One of the many things I love about Hastings is its large green spaces, with their surprisingly rich habitats.
I’m talking here about parks and woods that are part & parcel of actual urban Hastings & St Leonards, not Hastings Country Park or any of the other scenic surrounding areas.
This week, for the first time that I remember, I saw a Ringlet on the edge of Summerfields Woods (a 5-minute walk from the town centre): a butterfly I’d normally associate with the countryside. I don’t have a photo to show you as I didn’t have my camera with me…
But it prompted me to post a slightly nerdy list of the butterflies I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in urban Hastings & St Leonards over the last few years, interspersed with a few photos I’ve taken in these areas. I’ve left some of the rarer treats till the end of the list:
- Speckled Wood (probably the most prolific butterfly in Summerfields Woods)
- Meadow Brown
- Small Copper (quite a few in and around Summerfields Woods and White Rock Gardens)
- Comma (lots on bramble flowers especially)
- Painted Lady (also around the brambles)
- Red Admiral
- Peacock (I used to find their caterpillars as well, but haven’t done in recent years. I think this butterfly has declined here.)
- Small Tortoiseshell
- All the usual Whites (Small, Large, Green-veined)
- Large Skipper
- Holly Blue
- Common Blue
- White-letter Hairstreak (a very special treat, last July)
- Purple Hairstreak (just one at the end of the season a few years ago, again on the edge of Summerfields Woods)
- Clouded Yellow (a few in White Rock Gardens, where I guess is a first stopping point after crossing the Channel)
- White Admiral (just one fairly ragged specimen at end of season, in the woods at the top of Alexandra Park)
There may be one or two others that I’ve forgotten.
Hopefully there will be a few more to add to the list as time goes on.
In the meantime, it’s good to remember not only that Nature is unstoppable even in the face of humanity’s urbanisation, but also that humanity is in fact part of Nature.
We do well to acknowledge this oneness and thus rediscover our divinely-ordained harmony with all things.