The Heath Fritillary identification and survey workshop was an opportunity for people to learn about how to identify and survey one of Britain’s rarest butterflies which occurs on Exmoor. The session was held on the 3rd June and was run by Jenny Plackett from Butterfly Conservation and Paul Camp, a National Trust Ranger from the Holnicote Estate.
Fifteen volunteers attend including representatives from the Exmoor Mires Project and the Somerset Environmental Records Centre, as well as local Farmers. The workshop started with a talk at Piles Mill, on the ecology of the Heath fritillary butterfly and why the butterfly has become endangered. The talk also covered how to identify and survey the Heath Fritillary butterfly.
The volunteers where taken to sites where the Heath Fritillary butterfly occurs, which gave the volunteers the opportunity to practise identification of the Heath Fritillary butterfly and the surveying techniques. At the first site several individuals where found. However at the second site only a few individuals where found but the volunteers were treated to a fly-by from a pair of cuckoos. The volunteers then went back to Piles Mill where they were informed as to how they can now help with the Heath Fritillary surveying.
“It was great to have lots of people attending the Heath Fritillary Survey training. Monitoring our butterflies is really important because it helps to inform our conservation management. The volunteers where really enthusiastic and we are hoping that they will now go and survey more of Exmoor’s sites”. Jenny Plackett, Butterfly Conservation.
This event was part of the Exmoor Wild Watch 2014 which is funded by Exmoor National Park and the Heritage Lottery Fund through the Heart of Exmoor Scheme. Please visit the Exmoor Wild Watch website for further free training opportunities.