Butser Wildlife Watch June 2019

We’ve been keeping track of the wonderful wildlife we see here at Butser as the seasons change. Here is our June update written by team member Victoria Melluish on what we’ve witnessed this month!

The humidity, rain and sunshine seem to have truly given the flora what it needs, the farm is looking remarkably vibrant and full of life! A magnificent ambiance for the summer solstice this year.

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This month has been rather surprising in many ways, with the most surprising one of all being a new born lamb found cuddled up next to her mother in one of our sheep fields. A late edition to the farm but a welcomed one for sure, it’s impossible to be out on the farm without hearing the cooing and aww’ s of the public and staff when passing the little woolly late comer.  We decided to name her Solstice, she will be going to her new home in August to be a part of a new flock of Manx Loughton.

For the insect enthusiasts out there this is the perfect time to visit the farm, our Mullein caterpillars have emerged and they are looking rather striking, enjoying themselves it seems whilst they munch through the Mullein plants, they are very easy to spot! This of course beckons the rare Striped Lychnis caterpillar whose species looks incredibly similar to the Mullein caterpillar the difference is in the stripes and type of mullein plant they prefer. Striped Lychnis only eat dark mullein plants, so it is crucial to preserve them. By working with the Butterfly conservation charity we have been able to gradually increase the numbers each year. We should be expecting them in early July, however I am already searching every dark mullein plant on site just to make sure!

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Our beautiful Roman garden has had some newly planted trees by archaeologist Claire, which have been mysteriously nibbled. We put out our trail camera to see what naughty creature has been using the new trees as their own personal buffet and it turns out that the culprit is a fallow doe. It is likely that she has a fawn with her somewhere, so the leaves must be providing her with much needed nutrients! Luckily she doesn’t seem to be interested in them now that she’s nibbled her favourite bits.

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In our Stone Age crop field we have been astounded by the healthy growth of our darnel seeds, they have flourished and are doing very well to the surprise of Dominic Price from The Species Recovery Trust, who has said that his plugs have not survived on any other plot of land accept ours, very curious!

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