Last night a friend posted on Facebook a photo of a caterpillar he had seen while working. I’m not great at identifying butterflies or moths, in fact I’m a complete novice, so I tweeted a copy of the photo and included Cheshire East Council Rangers (@CECRangers) in the tweet. Within a few minutes, Martin, the Ranger from Tegg’s Nose Country Park, replied and identified it as a Mullein Moth (no, I hadn’t heard of one of those before either!). Martin then asked whether I was attending the butterfly walk he was leading this morning. As I didn’t have anything else to do, I thought it was a great idea and booked a place via the Council’s (very efficient) on line system.
As I drove to Tegg’s Nose this morning the weather didn’t look great and as I arrived at the country park, just above Macclesfield, the rain started to fall. However, I pressed on and joined a small, select band of hardy folk who, like me, didn’t really want to let a bit of wind and rain get in the way. Martin was joined by a local butterfly expert, who does weekly surveys of Tegg’s Nose, and the group of us set off to try to find some butterflies.
Slowly wandering around the country park in the rain and wind we didn’t expect to see many butterflies but spirits remained high, as did hopes that the rain wouldn’t last forever. Eventually, as the rain was blown away and the wind dropped, we started to see some movement over the grass. First we saw a few moths and eventually after over an hour of looking we found and caught (then released) a Meadow Brown and then found a Common Blue sheltering in the grass.
While the number of butterflies wasn’t huge, we were given some very good hints and tips on finding them in better weather and I will probably return later in the summer to check the place again – taking my butterfly education further. However, we didn’t just look at the butterflies on the way around and we were given a good general guide of the different habitats at Tegg’s Nose. The meadows and fields on the way back to the visitor centre had carpets of flowers and I got some nice shots with my phone.
Some people say that social media reduces face-to-face human interaction – for me, today at least, it has done the exact opposite – used well, it can make life richer and fuller.