

The fields have wonderful views over the Firth of Forth and you get a clear sighting of Inchmickery Island. During both World War I and World War II the island was used as a gun emplacement. The concrete buildings make the island look (from a distance) like a battleship. The island is now a bird reserve. 


David M. Gascoigne, said...

Climate deniers are really delusional. The evidence, both scientific and experientially are all around us. In Canada we have out-of-control wildfires across the entire country, and a week ago Maritime Canada experienced catastrophic floods, all on a scale unknown since records were kept.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I am also sadly seeing fewer butterflies and bees this year, as well as dragonflies. The spring in my area began very cold and rainy which is unusual in our area and then became unusually hot in summer, so I wonder if that is the reason.

eileeninmd said...

Beautiful photos, love the landscapes and flowers.
I would love seeing a flock of 50 Goldfinches.
Take care, have a great day!

Sal said...

I visited the website from your link. The project looks brilliant and I like their ethos and approach…regenerative agriculture, agroecology etc. it would be good to think that more and more places like this will spring up all over the U.K.

David M. Gascoigne, said...

Do you capture the butterflies in a net for ID purposes for the survey?

Rainbow Evening said...

yes, indeed that we experience heatwave during this summer.
beautiful flower..

Crafty Green Poet said...

Hi David, delusional is the word...

Pat - I think weather has a lot to do with it, i know it does for butterflies. We've seen good numbers of dragonflies and damselflies this year, surprisingly, though fewer butterflies, bees and hoverflies,

Eileen - thanks! 50 goldfinches is quite a sight!

Sal - yes it is an excellent project, having a great positive impact on nature and community growing already. The only slight complaint is that the area where waders such as curlews used to spend the winter has been reduced, which may be a problem for these birds.

David - no I don't use a butterfly net.

Rainbow evening - thanks