Butterfly season at St. Abb's is finally underway. Today, for the first time since the beginning of May, I was able to complete a butterfly transect in full sunshine without having to dodge between clouds and rain showers (and thunder storms!). As part of my monitoring duties I must complete one butterfly transect per week and submit the complete dataset to Butterfly Conservation at the end of the season. They compile nation-wide statistics each year to determine the health of our butterfly populations and to inform environmental policy.
What sounds like the best job in the world has left me despairing over the last month or so. Because our work forms part of a nationwide survey, we can only monitor on particular days where there is over 60% sunshine and no wind or rain so that our data is comparable with data from around the country and with previous years. There have been days that have started out beautifully sunny but by the time I've walked to the starting point of the survey, black menacing clouds have appeared from nowhere and I've had to turn around and head straight back to the office! So today was a real pleasure. It was a perfect day weather wise and butterfly wise...8 species and 75 individuals. Dark Green Fritillary, Ringlet and Grayling appeared on a transect for the first time this season. I want to say a big THANK YOU to all the visitors who have been telling me about their butterfly sightings around the reserve. It has been so helpful to be forewarned before I have to do an official transect so I have time to gen up on the different species.