Over the last couple of years, we have been working with Butterfly Conservation on the Surrey Small Blue Stepping Stones Project. The project has helped to create habitat 'stepping stones' for the endangered Small Blue butterfly, linking up colonies across the North Downs between Guildford and Box Hill.
The Small Blue is Britain's smallest butterfly and has suffered a 34% decline in population since 1979. At the start of the 20th century it was described as common, but in Surrey is now found in just 26 locations across the county.
The project focussed on creating a series of 'scrapes' to grow Kidney Vetch, the foodplant for the Small Blue. A team of volunteers created one such habitat at the top of the vineyard here.
In June 2020, the team reported to us that the kidney vetch was thriving and eggs had been spotted on the flowers. A year on, and the site continues to provide a successful habitat for the Small Blue with several adults and lots of eggs noticeable on the vetch flowers.
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Help us with the world's biggest butterfly survey! The Big Butterfly Count 2021 runs from Friday 16th July to Sunday 8th August.
You can get involved simply by counting butterflies for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather during the Big Butterfly Count. Visit us on Saturday 31st July, Sunday 1st August or Saturday 7th August and see how many butterflies you can spot here. Download the identification chart to work out which ones you've seen then submit your results via the app.
Although not included in the official list, please do tell us if you spot the rare Small Blue at Albury! And be sure to share your photos on facebook and instagram using the hashtags #alburyvineyard #butterflycount