Beautiful, delicate and harmful to no-one, iconic species of butterflies are facing an increasingly perilous existence in the United Kingdom – which is why the news from Alan Jones, Conservation Officer at Humber Nature Partnership, that two butterfly species have been recorded for the very first time at Burkinshaw’s Covert, is so exciting…
Butterflies are the ambassadors of the insect world, and play a number of important roles in the ecosystem. Gently flitting from flower to flower, they’re the only insect we’re pleased to find alighting on our hand. Britain has about 56 species, and as conspicuous and loved as they are, butterflies are recorded with more enthusiasm than any other group of organisms. If we know things are going well with butterflies, then all is likely to be well with their fellow insects.
Humber Conservation Volunteers have chalked up two major successes this summer in their conservation efforts at Burkinshaw’s Covert – the 91-acre woodland owned by Prax Oil Refinery – with two butterfly species recorded at the site for the very first time.
The first to appear was the Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia), a large, fast-flying butterfly of broadleaved woodland, which loves the wildflowers and brambles of the wooded glades and rides. Up to almost 3 inches across, the adults love the sunlit woodland where they lay their eggs on the Dog-violet. Their caterpillars remain here munching away until ready to pupate. Burkinshaw’s Covert is an ideal habitat for this particular butterfly species, and they are now officially recorded for the first time amongst the wealth of wildlife which now fills the site.
The second species, the White-letter Hairstreak (Satyrium w-album), is a major result at the site. Conservationists have been working under the guidance of one of their fellow volunteers, John Davison, who is the Lincolnshire Naturalists’ Union’s County Recorder for Lepidoptera, and a keen and watchful supporter of the woodland management works. This particular species was high on John’s list to look out for at the site, as it had been seen at other locations nearby, such as Long Strip Woodland near to Immingham Docks, although it hadn’t been recorded at Burkinshaw’s Covert – until now.
As well as being a brilliant achievement for Alan and his team, butterflies in particular hold a special place in the Group’s heart, with the Harvest Energy logo being a butterfly. From ancient times, the remarkable metamorphosis from caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly has been used to illustrate rebirth and transformation. The Harvest Energy butterfly logo represents the continuous, steady evolution of our business, as well as our commitment to continuing to support the natural world – and what better place to start than with the butterflies at Burkinshaw’s?