Rare Butterfly Found In Woodland Trust Survey

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Rare Butterfly flutters by in Woodland Trust survey.

The Faughan Valley may be miles away from County Down, but the discovery of a rare butterfly found there demonstrates that if we are in contact with nature more, whicle out for walks and rambling the country lanes and woods and beaches, we too could find out a lot more about the fringes of our bio-diversity.

A rarely seen butterfly, the purple hairstreak has been recorded in the Faughan Valley, in woodlands managed by The Woodland Trust Northern Ireland.

The conservation charity uses transects to investigate changes in habitats rather than to simply estimate the number of organisms within it.

The purple hairsteak.

Pam Hardeman, who volunteers for The Woodland Trust, 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 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 are encouraging the public to record any sightings of butterflies during the annual Butterfly Count which runs 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, Site Manager 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!”

While roadworks are in progress along the A6, Brackfield, Killaloo, Oaks Wood and Burntollet are not accessible to the public. To find a Woodland Trust woodland near you, visit:

 www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/northern-ireland