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Earlier this month the team had a brilliant time at St Maurice’s Pond, bug hunting and pond dipping with a group of pupils preparing to make the leap from primary to high school. We saw all sorts of wildlife, but it was the butterflies that stole the show. So once the kids had gone and everything was quiet once more, we decided to get down to some serious counting for Butterfly Conservation’s annual ‘Big Butterfly Count’.

Walking through the tall grass and vibrant wildflowers that surround the pond, we soon realised that we were going to need a bigger recording sheet! This summer saw the largest number of painted lady butterflies migrate across Scotland in a decade, and Cumbernauld was no exception. We counted a phenomenal 71 of them, plus many other species including small tortoiseshell, large white and peacock. By allowing ourselves to slow down and take notice we also came across other surprises, like a hefty elephant hawk moth caterpillar and a stunning hawker dragonfly.

The whole place was teeming with life. The kind of naturalised grassland found at St. Maurice’s can become havens for bees, butterflies and other important pollinating insects. But small, isolated pockets won’t be enough, which is why Cumbernauld Living Landscape has plans to create a “Nectar Network” in selected areas across the town, starting with Ravenswood Nature Reserve this month. However it’s not simply a case of keeping the lawn mower in the shed – these areas need to be carefully managed to ensure they make the best possible homes for wildlife, and remain attractive places where people can immerse themselves in nature.

Next time the sun is out, go outdoors, find a wild spot and get connected to the Nectar Network!

 

small tortoiseshell butterfly
Small tortoiseshell butterfly
hawker dragonfly
Hawker dragonfly

 


Gill Hatcher