Ecologist, John Day, from the RSPB, undertook a butterfly survey at the Fair to Nature accredited Hainey Farm, in Cambridgeshire at the end of July. The survey is a snap-shot of the butterflies that make use of the wonderful variety of wildlife habitats on the farm.
Hainey Farm is farmed by Cambs Farms Growers and became Fair to Nature accredited in early 2017. It is also a LEAF (Linking Environment And Farming) demonstration farm, hosting a very successful Open Farm Sunday event in June every year, and is in Countryside Stewardship. Cambs Farms Growers have established a wide range of wildlife habitats on over 10% of the farm, including wild bird food seed mixes to feed farmland birds over the lean late winter/early spring months, wild flower meadows to provide food for pollinators, wet grasslands, and reedbeds for breeding waders. The crops produced include celery, onions, lettuce as well as wheat and sugar beet.
Mr Day recorded 13 species of butterfly during his 3.5 hour visit on a bright sunny day in July. The predominant species observed was the large white (Pieris brassicae), with over 100 individuals counted. Other species that were seen in large numbers were the gatekeeper (Pyronia Tithonus), the meadow brown (Maniola jurtina) and the the peacock (Aglais io).
Although this was a butterfly survey, 5 species of dragonfly and damselfly were counted and 29 species of birds were recorded by sight and/or sound, including 9 kestrels. A pair of brown hares topped off the visit.