NEWSLETTER No. 10 - Winter 1983/84
WEST MIDLANDS BRANCH, BUTTERFLY CONSERVATION
We are hoping through the good offices of the NCC to hold a meeting within the next few months with the owner of the wood in Worcestershire where this butterfly is found. As with the Silver-studded Blue, the Marsh Fritillary is only found at one site within our region (excluding Gloucestershire) and this is in private woodland where no management agreement currently exists. We hope that as a result of our meeting we can improve the position of this butterfly, which, although under no immediate threat, would be extremely vulnerable to any change in habitat.
Although this is more normally associated with the winter, the Branch has been involved in two areas over the last six months. One was the industrial site in Halesowen owned by one of our members, Edward Haden, and mentioned in a previous newsletter, where an effort has been made to improve further the site for butterflies by planting a range of nectar plants. This proved far more difficult than might be imagined as the soil there was solid clay, and it will be interesting to hear if any of the plants survive. Another member, Joan Walker has a splendid garden at Catherton Common in Shropshire which some members visited over the Summer. Joan wishes to thank Alma, Arthur, Julia and Andrew who subsequently returned to give practical assistance in maintaining the garden as a refuge for wildlife. Joan would welcome further offers of help and she can be contacted on 0584 890309.
Those members attending our field trip to north Shropshire (see Report) will have been very concerned to learn of the somewhat precarious position of this butterfly at its only remaining West Midlands site. In recent months we have been in touch with both the Shropshire Trust and the Nature Conservancy Council over this issue and we received a very encouraging letter from the former who are clearly determined to do what they can to conserve the site. An important first step, however, is to schedule the area an SSSI and it is to be hoped that the NCC will now put this into motion without further delay.
As reported in the Editorial, our new Reserves Appeal now stands at over £200
and we are grateful to all members who have contributed so far. Special thanks
to Dave Hatton, a new branch member from Stafford, who raised £38.50 and Tony
Hatton, Gareth Robinson and Margaret Vickery all of whom raised in excess of £15
in the sponsored butterfly count. Pride of place (and the prize for raising the
most money) goes to B.A. Jones of the Albrighton and District Conservation
Society who raised £40.35 from seeing 19 species. (Dave Hatton saw 28 species of
butterfly and Tony Hatton topped the list of species seen with 32)
Grateful thanks to you all and also to Madge Payne who made a very generous donation to the Appeal through the sale of plants.
We are sure members will be pleased that the Branch, on the strength of the success of the Appeal, has felt able to make a donation Of £50 towards the BBCS appeal to assist with the purchase by the RSPB of Blean Woods in Kent, one of the few remaining localities for the Heath Fritillary.
The Reserve Appeal remains open and if members should wish to make a donation the address to send it is 58 North Street, Stoke, Coventry.
We would also be interested to hear of any fundraising ideas members may have for next year. Don't forget that we are still collecting used postage stamps and the address to send them to is Keith Bowerman, 84 Reddicap Hill, Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands.