Authors – Jenny and Phil Green Feb. 2021
The FOAF were keen to obtain data about butterflies in Abbey Fields. A plan was made with Warwickshire Butterfly Conservation to undertake Reduced Method Site Monitoring which aims to give a quick indication of how biodiversity rich a particular environment is, and may demonstrate if a conservation management scheme is having the desired effect. A route was designed with advice from Jon Holmes (WDC). A walk was taken during one week each month from May to August on a fixed, easily repeatable route, between 10.45 and 15.45 in warm, dry weather with a minimum temperature of 17 degrees and at least 60% minimum sun. Detailed data has been submitted to the Count Butterfly Recorder.
The Abbey Fields route is divided into five sections:
Section 1 begins at the wooden footbridge located at the Bridge Street end of the south side of the brook. It follows the brook along to the main path leading from the swimming pool to the town centre.
Section 2 starts at the top of the hill near the war memorial and crosses the grassland on the mown path down towards the swimming pool.
Section 3 follows the brook/lakeside path towards the castle and ends at the end of the lake.
Section 4 diverts across the meadow alongside the western end of the lake.
Section 5 enters and crosses the small enclosed meadow on Castle Road.
In the spring/summer of 2020 Section 1 produced a variety of butterflies, 36 in total including large, small and green veined whites, meadow browns, ringlets, peacocks, small tortoiseshells, red admirals and gatekeepers.
Sections 2 produced a disappointing 6 butterflies in total, 3 large whites, 2 small whites and 1 small tortoiseshell. The warm, early spring and the excess use of this area by many people escaping to the Fields for exercise during the first Covid lockdown is likely to have contributed, as the grassland failed to grow very much and there were few wildflowers.
Section 3 produced only 8 butterflies, 3 large whites, 2 small whites and 3 ringlets. The path was well frequented by many visitors.
Section 4 across the meadow area at the end of the lake was more productive and 58 butterflies were seen in total, including butterflies already mentioned along with small and large skippers and comma.
Section 5 produced 71 butterflies with small copper, marbled whites and orange tip adding to the species list.
The count of the different varieties is tabulated below:
ABBEY FIELDS BUTTERFLY MONITORING 2020
Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Total
Large White 5 8 14 5 32
Small White 8 2 17 5 32
Green Veined White 2 3 5
Orange Tip 3 3
Peacock 1 1 2
Small Skipper 7 6 13
Large Skipper 3 4 7
Small Tortoiseshell 4 4
Marbled White 4 2 6
Meadow Brown 26 10 36
Ringlet 21 11 32
Small Copper 1 1
Red Admiral 2 2
Comma 1 1
Gatekeeper 3 3
Total: 19 75 75 10 179