Lyme and Wood Pits Country Park – Butterfly, Bug and Wildflower Trail

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Lyme and Wood Pit County Park on the high ground looking North-West – To add to the existing features on the new Lyme and Wood Pit Country Park there is a possibility of establishing a Butterfly, Bug and Wildflower trail that will pass this beautiful vista and the perfect sunlit grassland where in the future could be a range of lovely grassland species which we can encourage by specfic habitat development. Please read on to find out more.

Introduction

In 2003 Cory Environmental commissioned land fill operations on the area of spoil from the old Lyme and Wood Pits Collieries. Conditions for the planning application directed that at the end of the development the area should be made environmentally sound and the site ground should be restored and the area made into a country park for the local community.

This has now “come to pass” and the Lyme and Wood Pits Country Park opened in 2012 whilst restoration and Land Fill operations are still in progress these are expected to be completed in the near future and the Park fully opened in June 2016.

As the restoration work comes to completion Cory Environmental are actively seeking public help and suggestions for the Park.

Earlier this year Our Local Voice and community organisers engaged with Cory to make a suggestion for a community wetland project as a value feature of the Park.

To see that proposal HERE

There are already several local groups involved in the general process of creating a superb local amenity serving a range of needs at the new country Park. These include angling, bee keeping, walking, nature conservation, educational and training in ground work for youngsters not in education and training.

It is early days but there are tentative plans for a “friends of Lyme and Wood Pits Country Park that will help to facilitate local interest and involvement .

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Further Proposal

To augment our engagement earlier this year with Cory Environmental , Our Local Voice has a new proposal that. we believe, will establish some further options and have a strong synergy with the earlier proposal for the community wetland.

The proposal is to be one or more designated trails from the visitors centre on vista road crossing the country park via the high ground passing the community wetland reserve and returning to the original start point. A suggested name might be butterfly, bug and wildflower trail although this has to be established.

Of course there are existing trails already and (without any action) there will be abundant insect and plant life over the coming years.

The key aspect about this proposal is the trail is to be specifically managed that is certain types of vegetation will be encouraged by management of seeding and others discouraged. This will enable a number of possibilities.

1. Improve the density of wildlife around these trails to enable the public to experience them.

2. Allow specific species action plans as an interest in its own right, for research

3. To prepare and encourage new plant and insect life likely to come to the north west via climate change.

4. Allow specific education provision via notice boards or website / smart phone PDF / Other.

5. Allow community winter activities in coppicing, earth scrape and other ground work to encourage suitable plant life.

6. Specialist environmental and biodiversity research by local wildlife trusts and universities.

7. To act as another Lyme and wood pit country park interest factor which will align perfectly with the community wetland at Grange Valley.

8. Will be excellent for field trips for local schools allowing controlled and secure pathways and give the children the best opportunity for the children to witness the creatures they read about.

9. There are also opportunities to endorse national charities such as butterfly conservation and the local wildlife trusts. This will help to promote Lyme and woods pits country park.

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Adult dragonflies often fly accross open country – This is a Four Spot Chaser

Habitat Management

The aim is to encourage in particular the best range of butterfly species we are likely to see in the area between Newton-le-willows and Haydock. Because of their beauty and their activity butterflies always attract interest among the local population and there are several specific butterfly parks in the north west region both for wild butterflies and commercial operations displaying tropical butterflies. The point is they are a creature people like to see and are a natural attraction.

In the wild though because of habitat loss they are disappearing from our landscape they are very complex and delicate creatures in terms of environment. However this is not only about butterflies but the many hundreds of species of moths, bugs and wildflowers.

We would suggest the proposal is to develop with butterfly species in mind for the human attraction factor but also that most of the moth and insect species are similarly attracted to the same types of plants.

We would suggest over time the discouragement of silver birch and the encouragement of Oak and Elm and alder buckthorn. Allowing nettle and bramble to flourish and buddleia as general attractors. Grassland including birds foot trefoil, vetch and cowslip.

For further details on butterfly habitat management, see butterfly conservation’s advice HERE

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Lyme and Wood Pits Country Park

The status of the  Proposal for Butterfly, Bug and Wildflower Trail

Our Local Voice has initially discussed with Cory and this proposal is under consideration.

The insect bug and plant life likely on the trail?

In order to illustrative what lovely creatures might be possible on a future stroll on the managed trail on Lyme and Wood Pits Country Park we have a small write up and photo (where available) note images are  only from wildlife enthusiasts taken locally in the area.

For the butterflies we also include generic information from UK Burtterflies resource centre.

Butterflies

Let’s look at these

Pieridae the whites

Orange Tip  (1 of 1)

Orange tip

Common locally in the right habitat in the early spring.

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Orange-tip is a true sign of spring, being one of the first species to emerge that has not overwintered as an adult. The male and female of this species are very different in appearance. The more-conspicuous male has orange tips to the forewings that give this butterfly its name. These orange tips are absent in the female and the female is often mistaken for one of the other whites, especially the Green-veined White or Small White. This butterfly is found throughout England, Wales and Ireland, but is somewhat-local further north and especially in Scotland. In most regions this butterfly does not form discrete colonies and wanders in every direction as it flies along hedgerows and woodland margins looking for a mate, nectar sources or food plants. More northerly colonies are more compact and also more restricted in their movements”

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Brimstone

Again an early spring butterfly very fast flying especially the pale yellow coloured male. The female is often mistaken for a large white but the fast flight pattern gives it away. These are one of the few butterflies that fly all year round. Flight time all year but mainly early spring and midsummer.

Uk Butterflies has to say

It is commonly believed that the word “butterfly” is a derived from “butter-coloured fly” which is attributed to the yellow of the male Brimstone butterfly, the female being a much paler whitish-green. The Brimstone has a most exquisite wing shape, perfectly matching a leaf when roosting overnight or hibernating within foliage. This is one of the few species that hibernates as an adult and, as such, spends the majority of its life as an adult butterfly. The distribution of this species closely follows that of the larval food plant. In England, where it is represented by the subspecies rhamni, it can be found south of a line from Cheshire in the west to South-east Yorkshire in the east, although vagrants may turn up in other areas. In Ireland, where it is represented by the subspecies gravesi, its strongholds are in a small area that lies between the borders of West Galway, West Mayo and East Mayo, and a band running through central Ireland from Clare in the west to Kildare in the east.

Green viened white

Common locally in the right habitat in glades and damp areas. Looks like a small white in flight although slightly slower in flight. However it is more pretty than the small white because of its under wings which are lovely.

Flight time late April to end of September

Uk Butterflies has to say

This is a common butterfly of damp grassland and woodland rides and is often mistaken for its cousin, the Small White. It can be found from spring through to autumn in parks and gardens, as well as less-urban areas such as meadows and woodland rides. The so-called green veins on the underside of the adults are, in fact, an illusion created by a subtle combination of yellow and black scales. This is one of the most widespread species found in the British Isles and can be found almost everywhere although it is absent from Shetland and areas of the Scottish Highlands.

Small White (1 of 1)

Small white

Probably the most common butterfly you see in the summer and common everywhere including your garden very easy to photo. Many of those you see will have migrated from overseas swelling the UK population

Flight time late April to end of June

Uk Butterflies has to say
The Small White, along with the Large White, can claim the title of “Cabbage White” that is the bane of allotment holders all over the British Isles although the damage caused by this species is significantly less than that of the Large White. This is one of the most widespread species found in the British Isles and can be found almost everywhere. It is relatively scarce in northern Scotland but has been seen as far north as Orkney and Shetland. This species is also known to migrate to the British Isles from the continent, sometimes flying in great swarms, augmenting the resident population in the process. It is believed that this butterfly can fly up to 100 miles in its lifetime although, undoubtedly, most butterflies will only travel a mile or two. Evidence of the mobility of this species comes from a misguided introduction in Melbourne in 1939. 3 years after its introduction, the species had reached the west coast of Australia some 1,850 miles away in only 25 generations. This species has been a pest in the continent ever since.

Large White Woolston Eyes

Large white

Very common butterfly and they love allotments and cabbages but they are also found in open countryside

Flight time end of April to end of October.

Uk Butterflies has to say
The Large White is one of two species (the other being the Small White) that can claim the title of “Cabbage White” that is the bane of allotment holders all over the British Isles. The larva of this species can reach pest proportions, and decimate cabbages to the point that they become mere skeletons of their former selves. The female is distinguished from the male by the presence of 2 black spots, together with a black dash, on the forewing upperside. This is one of the most widespread species found in the British Isles and can be found almost anywhere, including Orkney and Shetland. This species is also known to migrate to the British Isles from the continent, augmenting the resident population in the process.

Clouded yellow

A migrant from the continent mainly seen on the south coast. But they have been increasingly seen in the North -West region area so here is no reason to suppose the odd one wont turn up.

Flight time July to October but probably September to October here

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Clouded Yellow is primarily an immigrant to the UK, originating from north Africa and southern Europe, with numbers varying greatly from year to year – an estimated 36,000 butterflies appearing in one of the infrequent “Clouded Yellow” years in 1947. In more recent years, it has been shown that this species has successfully overwintered in the south of England. However, it is believed that the majority of individuals perish, since both larva and pupa of this continuously-brooded species are easily killed by damp and frost. In good years this species can produce up to 3 generations in the UK. In flight, this species is often mistaken for one of the commoner “whites”, but the orange-yellow colour is quite distinctive, even in flight, and unlike any other species. The Clouded Yellow has a distribution befitting a highly-migratory species, and can be found anywhere in the British Isles. Many immigrants remain near the coast where they feed, mate, and lay eggs. Others disperse inland and this species is found in both Scotland and Ireland in good years.

Nymphalidae – browns

Red Admiral 13th September 2014 (1 of 1)

Red admiral

Very common locally love the wind beats when they land up. Some overwinter in the UK in warm places like your garden shed but they migrate into the UK in numbers. Flight time April to November with September being best.

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Red Admiral is a frequent visitor to gardens throughout the British Isles and one of our most well-known butterflies. This butterfly is unmistakable, with the velvety black wings intersected by striking red bands. This butterfly is primarily a migrant to our shores, although sightings of individuals and immature stages in the first few months of the year, especially in the south of England, mean that this butterfly is now considered resident. This resident population is considered to only be a small fraction of the population seen in the British Isles, which gets topped up every year with migrants arriving in May and June that originate in central Europe. Unfortunately, most individuals are unable to survive our winter, especially in the cooler regions of the British Isles. The number of adults seen in any one year is therefore dependent on the number of migrants reaching the British Isles and numbers fluctuate as a result. In some years this butterfly can be widespread and common, in others rather local and scarce. This is a widespread species and can be found anywhere in the British Isles, including Orkney and Shetland.

Painted Lady -8703

Painted lady

Whether it is common depends on the migration some years there are thousands some years few or none ,this is a very fast flyer very skittish

Flight time April to November

Uk Butterflies has to say

This species is a migrant to our shores and, in some years, the migration can be spectacular. The most-recent spectacle, in 2009, is considered to be one of the greatest migrations ever, with sightings from all over the British Isles that are definitely on a par with previous cardui years. This species originates from north Africa, and it has been suggested that the urge to migrate is triggered when an individual encounters a certain density of its own kind within a given area. This theory makes perfect sense, since this species can occur in high densities that result in foodplants being stripped bare on occasion with many larvae perishing as a result. Unfortunately, this species is unable to survive our winter in any stage. This is a real shame, for not only does this species often arrive in large numbers, but is a welcome sight as it nectars in gardens throughout the British Isles in late summer. This butterfly has a strong flight and can be found anywhere in the British Isles, including Orkney and Shetland. An interesting fact is that this butterfly is the only butterfly species ever to have been recorded from Iceland.

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Small tortoishell

Flight time April to November

It’s very common in our countryside and our gardens because of that it does not get as much attention in the butterfly world as much as the glamour species of purple emperors and swallowtails but it is everything as beautiful as them in my book. In the last ten years these were in decline but have made a comeback in the last year or two.

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Small Tortoiseshell is one of our most-familiar butterflies, appearing in gardens throughout the British Isles. Unfortunately, this butterfly has suffered a worrying decline, especially in the south, over the last few years. This butterfly has always fluctuated in numbers, but the cause of the most-recent decline is not yet known, although various theories have been proposed. One is the increasing presence of a particular parasitic fly, Sturmia bella, due to global warming – this species being common on the continent. The fly lays its eggs on leaves of the food plant, close to where larvae are feeding. The tiny eggs are then eaten whole by the larvae and the grubs that emerge feed on the insides of their host, avoiding the vital organs. A fly grub eventually kills its host and emerges from either the fully-grown larva or pupa before itself pupating. Although the fly attacks related species, such as the Peacock and Red Admiral, it is believed that the lifecycle of the Small Tortoiseshell is better-synchronised with that of the fly and it is therefore more prone to parasitism. This is one of our most widespread butterflies, occurring throughout the British Isles, including Orkney and Shetland.

Peacock 9th April 2015 (1 of 1)

The peacock

After the small white probably our most common butterfly locally. It also is stunning and like the small tortoiseshell suffers in the glamour stakes because it is so common. These overwinter and are normally the first butterfly you see I did see one in February this year all it takes is a bit of sun and a small increase in temperature.

Flight time March to November.

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Peacock is a familiar sight in gardens across the British Isles and is unmistakable, with quite spectacular eyes on the upperside of the hindwings that give this butterfly its name. These eyes must appear very threatening to predators, such as mice, that confront this butterfly head-on, where the body forming a “beak”, he underside is a different matter altogether, being almost black, providing perfect camouflage when the butterfly is at rest on a tree trunk, or when hibernating. In addition to camouflage and large eyes, the butterfly is able to make a hissing sound by rubbing its wings together that is audible to human ears. All in all, this butterfly must appear very threatening to any predator that might come across it. This is a highly mobile butterfly that occurs throughout the British Isles, including Orkney and Shetland, although it is not found in parts of northern Scotland. However, its range does seem to be increasing, with sightings from new areas being recorded every year.

Comma (1 of 1)

The comma

Very common both in our countryside and your garden. 20 years ago these were a southern based species but they have moved north and now are very widespread.

Flight time March to November.

Uk Butterflies has to say

Looking like a tatty Small Tortoiseshell, the Comma is now a familiar sight throughout most of England and Wales and is one of the few species that is bucking the trend by considerably expanding its range. The butterfly gets its name from the only white marking on its underside, which resembles a comma. When resting with wings closed this butterfly has excellent camouflage, the jagged outline of the wings giving the appearance of a withered leaf, making the butterfly inconspicuous when resting on a tree trunk or when hibernating. This butterfly was once widespread over most of England and Wales, and parts of southern Scotland, but by the middle of the 1800s had suffered a severe decline that left it confined to the Welsh border counties, especially West Gloucestershire, East Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire. It is thought that the decline may have been due to a reduction in Hop farming, a key larval foodplant at the time. Since the 1960s this butterfly has made a spectacular comeback, with a preference for Common Nettle as the larval foodplant, and it is now found throughout England, Wales, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands and has recently reached Scotland. There have also been a few records from Ireland.

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Speckled wood

Like the commas this butterfly has spread northwards in the past 20 years and is now commonplace in your garden and the countryside in woodland glades. Probably one of our most common butterflies locally along with the small white, Small Tortoiseshell and peacock

Flight time April to October

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Speckled Wood is a common butterfly and familiar to many observers, especially in woodland where, as its name suggests, it is most often found. The appearance of this butterfly changes from north to south, forming a “cline”, where individuals in the north are dark brown with white spots, with those in more southerly locations being dark brown with orange spots. This has given rise to a number of subspecies. In addition to the named subspecies, Thompson (1952) identified a race that formed an altitudinal cline in Snowdonia, south-west of the river Conway, giving it the name drumensis. The single-brooded adults flew in June at high altitude above the tree line, and were large with pale prominent markings.
In England this butterfly is found south of a line between Westmorland in the west and South-east Yorkshire in the east, with a few scattered colonies further north. It is also found in the west and north of Scotland, but is absent from the south, the Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland. It is widespread in both Wales and Ireland, but is absent from exposed high ground. This species is expanding its range and it is anticipated that it will eventually fill the gaps in its distribution.

The wall

I have included the Wall because when I was a kid on the Muckies, the Rucks, grange valley you used to regularly see Walls. Now they have disappeared and only reside in coastal regions such as Ainsdale or North Wales why I don’t know

Flight time May to September

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Wall gets its name from the characteristic behaviour of resting with wings two-thirds open on any bare surface, including bare ground and, of course, walls! Many people will have come across this butterfly on footpaths, especially in coastal areas, where the butterfly flies up when disturbed, before setting again a few metres ahead. The basking behaviour of this butterfly allows it to benefit from the full warmth of the sun whose rays shine directly on the butterfly, but also get reflected back onto the butterfly from whichever surface it is resting on. This habit allows the butterfly to raise its body temperature sufficiently high for it to fly. In particularly hot weather, however, such basking is avoided and the butterfly may even retreat to a suitably-shaded spot to avoid overheating. This species was once found throughout England, Wales, Ireland and parts of Scotland. Today, however, is a very different picture, with this species suffering severe declines over the last several decades. It is now confined to primarily-coastal regions and has been lost from many sites in central, eastern and south-east England. In Scotland it is confined to coastal areas in the south-west of the country. It is also found on the Isle of Man and Channel Islands. This butterfly is found in relatively small colonies that are self-contained although some individuals will wander, allowing the species to quickly colonise suitable nearby sites.

Gatekeeper1

Gatekeeper

Because this butterfly also has the name hedge brown I always used to get them mixed up with meadow brown. Lepidopterists over time have has a habit of changing the names which hs lead to great confusion. Although they look similar and occupy similar habitats the Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown are totally different species. As the name suggests a gatepost of hedge and these lovely chirpy butterflies are never far away. You likely won’t find them in your garden but in the open countryside they are commonplace early to mid summer.

Flight time July to September

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Gatekeeper, also known as the Hedge Brown, is a golden butterfly that provides a welcome sight in the middle of summer, when the fresh adults start to emerge. This butterfly spends much of its time basking with wings open, when the sexes are easy to tell apart – only the male has the distinctive sex brands on the forewings. In England and Wales this common and widespread species is found south of a line between Westmorland in the west and South-east Yorkshire in the east. In Ireland it is confined to coastal areas of the south and south-east counties. The butterfly is also found in the Channel Islands, but is absent from Scotland and the Isle of Man. The habitat this butterfly requires is found over most of the British Isles, and so we can only assume that the restriction to its range is governed primarily by climate. Colonies vary greatly in size, depending on the available habitat, ranging from a few dozen individuals to several thousand.

Meadow Brown

Meadow brown

Depends on the year but these are sometimes common especially the meadow and grassland areas. When they land they close their wings and at rest with open wings is a prized sight.

Flight time June to October

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Meadow Brown is one of our commonest and most widespread butterflies, and a familiar sight throughout the summer months. This species can be found in all parts of the British Isles, with the exception of the most mountainous regions and Shetland. This is a highly variable species with four named subspecies found in the British Isles, although the differences between them are often subtle.

Ringlet  (1 of 1)

A butterfly of the south but now a regular in mid Cheshire and was sighted last year in Warrington. Climate change is leading to this butterfly moving north it wont be many years before you have chance to see one of these in Lyme and Wood Pit Country Park.

Ringlet

Very uncommon locally…..for now. However these common in the south and moving north at a rate of knots and are regularly seen now in southern Cheshire. Therefore although we cannot say these are regular yet the increased sightings ion the region mean its only

Flight time June to mid August

Uk Butterflies has to say

This is a relatively-common butterfly that is unmistakable when seen at rest – the rings on the hindwings giving this butterfly its common name. The uppersides are a uniform chocolate brown that distinguish this butterfly from the closely-related Meadow Brown. Despite this uniformity, a newly-emerged adult is a surprisingly beautiful insect, the velvety wings providing a striking contrast with the delicate white fringes found on the wing edges. The dark colouring also allows this butterfly to quickly warm up – this butterfly being one of the few that flies on overcast days. Variation in this butterfly is primarily focused on the rings on the hindwings, the lanceolata aberration being particularly striking, where the rings are elongated to form teardrops. Other aberrations occur where the rings are greatly reduced or completely absent. Huggins (1959) also describes a form in Kerry, Ireland, that is of normal size until 600 feet, when it starts to be replaced by a dwarf form that, at 1,000 feet, takes over completely. This butterfly can be found throughout most of the British Isles, south of a line between the South Ebudes in the west and Banffshire in the east. It is also absent from the western parts of northern England, north-west of the Midlands, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This butterfly forms discrete colonies where numbers vary from a few dozen to several thousand.

Hesperiidae – skippers

Small Skipper - Bernwood Forest Wiltshire - July 2008

Small skipper

The golden skipper is smaller and plainer that the large skipper but there is not much size differential to tell them apart and it’s the lack of marking in the wings that I find easiest to distinguish them. Generally they are a lot rarer than the large skipper but in certain years and in specific locations there are thousands of them or at least there have been the last few years.

They are a grassland species and hence live in meadows.

Flight time June to July

Uk Butterflies has to say

This golden skipper is often found basking on vegetation, or making short buzzing flights among tall grass stems. Despite its name, 4 skipper species found in the British Isles are the same size or smaller than the Small Skipper. The male is distinguished from the female by the sex brand on its forewings, which is a slightly curved line of specialised scent scales. This butterfly is widespread on the British mainland, south of a line running between Westmorland in the west and North Northumberland in the east. It is absent from Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This species lives in discrete colonies of both small and large populations.

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Large skipper

Very similar to the small skipper and they adopt similar habitat. Generally these are much more common than the small skipper but for some reason the small skipper are more common in some areas. Like the small skipper they are a creature of grassland.

Flight time May to August

Uk Butterflies has to say

This is one of the largest of our “golden” skippers and, like these other skippers, the male has a distinctive sex brand on its forewings containing specialised scent scales. Although this species forms discrete colonies, it is widespread and can be found in England and Wales as far north as Ayrshire in the west and North Northumberland in the east. This species is not found in Ireland or the Isle of Man, and is restricted to Jersey in the Channel Islands.

Lycaenidae – hairstreaks, coppers, blues

Green Hairstreak

Green Hairstreak Image taken Bolton Lancs

Green hairstreak

Forms small colonies often no more than a few yards square normally on gorse or small bushes close to the ground. They are tiny little things not much bigger than a 5p almost. They are very habitat specific I have never seen then locally but this does not mean they are not there along with the White Letter and Purple. They are more varied in their habitats than their cousins though and finding them is a matter of luck in terms of the Green less so with White Letter and Purple which have very specific habitat requirements.

Flight time mid April to June

Uk Butterflies has to say

This butterfly is the most widespread of our hairstreaks. However, it is also a local species, forming distinct colonies which can be as small as a few dozen individuals, although other colonies can be much larger. Both sexes always settle with their wings closed, the brown uppersides only ever being seen in flight. The undersides, by contrast, provide the illusion of being green, an effect produced by the diffraction of light on a lattice-like structure found within the wing scales, which provides excellent camouflage as the butterfly rests on a favourite perch, such as a Hawthorn branch. This butterfly will also regulate its body temperature by tilting its wings appropriately to catch the sun’s rays. This butterfly is found throughout the British Isles – partly due to the wide variety of foodplants it uses, and the wide range of habitats it frequents. However, it is absent from the Isle of Man, Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland.

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White Letter Hairstreak on bramble – Image taken Warrington – See clearly the letter W on its wings giving it the name.

White letter hairstreak

Found on elm trees in small colonies. These are regularly found in areas such as Rixton Claypits / Moore Nature Reserve just a mile or two away from Newton therefore it is inconceivable they are not in Newton given the identical habitat. However given the under observation and treetop habitat they will be unnoticed by man. Once located like all Hairstreaks they are relatively easy see.

Flight time mid June to August

Uk Butterflies has to say

The White-letter Hairstreak is one of our more-elusive butterflies as it flits high in the treetops, often appearing as a dark speck against the sky. It gets its name from the letter “W” that is formed from a series of white lines found on the underside of the hindwings. Elm is the sole foodplant and this species suffered as a result of Dutch elm disease in the 1970s and early 1980s, especially in southern sites. All species of elm were affected and there was concern that this species of butterfly might become extinct in the British Isles as a result. Surviving colonies were subsequently looked for, to obtain a better understanding of the distribution of this species. Several new colonies were found which gave new hope for the future of this butterfly. In addition, there has been a concerted effort to find disease-resistant elms that exhibit the appropriate qualities to support this butterfly (such as flowering at the right time of year since young larvae generally rely on flower buds as a food source).This butterfly forms discrete colonies which are sometimes very small containing only a few dozen individuals. Colonies are typically focused on a small clump of trees or even an individual tree. These butterflies are not great wanderers and will reuse the same site year after year. This butterfly is found throughout England, south of a line stretching between South Lancashire in the west and South Northumberland in the east. This species is found more locally in Wales, and is not found in Scotland, Ireland or the Isle of Man.

Purple Hairstreaks Moore July 2013-3

The purple hairstreak in its haunt at the tops of Oak Trees – Image taken Warrington

Purple hairstreak

Again found Rixton and Moore in the tops of Oakwood’s. Given the Oakwood’s locally it is inconceivable these are not here somewhere. Where they are located a pair of binoculars is handy to view their treetop haunt in Oakwood’s. On Wirral Country Park once they did set up a public viewing using an open top double Decker bus to view and photo them on their tree top haunt.

Flight time mid July to September

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Purple Hairstreak is our commonest hairstreak, and may be found in oak woodland throughout southern Britain, and more locally elsewhere. It is often difficult to locate, due to its habit of flying in the tree canopy, where it feeds on honeydew. However, the adults are occasionally seen basking at lower levels, on various small trees, shrubs and bracken. This butterfly is found across southern England and Wales, with scattered colonies further north. It is also found in parts of Ireland, mainly between Wicklow and South Kerry. This species is not found in the Isle of Man.

Small Copper Rixton 25th August 2013-16_004

Small copper

In my youth these were common in Newton Le Willows and I regularly recall them around Castle Hill area. They are now less common but they do exist and making a little of a comeback in the last few years. They like grassland but with some cover glades, hedgerows etc. They are a bit skittish but when you find them they are relatively easy to see and are stunning. The males are very territorial and fight away all comers before returning to the original spot.

Flight time May then July to October

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Small Copper is a fast flying butterfly that, once settled, is unmistakable with its bright copper-coloured forewings. It is a widespread species and a familiar and welcome sight for many naturalists throughout the summer months. This butterfly occurs in discrete colonies throughout the British Isles, but is absent from mountainous areas and far north-west Scotland, the Outer Hebrides and Shetland. Most colonies are fairly small, with just a few adults being seen on the wing at any one time.

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Common blue

Fairly common locally in the right habitat not a strict grassland species but they like grass but short grass and resting places such as plants or flowers at ground level. They live in colonies which are fairly obvious and you will see beautiful iridescent butterflies flying at around a metre above ground level. They are reasonably easy to view but can be a little skittish.
Flight time May to mid June and then mid July to October for second brood.

Uk Butterflies has to say

Living up to its name, this butterfly is the commonest blue found in the British Isles. While the male has bright blue uppersides, the female is primarily brown, with a highly variable amount of blue. This is the most widespread Lycaenid found in the British Isles and can be found almost anywhere, including Orkney. It is absent, however, from Shetland and the mountainous areas of Wales and Scotland. This butterfly forms reasonably discrete colonies measured in tens or hundreds, with individuals occasionally wandering some distance.

Holly blue

Lovely butterfly and always glad to see these. Although they in the countryside I have to say these are more city boys and are more common in semi urban areas. Parkland is ideal habitat and the best place I can suggest to see these is your own garden or Mesnes park, willow park or Naylor’s wood.

Flight time April to Early June

Uk Butterflies has to say

The Holly Blue is primarily found in the southern half of the British Isles, and is a frequent visitor to gardens. This species is renowned for fluctuating wildly in numbers, forming a predictable cycle over a few years, believed to be caused by parasitism from the wasp Listrodomus nycthemerus whose sole host is the Holly Blue. The wasp lays its eggs in Holly Blue larvae, with a single adult wasp eventually emerging from the Holly Blue pupa. In England and Wales this species is widespread and common, south of a line running from Cumberland in the west to County Durham in the east. This species is also found on the Isle of Man and throughout Ireland, but is absent from Scotland except as a scarce vagrant.

Moth (1 of 1)

Bugs too many to count !

But here are a few to look at

Male Emperor Rixton 15th July 2015   (1 of 1)

A male Emperor Dragonfly along with the Brown Hawker Britain’s largest dragonfly. We can certainly expect these at Lyme and Wood Pits they are probably here already. They are harmless to humans and don’t sting or bite but they are beautiful to see.

6 Spot Burnet

Six Spot Burnet

Cinnabar Moth Catapillar

Cinnabar Moth Catapillar

Shaded Broad Bar2 (1 of 1)

Shaded Broad Bar

Silver ground carpet moth - 1st June 2014

Silver ground carpet moth

Cricket - Newton Le Willows - July 2009

Field Cricket

Critters  (4 of 5)

Male Azure Damselfly

Wild flowers too many to count !

But here are a few to look at.

Wild Flower (1 of 1)

Red Campion

Celandine2 14th April 2015 (1 of 1)

Celandine

Catkins

Catkins

DSC_1813

Wild Primrose

Foxglove-

Foxglove

Wild Rose (1 of 1)

Wild Rose

 

 

 

 

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