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Friends of Hartlebury Common
Butterflies
Small Heath
Although once a widespread butterfly of heaths, dunes, and downs, the Small Heath has been declining in numbers for the last 20 years or so, and is now a UK Priority Species. It is very important that sites like Hartlebury Common, where the Small Heath is relatively common, are preserved as heathland. They are about from May until September.
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Green Hairstreak
This is another butterfly that does particularlly well on lowland heath. However, it has declined by 27% in the last 10 years, and is now relatively rare in Worcestershire. It is one of the butterflies we hope will incease in number as a result of the conservation work being done by Worcestershire County Council.
Look out for this butterfly from the end of April until the beginning of July. This is the only British Butterfly with green wings.
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For a list of the Butterflies you might find on Hartlebury Common clic here
Essex Skipper
This is a fairly common butterfly in the south of England. It is very similar to the Small Skipper, indeed it took many years for people to realise that it was a different species. It is found on well drained grass land, such as areas of the common. The best way to tell it from the Small Skipper is to look for the glossy black tips on the antenna of the Essex Skipper, absent on the Small Skipper. They can be seen in July and August.
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Brimstone
Purple Hairstreak
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Holly Blue
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Small Copper
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Orange Tip

 

The total number of butterflies recorded on the transect in 2017 was up on last year, 734 compared to 663, but still below the average (893) for the 6 transects since 2011. See the table below for the year figures.

Total number of butterflies 2011 to 2017

2011

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Average

833

1287

860

978

663

734

893

Over the 6 years the overall trend is down, in line with the national trends. This is worrying as butterflies are a good indication of the general health of the environment.

However there are some positives. The trend for the butterflies that are specialists on lowland heaths, Green Hairstreak, Small Heath and Small Copper, were up on last year and the five year trend is up. To see full report clickhere.

 

Please let us know if you see any interesting butterflies on the common (email to: butterflieshartleburycommon@gmail.com ).

 

 

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This is one of the commonest hairstreaks in England, but because adults spend most of their lives in tree tops (especially Oaks), they are easy to overlook.
On Hartlebury Common they are to be found in the wooded areas in the south east of the common, in July and August.
 Butterflies on Hartlebury Common in 2017
These are some of the more interesting butterflies you might see on the common. Click on the name to go to Butterfly Conservation's website for more information. For a full list of the butterflies you might see on the common, clic on the box to the right.
This prettiest of butterflies is often the first to emerge in the spring. It easy to identify because of the orange wingtips, but also because the male is a patroller, who spends much of the day wandering the countryside searching every bush for a mate. They can be seen from early April until the end of June.
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Marbled White

TRANSECTS

 

A UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme whereby Butterfly Conservation and other volunteers count butterflies every week along fixed-route transects.

This is another of the Heathland specialist butterflies. The Small Copper is usually seen in ones and twos, from May to October. Males are territorial, often choosing a piece of bare ground or a stone on which to bask and await passing females. They behave aggressively towards any passing insects, returning to the same spot when the chase is over.
The brimstone is a common butterfly. The males are bright yellow in colour and it is widely held that the species was the inspiration for the name ‘butterfly’. The females are more greenish-white in colour, with an orange spot in the centre of each wing. They can be seen across the whole common for most of the year.
A widespread butterfly. Wings are bright blue. Females have black wing edges. Undersides pale blue with small black spots which distinguish them from Common Blue.
The Holly Blue is easily identified in early spring, as it emerges well before other blue butterflies. It tends to fly high around bushes and trees, whereas other grassland blues usually stay near ground level.
The Marbled White butterfly has distinctive black and white markings on the on the upper-wings, the male also has black markings the under-wings, in the female they are light brown. Both sexes have eye-spots on the underside of the hind-wings.
They are usually seen flying from July-August. Active on bright sunny days, the Males are always busy searching for newly emerging females, briefly resting to take nectar from Brambles, Ragwort Thistles or Knapweed.