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No. 46 NEWSLETTER Summer 2000

WEST MIDLANDS BRANCH, BUTTERFLY CONSERVATION

Contents

Chairman’s Notes Cover
Coming Events: 2

        Barton’s Cottage  garden visit

2
        West Midlands Branch Annual General Meeting 3
        Porton Down – last chance to book on this visit 3

Obituary – Bob Bishop

3

Reports on events

4
Reports on trips 5

Anchors Aweigh – well almost!

6

The pen is mightier than the scythe?

7

A micro-environment

8

Conservation in Spain – the good, the bad and the ugly

9

Guide to moth identification: Brimstone moth

10

Conservation Corner

11

Annual Review for 1999:

AR1 - AR8

        First & Last Butterfly sightings 1999

AR1 - AR8

        Top Ten's

AR1 - AR8

        1999 Weather

AR1 - AR8

        Butterfly Roundup

AR1 - AR8

        Garden Butterflies in the Midlands, 1999

AR1 - AR8

        County Moth Reports

AR1 - AR8

Butterflies on New Hawne Colliery

12

Snowflakes in Spain

13

Day-flying moths

14

Instructions for contributors

16

Mothers Group goes high-tech

17

New members

17

Millennium Atlas

18

Health and safety

19

Dates for your diary

19

Walsall Area moth group –  Field trips, 2000

20

Moth programme, 2000

20

 

Chairman’s Notes

 

A warm welcome to all our new members

Butterfly Conservation has recently changed its membership categories. As a result, the annual subscription now includes membership of the local branch. Existing members who were not members of a local branch were invited to change to the new arrangement. I am very pleased to say that many of you have taken up this offer and we have 69 new Branch members. I would like to welcome you to the Branch and I look forward to meeting you at one of our many outdoor events during the summer. We have a regular programme of butterfly trips and moth nights. We also have a series of conservation work days during the winter which you are also most welcome to attend. Please feel free to contact me or any of the committee members if you have any queries or need any assistance.

We are continuing our efforts to involve more of our members in the north of the branch area. We have arranged a field trip to the Bog and Stiperstones on Sunday August 13th (see Dates for your Diary). This will be led by local member Bill Davidson with target species being Wall Brown and Grayling. In addition, the branch AGM will be held at the Greenwood Trust, Ironbridge on Saturday, November 4th starting at 2.00pm,. Our guest speaker will be Jenny Joy, who lives in Shropshire, and will talk on the Butterflies and Moths of Shropshire. This promises to be a very interesting talk and I would urge you all to attend. I promise the AGM business will not take long!

Websites

We now have a branch moth website designed by Neil Gregory. This excellent site features events over the summer, details of protected species, the 1999 moth review as well as other useful information. The address is :
www.droitwich.btinternet.co.uk/moth/
We should also have a branch web site in the near future. This is being designed by Steve Harper and we hope to have more details in the next newsletter. While on the subject of the internet I have found the following sites of interest:


www.egroups.com/group/ukmoths
www.ukmoths.force9.co.uk
www.chebucto.ns.ca/Environment/NHR/lepidoptera.html


If anyone can recommend other good sites please let me know. I can be contacted by Email on duncanchase@cs.com.

Transects

We now have 35 transects in the West Midlands. These are walked each week between April and September. A fixed route is followed and butterfly numbers are recorded as well as habitat details. The information gathered is then collated by myself (as the regional transect coordinator) and used for a variety of purposes.

It provides information on the health of the countryside – butterflies being a very sensitive environment indicator. It detects changes in populations and emergence times. Most importantly, it also provides information to landowners on the effectiveness of site management for butterflies. The data are also used to monitor our Regional Action Plan for moths and butterflies. The data are also gathered together centrally by Butterfly Conservation and incorporated into their national studies. Five of our transects have been walked for over 15 years and 9 for over 10 years, supplying very important and useful information on butterfly populations.

New transects are starting every year and we have lots of habitats we would like surveyed. If you are interested in participating in this very enjoyable activity please get in touch with me. Later in the summer, Butterfly Conservation will be supplying free to all transect walkers software which will enable the weekly data to be readily input to a computer and analysed. It will be windows based and easy to use . I have tried the test version and it looks like being very useful and fun to use. It will also make my job of compiling all the data at the end of the year much easier! Paper-based transect records are, and will no doubt continue to be the majority data records, however so please make contact if you are keen to participate.

Ian Duncan


 

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