NEWSLETTER No. 9 - Summer 1983
WEST MIDLANDS BRANCH, BUTTERFLY CONSERVATION
Five work days were accomplished over the Winter on reserves in three counties, and a considerable amount of excellent work was carried out. Our thanks to all those members who gave assistance, and especial thanks to those who turned up on almost every occasion. A new venue was Eastnor Park in Herefordshire, where we actually planted trees rather than cut them down. Next year (with luck) we shall be working on our own reserves and the experience learned elsewhere will certainly prove of value. With this in mind, the Branch have made a limited purchase of hand tools and as time goes by we shall want to build up our stock. If any members have any unwanted saws, billhooks, choppers, pruners etc. and would care to donate them, this would be most welcome.
Our efforts at WARNACT's Stockton Reserve have apparently had an unlooked for response. In a newly cleared area of scrub land a stand of nine Greater Butterfly Orchid appeared in 1982 plus (we hope) lots of butterflies.
1983 Recording Scheme
Our recording efforts this year will centre around three themes:
1) Operation Hairstreak - we want to make a real effort this year in searching for butterflies of the Hairstreak family which are often elusive and under-recorded. In particular, we are keen to track down the remaining haunts of the White Letter Hairstreak in the West Midlands and would very much welcome records of this butterfly. In co-operation with Professor David Bellamy, "Elms across Europe", and Pitney-Bowes Ltd we hope to be able to establish whether the new strain of disease resistant Elm that has been developed will prove acceptable to the butterfly. If successful then it may be possible, in conjunction with other bodies, to introduce the new tree into areas where the Hairstreak is still found in the hope of assisting its long term survival. Such a step would obviously have to be taken with great care, and after consultation with all interested parties, but there is no doubt that the butterfly has suffered a catastrophic decline in recent years and is in need of such conservation measures as may be deemed possible.
2) Habitat Survey Work - as well as carrying out searches for specific species the Branch will also be continuing a major survey started last Summer on a site in the Cotswolds (see last newsletter). We hope by the end of this year to be able to approach the owner with a view to establishing the area as a reserve. A new Pollard Walk will soon be underway in Chaddesley Wood near Kidderminster in co-operation with the Nature Conservancy Council, and we are grateful for the offers of help that made this possible. We would ask members to get in touch with the branch if they know of a good habitat for butterflies where there may be a chance of securing an agreement with the owner. We would be particularly interested in hearing of sites with 20+ species and/or the presence of one or more of the following: any Fritillary, Chalkhill Blue, Brown Argus, Silver-studded Blue, Small Blue, Duke of Burgundy, Marbled White (not Glos.), Grayling, Large Heath or Wood White.
3) Shropshire / West Midlands county - we would welcome any records for these two counties which we can pass on to those co-ordinating survey work as special efforts are being made to step up on butterfly recording.
We do hope that members will feel that they will be able to participate in the Recording Scheme this year. As always general records are very welcome and a sample recording sheet is included with this newsletter.