Monday, 29 July 2013

Butterflies & Water Consultation with Sarah Buckingham from Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust




Our guest on Drivetime this evening was Sarah Buckingham from the Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trust, Sarah informed us about the following items
Butterfly bonanza at Aldbury Nowers
Record numbers of butterflies have been seen at a Wildlife Trust nature reserve near Tring, including a new record for the locally scarce dark green fritillary.
Butterflies are recorded every week between April and September along a set survey route at Aldbury Nowers Nature Reserve. The survey completed last week (14 July) saw the highest ever number of butterflies recorded at the site since the Wildlife Trust started doing the weekly survey there. The record-breaking results included 296 marbled whites, 144 ringlets, 145 meadow browns, 57 large skippers and 19 dark green fritillaries.
The impressive numbers are a result of the hot sunny weather, coupled with the extensive work carried out by Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to encourage the plants that butterflies like. Dark green fritillaries for example favour almost exclusively the common dog-violet and hairy violet to lay their eggs on.
Numbers of dark green fritillaries have steadily increased over the years as a result of the Wildlife Trust’s management work at Aldbury Nowers. Two were recorded in 2010, 10 in 2011, 38 in 2012 and over 40 so far in 2013. This means they are generally more abundant on the reserve as a whole.
Around 80% of the UK’s chalk grassland habitat like that found at Aldbury Nowers has been lost in the last 60 years, as land has been developed and grasslands ‘improved’ for agriculture.
Sarah Buckingham, Communications Manager at the Trust, says: “Many of our native butterflies are in decline, so it’s great to see how well they are doing at Aldbury Nowers this year. It’s a wonderful place to visit if you are planning to take part in the Big Butterfly Count. See how many butterflies you can record while you take in the stunning views from the ancient Ridgeway National Trail. A walk on the reserve at this time of year is highly recommended!”
The Big Butterfly Count takes place 20 July to 11 August: http://www.bigbutterflycount.org/.

Water - have your say
There are just a couple of weeks left to let Affinity Water know how important protection of our natural environment is when it comes to water resource planning.
Our precious chalk streams are running dry because we take too much water from their sources.
If Affinity supply your water, let them know that it's vital that they incorporate protection of our rivers into their plans.
You can respond to the consultation here: http://www.talkwater.co.uk
Read more about the problem here: http://www.hertswildlifetrust.org.uk/campaigns/water+for+wildlife

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