|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.
Butterfly Walk, Littlewood Local Nature Reserve, Cassop. 2nd June In conjuction with Durham County Council. Come and find out about how butterfly numbers are monitored and find out from experts about the nature reserve and its butterflies. Click here for more details.
Spring Newsletter Click here for the latest edition of the Branch Newsletter.
Members' Questionnaire We are keen to find out the views of members about how the Branch is run and what they would like to see in terms of activities. We are also keen to hear how mebers may be able to help with the conservation of butterflies in the region. To helpus find the eanswers to these questions we would be grateful if you could complete this questionnaire and return it to the Chairman
Butterfly Walks During this summer will be several opportunities to join a transect recorder on a transect walk. A transect is a regular route that is walked once a week by the recorder who records all of the butterflies seen along the route. Interested members are invited to join a transect walker who will explain the process and point out the various species encountered. Please click here for further details.
Key butterfly site threatened by open-cast mine proposal A site of major, national importance for Dingy Skipper as well as other invertebrates is threatened by a planning application for open-cast coal and fire clay extraction on land south of Marley Hill and east of Crookgate. Anyone wishing to object to this proposal should send their objection to both Durham County Council and Gateshead Council as the site straddles the boundary between local authorities. Butterfly Conservation has submitted an objection to this propsal on the grounds that the site holds the largest colony of Dingy Skipper (a declining UK BAP Priority species) in the region and that it is unlikely that adequate mitigation measures will be possible to maintain the sttus of this colony.
Important notice The Committee has decided to switch to electronic distribution of the Branch Newsletter and the Annual Butterfly Summary Report. Printing and postage of these publications consumes virtually all of the Branch income each year and, by avoiding these costs we will instead be able to divert this money towards conservation action for butterflies, whether through local projects or by contributing it to Butterfly Conservation's national funds. To ensure that you continue to receive these publictions please can you send the details of your e-mail address to the Membership Secretary (details below). Members who are unable to receive the documents by e-mail are requested to contact the Membership Secretary by phone or by post and arrangements will be made for a printed copy to be provided. These arrangements will apply from the beginning of 2014 so please respond to this before then end of this year.
Butterfly Summary Report 2012 Please click here to view the 2012 Annual Butterfly Summary Report for North East England. The report provides the details of a disappointing year for the region's butterflies.
2012 'a disaster year for butterflies' Analysis of butterfly monitoring data from across the country has confirmed what most of us already believed to be the case: that 2012 was a very poor year for butterflies. Click here for further information on this at the Butterfly Conservation national web-site.
Butterflies of the Wider Countryside Newsletter Click here for the latest newsletter of the Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey project giving the national results from the 2012 season.
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.
Butterflies for the New Millenium Newslatter Click here for the winter 2012-13 newsletter of the Butterfly Conservation "Butterflies for the New Millenium" project.
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.
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 May 22nd 2013.
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