No. 38 NEWSLETTER Winter 1997



Chairman’s Message : 1
        Breaking Records in Worcestershire? 1
Two important November meetings : 2
        “Art and the Natural World” 2
        Branch AGM and members day 3
Note from the (new) Editor 3
Reports on Trips : 3
        Staffordshire  MAD  - 3rd August 1997 - Staffordshire Moorlands 3
        Go MAD in Shropshire  July 27th 4
        Gnosall Railway Line 25th May,  1997 4
        Fritillary Tail (Mortimer Trail) 4
        The Exmoor Weekend - "A Feast of Fritillaries" 5
        Coach trip to Anglesey - 6th July 6
        Prestbury Hill - 16th August, 1997 6
        A Trip to see the Monarchs in Mexico 7
Moths of the Wyre Forest 8
Conservation Corner 8
The Millennium Atlas Project : 10
        1998 - Millennium Atlas Initiative 10
        Eyeing the land - A millennium survey experience 11
Inland Sea Horses 13
Book Review 13
Information for Contributors 14
Letters : 15
        from T.G. Bucknall 15
Winter Programme 1997/98 15
Dates for your Diary 15


Chairman’s Message


Breaking Records in Worcestershire?

It was the National Executive Committee that set the target of recording the butterfly species present in every tetrad (2km x 2km square) in the whole of the United Kingdom. A formidable task, but an essential one if we are to keep a running check on the health of our national butterfly populations. It also puts factual information into the hands of conservation bodies and local government planning authorities in the difficult task of assessing the impact of development proposals. To ensure that the information published in the Millennium Atlas would be up-to-date, only records from 1995 onwards were to be included and when we looked at our county distribution maps with the pre-1995 records excluded, we were horrified by the acres and acres (I mean hectares and hectares!) of open, unrecorded, nothingness.

At this point a new member Richard Southwell, stepped forward and offered to take on the job of recording in Worcestershire. He recognised that he had to find Branch Members (and non-members) who would be willing to do the recording job and to direct them into those parts of the county where current records were thinnest or non-existent. After several abortive attempts to find a way into the problem, the procurement of a county map showing the postcode areas provided a solution. The under-recorded tetrads could be given a postcode and the membership lists searched for members living in or near that postcode area. The next step was to write to those members asking them to record in 2 or 3 of the priority tetrads. 150 letters were sent out and an astonishing 56 positive replies were received. We are now awaiting the results of all this effort. Andy Nicholls has had about 12 records so far and expects to get more, so don’t forget to send him all your records, NOW! Please don’t leave it until Christmas! It would be tragic if, after all the effort made to walk the tetrad, the records failed to get into the Atlas. Records of the more common butterflies, whites and browns, are important too as part of the overall picture.

Now this is all well and good for Worcester-shire, but what about Herefordshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and Powys? There is no possibility of Richard taking this on, the task would be overwhelming, but all is not gloom and despondency. A number of members in these areas have come forward and offered to record in their locality, and some 30 or 40 recorders have been active this summer. We have been wondering what the Branch can do to help the efforts of these individual county members and have come up with the idea that we hold a number of local meetings in the spring of next year. These will bring together the members in each area, to discuss their priority areas and to agree who will record them. This should avoid duplication of effort and to ensure coverage of all potentially important areas. Such centres as Stoke, Telford, Shrewsbury and Hereford come immediately to mind, but we will be guided by you. Please let us know how we can help, write or talk to us at the AGM.

One thing more, we cannot let this opportunity pass to say welcome to Christine Chance who has valiantly edited and produced this issue of the Newsletter and to say once again our heartfelt thanks to Margaret Vickery for her enormous contribution to the West Midlands Branch both as Newsletter editor and as Branch Organiser.

Digby Wood


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