It was a glorious day on Devils Dyke - with unbroken sunshine, light winds and a peak temperature of 17 degrees, it felt more suitable weather for a field trip rather than a work party!

At the start of the day there were just three of us, and it seemed like we might struggle to get much done, but gradually we accrued a couple more volunteers and by late morning we were five. Working on the steep slope in the sunshine was hot, tiring work but we got everything we hoped to do done.

We tackled a section of the dyke close to the car parking area and cleared a large portion of scrub from the base of the dyke, mowed and cut scrub on the main south-facing bank for a length of about 50m. Despite not having worked here for several years the grass growth was quite sparse, possibly due to numerous rabbits evidenced by the hazardous holes we came across on the steep sections of dyke.

Scrub clearing on the Devils Dyke

The most remarkable part of the day was the number of butterfly species on the wing: outnumbering our volunteer work force! Chalkhill Blues were the most regularly seen species, evidently attempting a second brood; mainly males were seen but one or two females as well, and a lot of them were very fresh. In addition there were 3rd brood Brown Argus and Common Blue, and several of the hibernating species came out as well - Brimstone, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Red Admiral.

James Fowler and his son came past to share the celebration cake at lunch time and reported the same array of species. The cake was left over from our AGM the day before, where we celebrated 50 years of Butterfly Conservation.

Thanks to all our volunteers: Ian Shaw, Rob Smith, Dave Seilly, Louise Bacon and Vince Lea.