A packed hall greeted Michael Blencowe who gave an interesting and highly entertaining presentation on ‘Butterflies and Moths of Sussex’. Michael represents the Sussex branch of Butterfly Conservation which is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation of butterflies and moths. The branch holds regular outdoor events across the county and manages the Butterfly Conservation Reserve at Park Corner Heath. It advises landowners how to conserve and protect butterflies and moths and it also collects and compiles records of sightings in Sussex.
Michael explained there are some 2,480 species of butterflies and moths in the UK although some are migratory. The Privet Hawk is one of the largest moths with dark brown and cream wings, and a pink and black-banded body. The Hawk-moths are recognisable by their large, torpedo-shaped bodies. The Silver Spotted Skipper butterfly is often seen locally around Long Furlong and it is one of the few species that is increasing in numbers.
Michael has appeared on the BBC’s Springwatch programme with Chris Packham and (to his delight) Michaela Strachan, as an authority on moths and butterflies.
Ed Miller gave an update on local planning issues. The Hangleton Nursery application has been re-submitted with additional information. The proposal is to create a large car park for 100 vehicles on land currently designated as agricultural with frequent deliveries by huge transporters. There is no news on the Goring Gap issue but the Ferring Neighbourhood Plan is going to referendum on 10th December.
Tricia Hall concluded the meeting by informing us that a Peacock butterfly was seen in the village that day.