You may remember Wild Roseland highlighting the Big Butterfly Count in early August. We know some of you were amongst the 111,628 people who submitted records of the butterflies and moths you observed then in this UK wide study.
The results are now out. The lowest numbers of butterflies in 11 years, and a drop of 34% in the average number in each recorder’s count since just last year is really worrying.
However, it is not all gloomy. Some butterflies were more abundant than previously: – the Large White + 44%, the Small White +7%, and, interestingly, Holly Blue and the Small Copper both up +43%, and the Common Blue +9%.
But, sadly, all other species showed significant drops in abundance: – e.g. Painted Lady -72%, Peacock -43%, Small Tortoiseshell -36%, Comma -32% and Red Admiral -31%. See the Butterfly Conservation website for all the species.
Of course, there are many factors for this, and some of our observers are convinced that the Roseland did not follow the National trend in all instances. Whatever the result, we hope at Wild Roseland, that the development of wildflower areas will provide an environment in which butterflies, moths and other pollinating insects will thrive. We can all do our bit in our gardens, by leaving some hedges and grass uncut for wildlife, not uprooting all the ivy and nettles, cutting down on pesticides, and by creating our own wildflower areas, no matter how small. It all helps.
As well as supporting butterflies and other pollinators in our gardens, our volunteers, led so well by Simon Perry, have been busy, while always remaining within government guidelines. We are so pleased that Nature does not recognise Covid 19, as shown by the flourishing of plants and flowers this Spring and Summer in Mike’s Meadow near Veryan and Treloan car park in Gerrans from our harvested seed sown by volunteers and schoolchildren from Gerrans school earlier in 2019. It has brightened the lives of those who visited them, as shown by the many positive comments we have received.
We were grateful that once again the local National Trust staff cut, with their motorised Allen scythe, Mike’s Meadow this September. This enabled our dedicated volunteers to rake off the cuttings, shake the stalks and collect the seed from annual plants like corn flower and corncockle. This harvested seed will be sown by Veryan School in their outdoor learning site, while the remainder will be sown back into the meadow, to make it even richer for the pollinating butterflies and other insects for 2021.
Two further volunteer sessions were held at Treloan cutting, raking, collecting seed, and extending the managed area. Individual members have also looked after much smaller sites at Ruan Lanihorne and Treworthal. Finally, the banking at Gwarak Gwel an Mor in Gerrans/Portscatho was cut, as requested in October, by Glendale Services operating for Live West, followed by our volunteers removing the cuttings.
The purpose of this is to create a suitable soil base for wild flowers. Removing the cuttings gradually reduces the fertility of the soil making it more suitable for wild flowers. If the cuttings are left on to rot, their generative heat prevents wild flower seed from successfully germinating.
Particular thanks go to Simon, together with many thanks to all the volunteers who do so much for Wild Roseland; and to the enthusiasm of the core strategy group members who give their expertise, time, leadership, organisational and specialist skills, to make sure it all happens.
Wild Roseland Walks and Talks
After much consideration regarding the effects of Covid and government guidance the remaining events planned for 2020 have been postponed As soon as I am able, I will publish a revised calendar of all the events, and our belated AGM, via the usual channels.
Thank you for supporting Wild Roseland.
Article by David Hall. Edited by Tara Robinson.
Wild Roseland is a group of volunteers who care passionately about looking after the nature and landscape of the Roseland peninsula in south Cornwall. Through a number of initiatives and projects, the aim is to inspire and enhance the conservation of this special place for all.[[Usual social media links]]
Photos courtesy of Jane Lewarne, Simon Perry and David Hallnat