The heathland provides the perfect habitat for a diverse range of insects and animals. During the summer more than 30 species of butterfly are recorded each year including the silver-washed fritillary, brimstone and the rare silver-studded blue - the male butterfly provides a marvellous sight as they fly low over the heathland.
Dragonflies are also common and 21 species live on the heaths including the southern damselfly, a rare species in Britain that is confined to just a few parts of the south west of England.
It also provides a breeding ground for many bird species including curlew, yellowhammer, buzzards and kestrels. The area is famed for its population of the rare Dartford warbler which is more commonly found much further south, but the dense gorse provides an excellent habitat which allows it to thrive. The nightjar is a rare summer visitor that nests on the ground. You will need to look hard to see it as it flies at dawn and dusk to make best use of the light in which to hunt moths.
Over 70 species of birds have been recorded here, and indeed the RSPB have for many years leased Aylesbeare Harpford Common from the Estate as a valuable location for monitoring their populations.
Dartford Warbler Survey 2111
This year has seen a drop to about 20 pairs this year.We attribute this to weather condition over the summer and last winters snow.
Seem to have held steady this year Jean Turner who organised these surveys has asked us to do some more management work to ensure we keep up a viable population.We intend to do this work in January 2011 .It does seem that as we clear one area another one closes down.
Southern Damsel Flies 2011
This year saw a decline in numbers, this could be due to several reasons . The major one being very bad summer weather with the result that surveying could not be carried out as regularly as in previous years.
Allthough we did not do a survey this year on anicdotal evidence we had some great sightings. We had them flying around our heads at Wheathills car park
Ed did survey the old Dalditch Plantation area and the numbers were down to 4 pair .As we have done a lot of management it is quite positive to see the numbers are holding their own.
East Devon Pebblebed Heaths Conservation Trust, c/o Rolle Estate Office, Bicton Arena, East Budleigh, Budleigh Salterton, Devon, EX9 7BL Tel: +44 (0)1395 443881 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org