The Box Hill Book of Butterflies

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The Box Hill Book of Butterflies by Gail Jeffcoate

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The Box Hill Book of Butterflies by Gail Jeffcoate

Gail Jeffcoate was butterfly recorder for Surrey 1993-2000. She is a co-author of The Millennium Atlas of Butterflies in Britain and Ireland, and sits on several conservation committees at local and national level. She has a special interest in the wildlife and conservation of chalk grassland and works closely with organisations, such as the National Trust, responsible for maintaining this scarce and fragile habitat and the rich variety of species it supports.

The book gives an account of every species of butterfly that occurs or has occurred on Box Hill, with superb colour photographs to aid identification. Forty-five species have been seen in Surrey in recent years and since the 1980s forty of these have been recorded on Box Hill, making it one of the richest sites in the county, if not the whole of the U.K. In addition to the full and well-illustrated identification section there are short essays on the life cycle of the butterfly, butterfly behaviour, the special merits of Box Hill as a habitat (actually a range of habitats), conservation and changes seen during the last century.

Particularly useful to the interested layman is a table of periods when the different species are most likely to be seen on the wing. We are told where to go for further information and there is an excellent map of the area with features clearly marked. This publication is a mine of useful and interesting information – the importance of long grass or short grass, plants vital to the life-cycle of certain species, why some groups roost head-down at night, the part played by ants and highland cattle, and much more.