Despite last year’s spells of cool and wet weather – which generally saw a decrease in numbers of local butterflies – some rare and elusive species have seemingly thrived, making a comeback in and around the woodlands of Hertfordshire. Statistics released by the Butterfly Conservation’s 2021 Hertfordshire and Middlesex report (analysing over 50,000 records of 37 breeding species) have noted that the beautiful Chalkhill Blue and Duke of Burgundy species have increased in numbers – which is certainly something to celebrate!
According to Herts Live’s interview with the Butterfly Conservation’s Branch Recorder, Andrew Wood, sightings of the Duke of Burgundy at the Wildlife Trust’s Albury Nowers (Tring) are the first to be recorded since 2009; he also notes that the most populated sites for the Chalkhill Blue include Therfield Heath (near Royston) and Hexton Chalk Pit (near Hitchin), whilst affirming that the magnificent Purple Emperor continues to do well, commonly seen nestling into the higher trees of St Alban’s newly established Heartwood Forest.
The collation of data in regard to insect numbers is considered an important part of conservation, not only speaking for one species or another, but as representative of a much larger picture. Through trends in the increase or decrease of populations, we can more accurately gage the health of natural habits, the impacts of climate change, and the extent to which it is affecting our ecosystems.