Saturday, July 22, 2006

(No) Graylings at Moorfield

Made a quick visit this evening to the inland Grayling butterfly colony at Moorfield, on the edge of Kilmarnock. This species is almost entirely restricted to the coast in Scotland, so it is quite special to find these butterflies inland. For years, several hundred of these insects emerged each July and August on the post-industrial acid-heath at Moorfield which they shared with Small Heath, Common Blue, orchids, Meadow Pipit, Yellowhammer, Skylark and Grey Partridge to name a few. On Saturday there were no Graylings. In fact there was no anything. This site was destroyed last year by a partnership between East Ayrshire Council (their next move is to destroy enough of Kay Park for a 100 space car park!) and Land Improvement Holdings. They felt it necessary to cap the old bing with a clay covering, thereby obliterating this unique local habitat. This won’t surprise residents of Kilmarnock though – they only have to walk through the soulless, disaster that is the town centre to see that the local authority has little interest in preserving anything, be it natural or man-made. None of the local and national conservation organisations appeared to care, and, worse still, even knew about it despite recording and monitoring at the site. Most people driving by would never realise they were passing a local wildlife treasure. Now they never will.

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