Royal Canal Butterfly Transect – 2015 Results

I recorded 12 species on my Royal Canal transect this year as part of the Irish Butterfly Monitoring Scheme; again, no Wood White or Small Copper. Numbers fell back from the 612 high of 2014 to 450, similar to the 2013 level. The most numerous species was the Small White at 82, closely followed by Speckled Woods at 79 down a little from their 2014 high of 104. The Common Blue has made a small recovery this past two years although it is still in single figures. However, the Holly Blue has been doing really well from the single individual I recorded in 2013, to 22 last year and 38 this year. Holly Blue numbers tend to fluctuate quite a bit, largely as a result of parasitism I understand.

This lovely wildflower meadow appeared during the summer on a patch of bare ground which was left after a major water scheme finished up – could it have been the work of a guerrilla gardener I wonder?? It was nice while it lasted and enjoyed by the butterflies until it fell foul to men with rotavators and grass seed. However, there may have been time for some self-seeding to occur – we shall see …

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This transect being on a waterway is of course rich in other wildlife which makes it always interesting to walk even when there’s not much butterfly activity. I’ve improved my identification skills with regard to dragonflies and damselflies although females and immatures still pose a challenge. Here’s a couple of my dragonfly videos. The mating pair are Migrant Hawkers and the ovipositing female is a Brown Hawker.

 

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