Aug 19 2020

Rare Butterfly flutters by in Woodland Trust survey

A rarely seen butterfly, the purple hairstreak has been recorded in the Faughan Valley, in woodlands managed by The Woodland Trust Northern Ireland. We use transects to investigate changes in habitats rather than to simply estimate the number of organisms within it.

Pam Hardeman, one of our volunteers, has been leading the butterfly transects for over a year. Pam’s recent survey was met with much excitement in the Woodland Trust Northern Ireland team as she found the elusive butterfly, the purple hairstreak, and was able to record its sighting.

Pam, who found the rare butterfly right at the end of her weekly survey, said: “I was over the moon to find a purple hairstreak. I was actually photographing a speckled wood that had landed close by when it flew in and landed on a bramble leaf. It was quite a breezy but sunny afternoon so perhaps it was sheltering! I found it at the entrance to Killaloo woods right at end of my survey and I was so excited to find it.”

One of the key aims of The Woodland Trust as you all know is to provide havens for wildlife, and by protecting ancient woodland and creating new native woodlands, the landscape becomes more resilient for native flora and fauna too. To find the purple hairstreak in the Faughan Valley reinforces how vital it is to protect our green spaces so that biodiversity continues to thrive.

It was also a timely find, as Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland were encouraging the public to record any sightings of butterflies during the annual Butterfly Count which ran from 17 July to 9 August. If you enjoy nature and want to play your part throughout the year, you can get involved with Nature’s Calendar, a science based project, run by The Woodland Trust which records changes in species activity throughout the year.

Bronagh Gallagher, Project Officer for the Faughan Valley said: “The Woodland Trust manages 50 sites across Northern Ireland so there are plenty of outdoor spaces to go and look for wildlife; you can even look for butterflies in your own garden!”

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has funded a Woodland Trust project set to revitalise the Faughan Valley landscape. The National Lottery funding boost will enable us to deliver plans, over three years, for a massive £1.2 million project. It’s an undertaking that will benefit the valley’s communities, landowners, landscape and wildlife.

Please note while roadworks are in progress along the A6, Brackfield, Killaloo, Oaks Wood and Burntollet are not accessible to the public. 

Image Credit: Pam Hardeman

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