|North East England Branch|
Welcome to the North East England Branch of Butterfly Conservation
Butterfly Conservation is a registered
Welcome to the web-site of the North East England branch of Butterfly Conservation. The aim of the site is to provide information about the butterflies and moths of Northumberland, Durham and north Teesside and about the activities of the branch.
The north east has a very diverse range of habitats including extensive areas of upland moorland, coastal dunes, farmland, broad-leafed and coniferous woodland as well as many interesting brown-field sites that reflect the industrial history of the area. These different habitats support a wide range of fauna and flora and about thirty species of butterfly and many species of moth may be seen within the region.
The North East England branch of Butterfly Conservation seeks to increase our knowledge of the region's butterflies and moths, to assist in their conservation and to encourage the study of these fascinating insects. Please scroll down below for latest news from the Branch or navigate to the other pages of the web-site via the tabs to the left of the screen.
Day-flying Moths Durham Wildlife Trust is producing a series of leaflets highlighting day-flying moths that can be seen in the region. The first covering the Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Moth and the Mother Shipton can be downloaded here. Although still common, these are under-recorded and are believed to be in decline so we would welcome reports of your sightings.
Autumn 2015 Newletter now available on-line.. Please click here for the latest edition of our newsletter.
2014 Butterfly Summary! Publication of our annual summary report for 2014 was delayed by a number of factors including technical problems associated with transferring our database to a new version of the software. It is now available on-line. The report summarises the records received (casual and transect records) throughout the year and helps us keep track of how our butterfly species are faring. As always, the report reveals that some species had a relatively poor year in 2014 whilst others seemingly did well. Amongst those species for which numbers were relatively poor were Dingy Skipper, Small Copper, Holly Blue, Common Blue and Grayling. "Winners" included Green-veined White, Peacock and Speckled Wood. We have hopefully overcome all the difficulties experienced in producing this report and expect the 2015 report to be issued as normal in the Spring this year.
New Atlas of the Butterflies of North East England We are delighted to report that the Branch has just published a new Atlas of the Butterflies of North East England. This updates the Atlas published by Dunn and Parrack in 1986 and reflects substantial changes since then. The Atlas was published as a volume of the Natural History Society of Northumbria's journal "Northumbrian Naturalist" and we are very grateful for their support and collaboration. We are also grateful to Northumbrian Water, Durham Wildlife Trust and Northumberland Wildlife Trust for financial support for this project. The Atlas was a collaborative project and we are grateful to the editors and the authors of individual species accounts and above all to the many people who submit records every year and thereby make such an exercise possible. Copies can be obtained for £ 6.60 including post and packaging and an order form can be downloaded from here.
State of Britain's Larger Moths Butterfly Conservation has just published an important report on the status of the Country's larger Moths. The report makes gloomy reading with a 28% decline noted overall (for 337 "common and widespread" species) since 1965 and many individul species showing alarming declines of 90% or more. Fortunately, the north of Country appears to have fared much better than the south (approximately below the Lancaster - York line)but this should not make us complacent. To access the full report click here and follow the links.
Ash Die Back Disease Members will be aware of news coverage of yet another plant pathogen threatening the UK's trees. In this case the culprit is a fungal infection, Chalara fraxinea that fatally infects Ash trees and it is known that the disease has already had a devastating effect on Ash populations elsewhere, notably Denmark. It appears that the fungus was introduced into this country on imported Ash plants from European nurseries. Ash is an important native tree species that supports a number of moth species, for some of which it is the only known food plant. These include the Tawny Pinion, Centre-barred Sallow, Dusky Thorn, Prays fraxinella and Zelleria hepariella all of which have been recorded in our region.
As a measure to limit the spread of the disease the government has introduced a Plant Health Order prohibiting all imports of ash seeds, plants and trees into Great Britain, and all movement of ash seeds, plants and trees within Great Britain. If you come across Ash trees which you believe are infected please report this to the Forestry Commission. Information about how to recognise the symptoms is provided at the Forestry Commission web-site.
Phytophthora cactorum Sadly juniper bushes on the Waskerley Way have been effected by Phytophthora cactorum (a fungus like infection that affects a wide variety of trees and woody plant and causes, amongst other problems, 'bleeding canker disease' in Horse Chestnuts). This is happening in areas which are the habitat of Dark Green and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. There does not seem to any method of dealing with this disease. Could I ask all members visiting sensitive sites to disinfect boots before and after and give a little thought to where they walk.
Lyme Disease Members should be aware of the possible risks of contracting Lyme disease if they are visiting sites where ticks are present. For more information about this disease and sensible precautions you can take, please see the web-site of the Lyme Disease Action charity
Where to watch woodland butterflies The Wildlife Trusts have recently produced a short guide to nature reserves that are great places to see woodland butterflies. The guide covers the whole of the UK and, as well as listing 3 reserves in our own region, could be used to plan that trip to go and see Purple Emperors or White Admirals.
Can you help?We are looking for keen individuals to help promote our activities and increase awareness of butterflies, moths and their habitats. 'North East England' covers the historic counties of Northumberland and Durham, i.e. the entire area between the rivers Tweed and Tees. It would be great, if possible, to have people working in both the north and south. If you have a little free time, and think you could help with the following, please contact us. It is not onerous being on the committee, and it can be good fun!
* Publicity and promotion: e.g. liaising with other organisations, the press and media;
* Organising events, field outings, workshops etc.
* Education: liaising with schools, colleges etc. and involving young people
New Moth Atlas! Butterfly Conservation has recently published a new atlas of the British distribution of over 800 macro moths. Click here for details of the atlas and how to order your copy.
Electronic Mailing List! Would you like to be notified of Branch events by e-mail? Butterfly Conservation members are invited to contact the Membership Secretary if they would like be added to an electronic mailing list. This should help to provide more timely notice of events such as field trips, work parties and meetings. This is entirely voluntary and will not affect existing methods of communication which will continue to be used.
Latest update June 23 2016.
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