The Big Butterfly Count 2020 takes place between Friday 17th July and Sunday 9th August 2020. Full Guidance on how to prepare and take part is available from the dedicated website: https://bigbutterflycount.org/
The identification chart used in the survey is available from the website and is also linked here.
The site at Newton underwent extensive restoration work to benefit the local wildlife. This of course also makes it a very spectacular site for us humans to visit. It was a project run by Butterfly Conservation in partnership with Newton and Biggin Parish Council. You can read about the grand re-opening of the site here.
The gallery shows some recent pictures of some of the wild flowers species that are currently in bloom
The open grasslands at the quarry have unfortunately seen too much human activity during the warm weather, with a lot of the ground smothered by sunbathing. This has taken its tool on the orchids. Fortunately, some have still thrived where there has been no disturbance.
The bank opposite the railway station entrance has a marvellous presence of Bee Orchid (Ophrys Apifera). Many thanks go to the station staff, who ensure that the area is clearly marked to alert the public to leave the ground undisturbed.
Your own garden is a great place to observe wildlife, especially if there is reason for the birds to visit, i.e. good food! It also helps to have some native wildflowers and a little “untidiness” to draw in the invertebrate life.
Here are the latest observations from Neville, from his regular walk around the reserve:
Swift Valley in spring.
The Winter program of hedge laying is looking fantastic with the hedges greening up nicely. Lush grass growth in the meadows (but no animals to graze them) Red Campion has been brilliant and Ragged Robin in the marsh looking good, Bluebells just going over. Over the past couple of weeks Song Thrush, Blackcap, Chiff Chaff, Robin and Common Whitethroat singing everywhere, Willow Warblers were present in good numbers but now gone through, Sedge and Reed Warblers now taking up residence in the marsh’s and the balancing ponds between the old canal and the new housing.This week saw the first Swift’s overhead, with their screeching calls as they journeyed northwards looking for food on the wing. Always a joy to see them, you know summer is just around the corner when they arrive. 10 species of Butterfly so far, Orange tips seen in good numbers with Large, Small and Green-Veined Whites now taking over. There have been more and more visitors using Swift for their daily walk over the lockdown period, quite a few people finding the reserve only recently. All i’ve spoken to have been complementary about the work the volunteers have been doing, so well done for all your hard work. On the down side, since the local refuse Tip has been closed we’ve had a number of Fly-tipping incidents to report at both ends of the reserve, the local Council, environment agency and the Police have all been supportive, both clearing up and tracking the perpetrators down. Some of our undesirable visitors managed to burn through one of the meadow bench’s and tried to set light to one of the old grass piles on the edge of the woodland, fortunately that didn’t catch light.