Status of the Silver-studded Blue at Thurstaston Common in 2003

Cheshire status: recorded locally on heathlands in the county during the nineteenth century, but the last colony died out in the 1920s. Successfully re-introduced at one site on the Wirral in 1994. Single brooded flying from late June to early August.

2003: As it is now nine years since this butterfly was introduced on Thurstaston Common the project can be considered a success, especially as many similar schemes often fail within this timescale. Numbers do, however, remain low with survey work in 2003 showing "very average" results. It would appear that the insect thrives in areas where there is pioneer Heather (Calluna vulgaris) and work is continuing at the site to ensure that more of this suitable habitat is available. A further problem in 2003 was that there were high numbers of the destructive Heather Beetle on the site, coupled with drought conditions. During the winter of 2003/2004 more management work will be carried out at this site and the small band of volunteers who carry out these ongoing tasks are to be commended for their dedication to this project.

A maximum count of 21 insects on 5 July was very similar to the 20 recorded on 11 July 2002. Sightings on Thurstaston Common extended from 15 June (the earliest ever county record) to 26 July.

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