Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Butterfly Count 2022

Gatekeeper Butterfly in Ryde Cemetery

At lunchtime on Tuesday 26th July, I had a chance to carry out a short survey of the butterflies in the conservation area of Ryde Cemetery as part of the Big Butterfly Count.

The long dry spell has dried up the grasses which are such a feature of this area, but there was still a lot of knapweed, and some ragwort to add a touch of colour. There was not a great range of butterfly species on the wing, only four were identified, but there were impressive numbers of the gatekeeper or hedge-brown, with their warm orange wings fringed with brown. 75 individuals were seen, mainly around the brambles and in the grass itself. There were also two small whites, a meadow-brown, and the attractive marbled white.

A similar visit two years ago, when the weather was also overcast, produced more species .. six in all .. (wall brown and large white were not identified this time) but back then only 49 rather than 79 individual butterflies were recorded, so this year’s report is encouraging. Interestingly the two most colourful insects seen during the course of the recent walk were a six-spot burnet and a jersey tiger, both species of day-flying moths, and a good deal more colourful than most of the moth species that we think about.

You can trace all the butterfly records for the Ryde area, or further afield, by going to the Big Butterfly Count website, and if you do your own 15 minute count between now and the 7th August you can submit the record on-line.

Richard Smout
RSHG President