The recent sunny weather has been wonderful for counting butterflies as part of Butterfly Conservation's annual "Big Butterfly Count". On a walk from Fairlight through the Country Park to Hastings last Saturday, Alan and I made three 15 minute stops to count butterflies along the way.
At our first stop near the Firehills entrance we were delighted to spot a beautiful Brimstone butterfly and at our next stop at the top of Warren Glen a distinctive Comma flew past and close to the ground two bright orange Small Coppers glowed like jewels in the sunshine. Our last stop by Saxon pond saw many dragonflies hawking over the water and hedges and, amongst the butterflies, a Peacock was a welcome addition to our list. By far the most numerous butterfly in all our counts was the Gatekeeper with a total of 18 recorded. A map showing the results of all the butterfly counts to date can be seen at www.bigbutterflycount.org There is still time for records to be sent in as the closing date is not until the 10th August. You can count butterflies in any local habitat from gardens to open countryside and help with identification is available on the website in the form of downloadable apps and identification charts. Do have a go!
And finally, an unexpected and most welcome sight on our walk were four Exmoor ponies which have been put out to graze in the field below the access for all path behind the coastguards' cottages. This field was previously grazed by Highland cattle but I'm sure the ponies will do a great job and prove equally as popular with visitors to the Country Park.