On Sunday 25th July 2021, East Midlands Butterfly Conservation joined forces with the National Stone Centre, near Wirksworth, to help mark this year’s Big Butterfly Count (16th July – 8th August).
The two organisations welcomed visitors to this attractive and varied site that usually focuses largely on geology, but on this occasion switched attention to butterflies. And they and the families that turned up to enjoy the bright and (occasionally) sunny conditions were not disappointed with an impressive 16 species noted in just a few hours.
Branch Organiser, Jane Broomhead was able to stage her first sales display for a long time, while Derbyshire Recorder, Ken Orpe welcomed visitors – many of them families with youngsters – and organised a small body of experienced guides to take the visitors around, to find and help identify the butterflies.
A wealth of wild flowers poked their heads out from the rich grassland, one habitat the butterflies clearly enjoyed, while the sparser quarry areas nevertheless still held a good range of species.
On the edge of one of these more open areas, the day’s main highlight was discovered and observed by a few lucky visitors as a White-letter Hairstreak flitted around brambles before settling on the flower heads of marjoram plants.
Fresh Commas, Small Coppers, Common Blue, Small Skippers and Small Heath added colour, a few Red Admirals and Peacocks had emerged, Large Skippers and Small Tortoiseshells were seen, and most plentiful of all were Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Gatekeepers among the grassy areas, while good numbers of Large, Small and Green-veined Whites sped across the site. The day-flying Shaded Broad-bar and Six-spot Burnet moths were also noted.
Rhona Goddard, BC Midlands Regional Officer has arranged four visits to the East Midlands to look at key sites listed on the STW funding bid. Her first two visits have been to central and southern Notts and the picture below shows site owners/managers, our conservation officer, county recorders and transect members, at a central Notts site on 10th June 2021.
The idea is for Rhona to get to know our area, the diversity of the sites we have and to dispel the myth that the EM is lacking in butterflies and moths. If Rhona feels work can be done in conjunction with those who know the sites then she is happy to try to help. The prority species are Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper and Small Heath and some moths.
July visits are scheduled for Derbyshire, including our wonderful Hoe Grange Quarry and Leicestershire sites will be visited during August/September.
The first volume in a series on aberrations of British Butterflies has been published beginning with the Comma and Ringlet and is reviewed here by Melanie Penson.
Please see below an example of the new signs designed by our Newsletter Editor, Eliot Taylor, which will be soon in place at The Scone & Devon Park, Newark, Vicar Water at Clipstone and Sherwood Heath at Ollerton roundabout. The Branch wishes to thank Eliot for creating these really fantastic signs. We also wish to thank Lynn Preece at Newark & Sherwood District Council for her enthusiasm and support for the Branch.
The lovely Jane and Melanie have been busy today at Sconce and Devon Park in Newark, planting Bird’s-foot Trefoil on the historic Sconce.
We are pleased to announce that the new Nottinghamshire Recorder will be Steve Mathers. The whole of the committee has extended a very warm welcome to Steve, who will be spending the next few weeks sorting through the Notts Records with Suzanne. We are also pleased that Suzanne will be staying on the EM committee. All Nottinghamshire recorders can contact Steve on: firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the new butterfly season fast approaching, would all recorders, especially transects recorders, WCBS recorders or member who are wishing to set up their own transect, please contact their County Recorders to show they are happy to continue recording during the 2021 season. Ken is most anxious to reach No 1 in the transect branch list and the East Midlands Branch is nearly there.
Not a normal year and not a normal AGM.
Matthew Oates (author of His Imperial Majesty) has sent some tips, via our own Purple Emperor guru, Dennis Dell, about how to seek out and find over-wintering caterpillars.
Dennis Dell, the East Midlands Champion for the iconic Purple Emperor would welcome any records for the butterfly in any of the 4 Counties in our Branch. These would be sightings at any location or photographs if possible. Please email these to Dennis at email@example.com.
...who have recently donated £50 to EMBC. During these difficult times any donations would be very welcome. We hope that Chris along with EMBC members and Notts BAG will be back with work parties for the Grizzled Skipper over the coming winter. Any donations we receive will help towards local conservation activities.
Our former chairman Bill Bacon, has decided to step down from the committee and his role as Grizzled Skipper Project Officer after many decades of hard work for the Branch.
17th August 2020
The East Midlands Branch Committee wishes to say thank you to all those members....
Numbers of butterflies and species is given for each site, followed by the top 5 species recorded.
A lot of hard work must have gone into collating this data - Thanks Sue
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Despite the widespread loss of mature elms, White-letter Hairstreaks are still found in the wider countryside, making use of the suckering regrowth in the hedgerows. This one was photographed by James Playle, ovipositing between Colston Bassett and Langar on June 25th 2020.