Butterfly survey Over Stowey Customs Common April – September 2023

We have completed our first year of the butterfly transect walks on the Common and have submitted a complete season of data to the National Butterfly Monitoring Scheme. We walk a standard route and repeat every week in the middle 6 months of the year, counting all butterflies and moths within 2.5 metres of the transect. Some of us also take the opportunity to count dragonflies and damselflies and other related species. We are a team of 12 with a mixture of experience and so we may go out in pairs or survey alone depending on the individual and the circumstances. The survey “rules” are quite tight as far as suitable weather conditions are concerned and this can make our lives more difficult especially during periods of changeable and indeed bad weather, all of which was frequently experienced last year. We were therefore very pleased to have managed a survey every week of last season and will certainly be aiming to do the same each year from now on. This will enable us to build up the all-important repeated data that is most valuable in assessing trends in numbers and locations of the different types of butterflies seen.

Our list of butterfly species seen reached 22 by the end of the 2023 season and we were pleased to spot Wall Brown, Grayling and Silver-Washed Fritillary in small numbers (pictured) as well as the more common species.

We are hoping for another productive surveying season blessed if possible by a bit more fair weather than last year, although that, of course, is in the control of a higher power!