A VERY rare butterfly has been spotted on Stratford Recreation Ground.
The White Letter Hairstreak butterfly was seen feeding from the nectar of wildflowers by Stratford Butterfly Farm education officers Adam McVeigh and John Withers when they visited the new wildflower meadow, planted by Stratford District Council.
Adam and John were taking part in the Big Butterfly Count nationwide survey when they spotted the elusive butterfly which has been on the decline since Dutch Elm took hold in Britain in the 1970s.
The butterfly’s underwings are brown, with a white w-shaped streak, an orange edge and small tails. The butterfly usually flies around the tops of trees, particularly elms but occasionally comes down to ground level to nectar on flowers, especially privet and bramble.
The Butterfly Conservation Trust, which runs the annual Big Butterfly Count which is one of the world’s biggest surveys of butterfly numbers, has been notified, as has the district council.
The main purpose of planting the wildflower meadow was to encourage bees, butterflies and insects.
District council spokesman Mike Brain said: “What a fantastic discovery! In the long-term, many rare species are still in decline so what is important is to have good conservation in place. Council officers are currently identifying suitable areas across the district to plant more wildflower meadows and encourage other rare butterflies to thrive and prosper.”
More butterflies, insects, reptiles and spiders can be seen at Stratford Butterfly Farm. Visit www.butterflyfarm.co.uk for further details.