Counting Dukes

The last two days (25th & 26th May) have been pretty typical for me at this time of the year, involving a mad dash to try and survey all of the Sussex Duke of Burgundy sites as thoroughly as possible. Although numbers will take another season to recover, there does at least seem to be a viable population remaining in the areas I've visited so far; sometimes only just. That's quite a relief after last year's weather, but I do have doubts that the national tally will remain unaffected by the 2012 washout. I recorded 55 Dukes over 6 different sites and on some of these the butterfly is still emerging. Along the way I'm seeing reasonable numbers of Dingy Skipper and Green Hairstreak, although the Grizzled Skipper isn't faring quite so well. While searching an area of Rewell Wood today I saw 7 or 8 Drab Looper moths, so they seem to have weathered the storm quite well. These frail looking insects are a lot tougher than we give them credit for.


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