BC small 12

Prees Heath Report August & September 2018

It is now 10 years since we set up the Prees Heath Butterfly Transect, which involves walking a set route around the reserve once each week from the beginning of April to the end of September (26 weeks) and recording numbers of all the different butterfly species 5 metres in front of you and 2.5 metres either side. So over the last ten years the transect has been walked 260 times, recording 15,464 butterfliesThis method is used by hundreds of Butterfly Conservation volunteers throughout the UK, and it produces valuable scientific evidence of how our butterflies are faring.

 

The table below shows the numbers of all the species recorded in the last 10 years. What is immediately apparent from the table is that 2018 was an outstanding year. It shows that this was particularly the case for three species – Small Copper, Silver-studded Blue and Common Blue – which all had their best year by a large margin. These are all members of the Lycaenid family of butterflies, and all have a symbiotic relationship with ants to some extent, with the Silver-studded Blue having notably the strongest relationship. It may prove that the hot weather of 2018 was not that good for ant populations, and so we may expect a decline in these butterfly numbers next year. 

 

   

   2009

  2010

     2011

   2012

   2013

   2014

   2015

   2016     

2017    2018                  

Small/Essex Skipper

3

12

4

2

10

42

45

106

62

45

Large Skipper

0

3

0

1

0

5

3

7

0

1

Dingy Skipper

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

1

Brimstone

4

1

3

0

0

0

2

0

2

3

Large White

60

27

7

4

10

9

6

5

12

26

Small White

23

11

11

5

50

7

7

7

12

36

Green-veined White

37

20

21

1

4

12

2

5

19

18

Orange-tip

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0

1

Purple Hairstreak

0

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

0

2

Small Copper

80

71

44

28

59

48

28

106

35

267

Silver-studded Blue

356

848

333

201

388

313

308

800

435

1670

Common Blue

66

49

26

14

41

69

18

32

32

196

Red Admiral

8

1

5

7

0

4

2

6

18

1

Painted Lady

79

1

1

0

2

2

1

7

0

8

Small Tortoiseshell

2

31

55

22

21

30

26

6

19

16

Peacock

5

7

9

17

27

15

30

7

9

10

Comma

2

0

0

0

0

1

0

1

3

2

Speckled Wood

10

0

1

4

2

4

6

9

9

5

Gatekeeper

50

33

31

36

40

96

48

46

54

43

Meadow Brown

425

243

71

198

452

360

313

308

147

198

Ringlet

18

61

16

13.5

38

77

13

40

32

22

Small Heath

303

281

181

196.5

774

489

269

216

349

498

All Butterflies

1531

1700

819

750

1918

1584

1129

1715

1249

3069

 

 

 

 

IMG 4826

 

 

Common Blue [©Mike Ashton]

 

The Prees Heath volunteers have been busy again. This time we planted another 2,000 bell heather plugs, the last of these at least for the time being. We also broadcast some common heather seed that was brush harvested on the Hangars field last year. Future plans include clearing birch scrub this winter and mowing some of the heather on the Hangars field, spreading the brash which contains seed on some of the restoration areas.

 

IMG 4827

 

 

One butterfly that continues to decline is the Small Tortoiseshell, once a common sight in gardens but now much less frequently seen. Many Small Tortoiseshells emerge from their chrysalis in the summer and immediately go into hibernation for the winter. On 13thSeptember Lucy counted 69 Small Tortoiseshells hibernating in the former RAF control tower, along with 3 Peacocks and 2 Herald moths. Subsequently professional photographer Andy Fusek Peters came and took some photographs – he admitted it was far from straightforward given their unusual location, but he obtained some excellent results. This photo shows a hibernating Peacock on one of the wooden bat boxes in the tower. 

 

IMG 4825

 

 

It has been reported to the Police that on Sunday 19thAugust a man was attacked on the reserve by two Alsatian dogs, and that he required hospital treatment for his wounds. Anyone with any information about this incident should contact the Police by dialling 101 and quoting Incident Number 769S dated 19th August. We try to ensure the reserve is a safe, friendly and welcoming place for visitors and incidents of this nature are taken seriously. 

Stephen Lewis

Volunteer Warden, Butterfly Conservation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

07900 886809

Dog Attack

A report has been received of a man being attacked by two alsatian type dogs on the reserve on Sunday 19th August. The man required hospital treatment for his wounds. This is very concerning as we strive to make the reserve a safe and pleasant place for members of the public to visit, as well as a sanctuary for wildlife . Anyone with information about this incident should contact the Police by phoning 101 and quoting incident number 7695 dated 19th August. 

Prees Heath BioBlitz 2018

 

 Chris-Packham-at-Prees-Heath-(Clive---Dyer)

 

 Please click HERE to view the PDF file  for the Prees Heath BioBlitz held on 19th July now that I think and hope all records have been received. Many thanks again to everyone who came and submitted records on what was a memorable day. 

Do let me know if you wish to add anything or have any queries. 

 

Best wishes,

 

Stephen

 

Stephen Lewis

Warden, Prees Heath Common Reserve, Butterfly Conservation

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  Mobile: 07900 886809

www.preesheathcommonreserve.co.uk

www.westmidlands-butterflies.org.uk

www.butterfly-conservation.org

 

Prees Heath Report June – July 2018

June and July have been remarkable for a long spell of hot and dry weather. People may have noticed that, apart from the grass looking very parched, some of the heather has turned a red/brown colour. There are two types of heather on Prees Heath, Common Heather or Ling, which flowers in August and September, and Bell Heather, which flowers from June through to October and which provides important nectar for the Silver-studded Blue. It is apparent that the heather which has turned a different colour is mainly the Common Heather, and this suggests that the reason for the discolouration may not be drought but rather the Heather Beetle, the larvae of which attack the foliage of the plant. We are aware from previous years that Heather Beetle is present on the reserve, and there is little we can do to combat it. We believe that often the Common Heather, although weakened and failing to flower, does survive. 

 

There have been two highlights recently. Firstly the Prees Heath volunteers did a colony count of the Silver-studded Blues on the reserve and outlying areas on 27thJune 2018. The total count was 4,085, a record for the four times we have done this! The Silver-studded Blues emerged somewhat earlier than usual this year, peaked quickly, and then numbers fell away rapidly. What was particularly noteworthy was that many more were seen on the restored areas than previously, with a magnificent 700 being recorded on the hangars field. Many thanks to all the volunteers who helped.

 

Then there was the BioBlitz held on 19th July. This was part of Chris Packham’s UK Campaign ‘Nature Reserves are not Enough’ and we were joined by Chris for two hours from 5pm. He was very generous with his time, talking to everyone who wanted to meet him, giving an inspiring and passionate speech to the assembled crowd, learning about the restoration of the common, doing live BBC TV Midlands Today interviews etc. The day started at 8am with the opening of the moth traps led by Dave Grundy and the opening of the small mammal traps led by Malcolm Monie. Estelle Hughes led a bird walk, and this was followed by Andy Cherrillleading a grasshopper walk and an exploration of pondlife led by Clive and Jacki Dyer. Gavin Woodman and Lucy Lewis led a butterfly and day-flying moth walk which ended as Chris arrived. The sun shone, we recorded over 500 species by several species experts, some of which were not only new records for the reserve but also new for the county, all the walks were well attended, there was a great vibe in the marquee where much cake was consumed and all in all it was a fantastic day. All the photos were taken on the day.]

 

 

    

Common-Field-Grasshopper,-adult-female-©Mike-Ashton-www.macreative.co.uk   Bank-Vole-(John-Harding)

               Common Field Grasshopper

                              © Mike Ashton

                                  Bank Vole
Chris-Packham-inspires-everyone-to---campaign-for-wildlife-(Stephen-Lewis)-Recovered   Small-Scabious-(Janet-Vernon)
                   Chris Packham Inspires                             Small Scabious
 Chris-Packham-(Clive-Dyer)   A-young-recorder's-top-work---(Stephen-Lewis) 
                 Chris Packham                             A young recorder's top work

 

 

Poplar-Hawkmoth--&-Dave-Grundy---(Stephen-Barlow)

 

 

Poplar Hawkmoth

 

Several groups enjoyed guided walk on the reserve at other times in July. However I had to cancel a walk for one group, the Wirral Alpine Society, as the Silver-studded Blues were already pretty much over and the vegetation was so parched. Do get in touch now if you want me to lead a guided walk for your group in the summer of 2019. 

Work has been carried out to fill in potholes on the access track, and visitors are asked to drive slowly along the track, not only to prevent further damage but also because of the presence of people, families and dogs arriving and departing. It is essential that the reserve is maintained as a quiet and safe place. 

 

Stephen Lewis

Volunteer WardenButterfly Conservation

07900 886809

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">

 

 

Bio Blitz Timetable

Click HERE to view or print