Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and their habitats
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Welcome to the North East England Branch of Butterfly Conservation

Butterfly Conservation is a registered charity dedicated
to the conservation of butterflies and moths.





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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.


Autumn Newsletter  The Autumn 2014 edition of our newsletter is now available, produced under the eye of our new editor, Helen Passey. A pdf copy can be downloaded from here.

New dates for your diary!  Please see our events page for new events planned for this Autumn.

Butterfly Summary Report 2013  Please click here to view the 2013 Annual Butterfly Summary Report for North East England.  The report summarises the results of reording the region's butterflies in 2013.

Spring Newsletter  Click here for the latest edition of the Branch Newsletter.

Butterfly Numbers Up in 2013  Analysis of the results of the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey revealed that the fine summer weather of 2013 was reflected by increased numbers recorded for many farmland butterfly species.  See here for more details.

Guide to Skippers  Click here for a guide to the Skippers occuring in our region.

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.

Northern Brown Argus Project!  The Northern Brown Argus is one of the star species for our region and it was last surveyed in detail in 2006.  The Branch is now launching a project to evaluate how it has fared since then and to assess the the condition of the habitat at the sites where it occurs or used to occur.  It is hoped that this will help to target conservation action to assure the future of the species in our region.  We hope that members will participate in this project and an initial training day is planned for 4th January 2013. Please see the project page for more information.

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.
Regards
Dave Liddle, Durham County Council.

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 November 25 2014.


 
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