I’ve never seen a Chequered Skipper before. But May was the month, our Roots of Rockingham project was the place and these incredible butterflies, which have been extinct in England since 1976, are now back! They.Have.Landed.
Being a part of the day itself was the most incredible privilege. As the person in charge of social media for Back from the Brink – I spent the day photographing, filming, talking to the people involved and ensuring that you – the people across England – were able to get a sense of the day and the awesomeness of it all!
The tiny and stunning butterflies we reintroduced this month are the first to take wing in England for 40 years so the day had the most amazing atmosphere. Everyone was buzzing and even emotional – to see this butterfly back in England is an incredible achievement and wouldn’t have been accomplished without the hard work of Butterfly Conservation and other partners – who have been out in the field, ensuring that the habitat for this species was available and ready for these butterflies.
What else happened this month?
If you’ve not seen it already – we’ve got a brilliant new hashtag - #seenit. Every week, we’re celebrating the Back from the Brink species that are out and about at this time of year. It’s been fantastic and the response is incredible – we’re getting photos coming in from across the country of our butterflies, plants and bees (to name a few). Keep an eye out on our social media for the week’s newest #seenit species. Get outside, enjoy the gorgeous weather and if you happen to spot one of them - @NatureBftB and #seenit!
With all of this stunning weather – our projects are coming alive! Natterjacks and Northern Dune Tiger Beetles are being spotted within our Gems in the Dunes project. As always, they’re getting some incredible support from the local community along the Sefton Coast – invaluable!
The Shrill Carder Bees have started to show their tiny, fuzzy faces! There have been walks and identification sessions a plenty with this project and people are getting on board with helping this mini beast with a rather high pitched buzz… If you’d like to get involved with the project – keep an eye on our events page.
Our Black-tailed Godwit project have had highs and lows this month – with massive flooding from the Nene having devastating effects on the nesting habitat for this species.
However, never fear! Because the incredible team, alongside Project Godwit, have been on the case. With the support of local farmers they were able to save 32 eggs from harm.
Very recently, we were informed by our project officer, Hannah – that the first eggs have hatched and that the team are carefully monitoring nests and chicks (under license) in order to understand more about this species’ survival. After such devastation in the Nene Washes – this is all fantastic news.
Adders and moths have been huge this month with “spotting’s” happening across the country and workshops within numerous projects to help inform people of both taxa.
Not long ago I attended a moth trapping workshop, led by the wonderful Sharon Hearle from Butterfly Conservation, as part of the Shifting Sands project based in the Brecks! It was wonderful!
In the cool of the morning Sharon went through her numerous boxes of all shapes and sizes to see what we could find… There were plenty of Muslin Moths and one incredible Lime Hawk Moth, which I had never seen before! Interestingly, it was brown – Sharon said that this can happen but that even she had never seen one that colour. What a find!
The group that attended the event were a lovely mix of people with an incredible knowledge on butterflies in particular! After checking the moth traps, we headed out into the forest to see what other species we could find, and to hear all about the work that Shifting Sands is doing for the moths and butterflies of the Brecks. Take a look at my interview with project manager Phoebe Miles for more information.
Whilst walking along the rides that wind through the forest, we saw a Dingy Skipper – my first ever sighting! I was absolutely overwhelmed at seeing this rare, small and very fast butterfly! A species that will hopefully benefit from the work we’re doing not only within the Brecks, but also from our Roots of Rockingham and Limestone’s Living Legacies projects.
Up in Yorkshire, our Willow Tit project have joined forces with the Ted Hughes Poetry Society this month for a poetry walk! It was a wonderful event with a great turn out! Here at Back from the Brink, we are always looking for new and imaginative ways of connecting people with species; and what a wonderful example this is.
Further south at Ranscombe Farm Reserve, our Colour in the Margins project has also been getting creative by holding an open farm day that offered art sessions, flower making, wildflower walks and even storytelling! It sounds like they had the most beautiful day with the local community. Keep an eye out for their blog all about the event, coming soon, on our blogs page!
Down in our Dorset’s Heathland Heart project – Sand Lizards and the Heath Tiger Beetle have been spotted now that the sun is shining!
They’ve also held some brilliant events, including a Heathland Hullabaloo (I’m not sure what it is but it sounds amazing?!). The project will continue to hold a range of interesting events this summer for those of you that are creative or those of you that love the information and species themselves! There’s something for everyone. If you live locally to Dorset – why not check out their Facebook page where you can keep up to date with all the latest happenings!
It was a great month for our Barberry Carpet Project with 5 individual moths of this species trapped during a survey session at the Dorset colony! Success! The volunteers that took part were ecstatic at finding this rare species and we really hope that the hard work the team are doing to plant more Barberry and help this species, will pay off. Watch this space!
So. I reckon that’s the best of the best! I could go on for days – with 19 projects and a whole load of species – there’s plenty to talk about! But I suppose I should leave you in suspense and say that all shall be revealed for June in our social media this month – I’ll see you there! @NatureBftB
Thank you for reading, thank you for your support.
Don’t forget that without people making a change and doing their bit, our species’ future would look a lot less bright.
If you want to get involved, the links are below.
Till next time.
Community and Outreach Officer