NEWSLETTER No. 9 - Summer 1983
WEST MIDLANDS BRANCH, BUTTERFLY CONSERVATION
|1983 Reserves Appeal||3|
|1983 Recording Scheme||4|
|Warwick University Day School Report - Part 2||5|
|Butterfly Monitoring Scheme||7|
|The Search for the Large Tortoiseshell in Worcestershire||7|
It is always exciting when events move forward faster than originally
anticipated and so it has proved with the branch's aim of establishing its first
Butterfly Reserve in the region, mentioned in the last newsletter and at the
A.G.M. We are pleased to be able to inform members that we have now concluded an
agreement with a landowner in the Wyre Forest that will enable us to manage an
area of streamside meadow as a reserve. The area contains a varied butterfly
fauna, including a number of species very restricted in their distribution in
the UK as a whole.
Nationally, the BBCS has apparently found some difficulty in establishing its own reserves, certainly compared to other groups like the RSPB, County Trusts or even the more recently formed Woodland Trust. When one considers the way our countryside and the wildlife it contains is quickly being eroded away, the need for action becomes apparent. While it would indeed be sad if in years to come the only place to find butterflies was on a nature reserve, the reality of the current situation is that the remaining good habitats for butterflies and other wild creatures must be safeguarded before they too disappear. Almost every issue of this newsletter seems to contain stories of habitats being threatened or destroyed and this one is no exception. This last Winter has seen the effective destruction of one of the few remaining colonies of Brown Hairstreak in the region (see Butterfly Round-up for full details).
Managing our own reserves does bring with it enormous responsibilities which cannot be shirked. Proper recording of plants and animals will be important, as will the undertaking of research into butterfly species present. In this connection, it is hoped that the Branch may be able to take advantage of money that has recently become available through the World Wildlife Fund as a direct result of Butterfly Year. Physical management will be a continual battle, as members who have taken part in past work days can testify. There may also be difficult questions of access and of achieving the right balance between allowing members to visit the reserves and the need to avoid trampling and undue disturbance. Finance will also become a factor; leasing land often involves an annual rental which will have to be raised from members, while tools will obviously be needed for management work and these can prove expensive.
In light of the above, the Branch has decided to launch a Reserves Appeal - a special fund that will be used specifically for the acquisition and management of Butterfly Reserves. To give the fund a good start we are organising a major fundraising event during the Summer (details in the newsletter) and we hope that the maximum number of members will be able to contribute in some way. If successful, we hope that we will also be able to make a sizeable contributions to the BBCS Heath Fritillary Appeal which has already raised around £1,500 towards the purchase by the RSPB of part of Blean Woods in Kent.
Without doubt the Branch has a busy and exciting year ahead of it and we hope that more members than ever will want to play their part in our fight to conserve Britain's butterflies.